O vestido de cisne usado por Björk no Oscar causou alvoroço. Mas ele virou o jogo completamente.
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A controversial dress
Much about the 2001 Oscars ceremony played out as expected. Julia Roberts won for Erin Brockovich, taking home the statuette for best actress. Gladiator won best picture, disappointing those hoping for an upset with Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. When Marcia Gay Harden beat out frontrunner Kate Hudson for best supporting actress, it was a rare moment of surprise.
But the biggest shock that night, 20 years ago, happened outside the auditorium, on the red carpet, when the Icelandic musician Björk appeared wearing a dress that resembled a swan. Her accessories were a trail of eggs, that she "laid" as she walked down the red carpet.
Anyone familiar with Björk – nominated that year for best original song for I've Seen it All from Lars von Trier's Dancing In The Dark (in which she also starred) – would know she wasn't likely to show up in a classic black gown. A few weeks earlier at the Golden Globes, she'd worn an outfit featuring Michael Jackson's face in sequins, accessorized with an owl-shaped handbag. And yet no-one expected this – and the reactions were vicious.
20 years later, it doesn't seem such a dumb choice after all. Instead, Björk's dress – by Macedonian designer Marjan Pejoski – has gone down as one of the most iconic Oscar outfits ever. Julia Roberts' vintage Valentino might have topped the best-dressed lists in 2001 but, two decades later, it's Björk's outfit that everyone remembers.
For a while, the dress was a punchline in popular culture, inspiring endless parodies – including when Ellen DeGeneres wore a copy to host the 2001 Emmys. But in 2014 Valentino showed a reimagined version of the dress in a couture collection. In 2015, it was exhibited as part of MoMA's Björk show, and in 2019 it featured in The Met's Camp: Notes On Fashion. The dress even has its own Wikipedia page.
This was Björk's first appearance at the ceremony. If the fashion critics thought the outfit was a mistake, Björk showed no regrets. She wore the dress on the cover of her album Vespertine later that year, and it became part of her tour costume. In 2005 she auctioned the original off in aid of Oxfam, raising US$ 9,500.
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A long dress worn on formal occasions.
To go down (phrasal verb)
To be recorded or remembered in a particular way.
The final phrase or sentence of a joke or story, providing the humor or some other crucial element; an element used in jokes.
To auction something off (phrasal verb)
To sell something to the person who offers the most money for it.