While we were thrilled that Taryn Manning wore a gorgeous $200 gown to the SAG Awards last week, she, apparently, was not. The Orange Is the New Black star was reportedly in the dark when it came to the price of her black dress. And when she found out about its relative affordability, she wasn’t happy.
When a TMZ reporter stopped Manning to say he thought it was “so cool” that she wore such an inexpensive dress to the awards show, she replied, “No it’s not. It’s wack that the stylist didn’t tell me that,” and then attempted to save herself by saying, “But now everybody else can afford it, so that’s what’s cool about it.”
But then she dug herself in even deeper. “It still sucks for me,” she said. “Because I want to be in a superstar gown, you know?” Instead, Manning was stuck with a stunning, high-low ballgown by Adrianna Papell, which is available at Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s for just $199. Tough life.
Manning, who always seemed so down-to-earth, then went on to suggest she get a cut of the designer’s profits after getting so much media attention for wearing the gown on the red carpet. “The designer got a lot of press; she should pay me a lot of money,” she said. We’re pretty sure that’s not how it works. In fact, we’re certain.
In recent years, public figures have warmed up to the idea of wearing affordable clothes. Kate Middleton swears by Topshop, Zara, Asos, and J.Crew. Meghan Markle wears Aritzia. Selena Gomez supports Forever 21. Beyoncé has worn pieces from TopShop. Even Olivia Palermo, the queen of all things unattainable, has been seen in affordable brands like Banana Republic.
This change has made traditionally aspirational fashion actually attainable and affordable. Fans love it because who doesn’t want to shop like a celebrity? And brands love it because of the recognition, attention, and sales. And as long as they look and feel good, usually the stars are thrilled to be making their bubble a bit more inclusive and relatable. So Manning’s mindset is a bit of a step back — especially because money does not a superstar make.
“Although I can understand Taryn’s initial reaction, she should be happy with the attention,” stylist to the stars Kelly Johnson told Yahoo Lifestyle when asked for her expert opinion. “She looked gorgeous, and the styling was beautiful. Adrianna Papell, while affordable, is an amazing brand that provides a fabulous selection of styles and shapes for every woman.”
Now Manning, it seems, agrees, jumping on Instagram to apologize soon after the story broke.
“I first want to say I’m sorry for the comments I made while being bombarded by paparazzi about my stylist and my dress,” Manning captioned a photo of herself in the gown. “Let’s be clear, I loved my @adriannapapell dress and I’m friends with my stylist @chaunielle_brown,” she gushed. “But styling should be a collaboration between the artist, stylist and the designer. I was completely caught off guard when all of the press about my dress was about the cost, which I knew nothing about, and I felt used for someone else’s gain. There was nothing out there about why I was there in the first place.”
She went on to say she is a huge supporter of affordable fashion. “I would have loved to embrace that my dress was affordable at SAG, especially since so much about fashion is unattainable, but I wasn’t given that chance.” While she admits that she, like “every artist,” dreams of “wearing couture on a red carpet,” she was “happy to be the proof that there is more to feeling confident, beautiful and happy on the inside than just a price tag.”
Adrianna Papell’s president and CEO, Jaynee Berkman, had similar sentiments. “We were thrilled — and remain so — to see Taryn Manning in our gown at the SAG Awards,” she told the Daily Mail. “She looked incredible! Our brand’s mission is to make every moment, and every woman, feel special and our price-points, size range, and attention to fit reflects this goal. No matter the occasion, it is a tremendous honor to dress every woman that chooses our designs for her red carpet moment,” she said.
“It’s perfectly acceptable for stars to take the affordable route now and then,” confirmed Johnson, whose client Catherine Zeta Jones is a fan of affordable brand Milly. “More often than not, we see stars wearing looks that are entirely unattainable for the general public, so it’s great when a star wears something in a moderate price range.”
She then defended Manning’s stylist. “As stylists, it’s our job to make sure our clients look and feel confident in what they are wearing. So I say, if the dress looks amazing on someone, and they feel great, the price shouldn’t matter!”
How does she incorporate inexpensive items into her clients’ wardrobes? “Well, we all love couture, but at the end of the day if there is an affordable option that we love, I would choose that over something more expensive that didn’t look as good.”
She loves C/Meo Collective from Australia, noting, “My clients Lauren Ash and Tamera Mowry have worn them, and their price points range from $100 to 300.” Mowry is also a fan of Zara. Johnson also often turns to Vince Camuto for shoes and clutches, Henri Bendel for jewelry, and Aldo for evening shoes.
So, fashion and affordability can coexist.