Oscars

For designers, big Oscar moments start on the red carpet 

March 2, 2014 at 8:19 AM ET

Video: From the runway to the red carpet, designing a dress worn on Hollywood’s biggest night can translate into millions of dollars, making who’s wearing what big business.

That magical Oscar moment doesn't always involve holding a statue. For designers, the dream comes true when the glamour girls strut their stuff on the red carpet wearing one of their creations.

Fashion designer David Meister has had his share of those Oscar-winning moments. He’s dressed everyone from Diane Lane to Sharon Stone to even little Quevenzhene Wallis. He’s the one A-listers call on for the outfit that they hope will end up being the most talked-about on the red carpet.

While he’s mum on who he’s dressing for this year’s Academy Awards, he did dish with us on what it takes to create those breathtaking looks, why some stars miss the mark and the dream star everyone wants to see walking down the carpet wearing their clothes.

Alicia: Who are some of the nominees you have dressed in the past?

David: My favorite, Diane Lane. She is gorgeous. You know, I have dressed Jane Fonda (not for the Oscars), I've dressed Sharon Stone .... she is amazing and she knows fashion like no one else. 

Alicia: What do you think we’ll see on the red carpet at the Oscars?

David: I think metallics are going to be huge. Metallics are great because they're great on all skin types. They kind of reflect and shine. They're not matte and that’s a great thing. Someone I think we're going to see in metallics this year, we've seen in amazing amazing gowns, is Lupita.

Alicia: Lupita with that chocolate skin ...

David: She's like the new fashion it girl. We are all killing ourselves to dress her. We would all open a vein. I would. I would open a vein to dress her.

Alicia: Do stars just have one gown, or are there backups planned?

David: I think everybody's got backup gowns because if a zipper breaks at the last minute, or a heal goes through a train, you've gotta have a backup gown. A lot of times a backup gown may not be mine, or I may be the backup. So if I'm the backup, I hope that somebody's ripping a dress or a snap is popping somewhere because then I win.

Alicia: What people might not know is that you can work with an actress and do your fitting and think she's going to wear your gown, but it might not happen, à la Anne Hathaway last year switching from Valentino to Prada last minute.

David: Absolutely. You never know. I always say you never know they're wearing you until you see that leg come out of that limo. It hits the red carpet and you see the hem of that gown, then you know. It works the other way too. Sometimes you don’t think they're wearing you and they get out of the car, and you're like. "Oh my god! That's my dress!"

Alicia: Can the Oscars can make or break an actress in terms of what they're wearing — for the good and for the bad?

David: Absolutely. One of my favorites is Nicole Kidman back in ‘97 when she hit the red carpet in that chartreuse Dior gown. It put her on the map as the new fashion it girl. It was the first time we saw French couture right off the runway onto a flawless figure on the red carpet. I think she really upped the stakes and the ante; and I think probably that night most women were looking down and going, "Ooooh."

Alicia: Last year Anne Hathaway had gotten it right pretty much all season and then came Oscar time and she got it wrong. She switched designers from Valentino to Prada and then ...

David: That was a tough one. She's so thin and has such a cool look and she has such a structured pink dress and the darts that went on for a hundred years ... I think that was definitely a mistake.

Alicia: How difficult is it to keep what your celebrity is wearing a secret?

David: I think it's kept pretty tight-lipped in this town, like you know you hear little bits about this one or that one or maybe someone's pulling this kind of jewelry, but I think most people really don't have a clue except for the stylists. Everything's kept pretty under wraps.

Alicia: Who are the women and men that we should be watching tonight?

David: OK, women, my new favorite fashion it girl in the world: Lupita Nyong’o. I think she's gonna knock it out of the park. I think Cate Blanchett. No one does like Hollywood royalty glamour like her, and she pushes it and is always edgy but still in a very sophisticated way. Jared Leto because he is the coolest, edgiest and he kinda takes it to a different place (than) in your traditional tux.

Alicia: Who are you dressing this year?

David: Darlin’, if I told you I would never, ever eat lunch again here in this town!

Alicia: Come on David, who really eats in this town?

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