So Nostalgic

21 Years Ago, Drew Barrymore Wore A Bikini Top On The Red Carpet

An iconic moment in pop culture history.

Drew Barrymore during "Charlie's Angels 2 - Full Throttle" Premiere at Mann's Chinese Theater in Hol...
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Drew Barrymore has always been iconic — ever since she starred in E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial at seven years old. In the four decades since, the actor has clocked in several pop culture-defining moments, especially with her fashion. Among her many sartorial hits through the years, one red carpet look lives in my mind rent-free: The look she wore to the Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle premiere in 2003.

Drew’s Bikini Top & Suit

In the early aughts, Barrymore was in her superspy era. The first installment of Charlie’s Angels came out in 2000, and cemented its three leads (Barrymore and co-stars Lucy Liu, and Cameron Diaz) as the coolest independent women in Hollywood — so much so that they even had a Destiny’s Child song to soundtrack their rise to action stardom. It was a major moment, particularly because back then, it was rare to see female characters kicking butt onscreen.

When the sequel, Full Throttle, came out in 2003, the leading ladies pulled up to the premiere in a white car and matching white ensembles. Barrymore’s, however, was the spiciest and most unconventional of the bunch.

She rolled up to the red carpet in a tailored white suit. Her blazer had one button closure which she paired with matching wide-leg trousers. Instead of wearing the sort of silky blouse you might expect someone to pair with a suit, the 50 First Dates actor opted for nothing but a black bikini top underneath.

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These days, no one would bat an eyelash if a celeb wore a bikini as a top on the red carpet — it’s one of the biggest Hollywood trends. However, in 2003, no one else was pulling off such a risqué styling choice. (The only other high-profile star to do so was Halle Berry when she starred in a different action franchise, X-Men.)

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The Backstory

The choice to wear a bikini was apparently unintentional. On The Drew Barrymore Show early this month, the host enlisted the help of makeup legend Charlotte Tilbury and hairstylist Chris Appleton to recreate her Charlie’s Angels premiere beauty look. While getting primped, Appleton asked her about the iconic red carpet entrance.

“Did you know then that it was gonna be such an iconic moment that would be referenced in this [way]?,” Appleton asked in a video posted to Instagram. Barrymore replied she didn’t. In fact, the styling look was purely accidental. “I went to the LA premiere in the white suit. I couldn’t find a top so I used my J.Crew string bikini top out of my drawer,” she said.

Her Edgy Glam

Barrymore’s glam mimicked the edgy, cool girl sensibilities of her Angels alter ego, Dylan Sanders. Her hair — dyed blonde at the time — was styled in messy, beachy curls. The real focal point of her look, however, was her smudged smokey eye makeup. The severe charcoal eye effect was complemented by the faint blush and glossed lips.

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The Other Angels

The other two angels, Lucy Liu and Cameron Diaz, wore matching white looks for a triply memorable red carpet moment. Liu rocked a long, fitted gown with a plunging neckline and accessorized it with a gold coil bracelet in the likeness of a snake.

Diaz, meanwhile, wore a strapless mini LWD. Though she wore heels at the beginning of the premiere, she kicked them off at some point and walked around the carpet barefoot instead.

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They’re so unserious.