How much does it cost to dress for The Oscars?

These some of the most expensive outfits ever worn to The Oscars. How would your closet stack up?

“Who are you wearing?” It’s the question every star gets asked when walking down the red carpet at the Oscars. Sure, the look of the outfit is important, but the “who” in that question could be subbed out for the more straightforward query that it politely sidesteps: How much did your outfit cost? Some award shows are less ostentatious than others, but the Oscars are king of all arts celebrations when it comes to parading expensive fashion. A showdown of opulence with more diamonds in one room than a Cartier store, one does not accept an Oscar wearing anything less than the finest the world has to offer Let’s take a look at just how much money it costs to stand out at the Academy Awards.

Cate Blanchett – 2013 – Armani Prive

Cate Blanchett took the sum of money that some companies would kill to make in a year and spent it on a dress that she probably only wore for a few hours. Cate Blanchett is a boss. At a staggering $18.1 million, her 2013 Academy Awards ensemble is fabled to be the most expensive in the history of the award show’s attendees. Her Armani Privé dress really only accounted for a small amount of the whopping grand total. It is the jewelry by Chopard that sent Blanchett’s outfit costs into the stratosphere.

Eddie Redmayne – 2015 – Alexander McQueen

The Theory of Everything. He sported a sapphire blue suit by the late Alexander McQueen to last year’s Academy Awards. A very conservative estimate of how much his Shirt, Jacket , and Pants alone would cost is $3500 – and that goes without mentioning the watch peaking out from under his tuxedo jacket, or the shoes that he’s not likely to have picked up in the Macy’s sale section.

Lupita Nyong’o – 2014 – Calvin Klein

A far cry from the signature underwear that peaked out of many-a-90s-kid’s acid wash jeans, Calvin Klein’s creation for stunning young starlet Lupita Nyong’o was the complete opposite of grungy street fashion. Nyong’o’s dress cost an estimated $140,000. The floor length, white masterpiece boasts 6,000 hand-sewn pearls and was famously stolen from the starlet’s hotel room shortly after the ceremony. Had the thief made it into hiding (the dress was recovered), they would have had quite the nest egg for retiring from crime.

Jennifer Lawrence – 2013 – Dior

Jennifer Lawrence may have had one of the most expensive outfits to ever grace the Academy Awards’ red carpet before even considering the cost of jewelry (Chopard) and other expenses (like her Brian Atwood Shoes). The historic fashion house sunk $4 million into Lawrence’s powder-pink, strapless evening gown for the award show. The decision spare no expense was likely a strategic part of their annual marketing campaign, as Lawrence was the face of Dior that year, gracing magazines and billboards in the luxury brand’s finest work. The proverbial crown may have been too heavy for the young actress at the time, as she famously famously toppled forward on the way up the stairs to the podium when accepting her award. Still, a win is a win, and she took home Best Actress that evening.

Nicole Kidman – 1997 – Dior

Fierce with her fire-red hair and beau Tom Cruise at her side, (Pre-Scientology – she had him in his good years, people!) Nicole Kidman’s 1997 Dior gown is my personal favourite on this list. It is the most unique: a beautiful yellow-green dress with jewel tone embroidery at the neck-line and a daring, thigh-high slit up the side of the gown. The outfit is classic and new all at once, and at $2 million, it is one of the most expensive on our list considering that price tag could have only increased over the near two decades that have passed since Kidman debuted the dress.

Common – 2015 – Prada

Chicago born Renaissance man Lonnie Rashid Lynn Jr., better known as Common, is one of the few rapper-turned-actors to have graced the Academy Award red carpet with such poise and style. Donning a picturesque tuxedo by the devil’s favourite designer, his Prada suit was as unorthodox as his artistic credits as far as the award show’s typical attendees go. The jacket, a deep blue, had a velvet finish and was paired with black slacks and a white shirt with a matching bowtie. Comparable tuxedo jackets start at $1595. The unique material and contrast panelling make for time consuming garment construction that could easily qualify Common’s Prada number as one of the most expensive male outfits donned at the Academy Awards in quite some time.

Neil Patrick Harris – 2015 – Brunello Cucinelli

Mr. Cucinelli, Italian couture designer, likes to blend lightweight virgin wool with silk to make his basic suits. If an amen just escaped your lips, we’re echoing each other. The price of making a suit from these choice and very posh materials is certainly charged to the buyer – a getup from this visionary can cost $4,145. Keep in mind that this is for a suit like the one you wear to the office every day and not for the Academy Awards red carpet, where a tuxedo is the standard, and with Neil Patrick Harris’s impeccably tailored outfit, I’d guess the custom work places Mr. Harris as the biggest male spenders in the history of this high class affair.


Nicole Edwards

Nicole Edwards is a fashion and lifestyle writer based in Toronto. She has worked as Associate Publisher of Private Islands magazine and Lifestyle Editor of Style Empire, and has contributed to NOW Magazine.