This Trend's on Its Way Out, From a Major Red Carpet Designer

Gina Marinelli

We’ve all worked crazy hours before, haven’t we? We’ve pull all-nighters for a special presentation or to wrap up a project. And nothing is different when it comes to the red carpet. Award season might be in the rearview mirror, but major fashion events like the Met Gala and the Cannes Film Festival are just a few weeks away, so we took this moment to catch up with the designer who’s been behind so many of the most talked-about red carpet looks. An observation made even more impressive when you find out what it takes to make them.

“The request is done at least three months earlier, if not more,” says Zuhair Murad when we asked him how much time is required for a red carpet look to come together. “The stylist sends us pictures of dresses they like along with a mood board. We start sketching, taking into consideration the celebrity’s personality, silhouette, the general mood of the event, etc. Once approved, we prepare swatches and produce the muslin. After one or two fittings, the production process begins.”

With this in mind, we see his standout pieces from 2017 thus far a little differently. Specifically, his favorites include Chrissy Teigen at the Oscars—“She couldn’t look more perfect, with the dramatic cape-esque detail on the shoulder, the gold embellishment, and the high slit showing off her flawless figure”—and Nina Dobrev at the AMAs embracing her “inner rocker chick.” And as you might recall, Murad also designed Lily Collins’s fairytale-like pink ballgown at the Golden Globes. “She looked like she just stepped out of a fairytale story. Everything about her was screaming royalty from the silhouette to the makeup to the hair to the attitude,” he tells us.

 

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But as intricate—and in Collins’s case, regal—as Murad’s creations are, he actually credits Sofía Vergara’s wedding dress as one of his most intensive projects to date. It required “a very high degree of advanced technical ability” as well as “around three months total (close to 24 hours per day during the last month),” the Lebanese designer tells us.

If you’re wondering why so many women—especially ones with seemingly varying tastes—choose Murad over and over again, the designer explains it best himself. “I am a women’s curves fanatic,” he says. “I try my best with all my designs to enhance and heighten the silhouette whether with décolletage, fabrics, or style.” He also says that currently, a “sheer, figure-hugging bodice with embroidery cinched at the waist” is one of the most in-demand silhouettes, but also makes it clear that creating a perfect dress is all about celebrating the woman who wears it—be it Jennifer Lopez, Tracee Ellis Ross, or Adriana Lima. “The concept of the perfect body has changed throughout the years. I believe all women can look spectacular with the way they accessorize the look as well as with their confidence.”

So what’s next for this go-to craftsman? As far as trends go, he says we’ll likely soon see “less spectacular gowns … less volume, less sheer; more ankle-length dresses and pants.” It seems designs are becoming more modest, more streamlined. But as far as Murad, only expect to see that shift in moderation. “I will never be in a state of mind where I can work on a shapeless loose dress,” he says. And we’re sure his most devoted clients are happier for it.

Check out more celebrity style, including 10 runway-to-red-carpet transformations.

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