Meet the Stylist Behind the Portland-designed Oscar Dress
Chamberlin in her Old Town studio.
Sutner getting fitted for her dress by designer Myriam Marcela.
The shoulder detailing.
Sutner's gown in process.
Sutner prepping in her hotel room.
Sutner on the Oscar's red carpet.
Scarlet Chamberlin’s Old Town styling studio is immaculate: white walls, floor-to-ceiling windows, contrasting color-pop mid-century furniture, and neatly organized displays of ready-to-wear accessories on wall shelves like a quaint minimalistic boutique. After 10 years in the styling industry, 2020 has proven to be one of her busiest yet. Chamberlin took on Laika production head Arianne Sutner as a client to keep her in red carpet outfits as the studio's latest film, Missing Link, racked up both a Golden Globe and Oscar nominations.
The stop-motion animated film, about an 1886 mythical creatures investigator who finds a Sasquatch in the Pacific NW, received a Golden Globe award for Best Animated Feature Film. Then the big invite came, could she attend the 92nd annual Academy Awards to represent the film as it was nominated for Best Animated Feature? “What we the general public don’t necessarily know is that if the person isn’t a celebrity, they’ve got to, for the most part, foot their own bill,” says Chamberlin. “We shopped a lot of sales and thought about what kinds of details, colors, and shapes Arianne wanted to wear. We looked at what accessories she liked that she already owned to maximize those as much as we could.” Chamberlin dressed Sutner for all ten of her red carpet appearances during awards season.
When it came time for the Oscars, Chamberlin wanted to introduce Sutner to wear a locally designed piece and began the process of finding the right fit before moving forward with Myriam Marcela, known for her meticulous tailoring and detail work. “I reached out to a few different local designers, and the person that really resonated with Arianne was Marcela,” she continues. “When I spoke with Marcela she was like, ‘Oh my god, I have the perfect fabric already!’ It was a beautiful baroque jewel-tone fabric glamorous enough for the Oscars. I then talked to her about her signature folding that she does on the sleeves. I was really confident we had a direction.”
With under a month to finish the dress from start to finish, Marcela got to work. The team decided on a classic column silhouette, with Marcela pleating the silk brocade fabric into abstract shoulder detailing reminiscent of intricate spinal cord anatomy. Chamberlin described the warm and caring process, making it clear that she and Marcela’s job is really about making the client feel beautiful and confident. “Marcela wants her girl to feel like a million bucks with such attention to the details. She had this attitude that it’s not the dress that makes you empowered, you are already empowered and the dress is just a way to communicate that.”
On the day of the Oscars, Chamberlin took an early flight to LAX. By the time she got to the hotel, she had only about 45 minutes with Arianne before she had to leave for the event. “By the time I got there, it really was just about hair and makeup. She had the jewelry lined up and the dress ready to put on,” she says on prepping Sutner to head down the famed red carpet. Though Missing Link lost out to Toy Story 4 the experience was all a blast. “I think sometimes it can be a lot more stressful, but she was so prepared. Dressing her, for me and Marcela, was a dream come true.”