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The SAG Award winner has been wearing bold colors throughout award season to give "motivation and hope towards a better future"

By Kaitlyn Frey
April 05, 2021 10:55 AM
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Viola Davis by Jahmad Balugo for Louis Vuitton.jpg
Credit: Jahmad Balugo for Louis Vuitton

Viola Davis has continuously brought bold, bright colors to this year's virtual award season, and the 2021 Screen Actors Guild Awards was no different.

The Ma Rainey's Black Bottom actress, who took home the SAG Award for outstanding performance by a female actor in a leading role on Sunday night, and her stylist Elizabeth Stewart intentionally selected the electric green hue for her custom Louis Vuitton column gown as a symbol of positivity.

"The brightness and color is symbolic. It provides motivation and hope towards a better future," Stewart tells PEOPLE.

For more on the 2021 SAG Awards, listen below to the episode of PEOPLE Every Day!

The stylist explains that they worked very closely to select this chartreuse hue. "We looked at a lot of minutely different fabric swatches to find this exact shade," Stewart says.

Viola Davis Louis Vuiton 2021 SAG award dress
Credit: Gregoire Vieille/Courtesy Louis Vuiton
All the Details Behind Viola Davis' 'Spectacular and Subtly Quirky' 2021 SAG Awards Dress
Credit: Gregoire Vieille/Courtesy Louis Vuiton

The design process began with the French fashion house sending over ideas for two different dresses, which they ultimately decided to combine for the final look. "Louis Vuitton sent two sketches. One had this incredible color. We put the two together and all it needed was Viola to bring it to life," says Stewart.

Davis' custom silk-crepe confection features hidden shoulder padding to accentuate the silhouette and complex embroidery. According to Louis Vuitton, it took more than 140 hours to embroider the dress with over 10,000 gold and silver metallic sequins bonded together on the fabric to form a geometric motif.

Viola Davis Louis Vuiton 2021 SAG award dress
Credit: Gregoire Vieille/Courtesy Louis Vuiton
Viola Davis Louis Vuiton 2021 SAG award dress
Credit: Gregoire Vieille/Courtesy Louis Vuiton
Viola Davis Louis Vuiton 2021 SAG award dress
Credit: Gregoire Vieille/Courtesy Louis Vuiton

The "spectacular color and subtly quirky details" are what make this one-of-a-kind gown stand out in Stewart's mind.  

After debuting her dress on social media, Davis showed off the elegant gown during the SAG Awards broadcast when she accepted her award for outstanding performance by a female actor in a leading role. Davis, 55, sweetly kissed her husband Julius Tennon before accepting the award for her performance in Netflix's Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, thanking the writer, August Wilson and the "beautiful Chadwick Boseman."

"Thank you, August for leaving a legacy to actors of color that we can relish for the rest of our life," Davis said, while also thanking her fellow nominees Carey Mulligan, Amy Adams, Vanessa Kirby and Frances McDormand.

"I couldn't have been in better company, thank you so much," she said of her fellow nominees.

This win marks the fifth SAG Award win for Davis, who most recently won the supporting actress trophy in 2017 for Fences. She went on to win Oscar gold that year.