The Making of an Oscar Gown
We are always honored to dress the beautiful and talented Octavia Spencer. She first wore Tadashi Shoji for an appearance in 2011, and soon after a red carpet relationship and personal friendship blossomed between starlet and designer. ”I greatly enjoy working with Octavia. There is a mutual admiration and a mutual appreciation between us. It is a rare opportunity to find this type of rapport in our industry,” says Tadashi.
In 2012, Octavia was wearing a custom Tadashi gown when she won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her role in “The Help.” For this year’s ceremony, Tadashi specially designed another gown for Octavia to create yet another magical Oscar moment. Here, we follow it from inception to red carpet.
It all began when Octavia fell in love with the finale gown of our Spring 2013 runway show at New York Fashion Week. Our Tulle and Embellished Floral Applique and Lace Tiered One Shoulder Gown, in the lovely blush hue of Jute, was to be the perfect gown for the Oscars. With awards season around the corner, she and her stylists, Wendi and Nicole Ferreira, shared their love for the dress with Tadashi.
The design process begins — Tadashi, Octavia, and her stylists work together to create the perfect Oscar gown. It will have the same ethereal draped neckline as our runway style, but with an A-line skirt of tulle. Instead of an embellished floral applique, they envision an exquisite hand-beaded bodice.
December – January
Working with a variety of blush-hued fabrics and a variety of beading options, the gown is designed and created here in our Los Angeles design studio. The first fitting of the gown, sans beading, is held to ensure the perfect fit. With a few alterations to be made, the dress returns to the studio and it’s time for the work of hand beading to begin.
Several design options for the gown’s beading are created. It is a difficult choice, but finally, a tonal floral-inspired design is chosen. The beading work begins. Four seamstresses work together on the bodice, with Tadashi continuously checking the progress.
With the Oscars four days away, another fitting is held. Octavia tries on the gown. Wendi and Nicole style the look. They try with different jewels (that come with security guards!) and clutches to decide on a final look. A few changes are to be made to the layers of tulle in the skirt, and the gown is brought back to the studio for the alterations and beading work to be completed.
The Oscars are now just two days away, and with the beading finished at last, one final fitting is held. The gown looks beautiful, but there are a few last-minute alterations that must be made before Octavia makes her red carpet appearance.
Finally, it’s the day of the Oscars! Elegant hair, makeup, and jewels come together as the perfect complement to Octavia’s ethereal blush-hued tulle ball gown. Another magical moment has been made, and we are privileged to have been apart of it.