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What really goes into a Golden Globes dress?

Intention, a whole lot of work and even, sometimes, first-time luck! While the typical process goes something like this: stylist pulls borrowed options then celeb goes through a few rounds of fittings until the perfect dress is found or stylist works with specific designer to create a custom look for celeb—the truth is every journey is different. There are obstacles—like when Eva Mendes‘ white Dior gown was sent to the wrong location. There are nerves—like when Emma Watson‘s stylist put a bright red dress over cigarette pants at one of Hollywood’s most formal events. And there is so much artistry behind a single dress that its story deserves to be told—like how Ruth Negga‘s fashion-forward suit of armor was sewn by hand and almost took 120 hours to create. 

Of course, there are more hilarious stories, like how Naomie Harris had to lay down in a car for over an hour to not wrinkle her dress or how Meryl Streep wore her wedding dress to accept her first Golden Globe, only to have it soaked with breast milk in the end. But to read more about the most interesting stories behind some of the most famous Golden Globes looks of all time, keep scrolling. 

ESC: Golden Globes Dress Stories, Meryl Streep

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It’s no secret that Meryl is an award show veteran, and as such, she’s now quite equipped at handling wardrobe malfunctions. In a Vanity Fair article, she revealed that she didn’t realize her 2004 Golden Globes dress was completely see-through until she went up to the stage for her acceptance speech. But perhaps the best story of all was in 1979, when the actress won the Globe for Kramer vs. Kramer. “In those days, they didn’t lend you dresses, so you had to buy something,” Streep recalled. “I didn’t have any money, so I wore my wedding dress, as you would. It was a perfectly nice white silk dress.” It also turned out that she was breastfeeding that year, and by the time the long award luncheon was over, her dress was soaked through. “It was so embarrassing,” she said. 

ESC: Golden Globes Dress Stories, Julia Roberts

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In 1990, Julia Roberts won her first Golden Globe…in an off-the-rack Giorgio Armani menswear-inspired suit! “I loved the shape of it,” she told InStyle. “For me, this was the epitome of being dressed up.” The Steel Magnolias star helped redefine feminine styling for future award shows to come. 

ESC: Golden Globes Dress Stories, Nicole Kidman

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In 2017, the Big Little Lies star took styling cues from two very fashionable names: her daughters. “I was trying all the frocks on and when I put this [Alexander McQueen dress] on they both jumped up and said, ‘Mummy, you look like a beautiful fairy on that dress!’ So that was it. I stopped trying on any of the others and said to them that I’m wearing the fairy dress to the Globes,” Nicole told The Daily Mail

ESC: Golden Globes Dress Stories, Fran Drescher

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Sometimes, a look is more about the beauty than the dress itself. In 1996, the actress arrived to the Golden Globes in a simple pastel dress, complemented by a statement headpiece full of fresh flowers, which took over an hour and a half to create by Enzo Angiler. “It’s a wonderful time for me, and I’m all in bloom,” Fran said in an interview. “God is smiling down on me, because he’s watering my head as we speak. I was so afraid that it was going to be hot and sunny, and I was going to wilt but, in fact, I’m fresh as a daisy.”

ESC: Golden Globes Dress Stories, Naomie Harris

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The Moonlight star arrived to the 2017 Golden Globes as pure perfection…but getting there took work and strategic poses. The actress posted about her award show prep, including a photo where she was reclined all the way down in a car, arms stuck by her sides. “The thing is, with these dresses, there’s so many hours of work that goes into them,” Harris explained on Jimmy Kimmel Live. “My dress has little crystals on it, and they’re sewn in by hand. They were sewn by this lovely guy called Leonardo from Armani. He just had so much love and care for this dress, like it was a baby or something, that I just felt awful about the idea of wrinkling it.” So, the actress was carried all the way to a car, like a baby, and laid flat, for over an hour, to minimize any wrinkling. 

ESC: Golden Globes Dress Stories, Lara Flynn Boyle

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In 2003, The Practice actress, post-split from Jack Nicholson, arrived to the 2003 Golden Globes in a ballerina-inspired ensemble, tutu and satin slippers included. According to designer David Cardona, it was the actress’ idea to invoke a dancer for style inspiration. “‘Really? Are you sure?’ he recalls telling the actress when she proposed her plan to ‘dress up as a ballerina.’ Against multiple warnings, he says, she stuck to her guns,” Meriah Doty wrote in 2014 Yahoo article about the look. “I remember very clearly at the time being very nervous about it. I was taking a risk for my reputation as well as for hers,” Cardona said in the article. In the end, between the pure silk tulle, Swarovski crystals and soft suede featured on the torso, there was little the designer regretted.  

ESC: Golden Globes Dress Stories, Eva Mendes

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Raise your hand if you want to see The Rachel Zoe Project back on air? How else are we going to know about the chaos that ensues just to get a dress delivered on time? Back in 2009, Eva looked flawless in a strapless, modern white Dior gown—but just days before, said gown went missing…and ended up at Chanel! Thanks to the stylist’s second season, we were able to see the stress of it all, the hours dedicated to dressing a single star and countless phone calls, attitude and all. It makes you appreciate a look from a stylist’s perspective so much more. 

