Designing a dress for an Oscar-winner is a dream come true for designer Sadie Bosworth Smith, who grew up in the KZN Midlands.
She created the stunning gown worn by Pippa Ehrlich, the director of My Octopus Teacher, which won the Academy Award for best documentary on Sunday.
Now based in Cape Town, Bosworth Smith, who matriculated from St Anne’s Diocesan College in Hilton in 2004, said she had just over a week to make the elegant sea-green gown, which has a plunging bodice with draping and a fit and flare, mermaid skirt.
“It was a lot of stress,” she told The Witness, “but it’s also amazing. It’s been my dream to dress someone for the Oscars.”
Asked how she knew Ehrlich, she said they had both been students at Rhodes University, where Bosworth Smith studied Fine Art, before switching to Psychology.
After she achieved her honours in Psychology, she thought about teaching English abroad but then decided she wanted to study fashion at the Durban University of Technology.
“When Pippa’s original plan for her dress fell through, someone in our group of friends remembered that I had gone into fashion and she got in touch with me,” Bosworth Smith said.
Ehrlich came to her studio, the Sadie Bosworth Atelier, in Woodstock, and tried on several sample dresses.
“Nothing was really suitable, so I said I could make her a dress. She liked the style of one of the sample dresses, but said she wanted something ‘kelpy’, something that would reflect the sea forest. I showed her the fabric and then remembered seeing some sequins in a shop, so I went and bought the last roll,” said the designer.
Bosworth Smith, who specialises in making ethereal, delicate and sensual bridal gowns, has been fascinated with fabric and design since she was very young.
Growing up, she would spend hours creating outfits for her dolls, sketching gowns, and filling her scrapbooks with pictures cut out from fashion magazines.
“I always wanted to go into fashion but I didn’t have the confidence,” Bosworth Smith said.
“I believe that choosing to go into fashion when I was older definitely worked for me. I was more confident and could draw on my studies in Art History and Psychology when I created my clothes.”
That confidence helped her to win the Vodacom Young Designer Award in 2014 and the chance to show her designs at the Vodacom Durban July Invited Designer Showcase in 2017.
• To find out more about Sadie Bosworth Smith’s fashion, follow her on Instagram @sadiebosworthatelier