Red carpet's seedy side: Theft of Lupita's $150K pearl-covered gown 'no surprise' to stylists
Hollywood stylists have said they are not surprised at the theft of a $150,000-dollar (€133,680) pearl-covered gown worn by Lupita Nyong'o at the Oscars - as they have personally experienced the seedy side of red carpet fashion.
Style expert and fashion commentator Mary Alice Stephenson said she had heard stories about similar stolen celebrity items for years.
"It's not shocking to me that this would be taken out of her hotel room," said Ms Stephenson, whose stolen Fendi bag was once held for ransom.
A dress like Twelve Years A Slave star Nyongo's custom ivory one, designed by Francisco Costa for the Calvin Klein Collection, could fetch a lot of money on the black market, she said.
"There are a lot of collectors out there who are very private and have private collections of stolen merchandise," she said. "Some of these dresses have global fame as big as any Van Gogh."
But Los Angeles Auction House director Bryan Abbott noted that the black market would be problematic for fetching top dollar in this case.
"Celebrity-related material has additional value because it's related to the celebrity," he said. "If this was stolen, you wouldn't be able to realise that additional value.
"I can't think of a harder thing to sell than a high-profile Oscar dress by a famous manufacturer that's associated with a famous personality. You'd have to bury it for a hundred years."
Even the 6,000 disconnected pearls would not be worth much on their own, Mr Abbott said.
"Most pearls don't have much of a resale value to start with, unless they're from a famous manufacturer such as Mikimoto," he said.
Sherriff's deputies responded to a call on Wednesday from a West Hollywood hotel after the custom dress was reported missing from Nyong'o's room.
The 31-year-old actress was present when deputies took the report, but she was not in her room when the elaborate gown was taken, Sgt Richard Bowman said. Her publicists would not comment on the theft.
Police suspect the dress was taken some time between 8 and 9pm.
Meanwhile detectives were at the hotel looking for clues, including surveillance footage that might reveal what happened.
Nyong'o won an Oscar last year for Twelve Years A Slave and was a presenter at Sunday's ceremony.
The actress has become a darling of Hollywood's red carpets in the past two years, with commenters and fans praising her fashion choices. She accessorised the dress with Chopard diamond drop earrings and three Chopard diamond rings.
A representative for Calvin Klein declined to comment, but the fashion house later tweeted a close-up photo of the dress, saying: "Have you seen this dress?" with the hashtag freethepearls.