'Show off' Elizabeth Hurley's lifelong love of barely-there Versace

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·4 min read
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  • Elizabeth Hurley
    Elizabeth Hurley
    English model and actress
  • Donatella Versace
    Donatella Versace
    Italian fashion designer
  • Hugh Grant
    Hugh Grant
    British actor and film producer
MILAN, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 26: British actress Elizabeth Hurley seen at the party organized for the launch of the Fendace collection, a joint collection between Fendi and Versace, on September 26, 2021 in Milan, Italy. (Photo by Marco Piraccini/Archivio Marco Piraccini/Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images)
Hurley attends the Fendace catwalk show in October. (Getty Images)

Actor, model and swimwear brand entrepreneur Elizabeth Hurley looks fabulous in everything – and at 56 she regularly sets Instagram alight with flame emojis as she poses in her own label skimpy bikinis, and parades on the red carpet in show-stopping body-con frocks.

This week, she ramped the heat up again in a staggeringly low-cut Versace dress. The square neckline plunged below her bust, and just about preserved her modesty as she posed jauntily for photographer Ellen Von Unwerth in the tight, black wool number. 

Hurley, flirted, laughed, and threw her toned arms above her head to showcase the dress to its full potential. 

She captioned the brief video, "Showing off with @ellenvonunwerth @donatella_versace @versace" and was rewarded for her efforts with a reply from designer Donatella simply reading "Yessss! FABULOUS!!!" and a heart emoji.

Most of the 2,500-plus comments consisted of hearts and flame emojis.

Hurley's association with Versace stretches back, of course, to what swiftly became known as THAT dress. 

Back in 1994, Hugh Grant was a little-known actor about to star in Four Weddings and a Funeral, and Hurley was his university girlfriend and fellow actor. 

Read more: Elizabeth Hurley, 56, poses in a bikini on Caribbean vacation

Invited to the premiere, she wasn't well known enough for any of the big fashion houses to lend her a dress - until Versace lent her a frock at the last minute, with a plunging neckline and gold safety pins holding it together. 

Grant later explained: "So she shoved it on and I raised my eyebrows a fraction and we set off."

British actor Hugh Grant and his girlfriend Elizabeth Hurley attend the premiere of Grant's latest film, 'Four Weddings and a Funeral' in London, 11th May 1994. (Photo by Gareth Davies/Mission Pictures/Getty Images) *** North American Sales Only ***
Hugh Grant and Elizabeth Hurley attend the premiere of Four Weddings and a Funeral in London, May 1994. (Getty Images)

In 2015, Hurley told Jonathan Ross, that the focus on the dress was 'ridiculous' and added "I don't get it." She said she no longer had the dress - "the Versaces had it back,"

"I hadn't seen it full length," she went on. "At the time, I was living with my boyfriend Hugh in a very small flat and we didn't have a full length mirror. 

"So I hadn't really seen it at all till I saw it in the newspapers. It was a ludicrous surprise."

Since then, Hurley's star has risen dramatically and she's a fixture on the runway show front rows, but her association with Versace has held strong.

Watch: Britney Spears reveals Donatella Versace is designing her wedding dress

In 2019 she posed for Harper's Bazaar magazine in an updated version of the safety pin dress, and said: “I was so unprepared for what happened that night.

"I urgently needed to find a dress to wear for Hugh’s premiere, and in those days I had no idea about fashion. I remember going to an office where they literally fished a dress out of a white plastic bag.”

She regularly attends Versace fashion shows, and attended this year's Fendace mash-up of Versace and Fendi with her model son, Damian.

"“He had never been to (a show),” Hurley told People Magazine. “So I think for us to go to one together and for it to be Versace and Fendi…Fendace, as we learned…was really great because I’ve known Donatella for 27 years.”

MILAN, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 26: British actress Elizabeth Hurley with her son Damian Charles Hurley seen at the party organized for the launch of the Fendace collection, a joint collection between Fendi and Versace, on September 26, 2021 in Milan, Italy. (Photo
Elizabeth and lookalilke son Damian, in Fendace. (Getty Images)

"The safety pin QUEEN is back!! It was great to catch up," Donatella Versace wrote after the show.

Earlier in the summer, Elizabeth shared a post to Instagram taken in a bathroom, captioned "A @versace moment", which showed her in a bright yellow dress by the design house.

Read more: Elizabeth Hurley, 55, reveals the £16 spot gel she uses to keep breakouts at bay

Back in June, she did it again, with a snap of herself in sheer vintage Versace. She tagged Donatella Versace who replied: “WOW! Gorgeous, vintage Versace. You look beautiful.”

During lockdown, she also posed in a skintight chainmail Versace dress for Harper's, which she had first worn in 1999. 

“I’ve got a zillion great memories and I can remember what I was wearing in all of them,” Hurley told the magazine. 

“The dress I unearthed for this shot is Atelier Versace — I wore it 21 years ago to the CFDA Fashion Awards.

"I was with my then-boyfriend Hugh Grant and had a blast. I put it away in acid-free tissue paper straightaway, and it’s still perfect!”

Some, of course, would say the same of Hurley. 

Watch: Elizabeth Hurley is 'good friends' with ex Hugh Grant