For Zoe Saldaña, the 2023 Oscars presented an opportunity to join the sustainability discussion and incorporate practices into her life — starting with the pinnacle red carpet.
As an ambassador for Suzy Amis Cameron’s RCGD Global, the Academy’s official sustainability partner, and an awards presenter, the Avatar: The Way of Water star accessorized a Fall 2022 Fendi Couture mesh and lace-paneled slip-gown with vintage Cartier jewels.
“I love that idea of loving beautiful pieces with a history. There is a beauty in the doable, simple things for me,” Saldaña tells The Hollywood Reporter, referring to dazzling 18K white gold and diamond pendant ear clips and a cultured pearl and diamond statement ring. (Her Pluie de Cartier Arabesque collar necklace is vintage-inspired.)
Saldaña also carried a Tyler Ellis Lee Pouchet envelope clutch, which was handcrafted by indigenous, and mostly female, artisans at a family-owned factory in Italy. The bag is constructed from PFC-free satin and leather from ethical tanneries. “What strikes me as really relatable is that sustainability inspires us to ask a few more questions, probe a little deeper, and go beyond the aesthetic,” she adds.
The Fabelmans’ Chloe East and Avatar co-star Bailey Bass joined Saldaña as ambassadors this year.
“Everyone has a different message,” says RCGD Global CEO Samata Pattinson, who also authored the Oscars Sustainable Red Carpet Fashion guide. East wanted to resonate with her Gen Z audience, “in a way that’s relatable and doesn’t feel judgy,” explains Pattinson. For East’s sweetheart neckline and drop-waist ballgown, Monique Lhuillier modified remnant fabric from an archival dress and integrated sustainability-sourced and produced TENCEL Luxe into a bow-flourish at the back.
To custom design Bass’ Old Hollywood-referential lantern-sleeve gown, “Zac Posen essentially came out of retirement,” says Pattinson. “We used a biodegradable TENCEL textile in a cream ivory: a non-toxic, clean and safe dye. We really want simplicity and clean fashion with hers.” Bass also wore emerald green vintage Posen to the preceding Red Carpet Green Dress Gala.
The trio joins conscious-minded A-listers like Cate Blanchett, who’s been championing a reuse and rewear approach all awards season. As an Oscars finale, the Tár star stunned in a Nicolas Ghesquière for Louis Vuitton confection, with a draped capelet top created from an archival piece and a skirt cut from sustainable silk. Stars who wore vintage rather than newly made looks at the 95th Academy Academy awards included Vanessa Hudgens, Winnie Harlow and Rooney Mara, in a dress from the Alexander McQueen archives.
“When you have millions of people tuning in, you are given an opportunity to give them something interesting without coming at it to judge them, [but] simply to engage and interest them,” says Saldaña. “The ceremony is a celebration and why can’t that be a celebration of sustainable design talent, too? To me that is interesting and nuanced. It’s cool.”