Addison Rae is feeling daring. “I never want to put myself in a box,” the TikTok star said shortly after arriving at the CFDA Awards. “I enjoy trying new things and taking chances.” Rae’s latest outfit choices reflect her daring spirit, as opposed to the Instagram-friendly minis and slips she wore when she first broke out in 2019. She made a statement this weekend at the LACMA Art and Film Gala in Los Angeles, standing out among the sea of Gucci-clad guests in vintage Jean Louis Scherrer couture. Rae did a complete 180 at the CFDA Awards in New York City, arriving at Cipriani in gothic Gareth Pugh, complete with cape and cowl.
Both pieces were sourced from the Los Angeles vintage outpost Lily et Cie and are the result of a collaboration between Rae and stylist Ryan Hastings. Hastings, the man behind Rooney Mara’s, Robert Pattinson’s, and Carey Mulligan’s esoteric awards season looks, thinks outside the box when it comes to event dressing. Rae credits him with assisting her in dressing confidently. “The process has been flawless; I simply believe in his vision,” she says. “[Ryan] never hesitates to ask me what I feel most confident and comfortable in, and I believe that’s why everything reads so well.” I am confident. And Ryan makes it easy for me to get there.”
Rae met Lily et Cie’s fashion legend founder, Rita Watnick, through Hastings, whose collection of exceptional runway pieces from the past century has enriched the wardrobes of stars such as Margot Robbie, Jennifer Aniston, Winona Ryder, and Kim Kardashian. Watnick knows a thing or two about creating a viral moment, having provided Kardashian with Alexander McQueen’s iconic spring 2003 ‘Oyster’ dress for her trip to the Vanity Fair Oscars party in 2020. Rae, on the other hand, was not on her radar until the 22-year-old visited the Beverly Hills store.
“Ryan and I had dressed a lot of people together, so when he said he had a client going to LACMA, I didn’t even ask who it was,” Watnick explained over the phone from Los Angeles. “I learned more about her background only after she left.” Finally, regardless of who it is, you want to match the person and the dress in a way that allows them to be their best.”
Rae’s love of fashion artistry, which she shares with some of Lily et Cie’s longtime clients, impressed Watnick. “In some ways, this reminded me of a long time ago when we dressed Kate [Moss], Winona [Ryder], and Naomi [Campbell] in vintage during a photo shoot.” “They were very young at the time, and everyone wanted to dress them, but they were determined to forge their own path, where they could define ‘well dressed’ for themselves.” Fashion played a role in shaping their futures…. I’m not sure what our future with Addison looks like, but she’s been incredibly gracious, and this was a moment when [she] decided to go her own way.” (While this was the beginning of their collaboration, Rae did not wear a red gown from Tom Ford’s fall 2003 Gucci collection at the September 2021 Met Gala.)
During her fitting, Rae was drawn to the moody, sequined Scherrer gown, which featured a plunging neckline. “It felt like it was made for my body,” she says, defining couture. “We knew it was the dress for LACMA right away.” It’s delicate and glamorous, but it still has a sexiness to it.” The addition of Art Deco jewels, one of which hung by her exposed navel, added to the gown’s appeal, giving the ’90s finery a jazz age touch. Rae explains, “The three necklaces are all hand-carved crystal made in Paris in 1925.” “When Rita and Ryan wore them with the dress, they elevated the look to something extraordinary.”
The vampy Scherrer felt current with its deep neckline and bronze gemstones woven into transparent fabric, but the Stéphane Rolland-designed piece from the brand’s fall 1998 show is years older than its wearer. That’s a plus for Rae. “I like to imagine the journey the pieces have taken,” she says. “It was an honour to wear this masterpiece, and I’m grateful it ended up with me.”
The Scherrer’s outré glamour was offset by the Pugh’s gothic charm. “Gareth creates wearable works of art,” Rae says. “I thought it was a great way to contrast my look for LACMA.”
The dress was part of the designer’s fall 2012 collection, which explored themes of female power. It wowed everyone in the room. “I love that Addison chose Gareth,” Watnick says. “That’s a Charles James look with a hint of Jacques Fath, but it’s still futuristic.” Rae expresses the same sentiment. “The dress belongs in a museum,” she believes.
Rae’s LACMA and CFDA looks were well received by her legions of Gen-Z fans. Watnick hopes that this taste of couture will motivate them to study.
“It’s all new to them,” Watnick says. “They may disregard the names, but they are very visual, appreciate beauty, and want to learn more.” One of the reasons [people] end up in fashion is because they are so taken with what they see that they begin to research it.”
Rae is already planning her next runway collection after experiencing back-to-back vintage moments, and her current wish list is filled with master couturiers. “Balenciaga’s velvet and tulle “mermaid” dress from 1951 worn by Barbara Goalen,” she says, referring to Irving Penn’s black and white fishtail dress shot for Vogue. “[Or] something from the archive of Alexander McQueen.” It’s incredibly rewarding to carry on a fashion piece’s legacy.”