Kerry Washington Dons Whitney Houston's Iconic 1996 Red Velvet Dress At ABFF Awards

Kerry Washington Dons Whitney Houston's Iconic 1996 Red Velvet Dress At ABFF Awards
Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Photo by Presley Ann

Kerry Washington paid homage to an icon at the 2023 American Black Film Festival Awards. On Sunday, the actress attended the Awards while channeling the I Wanna Dance With Somebody singer in a red velvet Marc Bouwer dress originally worn by Houston at the BET Walk of Fame Awards Gala in 1996. Styled by Law Roach, the red body-con dress featured delicate ruching and a halter neckline. 

Ahead of the event, Washington shared a video of herself lip-syncing the famous "Nothing, nothing, nothing" refrain from Houston's song I Have Nothing in response to the question, "What's cooler than wearing Whitney Houston's dress?"



"No lies told. Whitney Houston’s ACTUAL @marcbouwer dress she wore in 1996. Sooooooo incredibly special. #ABFFAwards here I come!" she captioned the post. Fans flooded the comments to praise the actress for such a beautiful ode to the late singer. One Instagram user wrote, “Now this is COOL,” and another commented, “Let me get that when you’re done, Kerry.” A third wrote, “Wow that’s amazing Whitney’s dress looks beautiful on you. ❤️”

Washington's stylist for the occasion, Law Roach, also took to Instagram to celebrate the look, posting a photo of Washington wearing the dress as she prepared for the awards show and another of Houston in the dress performing onstage. "And then THIS happened…Thank you @marcbouwer for letting me go into your archives and borrow Whitney’s dress for @kerrywashington. #fLAWless," Roach wrote. Bouwer responded to the award-winning Image Architect's post, writing, "MAJOR. Thank you Law! @kerrywashington ♥️♥️"



The Marc Bouwer gown, with ruched details throughout, went down to her ankles, and the celebrity stylist paired her dress with a set of bright red pumps to match. The ensemble was further elevated with diamond stud earrings and large diamond rings, which were a part of the Gismondi 1754 jewelry collection, according to Page Six. Washington's red manicure matched her dress; as for makeup, she opted for shimmering silver eye shadow, pink blush, and a rosy nude lip. Her hair was down in silky waves with a side part.

Whitney first wore the dress 27 years ago when she performed at the BET Walk of Fame Awards. Whitney looked just like Kerry, but she accessorized with dazzling diamond jewels, curly hair, a glossy dark red lip, and a smokey eye.

The borrowing of archival looks for the red carpet has become somewhat more common in recent years. Notably, fashion fans may remember when Kim Kardashian made waves—and ruffled conservators' feathers—when she donned Marilyn Monroe's famous "Happy Birthday, Mr. President" gown to wear to the 2022 Met Gala. While Kardashian's move drew ire for risking potential harm to a historical garment, Washington's selection is proving far less controversial. Nonetheless, for fans of Washington and Houston, there's no denying that the fashion mashup was definitely swoon-worthy

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