When Emma Stone and Laura Harrier took to the red carpet at this year’s Oscars, the Hollywood actresses dazzled onlookers by wearing one-of-a-kind dresses from the house of Louis Vuitton. And while the beauty of the pieces they wore, designed by the house’s creative director, Nicolas Ghesquière, was readily apparent, what wasn’t so obvious to the eye was the effort— and the social message—that went into their creations.
In the case of Stone, the actress donned a bronze and gold, sequined dress with accentuated shoulders that shimmered as she walked down the red carpet. Nominated for Best Supporting Actress for her role in the dark, period-era satire The Favourite, Stone looked equally regal as the young aristocrat she played in the movie. Stone is herself no stranger to Louis Vuitton, having starred as the face of the house in several campaigns as well as being a brand ambassador.
Ghesquière’s affections for Stone as a muse are clear. “I love dressing Emma who inspires me as a talent,” he notes. “She embodies perfectly the Louis Vuitton woman. She has a strong sense of style, elegant yet modern.”
The same affection Ghesquière has for Stone is apparent in efforts that went into creating her dress for the Oscars. Made from 100% white silk organza, the embroidery alone took over 700 hours to complete, incorporating over 30,000 Swarovski crystals and some 260,000 pear-shaped sequins. Indeed, while Stone ultimately did not win the Oscar—the prize went to Regina King for If Beale Street Could Talk—her dress for the evening undoubtedly stole the show.
Meanwhile, another of Louis Vuitton’s muses for the evening, Laura Harrier, wore a custom creation that sent a bold message beyond its stunning design. Known for her breakout role in Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman, Harrier wore a powder-blue silk crepe dress adorned with 60,000 glass beads, crystals, and sequins. As Harrier noted: “Having a dress custom-made by Nicolas for my first Oscars was an actual dream come true. When I tried the dress on in our final fitting, I nearly cried. The whole experience was surreal.”
Beyond the pain-staking detail and efforts that went into the execution of Harrier’s dress, the social cause it was championing is perhaps more remarkable. Using only materials certified as organic, sustainably produced, and environmentally friendly, Harrier’s dress reflected Louis Vuitton’s participation in the Red Carpet Green Dress initiative founded by Suzy Amis Cameron. A noted environmentalist and actress, she established the campaign in 2009 with the aim of drawing “attention to the importance of more sustainable practices in fashion.” Cameron conceived the idea during the press tour for her husband’s—director James Cameron—film, Avatar, with the stated goal of “challenging designers from around the world to think about fashion in an eco-friendly context.”
Taking on the challenge, Ghesquière and Louis Vuitton committed to creating a dress for Harrier that met the criteria that Cameron’s initiative set forth. Incorporating silk certified organic and sustainably produced, as well as Swarovski crystals used in accordance with the standards set by OEKO-TEX—an independent organization dedicated to sustainable textile production—Harrier’s dress was as much a work of savoir-faire as it was social responsibility. Now that’s an award-winning combination.