Lorean Mays, right, models a purple V-neck halter dress, $258, similar to the Lanvin gown worn on the red carpet by Emma Stone, left. Photo of Lorean Mays by Staff Photographer Doug Strickland
Celebrities can pay thousands of dollars for the dresses they wear on the red carpet. While those styles generally remain one-of-a-kind, industry insiders can create reasonably priced reproductions within a matter of weeks.
“Designers are sketching as the stars walk the red carpet,” said Kimberly Collins, senior vice president of special-occasion retailers for two online fashion sites, simplydresses.com and promgirl.com.
Rather than exact replicas, which could be hard for the average consumer to wear, the reproductions might share a color or silhouette similar to a designer gown but would be adapted to more mainstream shapes and tastes.
“The inspiration comes from the red carpet, and they put their own spin on the dress,” Collins said of the secondary designers. “Depending on the intricacies of the design and fabric availability, dresses can be ready as early as four weeks from the initial sketch and pattern.”
Already available are replicas of certain gowns worn at the 69th annual Golden Globes on Jan. 15. According to Collins, dresses were put into production within 24 hours of the broadcast.
Don’t look for them in local stores until fall though, said Emily Goodin, owner of Boutique Couture on Market Street.
“It just takes more production time to get the fashions to stores,” she said.
Lesley Dale Greenfield, 29, said watching the red-carpet awards shows gives her ideas for dresses she can wear to the black-tie events she attends as special-events director for the local chapter of the March of Dimes.
“I’d love to duplicate Charlize Theron’s pale pink Dior couture gown at the Globes,” she said. “First of all, she’s effortlessly gorgeous and cool ... and the dress for the Globes was feminine and edgy at the same time, a perfect combo in my book.”
Collins said prices for these celebrity-inspired gowns range from $49 to $1,100, though most are under $500. Original designer gowns can cost up to $20,000, she said.
Shelf life for these mainstream reproductions is typically one to two years. “However, we have styles that are so classic and timeless that they have been recut for over five years,” Collins said.
It’s too early to tell which gowns worn at the Golden Globes will be best-sellers, but Collins has her favorites.
“I was personally impressed by Reese Witherspoon’s look at the Golden Globes,” she said, referring to the actress’ red, strapless Zac Posen gown. “I felt it was a fresh and confident look that we normally don’t see from her.
“Emma Stone is always dressed impeccably,” she added, “and I also loved Elle MacPherson’s bold yet elegant mermaid gown at the Golden Globes.”
Stone’s deep plum gown with a raspberry side insert by Lanvin was accented with a black belt with a metallic eagle.
MacPherson wore a Zac Posen cream corseted gown with a multilayered tulle underskirt with a fishtail hem.
Consumers can expect another round of celebrity-inspired fashions after the Academy Awards airs on Feb. 26.
Feature writer Karen Nazor Hill covers fashion, design, home and gardening, pets, entertainment, human interest features and more. She also is an occasional news reporter and the Town Talk columnist. She previously worked for the Catholic newspaper Tennessee Register and was a reporter at the Chattanooga Free Press from 1985 to 1999, when the newspaper merged with the Chattanooga Times. She won a Society of Professional Journalists Golden Press third-place award in feature writing for ...