Over the course of basically two months, Ashley Graham has gone from simply one of the industry’s favorite size-16 model to a full-blown household name after landing her historic Sports Illustrated cover. And now she’s making headlines all over again for her bold choice in Oscar night apparel, serving as a red carpet commentator for E! News in a cutout custom gown created for her by Bao Tranchi, the designer behind some of the super sexy look you’ve seen on stars like Britney Spears, Jennifer Lopez, and Gigi Hadid. People spoke exclusively with Ashley’s stylist, Oscar Montes de Oca, to find out this dress came to be, how Ashley stays looking so gorgeous, and where the supermodel gets her serious body confidence.
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From the moment Ashley tried on her awards show dress, Montes de Oca says she just knew, “This is it,” and a mere five days later the dress was completely built, finished, and ready for the model’s red carpet debut. Graham is clearly one super body positive woman, a trait her stylist loves about her, describing this major fashion moment as, “sexy without being disgusting or vulgar. It was just like ‘This is my body.'” He continues, “I love the fact that Ashley owns her body. She loves her body and she understands how her body works and looks in clothes. I think that’s very respectable. She’s just a beautiful, curvy woman. Why not showcase it? So many women that are a size 14 or 16 are so apprehensive of doing that.” According to Montes de Oca, that extra dose of confidence also means Ashley’s willing to wear more daring outfits like this form-fitting Tranchi gown where “there are little things that peek out or pop out and she’s like ‘Cool! That’s who I am. I look amazing, Let’s do this.'”
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But for her stylist, at the end of the day, it’s still all about flattering this Sports Illustrated Rookie’s body type. He says, “that’s my number one thing, I have to complement those curves, I have to complement those bosoms, I have to complement it all because so many people are apprehensive about a curvy figure. It’s not about hiding, it’s a form of enhancing that amazing, beautiful body that she has.” But most importantly, he says no matter what Ashley’s wearing “the girls” have to be comfortable. While it’s a little hard to imagine that the model’s breasts were even the slightest bit cozy in this strappy cutout bra top, we’ll just have to take her and Oscar’s word for it.
What do you think of Ashley Graham’s dress? What would you like to see her wear next?
–Emily Kirkpatrick, reporting by Blake Bakkila