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Oscars fashion through the years: The great and the puzzling

A radiant Grace Kelly glided from her seat, pulling up her long opera gloves, her little evening bag balanced on one arm, as she collected a best actress trophy for "The Country Girl" at the 1955 Academy Awards.

She kept her speech short and sweet: "The thrill of this moment keeps me from saying what I really feel. I can only say thank you with all my heart to all who made this possible for me. Thank you."

It was a moment that might not have endured without the cool mint satin gown designed for her by Edith Head. At the time, Kelly was the screen's most memorable blonde, radiating a sophisticated glamour pre-Princess of Monaco. Today, the thin-strapped...