The dramatic Oscars look announcing a style icon

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Sandra Huller at the Oscars 2024

Sandra Hüller’s sculptural, gravity-defying gown by Schiaparelli was a masterclass in red-carpet dressing – and her afterparty dress was another triumph. We dissect Hüller’s “wearable art” look.

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If the 2024 Oscars ceremony played out largely as expected, with Oppenheimer scooping the big awards of the night, then the fashion was mostly free of big surprises, too. Gone are the days of Bjork’s Swan dress or Celine Dion’s back-to-front tux – celebrities now tend to keep it refined rather than rebellious when it comes to film’s biggest night of the year.

But if controversy was mostly missing, then grown-up glamour certainly wasn’t. Strong, structured shapes ruled – from Cynthia Enviro’s green leather number and Emma Stone’s Louis Vuitton peplum dress to Carey Mulligan’s strapless full-skirted Balenciaga gown and Zendaya’s metallic Armani Privé. Pretty pastels were largely pushed aside for black and white — even Margot Robbie ditched her usual Barbie-pink for a streamlined sparkling black Versace number.

Sandra Hüller's stunning black Oscars gown by Schiaparelli Couture stood out for its oversized neckline, among other things (Credit: Getty Images)

Sandra Hüller’s stunning black Oscars gown by Schiaparelli Couture stood out for its oversized neckline, among other things (Credit: Getty Images)

But no-one pulled off the subtle drama better than German actress Sandra Hüller The best actress nominee and star of two of the night’s best picture contenders – Anatomy of a Fall and The Zone of Interest – wore an hourglass black velvet custom Schiaparelli dress with an exaggerated off-the-shoulder neckline and a bejewelled keyhole on the bust. She accessorised with a Cartier necklace containing 392 diamonds.

Hüller might not have taken home an Oscar, but she easily won the red carpet, especially as a few hours later she rocked up at the Vanity Fair party in another impressive number, switching up the black for a cream Schiaparelli – with an equally dramatic neckline, this time covered in rhinestones. It was apt that the woman who gave us two of the best performances of the year also served up a double-helping of style on the red-carpet. “We really just wanted her to shine,” her stylist Jordan Johnson Chung told Vogue, describing Hüller’s iconic black dress as “wearable art”.

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It was a crowning moment for an awards season that has not only cemented Hüller as one of the most exciting actresses working today – but also has seen her emerge as a fashion darling. She started awards season as a green goddess, wearing a custom emerald gown by Louis Vuitton at the Golden Globe Awards in January. As more ceremonies got ticked off the calendar, her outfit choices become ever more interesting. At the Baftas she wore custom Louis Vuitton again, this time a silver satin gown that made her look like a walking statuette. At last month’s Cesar awards in France – where she picked up the best actress award – she wore a black sequinned trouser suit with a white belt. It wasn’t just her outfits that commanded attention, but her hair too – she switched up styles with chic chignons and punky quiffs, while she even made the mullet look stylish.

Fashion darling

Such has been her dedication to the French fashion house Louis Vuitton over the past few months that many assumed she’d be dressed by them for the Oscars. Then when Phoebe Philo revealed Hüller as the face of her latest campaign last week – another sign of Hüller is having a fashion moment – it sparked rumours that the actress might wear the British designer at the Academy Awards.

Instead, she opted for Schiaparelli. The Italian house, founded by Elsa Schiaparelli in 1927 has long been famous for its avant-garde designs and dramatic silhouettes, with Schiaparelli often collaborating with Salvador Dalí.

The Anatomy of a Fall star wore another sculptural Schiaparelli creation to the Vanity Fair Oscars afterparty (Credit: Getty Images)

The Anatomy of a Fall star wore another sculptural Schiaparelli creation to the Vanity Fair Oscars afterparty (Credit: Getty Images)

In recent years, under the stewardship of Daniel Roseberry – who has been creative director since 2019 –  it’s again become the go-to choice for stars wanting to make an impact on the red carpet. In 2021 Beyonce wore a custom Schiaparelli leather mini dress to take home four Grammy awards. Lady Gaga – always one for a dramatic fashion moment – chose a voluminous custom Schiaparelli gown to sing at President Biden’s inauguration. Margot Robbie has chosen Schiaparelli outfits several times in the past year, including a sheer corseted dress for the Saltburn premiere and Barbie-esque mini dress to this year’s SAG awards. Dua Lipa wore a velvet dress with the house’s custom lobster motif to this year’s Golden Globes, while Taylor Swift also turned to the designer for her recent record-breaking night at the Grammys

At this year’s Academy Awards, Hüller’s fellow best actress nominee Emily Blunt also chose Schiaparelli, wearing a cream gown with straps that appeared to float a few inches above her shoulders, and what looked like the outline of a pair of underwear on the bottom half – a detail that perhaps had people talking for the wrong reasons.

But it was Hüller’s modern take on old-school glamour that stole the show. Awards season might be over, but her reign as one of film’s most fashion-forward stars is only just beginning. 

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