You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Fashion Flashback: Salma Hayek Dissects Her Favorite Oscar Red Carpet Looks

When Salma Hayek came to the States, she faced a lot of rejection. “I was rejected over and over, and everybody told me, ‘You will never make it in this town. You’re Mexican, you have an accent,’” she says. Nevertheless, she persisted, and with 2002’s “Frida,” Hayek became the first and only Mexican woman to be nominated in the lead actress category — and the iconic painter remains her biggest artistic inspiration. “I learned that this woman woke up every morning with pain,” says Hayek, who shows an empathetic side in “Beatriz at Dinner.” “[Frida Kahlo] had so many things going against her, and yet she found a will to say, ‘I am my best work of art.’”

Hayek’s first time presenting at the Oscars was a milestone. “Not everybody wanted to give a dress to the new Mexican girl, and I couldn’t afford one, so I was very lucky that Giorgio Armani offered,” says Hayek, who topped the look with a tiara from Cartier. “My publicist begged me: ‘You’re going to be the laughing stock of the town. People don’t wear tiaras!’” But Hayek held her ground — and it paid off. “They became trendy!” she says. “And I got a call from Mick Jagger who said, ‘I loved your look — I loved the tiara,’ and I was very pleased with myself for just doing my own thing.”

The year of her “Frida” nomination is Hayek’s favorite — despite a dress mishap. The day before, she did a final fitting of a sequin Narciso Rodriguez design that’d been embroidered in India. “I bent down to pick up something,” Hayek recalls, “and it ripped right in the middle of my ass!” She set out to find another dress— though they were all taken. “So I was really good friends with another girl that was nominated, Renee Zellweger,” she says. “And this dress was one of her choices that was rejected by her.” That the comfy Carolina Herrera gown came from Zellweger made it even more special: “It felt like a bonding with the other nominee, and I was very happy with my dress.”

Hayek worked with Prada the year she presented with close friend Penelope Cruz. “We think alike, and we have a lot of weird coincidences,” she says. To avoid wearing a similar outfit, the two conferred first on the phone. “So we put all this effort into what we were wearing. … We show up at the Oscars, and we’re wearing the same hair!” Afterward, Hayek went to a party at Prince’s place. “He said, ‘OK, that’s my favorite dress you ever wore.’” she says. “ So I have a special place in my heart for this one.”

“I was not supposed to go to L.A. for this Oscars,” says Hayek, who changed her plans to honor Jeffrey Katzenberg. “So I had like a day again to pick an outfit, and I was so sick.” She’d tried on this dress for a recent occasion, only it hadn’t fit. Optimistically, she tried it again. “And again, it didn’t fit me,” she says. “And I said, ‘Can you redo it in two days?’ And the genius team at Alexander McQueen just made it happen.”

Hayek didn’t originally think this second McQueen dress was spectacular enough. “And then when I tried it on, I loved the femininity and simplicity of it.” Whereas she’d previously sought to make a statement, this move toward simplicity is how she’d define her journey. “I guess I’ve had a good run at using my imagination to do so many things,” she says. “I don’t need to express it solely on the red carpet.”

More Film

  • Laurene Powell Jobs

    Laurene Powell Jobs Invests in Reese Witherspoon's Hello Sunshine

    Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine has received funding from Laurene Powell Jobs’ Emerson Collective and a subsequent investment from Otter Media. The strategic investments, announced on Wednesday, are designed to support two-year-old Hello Sunshine’s growth in the creation of stories celebrating women and distributed across multiple platforms. The values of the investments were not disclosed. Related [...]

  • Brian Tyree Henry They Cloned Tyrone

    Brian Tyree Henry to Star in 'They Cloned Tyrone' for Macro (EXCLUSIVE)

    “Atlanta” star Brian Tyree Henry is in negotiations to star in the thriller “They Cloned Tyrone” for Macro, sources tell Variety. “Creed 2” scribe Juel Taylor is on board to direct and will co-write the script with Tony Rettenmaier. Macro will produce. Related Salma Hayek on How Parkland Students' Activism Connects to #MeToo Movement Javier [...]

  • Wolfgang Puck Governors Ball Food

    Wolfgang Puck Dishes on 25 Years of Governors Ball

    The evening of March 24, 2002, was unseasonably cool in Los Angeles. It was the night of the 74th Academy Awards, and the first to be held at the newly completed Kodak Theatre in Hollywood. As the show’s honorees began arriving at the venue and walking the red carpet, temperatures were dipping as low as [...]

  • Charles D. King, Producer'Sorry to Bother

    Charles King's Macro Signs First-Look Deal at Warner Bros. Pictures

    Charles D. King’s media company Macro has entered a first-look deal with Warner Bros. Pictures Group to develop and package feature films. Warners Bros. will have the option to co-finance the projects from the producer of “Mudbound,” who will retain international rights to all films under the deal. Related Salma Hayek on How Parkland Students' [...]

  • Kristine Belson Sony Animation

    How Kristine Belson Turned Up the Heat at Sony’s Sleepy Animation Shop

    “There are mimosas upstairs,” a staffer reminds Sony Pictures Animation president Kristine Belson on a recent Friday in her sunny and serene office, just a brisk walk from the studio lot in Culver City, Calif. Belson waves off the offer. “Not today,” she responds politely. She cites a packed schedule of home entertainment meetings, as [...]

  • Dean DeBlois'How to Train Your Dragon:

    How Dean DeBlois Broke New Ground in Sequel Strategy for 'Dragon' Trilogy

    As with practically every North American kid of his generation, Dean DeBlois had his mind blown by the original “Star Wars” trilogy. DeBlois — who was born in the tiny town of Aylmer, Quebec, where “Hollywood seemed so, so far away” — had just turned 7 when the first “Star Wars” movie opened in summer [...]

  • Dean DeBlois Chris Sanders Mulan Disney

    For 'How to Train Your Dragon's' Dean DeBlois, Animated Features Were His Destiny

    “How to Train Your Dragon” director Dean DeBlois grew up wanting to be a comic-book artist. After meandering his way through fine-arts classes at Sheridan College for a year, however, he managed to get into the school’s summer animation program, where he found his calling. “Animation had everything I love about comic books — you [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content