There was no doubt that Meryl Streep would be garnering plenty of attention during the Oscars — after all, she’s collecting her 20th nomination, for Florence Foster Jenkins. What was slightly more surprising? That the buzz would revolve around what she would — or wouldn’t — be wearing.
Friday, Chanel creative director Karl Lagerfeld griped to WWD that he had been in the process of creating a custom Chanel gown for Streep’s Oscars appearance when she suddenly passed on his work in favor of, in his words, a designer who would pay her to wear their work, which Lagerfeld said was against Chanel policy. “A genius actress, but cheapness also, no?” he said to the fashion publication.
Streep’s team at first batted down the claims, but as the story continued to get picked up, Chanel clarified that although the couture house had been in discussions to dress Streep, she had never committed, and Streep struck back at the accusations that she was getting paid much more strongly.
“In reference to Mr. Lagerfeld’s ‘statement,’ there is no ‘controversy’: Karl Lagerfeld, a prominent designer, defamed me, my stylist, and the illustrious designer whose dress I chose to wear, in an important industry publication,” Streep said in a statement to PEOPLE. “That publication printed this defamation, unchecked. Subsequently, the story was picked up globally, and continues, globally, to overwhelm my appearance at the Oscars, on the occasion of my record breaking 20th nomination, and to eclipse this honor in the eyes of the media, my colleagues and the audience.
“I do not take this lightly, and Mr. Lagerfeld’s generic ‘statement’ of regret for this ‘controversy’ was not an apology. He lied, they printed the lie, and I am still waiting,” she said.
Watch the PEOPLE & EW Red Carpet Live Oscars pre-show on Feb. 26 at 5 p.m. ET/2 p.m. PT on the People/Entertainment Weekly Network (PEN). Go to PEOPLE.com/PEN, or download the app on your favorite device. Then watch our Red Carpet Fashion Wrap-Up after the Oscars!’
So what did she wear instead of that controversial Chanel gown? A custom embellished Elie Saab Haute Couture gown in a midnight blue shade featuring an off-the-shoulder neckline. She accessorized the look with a custom Charlotte Olympia clutch.
The Academy Awards kicks off live on ABC on Sunday, Feb. 26, with a 7 p.m. ET pre-show and 8:30 p.m. ceremony. See all the Oscar nominees and get your own ballot here!
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