Courtesy of InStyle
The Academy Awards, commonly known as The Oscars, stretch all the way back to 1929. For the first time, a plethora of the countries most respected actors and actresses flooded into the Roosevelt Hotel, ready to receive that now beloved golden statuette. As the years passed by, The Oscars dished out more awards and collected more esteem. With the elegant red carpet laid out before each celebrity, all eyes would be glued and all cameras would be pointed toward the expensive garments draped around their bodies. The question on everyone’s mind: Who are you wearing?
The Oscars have grown to be a staple for American fashion, creating some of the most iconic looks to date. With the rise of award shows emerged a new market for designers to advertise. Jessica Pastors, stylist for Emily Blunt, told The Cut that designers are willing to pay celebrities 100,000 dollars to 250,000 dollars and their stylists 30,000 dollars to $50,000 dollars if their clothing makes an appearance on the red carpet.
Instead of contacting designers on an event-by-event basis, some celebrities opt to long-term brand collaboration. Actress, Jennifer Lawrence, accepted a 15 million dollar contract from Dior, which lasted three years and expired in 2017. For those three years, Lawrence was required to wear Dior fashion to each of her red carpet events.
The process of choosing what to wear, however, only begins when nominees are announced. This year’s Oscar nominees were revealed on January 13th, and The Oscars are held
on February 9th. No time is left to dawdle; the celebrities and their stylists must get to work.
The stylist’s job is to work with designers on behalf of their clients, representing what their celebrity is looking for. On rare occasions, a celebrity will be made a custom piece, but most commonly they will borrow from a designers collection. Celebrities go through a series of
fittings to determine which outfit they like the best. According to Vogue, it is not out of the norm for a stylist to obtain up to 60 dresses for their celebrity, giving him or her many options.
Because only one person can wear each item, the race to win your favorite piece can get competitive. Announcers and nominees are prioritized by designers in determining who they loan their clothes to. At the end of the day, for designers, it is all about getting the largest amount of people to see your work.
Usually the celebrity will begin the process of getting dressed in a hotel room close to where the event is being hosted. This is also where makeup and hair is perfected. It is the stylist’s responsibility to ensure that the clothes get where they need to be on time.
Celebrities do not just borrow clothes, however. Practically everything on their body, from shoes to purses to jewelry, is given to them by brands. All accessories and articles of
clothing are usually returned in one to two days following the event.
Actress, Lady Gaga, made headlines last year for sporting a 30 million dollar necklace at the Oscars red carpet, loaned to her by Tiffany & Co.. Fans were shocked to see that 128-carat yellow diamond sparkling around her neck. It was last worn in 1961 by actress Audrey Hepburn, in a photoshoot for her role in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”.
In recent years, a celebrities fashion choice has usually gone beyond money or vanity. At the 2018 Golden Globe Awards, for example, many celebrities wore black in support of Times
Up, a movement protesting sexual harassment.
Actor, Billy Porter, told Vogue, “My goal is to be a walking piece of political art every time I show up. To challenge expectations.”
At last year’s Oscars, Porter wore a revolutionary tuxedo and ball gown hybrid, made custom by Christian Siriano. The femininity of a long velvet gown was intertwined with the masculinity of a black suit jacket and bow tie.
Danielle Kaplan (‘21) is fascinated by these evolving trends, and from a young age, began sewing her own clothes and creating her own accessories.
“I’ve made about everything. From shirts to dresses, to purses and bags,” Kaplan said.
Kaplan pays attention to the fashion showcased in events like The Oscars, which serve as inspiration and add to her understanding of the fashion industry.
“[Award show fashion is] usually fancier and everyone tries to wear something that [no one has] ever seen before, so it’s interesting,” said Kaplan.
With the 92nd Oscars quickly approaching, stylists and designers work frantically behind the scenes in preparation. Undoubtedly, a number of hefty contracts with large checks are in the midst of finalization, as celebrities secure their favorite outfit. Who knows what they will have in store this year.