Green Mixed in with Oscar Gold

Colin and Livia Firth walking the red carpet at the 2012 Oscars. The Valentino dress Livia's wearing is made from recycled PET fabric.

At the Oscars Sunday night, Livia Firth was a vision in red.

The wife of last year’s Best Actor winner, Colin Firth, Livia wore the Valentino gown like it was a prize, smiling her way down the red carpet. She has reason to don such a grin: Since 2009, her Green Carpet Challenge has dared celebrities to think about aesthetics and environmental ethics when choosing their awards-show clothing. This year, GCC’s third, saw bigger and more stars taking up the cause—celebs like Meryl Streep.

You can’t really get much bigger than Streep, who won Best Actress for The Iron Lady, her third such trophy. The 17-time Oscar nominee wore a sweeping eco-dress made by designer Lanvin. “The gown is gold, full-length and made from eco-certified fabric sourced with help from the GCC,” Firth writes for British Vogue. “I could not be more delighted! Can you tell?”

Other stars participating in GCC at the 2012 Oscars included Viola Davis (nominated for Best Actress for The Help), Kenneth Branagh and Demian Bichir, who wore Ermenegildo Zegna sustainable tuxes, and Firth’s husband, who, according to Mother Nature Network, re-wore last year’s Academy Awards garb.

For her part, Firth took great care in her outfit selection—and catalogued the dressmaking process. “The GCC team and Valentino met in Paris to talk fabric and worked hard to find the right balance of materials that would deliver the full Valentino effect and conform to the GCC criteria,” she writes on Eco Age. “The result is a real hybrid dress, the combination of an amazing recycled PET fabric along with the Valentino’s house silk for the beautiful sheer sleeves of the gown.”

Starting with the 2009 Venice film festival, and for every awards show since—through the Academy Awards this past weekend—Livia has worn entirely sustainable fashion, like the black Armani number in the photo at left.

Her gowns prove that beauty and sustainability can go hand in hand when it comes to high fashion. With any luck, Firth’s GCC mission—to “bring sustainable style and innovation to the biggest entertainment events in the world”—will motivate more of world’s biggest celebrity influencers, like Streep, each year.

Livia Firth in an Armani gown made from recycled plastic bottles, for the Golden Globes. (Photo: Jason Olive, courtesy of EcoChick.)

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