The 2023 Oscars are just around the corner, which means the celebrities are already getting red carpet ready, in the hope to make it into the comprehensive list of the very best Oscar dresses of all time.
Of course, an incredible dress needs accessories to match, and there's only one thing for it: diamonds. Now as we're talking hundreds of thousands of pounds here, a lot of celebrities just borrow them for the night (must be nice), but there is a whole process behind it.
Jeweller Martin Katz has been endowing actresses with jewels for 30 years now, and he revealed what happens behind the scenes and how celebs get their hands on all those diamonds.
Katz is no stranger to the process, “I remember my first encounter bejewelling an actress for the red carpet came when a client (an actress) asked me to loan jewellery to her co-star - it turned out to be a new young actress named Sharon Stone who was just about to hit the big time with Basic Instinct. I loaned her some pieces for that premiere and my brand went “viral” from there.”
Since then, Katz has accessorised over 500 of Hollywood’s finest, from Angelina Jolie and Nicole Kidman all the way through to Sandra Bullock, Kate Winslet Ashley Judd, Alessandria Ambrosia and Gigi Hadid.
What's interesting is everything that goes into making this happen. Whilst some brands do pay the celebs to wear the jewels (“eye-watering sums” according to Katz), he simply works with those who like his designs.
Who choses the diamonds?
First off, it starts with the actor's stylist. “My team initially liaises with the stylists, and this can often be only weeks in advance. Since we are based locally in Beverly Hills we have developed close relationships with some top stylists who we work with throughout the year so we know their clients well.” Katz explains.
"Most stylists prefer to choose the gown first and then start considering the jewellery. On occasion, we have come across stylists who have a particular style of jewellery in mind then source an evening gown to fit that. We will then invite them into our boutique on Brighton Way for an appointment at which stage I personally like to meet with them to discuss ideas and show them pieces that I feel would work well.” he continues.
Once the celebrity approves of the choice, or requests a custom design, then “they have fittings in their ready-to-wear with the selected jewellery items and their hair and make-up done. They must see the finished look in advance and take several photos from all angles to ensure the look is flawless,” he explains. These photos also work to help styling assistants know exactly what the final look should look like on the night.
What happens when it goes wrong?
“Unfortunately, there's always a risk the celebrity won't wear the jewellery (or the dress, remember Anne Hathaway?), so the team have to bide their time: “they may suddenly wake up the morning before or worse yet, the morning of the event and change their mind on their outfit which can then knock on to the jewellery too. That would involve a last minute rush into the vaults to select alternatives and it’s happened before…”
And when we're talking about really expensive jewellery, you need to have a plan in place in case anyone tries to steal it - just think how many people come to watch that red carpet.
Martin says, “Measures are taken to ensure the security of the jewellery and the talent wearing the piece too so we will send a security guard to accompany them.”
Disasters can happen though, and the jeweller's diamonds once scattered all over the red carpet - yes, really. “I will never forget though the year when Minnie Driver wore a multi-strand ruby of mine to the Oscars and unfortunately it became attached to her dress, causing the clasps to break and the ruby beads to dissipate across the floor of the auditorium. James Cameron was seen on his hands and knees helping to pick up the rubies for the distraught Ms. Driver. There’s never a dull moment at the Oscars!”
This got us wondering - which is the most expensive Oscars dress that's ever been worn?
We can't wait to see what drama this years Oscar ceremony will bring. Make sure to check out our live blog on the night covering all the best red carpet looks and moments not to miss.
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Penny Goldstone is the Digital Fashion Editor at Marie Claire, covering everything from catwalk trends to royal fashion and the latest high street and Instagram must-haves.
Penny grew up in France and studied languages and law at the Sorbonne Nouvelle University in Paris before moving to the UK for her MA in multimedia journalism at Bournemouth University. She moved to the UK permanently and has never looked back (though she does go back regularly to stock up on cheese and wine).
Although she's always loved fashion - she used to create scrapbooks of her favourite trends and looks, including Sienna Miller and Kate Moss' boho phase - her first job was at MoneySavingExpert.com, sourcing the best deals for everything from restaurants to designer sales.
However she quit after two years to follow her true passion, fashion journalism, and after many years of internships and freelance stints at magazines including Red, Cosmopolitan, Stylist and Good Housekeeping, landed her dream job as the Digital Fashion Editor at Marie Claire UK.
Her favourite part of the job is discovering new brands and meeting designers, and travelling the world to attend events and fashion shows. Seeing her first Chanel runway IRL at Paris Fashion Week was a true pinch-me moment.
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