Oh how I love the Oscars! My favorite part is the pre-show red carpet, especially during those years when the celebs get really wild, bold or weird (remember Bjork’s swan dress?). Last night there were tons of gorgeous gowns, but nothing really surprising, except when I heard Helen Hunt tell Ryan Seacrest who designed her dress ... H&M!
Say wha? Seacrest looked pretty astonished too, and Hunt laughed, "Isn't that sexy?" Well, yes, yes it is Helen! Affordable fashion is always sexy, right ladeez? Hmm -- hold that “affordable” thought...
While the dress isn’t anything incredible, it’s pretty; a classic Armani-esque strapless, mermaid type number with a sort of bustle in the back, in a dark blue satiny material that flatters Hunt’s skin and hair but looked a bit wrinkled already on the red carpet. And, apparently, the gown was already a member of Hunt’s surely eclectic wardrobe (at the Spirit Awards, when queried about her Oscar dress plans, she just said, enigmatically, that it would be something already hanging in her closet).
Hunt explained her choice to Seacrest, saying, “They made a beautiful dress and they are going green,” and added that H&M is working with Global Green, an organization Hunt collaborates with herself to help prevent global climate change. OK, fair enough! But THEN Hunt went on to say that she was also wearing $700,000 worth of jewelry (by designer Neil Lane, who had jewels on many celebs last night, like my best-dressed of the red carpet, Naomi Watts). And the rest of Hunt’s accessories weren’t exactly from Payless Shoe Source: Roger Vivier shoes and a Salvatore Ferragamo clutch. So much for dressing down!
The Cut wonders whether Hunt was actually paid by H&M to wear the gown; they point to a New York Times piece that says H&M is coming out with line of formal wear in early April of this year to back up their theory. By the way, according to the Times, the exact dress Hunt is wearing won’t be available, but H&M says such a look would cost about $650 to buy off the rack.
Interesting! Let’s not kid ourselves -- none of those celebs on the red carpet actually PAID for their dresses; the publicity is way more valuable to the designer. And it’s kind of cool if Hunt’s motivation was to bring awareness to a cause she cares for. It’s slightly less admirable if she was paid to do it. Either way, it does go to show that "high" really can mix with "low."
What do you think about Helen Hunt’s "budget" dress?
Image via PCN