American Express Dress Worn To The Oscars

Pop Quiz: Who wore a dress made out of American Express cards to the Oscars?

Lizzy Gardiner, a costume designer, wore “the American Express dress” to the 1994 Oscars. The award was for her work in The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. Now, you’re probably asking what on earth compelled her to make a dress out of Gold Cards to wear to the Oscars? Is she just another Hollywood nutjob that has lost her mind?

Actually, there was a very logical (or at least, somewhat logical) reason for her doing so. You see the idea for the dress was originally conceived for the movie she was nominated for, but American Express passed on it. But after being nominated for “Best Costume Design,” Gardiner told AmEx she would actually be willing to wear the “credit card dress” on Oscar night! Not only did they support that idea, but they also supplied her with 300 custom made Gold Cards imprinted with her name for the dress (however she claims she only ended up needing 254 of them). That turned out to be a great business decision for American Express, since she ended up winning the Oscar!

After the win, American Express used Oscar-night pictures of Gardiner (sporting the credit card dress) in numerous magazine ads which said “You only need one in your wallet” and at the bottom they congratulated her for winning.

Five years later, in March of 1999, the credit card dress was auctioned off for $12,650 to raise funds for the American Foundation for AIDS Research. It’s whereabouts today are unknown, but if any of you out there know, please leave a comment and update us!

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Michael Reason

Just to let you know that Lizzy Gardiner made two of the dresses. I believe one went to American Express for their archives, and the other one was sold for charity in 1999, as part of an auction of Academy Award dresses. It was bought by the National Gallery of Victoria, located in Melbourne, Australia. Here it is on their website:

It’s the real thing! At 3 WFC in NYC!

It’s the original dress. It has her name on it.

If I’m not mistaken, it’s now hanging in a window of 3 World Financial Center in New York City. It might also just be a replica. I’ll take a closer look…