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Kerry Washington Wears Whitney Houston’s 1996 Dress to the American Black Film Festival Honors

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Kerry Washington wore a piece of fashion history to the American Black Film Festival Honors on Sunday.

During the ceremony, the actor was honored with the excellence in the arts award, alongside a number of other high-profile honorees and guests such as Janelle Monae, Lynn Whitfield and Courtney B. Vance. To celebrate that achievement, Washington borrowed a dress from one of music’s biggest legends, Whitney Houston. She wore an ankle-length red velvet halter neck ruched dress originally created for the pop star by designer Marc Bouwer in 1996. Bouwer was a close collaborator with Houston for many years and even designed her wedding dress. Washington and her stylist Law Roach paired the vintage look with a one-of-a-kind piece from Gismondi 1754’s Ghiaccio collection, a high jewelry flower ring from the brand’s Prato Fiorito collection, and their white diamond “Puzzle Piece” studs.

The Scandal star couldn’t believe her luck to be wearing the same outfit as the late icon, posting a video of her lip-syncing to Houston’s song “I Have Nothing” on Instagram. She wrote in the caption, “No lies told. Whitney Houston’s ACTUAL @marcbouwer dress she wore in 1996. Sooooooo incredibly special. #ABFFAwards here I come!” Roach also celebrated this special moment with his own Instagram post of the actress, writing, “And then THIS happened…Thank you @marcbouwer for letting me go into your archives and borrow Whitney’s dress for @kerrywashington #fLAWless.” Houston originally wore the gown for a performance at the 1996 BET Walk of Fame Awards gala where she sang a few of her greatest hits, including “I Will Always Love You” and “I’m Every Woman,” and also sang happy birthday to her father.

It seems like Roach has been dipping more and more into the fashion archives lately to find the perfect looks for his many A-list clients. For the NAACP Image Awards last month, the stylist dressed Zendaya in a spring 2002 couture Versace dress for the red carpet before she later changed into custom separates by Prada inspired by a piece from the brand’s spring 1993 collection. A few days later, he returned to the Prada archives, this time to find a look for fellow Euphoria star Hunter Schafer, putting her in another custom look inspired by a dress in the spring 1997 collection to attend the Costume Designers Guild Awards.

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