Barbra Streisand wore this Fortuny inspired pleated gown by Charles and Patricia Lester to the 1992 Academy Awards on March 30th, 1992. Her film “The Prince of Tides” had been nominated for several Oscars that year, including best picture. Barbra has been a fan of Fortuny style dresses since the 60’s, when she wore a red Fortuny Delphos in Funny Girl. She loved the look so much that she had Irene Sharaff create a replica in pink for “A Happening In Central Park.” Fortuny’s method of pleating was extremely secretive and impossible to duplicate, but the Lesters work comes close. You’ll notice that the necklace worn with this look was the same one worn by Barbra in the Funny Girl film, as well as onstage with her pink “Happening” dress.
Regarding the Oscars outfit, the Lesters stated “That night she wore a delicate pink dress of ours with a matching pleated cape that she bought. I say that she bought – which she did, not subscribing to the current culture of expecting gifts. We are a tiny company and cannot afford to give clothes away because we do not have the massive PR machinery to publicize the event. So thank you Miss Streisand for showing this respect for our work.” Charles and Patricia Lester are couture and textile designers. For over fifty years they have designed simple, fluid garments in lustrous velvets, silks and devorés, hand-painted using special techniques of dye application. The unusual qualities of the fabrics used- notably their hallmark hand-pleating- allow the clothes to mold to the shape of the body. Their impeccable designs have been displayed in museums all over the world. Barbra’s gown was made of pink silk and features the Lester’s famous hand pleating. It is maxi cut with an empire waist, a plunging v neckline and elbow length sleeves, which end in a ruffled lettuce hem. Beaded trim accents the bust line and matching removable evening cape, which also has a lettuce hem. Barbra wore crimped hair for this occasion, which perfectly complimented the texture of the pleating in this gown, bringing the entire look together.