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How Kensington Palace inspired one of this year’s stand out Oscar gowns


It glittered just as much as the famous Academy Awards themselves and now a celebrated royal residence has been revealed as the starting point for one of the most talked about dresses at this year’s Oscars. The golden gown chosen by actor and entertainer, Billy Porter, for the main awards ceremony this year was inspired by the Cupola Room at Kensington Palace.

The dress, designed by Giles Deacon, features a golden sunburst bodice and a full skirt with print representing the Roman military motifs of the famous palace chamber. It was worn with golden platform boots by Jimmy Choo. The look has been described by its creators as a play on the concepts of masculinity and extravaganza.

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Its inspiration, the Cupola Room, was given its celebrated appearance in the reign of George I (1714 – 1727). It was designed by William Kent and is described as the most ornately decorated part of Kensington Palace. It is part of the King’s Apartments and Kent would go on to redecorate the rest of the State Apartments with his own, distinctive style following the warm reception the Cupola Room received.

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Grammy Award winner Billy Porter performed at the Oscars but was just as excited to talk about his couture choices on his Instagram, describing the dress as a ‘winged goddess’. Designer Giles Deacon was just as pleased with the end results, saying that the star looked ‘phenomenal’ in the creation which is known as the Cupola dress. And Historic Royal Palaces, which looks after Kensington, said the outfit was magnificent.

About author

Lydia Starbuck is Associate Editor at Royal Central and the main producer and presenter of the Royal Central Podcast and Royal Central Extra. Lydia is also a pen name of June Woolerton, a journalist and writer with over twenty years experience in TV, radio, print and online. June has been a reporter, producer and editor, picking up several awards over the years. She's appeared on outlets including BBC 5 Live, BBC Radio Ulster and BBC Local Radio and has also helped set up a commercial radio station. June is also an accomplished writer with a wide range of material published online and in print. She is the author of two novels, published as e-books. She is also a marriage registrar and ceremony celebrant.