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We Found Out Where Oscar Dresses Come From and What Happens to Them Right After the Ceremony

The first Oscar ceremony took place on May 16, 1929, and only 270 people attended it. The event lasted for 15 minutes and the winners were announced 3 months prior to the ceremony. Now the Oscars is a major event in the film industry that attracts millions of viewers from all around the world. While some people discuss nominated films and awards, others can’t keep their eyes off celebrities and their red carpet looks. But we’ve always wondered what happens with these gorgeous dresses after the ceremony? Make yourself comfortable, we’re ready to reveal the truth.

Bright Side tried to figure out where Oscar dresses come from and what happens to them after the ceremony.

How celebrities get ready for the ceremony

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Celebrities start to get ready for this major event 3 months prior to the ceremony. A team that consists of a beautician, a fitness trainer, a nutritionist, a hairdresser, a makeup artist, and a stylist has to make sure that the celebrity will look gorgeous.

The main aim of the stylist is to not just create a chic look, but to act as a mediator between the celebrity and the designer. The stylist has to find out who else is going to wear a dress of the same brand and try to prevent a situation where 2 people are attending the ceremony wearing the same outfit. As a rule, the stylist suggests several looks: the main one and the spare one that is used in case of unforeseen circumstances. The stylist comes with their client to the ceremony and is always ready to offer some help if something bad happens with the clothes.

Where dresses come from

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When a celebrity wears a dress from a certain brand on the red carpet, this is a great advertisement for this fashion brand. That’s why brands try to cooperate with celebrities to persuade them to attend the ceremony and the afterparty wearing their clothes. And there are several ways to do this.

As a rule, celebrities sign contracts with fashion brands. For example, Charlize Theron collaborates with Dior, and Cate Blanchett is the face of Giorgio Armani. These contracts state how many times and at which events a celebrity should wear an outfit designed by the brand. And all the dresses are unique and made especially for a certain celebrity.

How much these dresses cost

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The 58th Oscar ceremony, 1986

It’s considered bad taste to buy a dress for the Oscar ceremony yourself. Until the 80s, most celebrities got ready for this event without any help. Only stars like Grace Kelly or Elizabeth Taylor could expect an offer from fashion brands. Giorgio Armani was the first one who used the red carpet as some kind of advertising platform to promote his brand. After that, Gianni Versace tried this approach too and, starting from the mid-90s, working with celebrities turned into a trend.

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So, who pays for all these clothes?

Well, the truth is that the designers pay for them themselves. And they also pay celebrities to wear these dresses to the ceremony. The paychecks start at $150,000. If the celebrity agrees to wear the dress, they get a lot of money, the stylist gets a commission, and the fashion brand gets an advertisement.

There’s another option: if the designer and the celebrity are friends, they can do this for free. In this case, a celebrity gets a unique dress and a fashion brand gets free advertising. For example, the musician Jared Leto is friends with Gucci director Alessandro Michele, so he wears the clothing from this brand to all of the important events he attends. The sensational “swan” dress, in which Björk came to the Oscar ceremony in 2001, was also the result of her friendship with the designer Marian Pezhoski.

Where celebrities keep their dresses after the ceremony

They don’t keep them anywhere. Despite the fact that many dresses are unique and are made for a certain celebrity, they are the property of the brand or the designer. Celebrities have to return the clothes within 48 hours. They rarely get these dresses as a gift and there are several reasons for that:

  • The price of one dress starts from several hundred thousand dollars and goes up to millions of dollars. And this is way too expensive for a gift. The estimated cost of the famous green dress that John Galliano made for Nicole Kidman is about $2,000,000.
  • The celebrity simply doesn’t need that dress. They won’t wear it a second time and it would occupy a place in their closet.

What happens to the dresses afterward

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Large fashion brands save their dresses for their historical value. Some outfits are real masterpieces and they become iconic. Sometimes they’re shown at fashion exhibitions or are simply sold.

In 2011, a Givenchy dress that belonged to Audrey Hepburn was sold at Kerry Taylor for $130,000. Christian Dior’s red vintage dress that Natalie Portman wore, sold for a less impressive amount of $50,000. Some red carpet outfits end up in private collections.

Small brands often rent out their dresses. In the United States, it’s quite common to rent an evening outfit that a celebrity wore to some ceremony. And this option is available for both celebrities and ordinary people.

If you liked some dress and want to have it, you can order its copy. Sometimes a lot of people like the same dress, so designers decide to start its mass production.

Bonus

Carlo Allegri/Invision / AP / East News
  • There’s a special person who works on the red carpet. Their task is to hold and straighten the tails of the dresses.
  • Women who wear Valentino dresses win Oscars more often.
  • In 2003, a few hours before the ceremony, Salma Hayek’s dress got torn in the buttock area. Reese Witherspoon rescued her and lent Salma her spare dress.
Courtesy Everett Collection / East News
  • In 1998, Sharon Stone attended the ceremony wearing her husband’s white shirt and a satin skirt.
  • The most expensive jewelry that has ever appeared on the red carpet is Lady Gaga’s vintage necklace. She wore it to the Oscar ceremony in 2019. The estimated cost of this piece of jewelry is more than $30 million, and currently belongs to Tiffany & Co.
Gilbert Flores/Broadimage/Broad Image/East News

What is your favorite Oscar outfit?

Please note: This article was updated in August 2022 to correct source material and factual inaccuracies.
Preview photo credit Jim Smeal / BEImages / EAST NEWS
Bright Side/Films/We Found Out Where Oscar Dresses Come From and What Happens to Them Right After the Ceremony
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