Janelle Monáe wore a dazzling gown to the Oscars that took hours to make

Janelle Monáe at the Oscars (Photo credit: Bang Media)

Janelle Monáe’s Academy Awards dress featured 168,000 hand-embroidered Swarovski crystals.

The Harriet actress walked the red carpet at Los Angeles’ Dolby Theatre on Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020, wearing a custom metallic tulle mesh A-line gown with a draped hood and open back from Ralph Lauren. The gown was so heavy, it required a team of four people to deliver the outfit to her dressing room.

The spectacular dress – which was teamed with crystal-lacquered silk lamé platform sandals and Forevermark jewelry — took 600 hours to make.

The 34-year-old singer-and-actress’ preparation for the event began on Friday, Feb. 7, 2020, when her hairstylist, Nikki Helms, visited her to wash her natural locks ahead of creating three looks for the red carpet, her performance during the ceremony and the Oscars after-parties.

Speaking to Vanity Fair on Friday, Helms said: “Prepping is everything. So I’ll be using my Maui Moisture shampoo and conditioner tonight. I’ll also be using their hibiscus water detangler.”

But at that point, the pair hadn’t decided on how Monáe would be styled for the big night.

Helms said: “I don’t pre-think about the styles too much. Every moment is different, and every look is different. You don’t want to plan for a look, and then at the last minute it changes, so you’re stuck with a look for the other outfit.

“We think alike, it’s so weird. We’re always on the same page.”

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