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Danielle Brooks Stuns in Dolce & Gabbana’s “Deconstructed Tuxedo” Oscar Gown

Best supporting actress nominee Danielle Brooks hit the Oscars red carpet wearing a Dolce & Gabbana satin corset gown.

The Color Purple star — who looks radiant in the black dress featuring a dramatic leg slit — has been working with star stylist Jennifer Austin for less than six months, but the relationship has quickly evolved from friends and colleagues to a sensibility that felt only familial.

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“From the first moment, we felt like sisters,” Austin tells The Hollywood Reporter. “I had met her a few times, and I’ve always been a fan of hers, from Orange is the New Black to when I would see her performing in The Color Purple or The Piano Lesson in New York. She’s so talented and has such an incredible energy, so when my agent called to ask whether I wanted to take this meeting, my response was ‘Absolutely!'”

Austin became a member of Brooks’ team once the SAG-AFTRA strike was resolved in November, an event that enabled the cast of The Color Purple to appear at the film’s Los Angeles premiere in early December. “All of a sudden it was go time,” Austin remembers of the quick pivot to dressing Brooks for the film’s press run and premieres. “We came out of the gate swinging, and it’s been a wonderful ride since.”

Danielle Brooks
Danielle Brooks in custom Dolce & Gabbana.

With the 2024 awards season on the horizon, Austin began reaching out to a variety of brands she knew would be inclusive and excited about dressing Brooks, a plus-size actress who’s been consistently nominated this season, from the Golden Globes and Critics Choice to the BAFTA and SAG Awards, as well as the Grammys, where she picked up a win alongside her cast mates from The Color Purple. Brooks’ season has been capped by an Oscars 2024 nomination for her role as Sofia in the musical film based on Alice Walker’s iconic novel.

“Danielle is my plus-size doll, and this industry is not always forgiving when you’re not a certain body type,” Austin says. “But she’s comfortable with the woman she is, and she owns it. This season we also have both Danielle and Da’Vine Joy Randolph, two plus-sized dolls with curves on this incredible platform. I love working with someone who proves that no matter whether you’re a size 2 or a size 20, we all can be gorgeous and fashion-forward out here.”

Brands including Herve Leger and Hanifa have worked with Austin on Brooks’ looks throughout awards season.

For the 96th Annual Academy Awards, Austin turned to another house that also has created stunning looks for the actress: Dolce & Gabbana. “They’re one of the leaders when it comes to fit in a gown, while their attention to detail — to the construction, including the construction underneath, the corset, the silhouette, everything — is incredible. I knew they would give her what she wanted to look like.”

Brooks is wearing a custom black Dolce & Gabbana satin corset gown that Austin calls “a deconstructed tuxedo, but in dress form.” (See all the star-studded Oscars red carpet 2024 arrivals.)

Details include corset boning, a dropped-waist cummerbund, an oversized bow that leads to a lengthy train and a high front slit. “Dolce & Gabbana is so great at black sexy, they have it down,” Austin says. “But what they created for her, even I was quite surprised when I first saw it. The slit is so high, and she’s going to be all about skin and arms and legs. It’s going to be such a beautiful moment for her.”

And make no mistake, the design is a genuine collaboration between star, stylist and fashion house. “Danielle absolutely loves fashion,” Austin notes. “She put together mood boards for me, which has never happened with a client before, but it’s because she’s so excited by her looks, and it’s always easier to work with someone who brings that level of enthusiasm.”

Once Austin knew the vibe Brooks was thinking, she approached Dolce & Gabbana as the ideal house for Oscar night.

“When they design something for you, the level of sketches you get is amazing,” Austin says. “They gave us options, we went back to them with inspiration photos Danielle had given me, and they went back and re-sketched based on that. They also come with an incredible team; at the first fitting, we had two tailors, a seamstress and a handler, and they made her feel so special. It’s a level of attention and caring for Danielle that we both appreciated so much.” Austin completed Brooks’ ensemble with roughly 84 carats of De Beers diamond jewelry, a Dolce & Gabbana evening bag and pearl-accented sandals by Betsey Johnson.

Danielle Brooks - Dolce & Gabbana - Gown - Oscars 2024 - Sketch
Dolce & Gabbana’s sketch for Danielle Brooks’ gown for the 2024 Oscars

Ultimately Austin believes the resulting look plays an integral role in how the actress will be feeling once she steps on the Oscars 2024 red carpet, but it’s only one element contributing to Brooks’ state of mind. “She’s been enjoying her fashion and her looks this entire season with such an incredible spirit and energy,” Austin says. “Danielle is just so happy and grateful to be at this place at this point in her life; she’s in a beautiful place right now.”

See more of the best fashion and beauty looks, check out THR‘s full Oscars issue and follow all of our Oscars 2024 coverage for the winners, memorable moments and what the cameras missed.

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