Hot Dame! Helen Mirren's Most Iconic Fashion and Beauty Moments

Dame, she looks good! PEOPLE's 2022 Beautiful Issue cover star Helen Mirren, 76, has been commanding red carpets — and runways! — with her bold fashion and beauty choices for decades. Here, we celebrate her most awe-inspiring style moments 

01 of 13

Pink Hair Don't Care

Helen Mirren
Hubert Boesl/Getty

Mirren surprised everyone at the 2013 BAFTA Awards with her bold pink hair, a look she said was inspired by a contestant on America's Next Top Model.

"I'd been watching America's Top Model which I'm obsessed by . . . this girl had her pink hair and I noticed because it came out really quickly so there she is with really pink hair and then five days later it's all gone so I thought that would be cool, I might have a go at that," she told BBC at the time.

02 of 13

Purple Reign

Helen Mirren
Paul Morigi/WireImage

The Oscar winner honored late music icon Prince at the 2016 White House Correspondents' Dinner (just one month after he died), paring her purple lace Dolce & Gabbana gown with a small temporary tattoo of the artist's famous "love symbol" on her collarbone.

"I'd love to say that Prince himself did it in 1988 or something, instead of me in the bathroom this morning," Mirren told the Washington Post of the hand-drawn tribute.

03 of 13

Stripper Heel High

Getty; Filmmagic; AKM-GSI

They'd make Queen Elizabeth clutch her pearls, but "stripper shoes" have been Mirren's red carpet "secret weapon" for most of her career.

"They were stripper shoes I used to buy on Hollywood Boulevard," she told Jay Leno in a 2010 interview when asked about her red carpet styling hack. "Thirty-nine dollars, they cost me … They give you like, an immediate seven inches."

04 of 13


Helen Mirren
Noam Galai/Getty

Mirren put her effortlessly cool mark on menswear at the 2016 New York City premiere of her film Eye in the Sky, teaming a Giorgio Armani suit with a bold red lip, slicked-back hair and sassy hand-on-the-hip pose.

05 of 13

Feminist Fashion

Helen Mirren
Theo Wargo/Getty

The activist not only practices what she preaches — she wears it too! Mirren wore this bloomer-baring, sheer Alice + Olivia "feminist" skirt with an edgy leather bomber and combat boots for an appearance at SiriusXM Studios in 2018.

06 of 13

Sheer Genius

Helen Mirren
Christopher Polk/Getty

For the 2018 Golden Globes, Mirren embraced the daring, sheer gown trend in this black Zuhair Murad design with see-through lace paneling and floral appliqués.

07 of 13

The Return of the Pink Pixie

Helen Mirren
Samir Hussein/WireImage

The superstar turned the red carpet into her stage, giving photographers a show in her metallic Elie Saab gown which perfectly matched her rose gold hair at the screening of the French film Les Plus Belles Annees D'Une Vie during the 72nd annual Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France.

08 of 13

Barefoot and Beautiful

Helen Mirren attends the "Le Defile L'Oreal Paris" show as part of Paris Fashion Week At Monnaie de Paris on September 28, 2019
Estrop/Getty; Rindoff Petroff/Getty

Cementing her fashion icon status once again, Mirren ran down the runway barefoot (!) in a billowing Giambattista Valli Couture gown and bejeweled eyes at L'Oréal Paris' third annual Le Défilé show in 2019.

"It it was just me in a show, it would be, 'Oh, what an amazing novelty that they have a really old woman walking!'—and I wouldn't feel so good about that," Mirren, who has been a L'Oréal Paris spokesperson since 2014, told Vogue backstage, adding, "But here we are, a whole, diverse group of sizes, shapes, genders and races. We're making a statement about the inclusivity of the family of L'Oréal, and I think that's a great message, and I'm happy to be a part of it — I just hope I don't fall over!"

09 of 13

Gorgeous in Green

Helen Mirren
Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

At the Los Angeles premiere of Catherine the Great in 2019, Mirren pulled off one of her most majestic fashion moments ever in a custom turquoise gown teamed with a matching floor-sweeping, bubble-sleeve coat, both by Badgley Mischka Couture.

Mirren told the CFDA in 2015 that the first dress she ever wore on a red carpet was a Badgley Mischka.

"I was not a particularly well-known actress here in America," she said at the time. "I had seen their beautiful clothes. I wondered, maybe they might lend me something. They were so incredibly generous and immediately helpful."

She added: "I've got a very narrow back. I got quite big tits. I got big hips, and it just fitted me like a glove. And that's been my experience with Badgley Mischka every time. These clothes fit women with a womanly kind of shape."

10 of 13

Red Hot

Helen Mirren
Frazer Harrison/Getty

The dame looked regal as ever in this scarlet custom Dior gown accessorized with a dazzling diamond Harry Winston necklace at the 2020 Golden Globes, where she was nominated for best actress, miniseries or television film for her leading role in HBO's Catherine the Great.

She told Entertainment Tonight on the red carpet that it was the "first time I have ever had a Dior dress made for [me]," adding, "I feel very queenly."

11 of 13

Catwalk Queen

Helen Mirren
Pascal Le Segretain/Getty

The beauty ambassador returned to the L'Oréal Paris runway in 2021 — this time wearing an embellished black suit, sky-high sandals and bold graphic eyeliner —to celebrate the 50th anniversary of L'Oréal Paris' iconic "Because you're worth it" tagline.

"I love them, because it's lovely to suddenly be a few inches taller, especially when you're surrounded by all these gazelles," Mirren told ELLE of her shoes.

12 of 13

Permanent Accessory

helen mirren tattoos
TODAY. Inset: Jason Merritt/Getty

"It was done with a safety pin, it was so painful," Mirren told the Independent at the 2018 Cannes film festival when asked about her hand tattoo. "Oh my god. Like a prison tattoo. It represents a very beautiful idea which is basically 'equal and opposite,' that someone can be as different from you as you could possibly imagine, but have equal value to yourself, that's something I believe in life."

And while she maintains she wants more, she also admits that it bothers her how trendy tattoos have become since she got hers "when only Hell's Angels had tattoos."

"I decided to get a tattoo because it was the most shocking thing I could think of doing," Mirren previously told Good Morning America. "Now I'm utterly disgusted and shocked because it's become completely mainstream, which is unacceptable to me."

13 of 13

Cover Star

Helen Mirren photographed at Milk Studios in LA , April 1st
Andrew Eccles

Mirren admits she was "gobstruck" when she was asked to cover PEOPLE's 2022 Beautiful Issue.

"I never considered myself 'beautiful.' And [at] my age! So I was amazed," the Oscar winner tells PEOPLE.

Shot by Andrew Eccles, Mirren stuns in a variety of gorgeous looks, including this ombré tulle Pamella Roland gown. Hairstylist Richard Collins and makeup artist Jo Strettell collaborated on her beauty cover look, which was inspired by the "epic" wardrobe, Strettell says.

There were "beautiful gowns, layers of tulle, layers of different weight fabrics, a range of pretty petal colors and general fantasticalness," adds Mirren's makeup pro of five years.

For Mirren, the term "beautiful" is more about exploring how one presents themselves to others and finds inner confidence.

"There are incredibly beautiful people in the world, and it's an absolute delight to look at them, male or female. Beautiful people are a wonder to behold," the actress tells PEOPLE. "But most of us are not beautiful. We have other stuff, which is just as powerful as beauty. And I would like to see us celebrate those things … I love the word swagger because I think swagger means I'm confident in myself, I'm presenting myself to the world, I'm enjoying the world around me. I think what is called the beauty industry should be called the swagger industry. We're giving people swagger."

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