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Sophia Loren: A Fashion Icon Then and Now

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September 2022 Sales (LATEST)

On her 84th birthday, we are reminded of how Sophia Loren became quite a presence—despite not conforming to the standards of her day, at least according to some industry executives who wanted to change her appearance, the Italian actress has exuded class and sex appeal that remains enviable today. Her confidence has also been key to her glamorous look both on and away from the silver screen, making her a style icon even decades after she first gained international recognition.

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Part of Loren’s charm is allowing herself to revel in the finer things in life—food, wine, fashion—and being unapologetic about it. During her heyday, the media were all for thin “It” girls, but Loren did not conform and was proud of her God-given features: an hourglass figure, hauntingly beautiful eyes, and seductive lips. Her style came off as elegant yet effortless, which is why she has been elevated by many as a sartorial muse and standard. She may shine best with gorgeous gowns that only make her even more magnetic, but she remains alluring even when clad with just plain shirts and shorts.

Want to follow in the steps of one of our classic style inspirations? Here are some dresses and gowns we would imagine will be given a stamp of approval by the bombshell herself:

1. Emilia Wickstead Floral-print satin gown

Emilia Wickstead Floral-print satin gownPrice: US$6,205.00
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We do love a black number, but the florals on this gown are just lovely against the dark background. Made in Italy, this Emilia Wickstead satin gown balances both the dainty and the mysterious. It also hugs the waist ever so beautifully with its empire silhouette while simultaneously drawing attention to the full skirt. Put your hair up while letting some of the curls loose just like Sophia Loren would.

2. Alexis Mabille Bow-detailed embellished duchesse-satin gown

Alexis Mabille Bow-detailed embellished duchesse-satin gownPrice: US$2,730.00
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This Alexis Mabille gown exclusive over at Net-a-Porter may not reveal that much skin, but the silhouette still allows for flaunting some curves. Sophia Loren did not always have to slash a skirt shorter or pull the sleeves off to be alluring, she just is. This lustrous satin gown comes with an empire waist you can tie for more emphasis, and pleated skirt that makes each step appear more dramatic.

3. Diane von Furstenberg Eloise floral-print silk wrap dress

Diane von Furstenberg Eloise floral-print silk wrap dressPrice: US$500.00
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Diane von Furstenberg has a dress named after the Italian bombshell, but we imagine that the brand’s wrap dresses would also be pulled off wonderfully by Lauren. This midi-style silk wrap is adorned with prints of fresh blooms. Regardless of whether you’d want it neatly tied or a little loose, the dress with the asymmetric dress will hypnotize with every move.

4. Lisa Marie Fernandez Polka-dot linen midi dress

Lisa Marie Fernandez Polka-dot linen midi dressPrice: US$695.00
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Sophia Loren has that enviable skill of turning even off-duty dresses into something glamorous. If you want to pull the same effect, we think it could be done with this shirt dress that evokes vintage styles while also being fresh this season. The puffy sleeves and the waist that could be cinched work together to define your figure.

5. Halston Heritage Plissé-georgette gown

Halston Heritage Plissé-georgette gownPrice: US$495.00
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Enjoy the outdoors as fabulously as Sophia Loren would with a gown that’s as beautiful as what Halston Heritage to offer. You don’t have to be uncomfortable while in it too, the plissé-georgette allows for mobility regardless of the activity you’re taking part in. You’re guaranteed to be the sunshine of the event while flaunting your curves through the elasticated waist and the pleated fabric.

6. Dolce & Gabbana Lace-up ruched stretch-silk satin midi dress

Dolce & Gabbana Lace-up ruched stretch-silk satin midi dressPrice: US$2,795.00
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This dress from Dolce & Gabbana is truly dreamy will its blush silk satin and a silhouette that would make no qualms about bringing out your form. The ruched nature of the fabric does not hurt in enhancing the frock’s fit without restricting your movement.

Image credits: Getty Images, Net-a-Porter. Denis Makarenko /

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