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Tessa Thompson on Why She Wore Chanel Couture to the Oscars This Year

Back in January, actress Tessa Thompson attended her first-ever Chanel couture show in Paris. She was mesmerized by the entire Spring 2019 collection, but one very special piece on the runway pulled at her heartstrings: A black silk muslin bustier dress embroidered with gold beads. Thompson knew in an instant that it was what she wanted to wear to the Oscars. As she remembers, “I fell in love with this special dress when I saw it walking in the couture show in Paris.” She adds, “It made me gasp a little. The simplicity and elegance of it blew me away. My stylists Wayman [Bannerman] and Micah [McDonald] were seated behind me at the show and I looked back at them and we just smiled and nodded.”

The night before the Chanel show, Thompson had been asked to present the award for Best Score at the Academy Awards, and stumbling upon that stunning gown hours later felt serendipitous. “I wanted to look like the movie stars I’ve seen in classic images who have graced that stage over the decades,” she says. “It felt like a way of celebrating the fact that a new generation is emerging.”


Sadly, Karl Lagerfeld never got to see Thompson walk the red carpet in his stunning couture creation—the legendary designer passed away last week. Though Thompson never had the chance to meet Mr. Lagerfeld, she felt honored to celebrate his legacy on Hollywood’s biggest night of the year. “I had the honor of seeing his last couture collection,” she notes. “That was a dream come true. I feel his spirit when I look at his creations and, of course, when I wore the Chanel dress to the Oscars.” As a lover of fashion, Thompson always looked up to the designer and she admired the way “that he always reflected the time in which he was creating, which meant that he was always growing and evolving.” She adds, “That he could transcend reality and take us somewhere else entirely, that is true and absolute magic.”




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