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Larger than Life: 11 Enchanting Dress Train Moments

From the 1800s French court rules on strictly 4-inch or less trains for non-Royals to the 16-foot Chinese label, Guo Pei, train worn by Barbados girl Rihanna in 2015. Once a proclamation of power, status, and monarchy, now a motif of modern-day influence, splendor, and amplification of all matters; trains are timeless. They’ve been part of red carpet affairs for as long as we can remember, and some have left deep strokes in the books of fashion and glamour for both industry professionals and aficionados alike.

Here are our picks of the most memorable dresses with trains, in terms of technique, bravura, and profligacy. And if these moments have taught us anything is that when you’re wearing a train, go big or go home.

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1. Attending the 'Girls of the Sun' premiere in Cannes, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan opted for a creation by the Dubai-based Filipino designer, Michael Cinco. The frock reproduces reveries of how a butterfly metamorphosis would be manifested in luxury fashion, channeling the vivacious colors of the winged-creature. The gown’s surface was enclosed in Swarovski crystals extending along the 3-meter train he had created.

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2. An iconic moment. Rihanna found this dress when she was researching Chinese couture for the 2015 Met Gala theme - as simple as that. It's by Chinese label Guo Pei, and took a local craftswoman two full years to make. Boasting of an imperial yellow, the train is bordered by fur and emblazoned with intertwined loops of leaves and flowers. Perhaps at that single moment, Rihanna paved the way for the start of the race towards the longest Met trains. 

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3. American-Nepalese fashion designer Prabal Gurung dominated this year’s Met Gala, but his literal biggest creation on the red carpet was this gown worn by Nicki Minaj. The performative aspect of camp was there as the waist line was drenched in diamonds and crystals, and the obvious superfluous train. The sweetheart halter neckline along with the shape of the dress and the laced up ballerina-inspired shoes is an embodiment of a fairytale and the exaggerated layered train perfects the Nicki Minaj x Camp feature.

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4. Spewing up political and social conversation per the usual, Billy Porter chose a velvet custom-made Christian Siriano tuxedo/gown with a small bellowing train at the bottom. Breaking gender norms and sparking electrifying vibrations along the red carpet of the Oscars, he was never known to be the man in the shadows. Every single red carpet moment catered to a certain message he wanted to get along – except for the Met Gala 2019, that instant was solely to dazzle us out of our minds. This is not just an iconic dress train moment, this moment is for the books.

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5. Avid followers of this year’s fashion weeks will know it’s a Piccioli at first sight. Valentino's mastermind Pier Paolo Piccioli gave us a taste of nature’s most outstanding design, in terms of color, shape, smell, and sight. His whole show boasted of hyperbolic re-inventions of bourgeoning flowers. Perhaps with the ruffle neckline (which is a major hit this season), the magenta tone, and the capacious fit, the train is deemed to be the perfect tasteful addition to everything going on. Although not anyone can pull off this look, as the size and shape of it risk the wearer being drowned by the gown, Gemma Chan looked exquisite in this straight-off-the-catwalk Oscars aesthetic.

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6. This custom look by Thom Browne might go down as one of the most talked about trains in history, and to top the extravagance it presents, the dress is worn by the electric Cardi B herself. The 3-meter long train covered the pink carpet like a majestic sea of croque feathers. The burgundy/oxblood quilted dress took 35 people to complete with its feathered shoulders and body-fitting torso details, and if you look close enough you'll find that it's aggrandized with rubies worth half a million dollars. Now that's a money move.

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7. If an outfit could completely embody Lady Gaga, it would be this custom-made Brandon Maxwell gown. The train, which is usually floor-sweeping, was fluttering around the Queen of Camp, as she changed from outfit to outfit while maintaining her theatrical poker face. Trains are an added luxury – not necessary - portion of a dress, they induce extravagance and dramaturgy, and what better example exudes the latter than this hot pink ensemble?

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8. Deepika Padukone here is wearing a 3D printed Zac Posen piece with a train made of waves. The structural waves start at the top of the train, as they crash into each other and land on the floor. The sea urchins on her dress were 3D printed one by one, then turned into the metallic color using paint. The blush pink shade of the dress threaded with metal strings complimented the sea creatures, and created the perfect underwater piece.

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9. Araya A. Hargate in overstated tulle waves once again. It's a Giambattista Valli doing, if you haven’t already caught up on his signature ruffles and layers. The canary yellow train was mesmerizing and demanded all the attention it got. We deem this look by the Italian fashion designer as the epitome of unobtrusive royalty.

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10. Yet another Giambattista Valli moment, and this time it’s on the superb Kendall Jenner. A hybrid of a gown and a mini-dress, the white floral number captured hearts on the red carpet that day. Many celebrities have worn this dress, but we got to say, our favorite look was on the model herself. When the wind picked up, the silk train started rolling through the air generating an emblematic scene. Kendall glided through embodying everything that dress portrayed; grace, beauty and composure.

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11. Glistening in the Southern French sun, Winnie Harlow hypnotized the masses in this Lebanese designer, Jean Louis Sabaji masterpiece. Liquid metal is not an easy shade to pull off, but Harlow boasted the cut-out dress and reveled in its majestic silver train. Her long strides were as formidable as the aura she exuded as she powered through and showed off the dress as flawlessly as possible.

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