ESC: Golden Globes Dress Stories, Cameron Diaz

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In the same episode of The Rachel Zoe Project, viewers also found out that there was a major alteration done to client Cameron Diaz’s Chanel dress for the 2009 Golden Globes. We wonder who broke the news to designer Karl Lagerfeld! The pink gown may have walked down the runway with a shoulder sleeve, but The Other Woman star would eventually go without it. It turns out this update would be one of the moves that would make Rachel Zoe’s career. “This is just a perfect example of how Cameron does couture,” Zoe told InStyle, revisting her favorite looks. “She keeps it cool and youthful and really fun; it’s never going to be too serious or too formal. There’s a lighthearted, casual feel—an effortlessness to it. This is just totally Cameron.”

ESC: Golden Globes Dress Stories, Ruth Negga

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At the 2017 award show, the Loving actress arrived in custom Louis Vuitton, which looked more like Fashion’s version of a suit of armor. “It’s a custom piece made in the very special atelier in Paris. Nicolas Ghesquiere [Vuitton’s creative director] designed the dress for her,” said stylist Karla Welch to The Telegraph. “It’s a combination of rose gold, yellow gold and silver paillettes—they were all sewn by hand and it took 120 hours to make.”

ESC: Golden Globes Dress Stories, Helena Bonham Carter

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It was the year of the mismatched shoe. In 2011, everyone could not stop talking about the Ocean’s 8 star’s steppers: Was it intentional or an accident? “Why not wear mismatching shoes? Who says we can’t? I was just having fun. For me, fashion is all about fantasy and putting unlikely things together. That’s what I love. I genuinely love dressing up,” she later explained to People. “Maybe I will wear the exact same [Vivienne Westwood] dress I wore at the Golden Globes but with matching shoes. Or put the shoes on my head!” Apparently, Helena was ahead of her time, as wearing mismatched shoes is now definitely a red-carpet trend

ESC: Golden Globes Dress Stories, Bryce Dallas Howard

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Who needs a stylist? In an industry where having some glam assistance is pretty much expected (especially around award season), the Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom star opted to do the shopping herself. “I just picked it up at Neiman’s this week,” Bryce told Giuliana Rancic about her dress on E!’s Live From the Red Carpet at the 2016 Golden Globes. Instead of borrowing a dress from a designer or brand like many celebs do, the actress bought a blue Jenny Packham dress with lace detailing from the luxury retailer. “I like having lots of options for a size six as opposed to maybe one option, so I always go to department stores,” she explained. 

ESC: Golden Globes Dress Stories, Emma Watson

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When the Harry Potter alum arrived to the 2014 Golden Globes in a Christian Dior Couture creation that was not only a bright red but included cigarette pants peeking out from the slit, fans and critics alike applauded the bold move. It was a career-making move for Emma’s stylist, Sarah Slutsky, who would then go on and become an influential pro known for taking chances at red carpet events. “I was a little nervous about it for a big awards show,” Watson told The Hollywood Reporter. “I had another option in case I chickened out, but I didn’t.” Aren’t you glad she didn’t?

ESC: Golden Globes Dress Stories, Gal Gadot

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Sometimes, first time’s a charm! Such was the case when a pregnant Wonder Woman needed a dress for the 2017 Golden Globes and consulted veteran stylist Elizabeth Stewart for the first time. Of course, we all know the pro outfitted the actress in a stunning sequins Mugler dress, but did you know they settled on their choice less than 24 hours before the award show? “I met her for the first time the day before and I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out,” Stewart told Variety. “It’s nice to know things can work out last minute.” When you know, you know. 

ESC: Golden Globes Dress Stories, Evan Rachel Wood

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It’s OK to be different, which is exactly the sentiment the Westworld actress wanted to get across when she wore a custom Altuzarra suit to the 2017 show. “This is my third nomination and I’ve been to the Golden Globes six times,” Evan explained to E! NewsRyan Seacrest. “I’ve worn a dress every single time and I love dresses. I’m not trying to protest dresses but I wanted to make sure young girls and women know that it’s not a requirement.”

ESC: Golden Globes Dress Stories, Sarah Jessica Parker

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SJP may have been unintentionally paying tribute to the late Carrie Fisher in a Princess Leia-like white gown at the 2017 award ceremony, but she was also wearing a wedding dress from Vera Wang’s fall 2017 bridal collection. It just so happened that Sarah was nominated for her turn in the HBO series Divorce. Wedding dress? Divorce? Leave it to SJP to always create meaning with her clothes. “I’d like to imply that because this silhouette originated from our bridal collection, there was a deliberate nod to Parker’s new series, but not intentionally,” Vera told Vogue. “I’d like to think it had more to do with the exaggerated shape and proportions of the dress.”

ESC: Golden Globes Dress Stories, Janelle Monae

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The Hidden Figures star not only can act, sing but can design, too. At her first-ever Golden Globes in 2017, she revealed to E! News that she helped design her custom black-and-white Armani gown. “For me, it’s just about being creative and remaining an artist,” she said. “I just love and respect artists.”

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