How Jennifer Lopez’s iconic Versace dress prompted the launch of Google Images

Singer’s dress catapulted her status to fashion icon

Sarah Young
Thursday 25 July 2019 08:41
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Jennifer Lopez explains how her iconic Versace dress was the catalyst for Google Images

Today, influential celebrities have the ability to prompt the sell-out of a dress and cause fast-fashion retailers to produce copy-cast designs almost overnight.

But, very few have the power to inspire the launch of one of the internet’s greatest search engine tools.

In 2000, Jennifer Lopez wore a green jungle-inspired Versace dress to the 42nd annual Grammy Awards.

The diaphanous gown became one of the singer’s most popular looks of all time and has since gone down in the fashion history books.

Following her appearance on the red carpet, members of the public were so fascinated by the slashed-to-the-navel dress Lopez chose for the event that they clamoured to search for photo evidence on Google.

However, at the time, Google Images was yet to exist.

In an an essay published on Project Syndicate – an international media organisation – in 2015, Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google, explained how the hunt for pictures of Lopez ultimately inspired engineers to create the feature.

“At the time, it was the most popular search query we had ever seen,” Schmidt wrote.

“But we had no sure-fire way of getting users exactly what they wanted: J-Lo wearing that dress.”

As a result, Schmidt said ”Google Image Search was born.”

The tycoon went on to explain how the outfit prompted Google to expand the tool from just text to images, adding: “Our co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin – like all other successful inventors – kept iterating.

“They started with images. After all, people wanted more than just text. This first became apparent after the 2000 Grammy Awards, where Jennifer Lopez wore a green dress that, well, caught the world’s attention.”

The 50-year-old recently addressed the revelation in a YouTube video titled “Moments of Fashion”.

In the clip, Lopez said: “Years later I found out that because of that night and because of that dress, Google images was actually created.”

The actor also spoke about the effect the dress had on the fashion industry and referred to the atmosphere on the red carpet that night as “a frenzy”.

“The flashes started going in a way that it’s not usually. There was an extra kinetic energy there,” Lopez said.

“It just goes to show you the power of fashion and the power of those types of moments. And I know people try to make it frivolous at times, but what those things do is they give people an inspiration. It puts a beautiful moment out into the world.”

The impact of the Versace gown didn’t stop there though.

Most recently, America retailer Concepts designed a trainer that pays homage to the striking green dress.

Concepts x Versace women’s chain reaction trainer

The Concepts x Versace chain reaction shoe in green emerald is available on the Concepts website and retails for men and women at $1,075 (£859).

The Versace logo of the head of Medusa is embossed on the back of the heel, while the insole features the Versace x Concepts branding symbol.

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