Hailee Steinfeld definitely had a Cinderella moment at the Academy Awards a few weeks ago, as she glided down the biggest red carpet of the year in a gorgeous hand-painted floral Ralph & Russo couture creation. But all wasn’t as it seemed, she later admits, as she suffered a minor wardrobe malfunction before she even entered the theater.
“The dress was so beautiful and so delicate,” she tells PeopleStyle over the weekend in New York City, where she was celebrating her new campaign for the surf brand Reef. “Putting that dress on, I was like, I don’t want to move. But [my stylists] Rob Zangardi and Mariel Haenn were like, ‘Just relax. Have fun. Just kill it.’ When I got on red carpet, there was a tiny little tear in the dress. And I’m like, ‘It’s too delicate for me!’”
We told her we couldn’t see it. “I know, good, thanks,” she says. “But if you go look, you’ll see it.”
Behold, she was right (look just above her waist, on her left side):
The tear “was getting bigger and bigger as I went down the carpet, because anytime anyone stepped on the train, it would just rip more and more,” she tells us. “There was a point where I was awkwardly holding my hand to try and hide it as it was getting bigger.”
It was a catastrophe, she says, especially because she knew she had to get on stage to present Best Animated Feature Film alongside Gael Garcia Bernal during the live show.
“I ran to this wonderful woman who was backstage in the wardrobe department,” says Steinfeld. “Basically, she cut a piece off the back of the dress and sewed it on to the front of the dress to make it look like it was just part of the dress. By the time I presented you couldn’t tell. It was a nightmare. It’s stressful and the clock’s ticking and everybody’s running around. It was a lot.”
But she didn’t let a tiny thing like that get in the way of her having a great night. “I was really honored to wear this,” she says. “It was so gorgeous.”
Later, she attended the Vanity Fair after-party in an equally dazzling design, also by Ralph & Russo. This one was even more fragile—it featured over 145,000 crystals and sequins hand-embroidered onto it “and the sheer lining was dyed to match her skin, so the dress looked extra-delicate,” Tamara Ralph, who designed the gown alongside her partner Michael Russo, tells PeopleStyle. “This one took about four months to make with all the embroidery work.”
“It weighed so much,” says Steinfeld. “It felt like you were carrying something, and it changes your posture and changes the way you walk and the way you feel.”
As for any malfunctions, she said didn’t have another “nightmare” that night. Luckily!