In a sea of Armani, Valentino, Marchesa, and Dior, Helen Hunt announced on the Oscars red carpet that her dress was H&M. "That's great, I drove by it on the way!" responded Ryan Seacrest, semi-joking (but not really). Would we have noticed the slightly wrinkled skirt, bunchy waist, and dull fabric had she not pointed out her dress's origins? Perhaps not, but our subconscious snob can be hard to gauge. She also paired the dress with gobs of expensive jewelry ($700,000 worth, from Neil Lane), Roger Vivier shoes, and a Salvatore Ferragamo clutch, so she didn't exactly slum it.
But the question remains why Hunt decided to go with H&M. Throughout awards season, she's worn designer pieces by the likes of Dolce & Gabbana and Ramona Keveza, and Oscar nominees always get courted by top-of-the-line labels (as evidenced by her fancy accessories). She told Seacrest that she chose the dress for its ecofriendliness — H&M recently launched a partnership with environmental group Global Green. But there's also a possibility that H&M paid Hunt to wear it. When the Times asked H&M's head of design, Ann-Sofie Johansson, if that was the case, she wouldn't answer: “We had an agreement, and both parties were satisfied, but as a business matter we will not give details.”
Of course, red carpet outfits are always "a business matter" these days, and paid celebrity endorsements are par for the course — see Jennifer Lawrence and Charlize Theron in Dior, for example. However, it's rare for a mass brand to join the fray, and one wonders exactly how H&M roped Hunt into the deal (or perhaps the question is, how much). The brand has good reason to broadcast their formalwear offerings, according to the Times:
H&M plans to introduce a “red carpet” collection in some stores, beginning April 4. You won’t find the exact dress Ms. Hunt wore, but Ms. Johansson estimated such a look would cost about $650, had Ms. Hunt bought it off the rack.
So it's not exactly "affordable," but still costs thousands less than the couture gowns her peers wore. Not that anyone paid for a single dress, of course.
Most Viewed Stories
Did Lena Dunham Shade the Wing on Girls?
Self-Empowerment Is Just Another Word for Narcissism
What, Exactly, Are Melania and Ivanka Trump Trying to Sell?
When Good Christian Girls Need Planned Parenthood
Madame Clairevoyant: Horoscopes for the Week of February 20
Inside the Secret Dating App for Famous People
After Divorce, Angelina Jolie Tells BBC, ‘We Will Always Be a Family’
Nighttime Voice-mails From the White House
Alt-Right Troll Milo Yiannopoulos Uses Campus Visit to Openly Mock a Transgender Student
Melania Trump Is Reportedly ‘Miserable’ in Her Role As First Lady
The Cut’s Latest Fashion FeaturesCiara's Wedding Dress Was Too Big for the Chapel
To be fair, it was a 13 foot-long dress.You and Rihanna Will Both Want to Invest in Dior’s New Bag
It's got something for everyone.Polo Shirts Have Turned Their Back on Ryan Lochte
Along with his other major sponsors.Ryan Lochte Will No Longer Be Paid to Wear Tiny Bathing Suits
Speedo remains committed to transparency.Laura Brown Is the New Editor-in-Chief of InStyle
After 11 years at Harper’s Bazaar.Tyra Banks Is Going to Teach a Class on Smizing at Stanford
"If I see somebody not paying attention, I’m gonna call on them."This Floating Pier Is the Most Zen Installation Ever
Walking on water in Italy.Nation Is Appalled by Matt Lauer’s Nude Ankles During Ryan Lochte Interview
What’s the opposite of “Jeah”?8 People at the Life of Pablo Pop-up Explain Why Kanye West Is a God
"I mean, Kanye West is just Kanye West. There's not more or less you can say about Kanye West. He's just Mr. West!"A T-shirt Is Enough
Simplicity, versatility, and cool. What more could you want?
She took a perfect pencil dive off a 30-foot yacht.American Apparel Is Being Sued by Former Workers
As the company considers putting itself up for sale.A Gendered History of the Tailored Suit
From Marlon Brando to Coco Chanel.How Zendaya Developed Such Great Style at the Young Age of 19
The star's best looks from Disney to now.Proof That If You’re Chic Enough, a Little Federal Investigation Doesn’t Matter
Is this the best they could do?5,300-Year-Old Mummified Iceman Probably Would’ve Been a Street-Style Star
He had several different looks and was “pretty picky.”J.Crew Has Identified 226 Shades of Pink
Even more than there are shades of gray.Gigi and Bella Hadid Merch Is Now Somehow a Thing That Is Happening
Today in Hadidiana.Gird Your Loins for the Return of Yeezy to New York Fashion Week
The season approaches.This Indie Brand Had a Great Response to Ivanka Trump
When she bought one of their cuffs, they donated the proceeds to the Clinton campaign.