had one week to stitch outfit that could be seen by millions at
Revenant actor Duane Howard commissioned Dorothy Grant to
design his Academy Awards tuxedo. (Dorothy Grant/Facebook)
It's a designer's dream to dress a celebrity for the Academy
Awards, but most designers couldn't step up to the challenge of
stitching together an outfit on one week's notice.
That's exactly what happened to Haida designer Dorothy Grant,
who was asked to outfit The Revenant actor, Duane Howard.
The opportunity to design for Howard came as a surprise, since
six weeks ago he wasn't even invited to the event. Howard told Grant
that he approached Leonardo Dicaprio to demand an invite, arguing
the need to have indigenous representation at the Oscars.
"He said [to Leonardo], 'I'm sharing this award with First
Nations, Native Americans and the indigenous people of the world.'"
Grant recalled Howard telling her.
"Lo and behold only a week ago he was invited to the Oscars,"
I'm so happy he chose to wear my tuxedo'
Before becoming a fashion designer, Grant was a fabric artist,
regalia maker, and Haida artist. In the 1980s she turned heads when
she started incorporating her Haida art with her clothing designs.
In 2015 the Vancouver-based designer received an Order of Canada,
and she continues to be a role model for young indigenous designers
With only a week to design an outfit for Howard, Grant is proud
of her accomplishment.
actor Duane Howard with Haida fashion designer Dorothy Grant,
who is designing his tuxedo for the Academy Awards. (Dorothy
"It was a lot of work. We had to fast kick into action,
and make it up for him really, really quickly. Believe me that was
record time, but I did it."
The final look will be revealed on the Oscars red carpet, but
Grant said Howard will be wearing a tuxedo that boasts his Nuu-chah-nulth
heritage with eagle and raven artwork on the lapel.
"The whole final look on him is absolutely exquisite,
with a white arrow point tuxedo shirt, fine pleats in the front,
with really nice black jeweled buttons on the tuxedo shirt, and
nice cufflinks," said Grant.
"I just fitted the suit to him impeccably."
With the outfit complete, Grant hopes the world will get a chance
to see her design, but is skeptical Howard will receive the airtime
"Hollywood can be a very fickle place, like the fashion
world is they could choose to showcase him or they could
choose not to," said Grant.
If The Revenant does win the award for best picture, Grant and
Howard have a plan that will guarantee her design will be seen.
As the crew is running to the stage to accept the award, Grant instructed
Howard to "make sure you wiggle your way right to the front."
Behind the glitz and glam, Grant said Howard's presence at the
Oscars means a lot more about the role of indigenous people in cinema.
|'The final fitting
was very emotional
for me, because it was a realization he was representing all
the First Nations and they're so proud of him, and it was an
accumulation of a lot of years.'
-Dorothy Grant, Haida clothing designer
"The final fitting
was very emotional for me, because
it was a realization he was representing all the First Nations and
they're so proud of him, and it was an accumulation of a lot of
"How far we've come, as First Nations people to arrive
at a success, and here I am dressing him, and my name will be with
him, so I felt like I was collaborating on the largest platform
I've ever been on I'm so proud of him, I'm so happy he chose
to wear my tuxedo," said Grant.
Over the years Grant has designed for other well-known clients,
including Wes Studi, Rita Coolidge, Mary Louise Parker and Michael