— InStyle (@InStyle) March 2, 2015
At this point, everyone has marveled at the ivory pearl gown that Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o wore to this year’s ceremony. Reports say it was made of 6,000 pearls, with the value of the dress exceeding $150,000. Some were putting it in the millions. The design and craftsmanship had jaws dropping.
Then the gown was lifted from her Hollywood hotel room, with everyone wondering why. After all, that’s not something you can sell or wear without someone recognizing it.
Authorities say they’ve found the dress in the hotel bathroom, stuffed in a garbage bag. That’s not the way to treat a gown that’s worth more than a lot of people’s cars. Unless it’s not really as expensive as everyone believed it to be.
According to a spokesperson from the Los Angeles County Sherriff’s Department, an anonymous caller says they took the gown to the Garment District and found that those pricey pearls weren’t as valuable as once claimed. According to police officials, the value of the dress doesn’t impact their investigation.
But it does make a difference to fans of the dress and Calvin Klein. The Oscars is one of the biggest fashion shows of the year. This dress was meant to be a statement piece among a red carpet full of statement pieces. Not only did it take much skill and many hours to make this work of art, the price tag was a way to quantify just how divine the gown is (whether it’s something you would wear or not).
Now TMZ has word from a spokesperson that neither Calvin Klein or the designer Francisco Costa claimed the pearls were real or that the dress was worth all of the figures that were being tossed around.
“Did anyone ever say they were real from Calvin Klein? I always assumed everyone knew they were fake, but I guess not,” the site quotes the spox. “Do they really make dresses out of real jewels since Cleopatra died?”
OK, maybe no one from the company ever said any of that. But when other people starting saying it, no one from the company seems to have stopped that rumor from being passed around either.
As soon as the gown hit the carpet, the company was quick to let everyone know that there were thousands of pearls used in the making of it. And in the days after, there were stories assessing how much it would cost to make. That would’ve been the time to come out with more detail about the gown. Instead, there’s the sense that Calvin Klein would’ve let people think this was a million-dollar dress had this other info not come out.
The garment is still beautiful. And certainly it still took tons of work and it’s still an expensive piece. But it has lost its luster after the company allowed it to be built up the way it was. This needed to be treated like the huge publicity event that it was, which means managing the messaging and getting the truth out. Coming off a little shady about the details is tacky.