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This Crystal-Encrusted Gown Took More Than 750 Hours to Create


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There are some fashion moments when nothing short of couture will do. For Crazy Rich Asians actress Constance Wu, the film’s world premiere definitely qualified. As the star of one of summer’s most anticipated releases, Wu is stepping into the spotlight as a leading lady, and her press tour wardrobe has reflected that every step of the way. And at Hollywood’s TCL Chinese theater last night, Wu dazzled in an arresting piece from Ralph and Russo that channeled the film’s opulent energy into a singular, show-stopping look.

The end result may have seemed effortless, but it was the result of months of careful consideration. Stylist Micaela Erlanger, the woman responsible for the pitch-perfect wardrobes of Lupita Nyong’o and Diane Kruger, first saw the dress back in January when it made its debut on Ralph and Russo’s Paris runway. With its off-the shoulder design, Swarovski crystals, and distinctive silk fringe, the gown made an impression on Erlanger, who knew it would be a strong contender for the big night. “Every detail and the craftsmanship of this couture piece just felt right,” she shared via email from Los Angeles. “The film is based around both luxury and fashion, making a couture red-carpet moment all the more perfect for the world premiere.”

The piece was hand-embroidered over the course of 490 hours with over 200,000 crystals and then took 275 hours to construct, but its true beauty lies in the meaning behind the details. The silk fringed tassels which adorn the bodice are meant to represent strength. “In history, tassels have almost always been a symbol of power and prestige, not to mention they make for a glamorous detail,” said Erlanger, explaining their symbolic connection with the landmark nature of the film, which is the first Hollywood release in 25 years to feature Asian-American leads. “This movie is so important for so many reasons, and I felt that Constance should look both powerful and glamorous.”

Naturally, the layers of couture required a little bling, and the addition of 90 carats’ worth of Lorraine Schwartz diamonds did the trick. The pear-cut pink drop earrings—which coordinated perfectly with co-star Henry Golding’s pastel Tom Ford tux—provided the final touch of elegance. “The gown itself is such a statement, but we really wanted to complete the look with the perfect accessories,” said Erlanger, who praised Wu for her willingness to experiment with dramatic fashion. “Constance is fearless! She approaches each fitting with an open mind. She has been really collaborative and just loves having fun with fashion.”

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