When Viola Davis was preparing for her return to an IRL red carpet ahead of yesterday’s Oscars, she knew the occasion would require a touch of something extra. (And given the star’s ever-impressive style nous, that would mean going really above and beyond.) While Davis has continued to dazzle throughout awards season with her love for bold prints mixed with classic, Old Hollywood silhouettes—as well as a notable emphasis on wearing Black-owned brands such as Duro Olowu and Xuly.Bët—she’s only been able to wear them in the comfort of her own home thus far, given the restrictions around public gatherings that led to most ceremonies taking place remotely.
Thankfully, Davis’s long-time stylist Elizabeth Stewart was on hand to help strategize—and the pair quickly turned their attention to a brand that Davis had long wished to wear for a major red carpet event. “Viola and I often talked about an Alexander McQueen dream dress for an award show,” says Stewart. “We were just waiting for the right moment to ask!” While Stewart had worked with the house’s creative director, Sarah Burton—who she describes as “part designer, part magical fairy”—on dresses for many of her other clients, it was the first time they had collaborated on a gown for Davis.