Miley Cyrus, Zuhair Murad and the Junon Ballgown

Posted on March 7, 2009

At the Oscars, Miley Cyrus looked lovely in her Zuhair Murad ballgown which featured a petal skirt. Well, it turns out that the gown had a striking similarity to a famous Christian Dior Haute Couture gown named the Junon. The Junon was created in 1949 and is so famous that a copy of it now resides at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. (See The Met's Junon page for imagery and dress design details.)

When Zuhair showed the gown on the runway, she never mentioned that she was doing an homage to Dior or that the gown was based on the Junon design. Nick Verreos, who is a pattern maker and designer and was a contestant of Project Runway pointed out the resemblance to E!'s Leslie Gornstein, who determined to get to the bottom of the mystery in her article, Why Is Miley's Oscar Dress So Familiar?.

"You could argue that it isn't [a ripoff], because the original gown is strapless," says onetime Project Runway contender and fashion designer Nick Verreos, who pointed out the similarity to me. "But I was surprised at just how similar the beading and shaping of the skirt was. If it was just a train, or just the back..."


When contacted by me about the similarity, a publicist for Murad said, "Zuhair is aware of the similarity of this gown. He is constantly inspired by Christian Dior, and this gown, in particular, re-creates the look of the Dior gown using today's technology."

Here is the Met's description of the Junon:

By 1949, Christian Dior's instinct for calibrated innovations of the body's "line" had established him as fashion's preeminent arbiter. That year, dresses called "Venus" and "Junon," or Hera to the Greeks, were among the most coveted of his designs. Dior's Venus was realized in the delicate eighteenth-century gray that was his signature, frosted with iridescent beading and embroidery. But his Junon is more vividly conceived.

The magnificent skirt of ombreed petals, like abstractions of peacock feathers without their "eyes," obliquely references the bird associated with the Queen of the Olympians.

Zuhair made the bodice sleeveless with a v-neck; the original was a strapless bodice. Zuhair added a belt. But the skirts are very, very similar. In any event, when Miley Cyrus (who has certainly never attended fashion school) explained that when she saw the Zuhair gown in the store that every other dress seemed to disappear from the room, she was showing excellent taste. Miley's eye was drawn immediately to the look of a museum-quality Dior Haute Couture gown. Well-played, Miley. Well-played.

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