Oscar Fashion, borrowing from History

I couldn’t resist pointing this out to WT readers. I was going through my regular ‘gossip blog’ eye-candy this morning (having completely ignored the Academy Awards when they were on last night -in favor of some much needed research work) and came across this photo of Miley Cyrus in the Los Angeles Times. Do you recognize it?

While the Los Angeles Times focused mainly on “Little Mermaid” aspect of her choice and hurled Disney related insults, this gown (designed by Zuhair Murad) immediately reminded me of another, historically relevant gown in a museum collection, shown below on the left.

(Click here for a larger –and zoom-able image)

It is a 1949 “Venus” “Junon” gown by Christian Dior, on the website at the de Young Museum in San Francisco. The skirts are incredibly similar, with obviously different bodice treatments. UPDATE: The  Met, Costume Institute in New York has this gown and it is described as: “Junon, Dress, fall/winter 1949–1950, House of Dior (French, founded 1947), Design House; Christian Dior (French, 1905–1957), Designer French cotton; Gift of Mrs. Byron C. Foy, 1953 (C.I.53.40.5a–e)”

Another blog (Superficial Diva) also reported this, and found another version of Venus for side-by-side comparison. While clearly not an exact replica, Murad‘s design does borrow heavily from the Dior version. My question is how did this Dior piece get into his design, and how did Cyrus come to wear it? Did she know of the Dior dress? Did her stylist?

The red carpet often serves as a venue for vintage or historic reminiscences, such as when Jennifer Lopez wore the Jackie O, 1960s style dress by Valentino. One has to wonder what the rational is. I gather that in Lopez’s case it was an obsession with the celebrity of Jackie O – but for Cyrus, I’m not so sure.

I might suggest that its an additional way to focus media attention on one star, over the others walking the red carpet. Perhaps its simply another media hook. It’s anyone’s guess – but it’s likely there was a publicist involved. Cyrus (or her stylist) may have been looking to reference ‘old Hollywood,’ given her previous choice of red carpet attire, and focus on the glitz and glamour of Hollywood even in an economic downturn. Historically, the poorer the country, the brighter Hollywood shines.

UPDATE: The de Young may not in fact have “Junon” (but have the sister gown from the above photo, Venus). The photo of Junon alone is below:

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  • Sara M. Harvey February 23, 2009 01.13 pm

    Judging from her brief interview on the E! pre-Oscar show, no she has no clue.
    The interviewer asked her about it and she just shrugged and said that she saw it on the rack and had to have it.
    The second I saw it, I knew it was heavily borrowed from Dior, so much so as to not be an accident, really. I’d love to hear what the designer has to say about it.
    And I am disappointed that no one bothered to tell Miley, or if they did, that she didn’t seem to care.

  • Monica Sklar February 23, 2009 01.23 pm

    I totally noticed it too and thought it was sort of interesting that when they would do the side x side insets with the celeb’s previous year’s of design no one was talking about the influences on this dress. It really is a lovely gown, albeit pretty much a total copy of the Dior, but I felt like Cyrus didn’t have the presence to pull it off. Needed someone more grande. If the designers are going to dress the celebs as walking ads, they should probably school them on what they’re wearing.

  • Heather Vaughan February 23, 2009 01.24 pm

    Thanks for the info Sara – it really is too bad that she didn’t have a clue. I’d love to find a comment from the designer – but if anyone has heard of any interviews with Zuhair Murad on this, please post the links in the comments!

  • Monica Sklar February 23, 2009 04.53 pm

    World of Wonder also has these somewhat less interesting but still worth mentioning pictorial comparison of Viola Davis’ gown and a famous Marilyn number.


  • Sandra February 23, 2009 07.02 pm

    I agree with Monica – way too much dress for such a little girl. Thank you for stopping by on my blog, by the way. I appreciated the link to your blog post.

  • Worn Through » On Teaching Fashion: Counterfeits, Knock-offs, and Plagiarism
    February 27, 2009 - 5:02 am

  • Caitlyn Davis February 27, 2011 05.11 pm

    This dress some what reminds me of Glinda the Good’s witch costume (her bubble dress). The bottom of it definatly does. Beautiful dress!!

  • Caitlyn Davis February 27, 2011 05.12 pm

    This dress some what reminds me of Glinda the Good’s witch costume (her bubble dress). The bottom of it definatly does. Beautiful dress!!


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