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Why is Paris Hilton’s 21st birthday dress so iconic? Exploring the symbolism of the memorable dress two decades later

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Paris Hilton is known for making and breaking fashion trends through unique and headline-grabbing looks. She has been doing that from a very young age and is still going strong even in her forties.

But none of her looks is as iconic as the one she wore at one of her birthday parties on her 21st birthday back in 2002. Let’s look at the dress that has made a legacy for itself with its style being copied by other fashion icons like Kendall Jenner and even Kim Kardashian.

Paris Hilton’s iconic 21st birthday bash and that chainmail dress

Paris Hilton’s 21st birthday can be termed iconic even without talking about her famous dress. The young socialite and media personality had thrown five different parties for the occasion and had a different dress for all of them. 

She threw a party for her birthday all over the world with one taking place in London, New York, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas. A whole week-long celebration for her 21st birthday was just one of the things that everyone remembers from that momentous occasion. But something that has edged out that stunt is the silver chainmail dress that Hilton wore to one of those parties.

The silver dress that she wore with a thick matching choker came to define party dressing in the early 2000s and became a symbol of elite youth for that decade. 

But fashion legends are not made just from a seasonal run, looks become iconic when they are adapted by even the next generation. That is exactly what seems to have happened with this Paris Hilton look.

The return of Paris Hilton’s iconic dress in the present generation

The main reason behind the return of this iconic look from Paris Hilton’s wardrobe has been none other than Paris Hilton herself.

The socialite turned DJ made waves by wearing it in one of her gigs in 2018. She wore it once again sometime later at a different gig, marking a return of that look in the public consciousness years after its first appearance.

But she wasn’t the only one to bring it back. In a symbolic homage, Kendall Jenner wore it on her own 21st birthday in 2016, seemingly in a tribute to Hilton. Not only that particular dress but the aesthetic and thinking behind that design seem to have caught Kendall Jenner’s mind as she wore another dress designed by Julien Macdonald in a fashion show in 2018, who is the original designer behind that Paris Hilton look.

Hopping onto the trend, Paris Hilton’s own sister Nicky Hilton rocked a version of that dress in Halloween 2018. To cap it off Kim Kardashian rocked a similar look at the Versace pre-fall 2019 runway show in New York, cementing the look as a cultural mainstay for years to come.

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