Photo: Getty Images/Jason Merritt
Oscar-nominated actress Helen Hunt chose to wear an eco-friendly gown created by high-street favourite H&M to last night’s ceremony, eschewing high-end couturiers.For us, the Oscars are all about the dreamy gowns created in the salons of the world’s finest couture houses.
The fact that they are completely out of our fiscal and physical reach makes them all the more magical – after all, knowing we will probably never touch, let alone wear or own, a made-to-measure gown by the likes of Valentino or Dior, is what makes us want them more.
It was rather a surprise, then, to hear one of our favourite high street chains mentioned in the same breath as Prada and Oscar de la Renta as the stars paraded themselves for the waiting press prior to last night’s ceremony. It was even more of a surprise when that high street brand was H&M and not the more likely J.Crew or Topshop.
It was all courtesy of Helen Hunt who told American cheeseball Ryan Seacrest that she had chosen the brand over its pricier counterparts “because it was the most beautiful dress I tried on and they partner with Global Green. It was a win-win-win.” (Global Green is H&M’s unique garment recycling initiative which was launched earlier this week.)
The midnight blue silk satin, strapless dress was accessorised with $700,000 of Martin Katz jewels, because lets be honest an H&M bangle stack would just have been a step too far in the attainability stakes. It’s not the first time H&M have made it onto the red carpet though – Michelle Williams sported a custom-made gown by the Swedish giant to last year’s BAFTAs.
But before you run out to the nearest H&M thinking you can grab a piece of sartorial Oscars history, unfortunately Hunt’s dress was custom-made and won’t be available in stores. However, from April 4, H&M will be selling dresses in a “similar style” as part of their Conscious collection.
Hunt wasn’t alone in her championing of all things green, British actress and Bond Girl Naomie Harris climbed aboard the eco bus too. The 36-year-old wore a custom-made gown by the brilliantly named Michael Badger, a student at the Savannah College of Art and Design who was reportedly mentored by Vivienne Westwood throughout the design process. Harris tweeted last night that the mustard-coloured gown, which was created in collaboration with Greenpeace, “took 120 hours to make, dyed with camomile and golden rod, hand embroidered with vintage beads and chocolate wrappers!”
Despite starting to sound a little Lady Gaga (“Tears of Belladonna, crushed heart of tiger orchidea, with a black veil of incense, pulverized apricot, and the combinative essences of saffron and honey drops…”), we applaud Naomie’s championing of both sustainable fashion and a young, promising designer – and maybe next Christmas we’ll use all those Quality Street wrappers to make an Oscars-worthy gown too.
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