There was a jaw-dropping moment when Jennifer Lopez walked down the runway at the 2019 Versace show in Milan. She donned the palm leaf-green jungle dress twenty years after wearing the original design at the 2000 Grammy Awards.
In a sit-down with Vanity Fair for their cover story, Lopez mused with nostalgia about how it felt to do such an iconic number, even while at the peak of her career.
The star recalled the backstory by making a step-by-step explanation of how Donatella Versace called to inform her that she was planning to do a haul of her clothing line and wanted her to be part of it.
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“Donatella wound up calling and said, ‘I want you to walk at the end, and I want you to come out in the dress.’ ‘The same dress?’ ‘The same dress. We’ll make a new one for you,'” continued Lopez. “The second time I wore it and walked out there, it was such an empowering thing. Twenty years had gone by, and I think it resonated for women, knowing you can put on a dress 20 years later. It was like, “Yes, you know, life is not over at 20!”
Lopez Didn’t Think Of The Dress As First Choice
The musician didn’t give much thought to the green silk chiffon Versace jungle dress that she wore to the Grammy’s held at Los Angeles’ Staples Center.
“I didn’t think about it. I didn’t think it was all that risque, to be honest,” she said in a Vogue video interview for the anniversary of the dress. “I was more excited that it was the Grammys. I wasn’t even thinking about the dress that much. I was just glad I had something to wear.”
However, as she arrived with then-boyfriend Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs, the impact of her outfit — also known as “The Dress”– was immediately felt.
“In terms of my career, this dress marked a moment in time,” Lopez told Vogue. “If you don’t know my music and you don’t know my movies, people know about that moment and that dress — that was it.”
When Did Lopez First Wear The Dress?
In 2000, Lopez bagged a Grammy nomination for “Let’s Get Loud” in the Best Dance Recording category. However, she was producing “The Wedding Planner” with Matthew McConaughey, and she didn’t have much time to scout for a new gown.
“I was on the set, and I had to have my fitting for the Grammys on the set,” she recalled. “My stylist at the time, Andrea Lieberman, had a bunch of stuff, but nothing really special — it was a bust.”
Her stylist assured her boss of something good to wear to the Grammys, and although Lopez was doubtful, she believed Lieberman. “She came with like three dresses — I’m very spoiled now, people come with a thousand dresses when they come to do a fitting for me — but that day there were two or three dresses,” the musician explained.
The choices included a white one, the green one, and another one she had previously tried on set. “I tried on the green one, and when I came out, everyone who was there was like, ‘That’s the dress!'”
Audience’s Reaction To Lopez’s Dress
When she touched down in Los Angeles for the event, Lopez was just excited to arrive at the Grammys as a nominee again.
Her then-boyfriend Diddy, fawned over how she looked. “Just wow,” he said as he recalled the look to Entertainment Tonight in 2017. “I thought it was gonna change the game as far as for her and fashion.”
However, as she descended, she immediately discovered that she got almost the same reaction from everyone.
“When I got to the red carpet, it was crowded, and we were trying to get through, and all of a sudden, everybody just started moving so that we could pass through,” Lopez explained. “There was this little buzz in the air, and people started yelling and screaming. There was something extra about it,” Lopez recalled in the interview.
Is She The First Person To Wear The Dress?
As it turned out, Lopez wasn’t the first person to ever wear that dress. The dress had been worn before and even several times.
It made its debut on the runway in Milan at Donatella Versace’s Spring/Summer 2000 collection in October.
Donatella had also worn the dress she designed to the Metropolitan Museum of Costume Institute Gala on December 6, 1999. Although it was a bit different and had no sleeves, it was a similar design.
The month after that, Spice Girl, Geri Halliwell also donned the Versace dress to France’s NRJ Music Awards. But her long blonde locks were ill-fitting and covered much of what the dress was meant to reveal.