Michelle Williams’s Chanel Oscars Gown Took Over 900 Hours to Create

As a Best Actress nominee at last night’s Oscars, Michelle Williams was one of the ceremony’s most-anticipated leading ladies. Along with being acknowledged for her role as Mitzi in Steven Spielberg’s The Fabelmans (a fictional character based on Spielberg’s real-life mother), Williams says her favorite part of the night was being able to celebrate the cast and crew who made the film possible. “When we made this movie, we existed as a family: We were the Fabelmans,” says Williams. “Being able to see each other through awards season has kept me close to the people I love so dearly. Steven, Tony, Paul, Gabe, Seth—they gave me a seminal experience on a personal and professional level, and they will always be in my heart.”

While the Oscars were the grand finale event to this year’s awards season, Williams admits that she will continue to find it difficult to detach herself from her character—even now that the film’s press tour is officially over. Mostly, because the character taught her some valuable real-life lessons. “She taught me how to engage more deeply in this present moment. Her ability to play with her children, spark their imaginations, and build their wonder for the world will continue to inspire my mothering,” says Williams. “Her radical adherence to selfhood, in a time when she must have stood so alone in her decision to follow her heart, continues to resonate for me.”

Williams may have spent her Oscars night celebrating her critically-acclaimed film, but her fashion look worn on the red carpet before the ceremony demanded just as much fanfare. Williams collaborated with her longtime stylist Kate Young on an ethereal white gown, made by Chanel Couture. “[Young’s] perspective is what I always lean into and learn from,” says Williams. “We’ve been together so long, and her style and intelligence are my guiding principles.” Together, along with designer Virginie Viard, they landed on a white bustier dress and sheer cape made of silk-chiffon, cadi and tulle. “Wearing Chanel felt like a dream come true,” says Willians. “It’s a fairy tale moment and the dress felt utterly effortless, while at the same time being incomparably glamorous.” 

Embroidered with silver and white sequins, strass crystals, and pearls, it’s easy to understand why it felt so glamorous to wear. The back featured a white satin bow, and an embroidered silk-tulle cape was worn overtop. The whole ensemble took over 900 hours to create. Williams loved its intricate construction—but it was its sense of whimsy that won her over. “The glittering details of the cape felt like stars fallen from the sky,” says Williams. “The embroidery was so gorgeous, and I felt lucky to wear such a special gown, made and designed by a team of incredible artisans.”

Below, a closer look at Williams’s Chanel Oscars look.