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Caitriona Balfe's Oscars Look Was Inspired by Cristóbal Balenciaga With “a Touch of Grace Kelly"

She also paired the retro ensemble with a Van Cleef & Arpels necklace from 1957.

Photo Credit: Greg Williams for Van Cleef & Arpels

When selecting her gown for the 2022 Oscars, Caitriona Balfe looked to the past for inspiration, taking her styling cues from one of the most iconic actresses in Hollywood history: Grace Kelly.

The Belfast star managed to perfectly capture the aesthetic of silver screen sirens of yesteryear in a custom white column dress by Louis Vuitton featuring bejeweled straps and a peplum that descended into a ruffled train. She completed the look with a Van Cleef & Arpels heritage necklace, as well as diamond earrings, a bracelet, and a ring from the brand. Balfe explained to Vanity Fair that, “The inspiration for tonight’s look was 1950s and ‘60s Cristobal Balenciaga creations.” It was during this time period that late couturier became synonymous with gowns designed to showcase a woman's figure in unique ways, relying on large prints or enveloping the body in columns to abstract the silhouette. She added that she specifically “wanted Nicolas [Ghesquière, Louis Vuitton's creative director] to play with that.”

Photo Credit: Greg Williams for Van Cleef & Arpels

Balfe was enamored with the final look the designer came up with, but noted that her favorite aspect was “how this beautiful silk taffeta back met with the crystal straps and flowed out into this beautiful architectural train.” But, of course, no Academy Awards ensemble would be complete without some jaw-dropping pieces of jewelry to go with it. The actor's heritage Van Cleef & Arpels necklace was a particular standout as she pointed out that it's “a beautiful statement piece from 1957. It just fit so perfectly with my inspiration of '50s Balenciaga with a touch of Grace Kelly and we accented it with gorgeous diamond earrings, bracelet, and ring.”

Photo Credit: Greg Williams for Van Cleef & Arpels

The actor may have been channeling old Hollywood on Sunday night, but when it comes to who she considers her favorite red carpet trendsetter, it's one of her contemporaries. “I think Zoë Kravitz always looks amazing,” Balfe revealed, “chic and cool.” And in terms of how she prepared for the biggest night in movies, the Outlander star says she prefers to keep it surprisingly simple. “The only ritual I have is I try and eat before I leave…because it’s a long day and ages before you see food again!!”

Photo Credit: Greg Williams for Van Cleef & Arpels

Although the ceremony did not have quite as many snacks available as Balfe would like, she added that she was “looking forward to celebrating with my Belfast family. It’ll be the last time we’ll all be together...and we’ve been on such a ride with this film. It’ll be so lovely to celebrate properly.”

Photo Credit: Greg Williams for Van Cleef & Arpels

And they certainly had much to celebrate as the film and its writer, Kenneth Branagh, took home the award for best original screenplay. But while Belfast holds a special place in her heart, the actor added that she “loved so many of the films this year…Dune was stunning, Coda was so heartwarming, but even though it didn’t get a best picture nod The Lost Daughter was my favorite.”

Read all about Catrino Balfe's look via Vanity Fair.



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The Wall Street Journal takes a closer look at the legendary Manhattan boarding house, where Grace Kelly lived before she graced the silver screen.

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