First Published in 2012. Words by Livia Firth
OK, so here are five things I love about Meryl Streep:
1. Mamma Mia.
2. The twinkle in her eye (constant).
3. She is a brilliant actress (constant).
4. Any woman can relate to her (also constant).
5. She embraced the Green Carpet Challenge (GCC) with so much enthusiasm.
Yes, tonight Meryl Streep joins the Green Carpet Challenge wearing Lanvin’s first ever custom made eco gown. The gown is gold, full-length and made from Eco Certified Fabric sourced with help from the GCC. I could not be more delighted! Can you tell?
Meanwhile in other GCC Oscar news, I get the closest I’ll ever be to being a Bond Girl. Tonight at the 84th Academy Awards I’m walking the red carpet up to the Kodak Theatre with three dashing men all embracing sustainable style. We’re developing a real thing for menswear this year through the GCC. The Oscars are no exception.
So we are extremely honoured to dress the Academy Awards Supporting Actor nominee Kenneth Branagh (My Week With Marilyn) in an Ermenegildo Zegna navy Made-to-Measure tuxedo created with eco-friendly Merino wool. (The wool is sourced from Australian non “mulesed” Merino sheep). And also wearing Ermenegildo Zegna for the Green Carpet Challenge is Academy Awards Leading Actor nominee Demian Bichir (A Better Life). For Damian we went for a made-to-measure tuxedo designed with TROFEO 600 fabric, which is a blend of superfine wool and silk.
Of course I will never forget last year’s Oscars when Colin won the Oscar for The King’s Speech. Tonight he wears that Tom Ford wool tuxedo from last year. He joins the GCC by virtue of recycling!
As for me, I get to wear my dream gown. The story behind tonight’s GCC Oscar gown (our third GCC Oscar gown in fact) began last autumn where I entered Valentino Palace, where the couture pieces are still designed, cut, sewn and created by an expert team of seamstress who have been there for many years. The rooms here are filled with skilful women wearing white aprons, and sometimes donning gloves so as not to mark the delicate fabrics and embroideries that they still do by hand.
This is a painstaking operation where it takes many weeks to make a single gown. Working with this great design house with Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli at the helm, we found the point at which our ethics met with their finely tuned aesthetic. The resulting gown absolutely appeals to the romantic side of my nature, but has that high sheen that the red carpet demands. In fabric terms it’s a hybrid dress, combining an amazingly versatile recycled PET fabric along with the Valentino’s house silk for the beautiful sheer sleeves of the gown.
Back in Rome under the expert hands of Valentino’s head seamstress the corset was built – really, she should be termed an engineer! So tonight, courtesy of some of the world’s most talented seamstresses and designers I get to go to the ball in real style.