Kaia Gerber’s Academy Museum Gala Dress Was a Tribute to Audrey Hepburn

Kaia Gerber’s Academy Museum Gala Dress Was a Tribute to Audrey Hepburn

While deciding what she would wear to the third annual Academy Museum Gala in Los Angeles, which took place on December 3, Kaia Gerber turned to designer Hedi Slimane for help. Slimane, whom the 22-year-old described via e-mail as one of her “greatest teachers,” is the creative director at Celine, where Gerber serves as a brand ambassador. But when it came to the strapless polka-dot dress the Bottoms star chose for her red carpet look, the creative input came from both sides of the aisle.

“I knew I wanted to do something that felt very classic Hollywood,” Gerber said. “I saw a beautiful polka-dot dress that walked Hedi’s first show at Celine and that posed as inspiration for this gown.”

Audrey Hepburn in Sabrina also served as a central point of inspiration for the look. “[Keeping Audrey top of mind] was so interwoven throughout this whole process,” Gerber said of the actress. “I wanted to use her essence, since I have always loved Audrey Hepburn—she was one of the first women who introduced me to cinema and sparked my passion for acting.” Indeed, the tulip shape of Gerber’s taffeta black-and-cream gown calls to the silhouette of Hepburn’s iconic dress—a column with an organza overskirt—designed in 1953.

“For the hair and makeup, I really wanted something that would complement the dress and the era it references without being too on the nose,” Gerber explained, adding an au courant bow in her hair to give the look a dose of modernity. As for accessories, Gerber’s stylist, Danielle Goldberg, pulled Celine slingbacks and a teeny, sparkling minaudière from the French house—which shimmered alongside Gerber’s centerpiece jewelry: a Tiffany & Co. diamond engagement ring worn on her pinky, which matched her diamond stud earrings, also from Tiffany.

Having the opportunity to wear a gown that Hedi and I dreamed up, we wanted to find accessories that married our vision,” Gerber said. “What better way to marry a vision than with a Tiffany’s pinky engagement ring? I loved the tie-in with Audrey there, as well.”

Gerber starred opposite Rachel Sennott and Ayo Edebiri in the comedy Bottoms—and, for the record, is still in touch with her cast mates in a group chat. (“The Letterboxd reviews [of the movie] have been some of our favorite things to share back and forth,” she said. “People are so creative and funny.”) She’s currently gearing up for awards season, and has a few films in mind that she’d love to see take home a trophy. “I can’t speak about films this year without talking about Past Lives, a deeply moving film that is imprinted on my heart and has carried on with me since I watched it,” she said. “Celine Song, Greta Lee—everyone involved in that film captures the human condition with so much raw beauty. I am also gently haunted by Sandra Hüller’s incredible performancein Anatomy of a Fall. And, of course, I have to mention the brave and boundlessly free performances and filmmaking by Emma Stone and Yórgos Lánthimos in Poor Things.”

The one actress Gerber will forever stan just so happened to be the person she was most eager to encounter at the Academy Museum Gala. “I was most excited to see Meryl Streep,” she said. “No explanation necessary.”

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