Despite having countless dress options at their disposal for the Oscars, most actresses have to narrow it down to just one or two choices, if only just for practical reasons. Because couture dresses take hundreds of hours to make, it’s impossible for designers to make too many, otherwise they’d run out of time and resources to mount their ready-to-wear shows the same month. For best actress Oscar winner Julianne Moore, there was only ever one Chanel Haute Couture dress – or more like two dresses that morphed into one. As Moore’s stylist Leslie Fremar explained on Sunday, Karl Lagerfeld drew a custom sketch for Moore that both women immediately agreed to commit to, “even though it was hard to conceptualize what the actual dress would look like from this beautiful painting,” said Fremar. Then they saw the Chanel couture show. One dress in particular caught Moore’s eye, so Lagerfeld revised his sketch to include similar elements. When Moore was in London for the BAFTA Awards, the Chanel team fitted her with a toile, then finished off the painstaking process of hand-painting each sequin. Clearly, everyone was happy with the results. “I am so happy Julianne won the Oscar for her great talent. I’ve known her for years, and was always her greatest fan – as an actress and also as a woman,” said Lagerfeld. “She is the perfect illustration of what I understand to be womanhood in the best sense of the word. She is fun, down to earth and an extremely cheerful, loveable person. I am really happy for her.”

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Fremar was doing double duty this season with Reese Witherspoon, who also entrusted only one dress option to one designer, Tom Ford. “Tom called me and said he’d love to make a dress for Reese, who’s never worn him before,” said Fremar (Witherspoon actually sported her first Ford dress at his Friday night show). While the actress and stylist gave the color direction, Ford came up with the off-the-shoulder, velvet-trimmed design, elements seen in his fall 2015 collection. “Both women are so different that nothing ever seemed competitive or conflicted,” said Fremar. “Once they made up their minds, there was only ever one dress for each of them.”

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