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It's hard to remember now, but once upon a time, Oscar dressing wasn't that big a deal. Sure, the event was always glamorous—how could it not be, with all those stars under one roof?—but designers weren't vying for actresses to wear their frocks, and squadrons of stylists didn't caress their client into just the right look, with just the right accessories, and reporters didn't ask, first thing, "what are you wearing?" when they encountered a nominee on the red carpet. But Oscar-glam as we know began to emerge in the 1990s, and it couldn't have happened without the help of Sharon Stone—and Valentino.


In her book Made for Each Other: Fashion and the Academy Awards, author Bronywn Cosgrave recounts the budding relationship between Stone and the Valentino maison. In 1992, Cosgrave writes, Valentino dispatched fifty couture dresses and the head of his Rome atelier to the San Francisco set of the film Sliver, which Stone was shooting at the time; "Valentino hoped she would wear something at a big event like the Globes or the Oscars," Cosgrave explains, and Stone obliged, selecting a beaded black Valentino gown for the sixty-sixth Academy Awards. Stone described Valentino's courtship of her to Cosgrave as "'a real champagne event, not a greedy hustle.'" And a great friendship between Mr. Valentino and the actress grew out of it, as well as a professional relationship.


By 1996, Stone and Valentino were working hand-in-glove as she prepped for events leading up to the Oscars, including the Golden Globes, where she was nominated for Best Actress, and the European premiere of Casino. "W noted that Stone, getting it all exactly right, 'clogged' the fax machine at the Hotel Ritz Paris, where Valentino's team were ensconced," Cosgrave writes, explaining that Stone was sending them specific instructions on how to alter the looks she'd chosen. Together, Sharon Stone and Valentino were setting a new standard for red carpet dressing—and in the process, helping to invent Oscar dressing as we know it.


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