Red Carpet, Green Dress

Green Biz


I didn’t get to see the Oscars or watch the red carpet parade of gowns but I was waiting in anticipation for Oscar night for one reason and one reason only. I couldn’t wait to see the winning gown of the Red Carpet Green Dress competition, a contest launched in 2009 for an award-winning “green” gown that would be made from entirely sustainable fabrics. This global dress design contest was the brainchild of Suzy Cameron, actress and wife of Titanic and Avatar director, James Cameron, who saw the Academy Awards as the best opportunity to promote sustainable fashion.  For this closet Project Runway fan, the Oscars are now a night to anticipate.

And, the winner is…

Venezuelan born designer Valentina Delfino was crowned the winner of the Red Carpet Green Dress contest which was worn by Missi Pyle, who appeared as a silent screen starlet in this year’s Best Picture winner, The Artist. The winning design was made with organic “peace” silk (or Cruelty–Free Silk), hand-dyed with natural mineral pigments, had recycled zippers, and was lined with recycled polyester. Cruelty–Free Silk is silk created through the process that permits the full life cycle of the silkworm pupae.

But Missi wasn’t the only red carpet eco-fashonista this year. Meryl Streep, Demian Bichir, Kenneth Branagh, Colin Firth, and Livia Firth joined the ranks of the greenest dressed on the red carpet at the 84th Academy Awards by wearing organic and sustainable gowns or suits. Each of these 6 celebrities took part in the Green Carpet Challenge (GCC), an initiative for designers to create and celebrities to dress in sustainable fashion while walking the red carpet and attending high profile award shows. Is it the dawning of a new era or just a fad? Only time will tell if moments like these will drive an industry historically dominated by excess consumerism into ethical resplendence.
What did they wear?
  • Meryl Streep wore a full-length, gold number that was fit for a goddess and made completely from Eco Certified Fabric.
  • Livia Firth donned a hybrid dress that combined recycled PET fabric along with the Valentino’s house silk.
  • Kenneth Branagh wore an Ermenegildo Zegna navy Made-to-Measure tuxedo created with eco-friendly Merino wool.
  • Demian Bichir was in another Zegna’s tuxedo designed with TROFEO 600 fabric, which is a blend of superfine wool and silk.
  • Colin Firth squeaks onto the GCC list by “recycling” his Tom Ford wool tuxedo from last year. Technically, Colin, it’s considered “reuse” which would be standard for regular folks that don’t discard a tuxedo only worn once. (In fact, I think most regular folks rent tuxedos which would be the greenest of all options). But, I’ll give you points for trying!
Are you interested in reading more about eco-fashion?
Check out these posts written by The Minneapolis College of Art + Design’s Sustainable Design Online program students and alumni.
Oscar image courtesy of @Dave_B_

Cindy Gilbert / Former Director

Cindy is founder and director of Alula Consulting which specializes in innovative online and sustainability education projects for educational institutions, non-profits, and corporations. Recent clients include The Lemelson Foundation, VentureWell, Green Building Research Institute, University of Montana, PBS, Silverback Films, and more. Cindy has taught numerous courses and workshops, around the world and online, in the fields of biology, sustainability and biomimicry.

Cindy was the founding director of MCAD’s Sustainable Design program for 7.5 years which is home to the fully online, multidisciplinary MA in Sustainable Design (MASD) that is the first of its kind in the world. In this role, she fostered a culture of awareness and creativity through sustainable, innovative and collaborative design. Before MCAD, she served for nearly four years as the founding director of university education at the Biomimicry Institute where she developed and managed all higher education programs, including the professional certification program, annual education summits, affiliate and fellows programs, and design challenges. Cindy is based in Montana. Please contact her through LinkedIn.