Stylist Kate Young on Her All-Time Favorite Awards Season Dresses
Isolating at home during the pandemic, New York–based stylist Kate Young longed for the hallmarks of awards season: fancy dresses, diamonds, travel, and even the stress. On the third episode of her new YouTube show, Hello Fashion, created with The Slowdown, she details three of her favorite awards looks: a saffron-colored Vera Wang dress, which Michelle Williams wore to the 78th Academy Awards on March 5, 2006, when she was nominated for Brokeback Mountain; a red Prada dress, which Selena Gomez wore to the American Music Awards on Nov. 20, 2016, when she won the Favorite Female Artist-Pop/Rock award; and a white Chanel couture dress, which Margot Robbie wore to the 90th Academy Awards on March 4, 2018, when she was nominated for I, Tonya.
Looking at the gowns today is “a bit like seeing old friends,” Young says. She begins by surveying that now-iconic Vera Wang gown, and FaceTimes with Williams to reminisce about it. “Nobody at the time was wearing yellow,” Young says. “It was super usual. It made the dress feel young, cool, and surprising.” Revisiting Gomez’s cherry-colored Prada outfit, Young lifts up its voluminous organza bottom to reveal a layered underskirt of pale, lemon-colored tulle. “I love it when there’s something hidden or private about a garment,” she says. “It’s like you have a secret.” The Chanel gown, based on a design from a previous season, features custom embroidery that hangs like jewelry along the top. Its matte silk base, shaped like a tulip, enveloped Robie’s lower half in layers, and was originally designed to reveal her feet—but Young had it lengthened to create an elegant, elongated silhouette.
The painstaking effort that went into creating each look, Young says, is what gives awards gowns their magical quality. “You need to make sure that every detail is correct,” she says, “and that the dress is working in every way on a woman’s body to make her the most beautiful and strong representation of who she is in that moment.”
Watch new and previous episodes of Kate Young’sYouTube show Hello Fashion at youtube.com/kateyoung.