For Sunday’s 94th Academy Awards, Ariana DeBose, nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Anita in History of the west sidegave its designers Zadrian Smith and Sarah Edmiston a clear direction.
She said, ‘I don’t want to be a princess; I want to be a queen, ‘”says Smith The Hollywood reporter.
A full-skirted ball gown or another long-awaited red carpet look, however, was never considered for DeBose’s Oscar night experience, according to the designer duo, known as Zadrian + Sarah.
“We’re not doing anything traditional,” Edmiston notes. “There is not a single traditional element in everything that is happening, not the jewelry, not the composition, not the style. The reason is that it would be disrespectful to someone who is breaking every glass ceiling to put it into something traditional or that reflects any kind of conformity. This is the time to break with tradition and really try ”.
In fact, DeBose, already winner of the SAGs and Critics Choice Awards, wears what will surely be among the most talked about looks of the evening, a personalized design by Pierpaolo Piccioli for Valentino.
Blending masculine and feminine elements, Piccioli created a hybrid look that combines the details of a suit and tuxedo trousers, all in a bold red that is a signature of Valentino. The look finished with a dramatic train.
The LGBTQ + actress fully agrees with her designer duo on non-traditional strategy. “I strongly believe that for an event like the Oscars, you have to present yourself 100% with firmness and authenticity,” he says THR. “The look I wear and the designer are a reflection of it; shows me myself in every way. It’s bold and it’s a choice you may not usually see at the Oscars. Celebrate femininity and masculinity in the same breath. For me it was the choice because when you see it and you get chills, you just know it.
In February, Edmiston and Smith were invited to see Piccioli’s latest couture collection before its debut and were only too pleased to see that he had introduced inclusivity into the rarefied world of high fashion by building his own clothes. on models in medium and plus sizes, compared to the zero size women who typically populate high fashion shows. “We fell in love with Pierpaolo not only because he is an extraordinary designer, but also because what he represents aligns directly with what we want to represent as stylists,” says Smith.
“To see him the day before his collection debut, tailoring each outfit to these incredible women, we knew we were working with the right person,” says Edmiston.
Likewise, DeBose’s look reflects these values, pushing the boundaries of both genre and haute couture. “We’ve seen men blur gender lines on the red carpet, but we don’t see women doing it enough,” adds Edmiston. “For Ariana, we wanted to give this person a moment to celebrate and speak to all shades of themselves and also do so with pride and at the highest level of luxury.”
The crimson hue, meanwhile, is also meant to evoke thoughts of the red crinoline which is revealed with glee as DeBose performs with the History of the west side starring in Stephen Sondheim-Leonard Bernstein’s iconic number, “America”.
“We wanted to create a little homage to that,” says Smith. “But it’s also a message from Ariana to all the little girls who look like her, an idea: ‘This is how I took this part and made it mine, you don’t have to conform to anything someone says you have to be.'”
DeBose is accessorising the diamond look of De Beers jewelers and a diamond-embellished Omega Constellation watch. “For menswear and a tuxedo, always make a great watch, while for women, it’s always about nice women’s clothes, nice women’s jewelry,” says Edmiston. “So we thought of keeping the element of menswear by combining a large watch with bracelets and merging the idea of menswear and womenswear.”
Completing the look are a pair of shoes from Stuart Weitzman, a brand that has worked with DeBose and his team since the early days of History of the west side press tour. “This was another mandate from Ariana: to work with brands that have been there for us; loyalty is something that is important to each of us, ”says Smith.
“We work with people who share the same values,” adds Edmiston.
Smith and Edmiston had an unforgettable awards season with DeBose this year – and they did THRHe’s the best dressed on the Oscars list in 2021: a relationship that everyone agrees on transcends the notion of client and stylists.
“The longer we work together, the more I realize that what Zadrian and Sarah represent as a duo actually embodies many parts of my identity, both as a human and in terms of a fashion identity,” says DeBose. “I feel best represented by classic lines with modern twists, and that literally sums up Zadrian and Sarah. Put them together and you have Ariana DeBose-chic! [The entire West Side Story press tour] it was just about making the top of ourselves, doing something we liked even more than the latest look and how we could convey an even deeper reflection of who we are through the clothes. The appearance of the Oscars will be the culmination of it all. “