The Backstory of Tems’ Viral Oscars Dress

The Backstory of Tems’ Viral Oscars Dress

WBLS Staff
03/16/2023 12:00 AM EDT

The singer is the first Nigerian to be Oscars nominated.

The dress Tems wore at the 95th Academy Awards caused quite the frenzy earlier this week.

As the first Nigerian Oscar nominee ever, Tems wanted to wear a dress that would reflect the magnitude of the moment. The "Free Mind" singer wore a custom white sculptural gown from Ukrainian brand, Lever Couture. The architectural one-shouldered tulle dress featured a wrap-around shoulder that caused her to go viral - not for the craftsmanship but for potentially obstructing the view for others.

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Tems, who was nominated at this year’s Oscars for Best Song for co-writing Rihanna’s “Lift Me Up” from Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, proved a challenge to see around for anyone sitting immediately behind her during the awards show. It didn’t take long for photos and screenshots from inside the ceremony to spark comments and memes on the internet.

Twitter users called out Tems and her style team for making a 'selfish' and 'inconsiderate' decision.

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As a response to the critics, the 27 year-old tweeted "Oops” followed by a series of photos of her wearing the dress.

"This dress is my way of celebrating my work and the people around me."

In an exclusive interview with Harpers Baazar, Tems explained her decision to 'say yes to the dress'.

"Two years ago, I would've said no to this dress," Tems laughs. "But it's my first Oscars — I am going to go all out. I really wanted to make the most of the day. The dress is also my way of celebrating my work and the people around me, celebrating my country, and celebrating the people that are rooting for me. This dress says 'Yes, yes, I am here!'

Her stylist, Dunsin Wright, further explained his decision to select that dress for Tems. "I had spotted Lever Couture a while ago after their fashion show in Tokyo and instantly knew I wanted to work with them. It was a bold option, but I was confident that if anyone could wear it the way it needed to be worn, it was Tems. She is so graceful and confident, and she makes every piece her own."

Do you think the dress is view-obstructing or an architectural statement piece?