Recreating the Oscars: Stealing Red Carpet Style

Putting aside Warren Beatty’s gaff, the most memorable part of the Oscar’s typically is the gowns. I know it’s what I’m always excited to see. Oscar gowns are often custom, couture and the cost of a small car. But that doesn’t mean that someone with slightly less to spend can’t have something similar. Below I’ve rounded up some red carpet gowns with a shape and style that would be fairly easy to replicate. Please bear in mind that fabric is a huge part of what makes these gowns so stunning, so bringing down costs means that the Italian silk and hand-beaded lace will have to be replaced with more humble variations. The dress can still be beautiful however, and for a lot less than the $20,000 that some of these gowns cost. It’s as close as us mere mortals will get!

So without further ago, here’s my “I can make that for under $1,000” Oscar round-up.

On the left is a Dior dress worn by Felicity Jones, and it was one of my favourites of the night. Heralding Dior’s New Look roots, the tea-length dress is a fairly basic shape with a fitted spaghetti strap bodice and multi-layered circle skirt. Pattern-wise, it is super easy to craft. The magic comes from layers of sparkly tulle in a pale ecru colour. The subtle sparkly floral detail at the waist and lower bodice could be duplicated with a layer of lace sandwiched between the tulle layers. This dress is a craft of draping and patience with layers. Salma Hayek’s Alexander McQueen dress is a similar style to the Dior, but with lace and a nude under-layer and a gathered neckline. The paneled bodice also creates a nice detail under the bust.

Cost estimate: $300 (with tulle) or $500 (with lace), $300 labour

 

Scarlett Johansson’s Ala├»a gown was equally loved and hated by the internet, but I think the exuberant colour and print was refreshing. A slightly less full version of this would also make an amazing summer maxi dress, perfect for a summer wedding (as guest or as bride!) As a red carpet gown, it is also a simple one to recreate. A simple v-shaped neckline and full skirt are made glamourous by layers of silk chiffon. Find the right fabric and this dress is a simple copy.

Cost estimate: $200 (with polyester chiffon) or $400 (with silk chiffon), $300 labour

 

I am a huge fan of the high-low hem on Kirsten Dunst’s Christian Lacroix gown. Also, who doesn’t love pockets in formal wear! It looks like silk taffeta, or possibly dupioni, with a tulle petticoat or underskirt for added poof. With the effortless train, this one is a stunner. For real life, you could alter the design to tea length all around, eliminating the train, or rock it with the train for a wedding gown or other formal event. This one is a bit trickier to recreate, as the strapless style means boning in the bodice at a minimum, or a complete corset for full effect. You could switch from silk to polyester to reduce costs or make it completely garden party ready with a bold floral cotton print. A tone on tone cream floral would be incredible for a wedding gown.

Cost estimate: $200 (with cotton print fabric) or $350 (with taffeta), $400 (with boned bodice) or $600 (with fully corseted bodice)

 

Emma Roberts and Michelle Williams wore similar dresses, in a classic cream and black combination. Robert’s is vintage Armani while Williams is Louis Vuitton. In both cases the traditional colour scheme is made sexy with open necklines. The simple skirts are both made intriguing with textured fabrics, and the Armani has the added tiered bottom. Simple to construct but with definite impact. With more coverage on the bodice, this style would make great bridesmaids or prom dresses.

Cost estimate: $150-$200 materials, $300 labour

So there you have it! Four ideas for your next big event taken right from the red carpet. So bring me your inspiration and I’ll let you know how I can recreate it!

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