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Ever wonder just how much work goes into the making of an Oscar gown? Hundreds of thousands of hours, to start. That doesn’t include the millions of beads, sequins, hand-sewn appliques, and hundreds of human hands that come together to construct each look. Lupita Nyong’o, for example, wore a custom Calvin Klein gown by designer Francisco Costa to the 2015 Academy Awards on Sunday night. The floor-length white gown (this season’s hottest color) is coated with over 6,000 pearls. In fact, from the waist up, it’s basically jewelry. Nyong’o, who presented the Best Supporting Actor Oscar to JK Simmons for Whiplash, accessorized the beaded halter neck with statement earrings and sparkling rings on both hands.
A detail shot of Nyong’o’s dress. Photo: @calvinklein/Instagram
Meanwhile, Rosamund Pike’s spectacular red lace dress by Riccardo Tisci for Givenchy took over 2,000 hours to make. (The strapless long dress earns her most-improved since the Golden Globes.) And Julianne Moore, widely expected to win for her role in Still Alice, wore an inimitable gown by Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel Haute Couture. Over 80,000 hand-painted sequins were hand-sewn on to the floor-length white gown—it took nearly 1,000 hours to make.
Earlier this evening, Lena Dunham tweeted: “Ask her about the causes she supports, not her support garments #oscars #AskHerMore.” There’s been a lot of talk this award season about what women should and should not be asked on the red carpet. We’re so much more than our dress, is the message. And it’s not a wrong one—these are incredible women whose accomplishments (and minds) should be acknowledged. But those dresses aren’t just bought off the rack, they’re works of art. Hand-sewn, embroidered, painted, labored over for hours and hours—and those artisans deserve credit for what they’ve built.
So yes, ask actresses more, but not at the expense of the talented designers who make their gowns.