Salma Hayek Wore a Men’s Hugo Boss Suit for a 1996 Red Carpet Because ‘No One’ Else Would Dress Her

Salma Hayek has been long known for her stylish looks.

That wasn’t the case in the early part of the star’s career. When she attended the 1996 premiere of The Birdcage, one of her first major red carpets, her look was decidedly less glamorous than what she’s known for these days. In fact, it wasn’t even womenswear.

“I didn’t have any connections,” the Black Mirror actress, 56, told W Magazine in a recent interview. “The only connection I had was to somebody I knew at Hugo Boss, so I wore a man’s suit because no one else gave me anything to wear.”

Salma Hayek poses for a portrait in a pantsuit as she attends 'The Birdcage' Los Angeles Premiere on March 5, 1996 at the Mann Village Theatre in Westwood, California

Ron Davis/Getty

Hayek previously echoed a similar sentiment two years ago when she recalled to Vogue India that designers initially passed on dressing her when she was a then-unknown. “I’m Mexican. I’m also very short, which doesn’t help with the weight and doesn’t help with the design,” she said, which led her to wear men’s suits for a time. 

“Another time, I had on a very simple black dress and I knew all the other girls were going to have fabulous dresses, beautiful jewelry,” she further said in the Vogue India interview. “And can I tell you something? Instead of giving me a complex and saying that I don’t have the best dress or they don’t know who I am…I was like, I am fabulous. I painted some butterfly tattoos on myself and I felt happy about myself.” 

Francois-Henri Pinault, Salma Hayek attend the 2023 "Kering Women in Motion Award" during the 76th annual Cannes film festival
Salma Hayek and Francois-Henri Pinault at Cannes in 2023.

Lionel Hahn/Getty Images

Hayek’s profile heightened with her roles in the 1990s films Desperado and From Dusk Till Dawn, and that coincided with her changing style, especially when she wore a white Armani dress and a tiara at the 1997 Oscars.

As she later told Vogue in 2020: “I decided I wanted to wear a tiara. Everyone told me I was crazy and that it would be ridiculous, it would be pretentious, and everyone tried to convince me, like my manager, my stylist, and my publicist. I wore the tiara anyways, and you know what happened? Everybody started wearing a tiara after that. I never got credit for that trend!”

Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE’s free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories.

Salma Hayek
Amy Sussman/Getty

In the last 27 years after she sported the Hugo Boss suit on The Birdcage red carpet, Hayek has publicly worn glam outfits from labels like Versace, Narciso Rodriguez, Herve Leger, Saint Laurent and Alexander McQueen.  She continues to wow, including at the 2023 Golden Globes where she wore a custom crystal-embroidered Gucci gown that matched with Maison Boucheron jewels, a Dionysus clutch and peep-toe sandals.

95th Annual Academy Awards - Arrivals
Kevin Mazur/Getty

And at this year’s Oscars, Hayek was outfitted in a sequin copper Gucci dress paired with a gold clutch and jewelry. During the ceremony, she posed with her daughter, Valentina Paloma Pinault, who wore a vintage, strapless red Isaac Mizrahi gown that her mother first rocked in 1997. 

Related Articles