TribLIVE kicks off Oscar season with 2013 Paper Doll Contest

JoAnne Klimovich Harrop
| Monday, Jan. 14, 2013, 9:09 p.m.

It's a dream for so many creative designers — to create an Oscar-worthy gown for a red-carpet movie star.

In Trib Total Media's annual Paper Doll Contest, readers have the chance to take on the task — and win prizes along with the fame.

This year, three grand-prize winners will each receive receive a prize package that includes a pair of tickets to the “Lights! Glamour! Action!” black-tie gala, hosted by the Pittsburgh Film Office on Feb. 24; a gift pack from Pittsburgh Popcorn Co.; and a set of “Hollywood Movie Stars” paper dolls.

Six runners-up will each receive a $50 gift card for DVD purchases.

Click here to view and admire the 2012 entries.

Click here to see the 2011 entries.

How do they do it?

Last year, Jennifer Bachor of Natrona Heights used her smartphone to get ideas of what celebrities are wearing on the red carpet. She translated those looks into a stunning, award-winning dress.

She's hoping to make it to the top again this year with Jennifer Lawrence — nominated for best acress for “Silver Linings Playbook” — as the paper-doll model.

“I better get on my phone and start checking out the new styles on the runways and red carpets,” says Bachor. “I also love watching the Style channel to see some of the gowns.”

She already has some ideas in mind.

A four-time Paper Doll Contest winner, Jacqueline Martini says Lawrence is a perfect choice.

“She is young and pretty and will make a nice doll,” says Martini, of Evans City. “I base the outfits I design on the type of woman I am about to dress.”

Before Martini does anything else, she takes the paper-doll cutout and creates a stand so she can get the full effect.

“The key is working with a standing-up cutout, because that way you can see how the fabric drapes on her,” Martini says. “And it is best to choose drapey fabrics. For Jennifer, you need a gown for a young person. She also is the type of actress who can wear an off-the-shoulder dress.”

Just walking into a fabric store can be a source of inspiration for choosing the right materials, Martini says.

“Just have fun with it,” Martini says. “I just enjoy doing it, win or not. And adding a little bit of bling to an outfit never hurts. I think Jennifer Lawrence is a bling kind of girl.”

Linda Finlay of Jeannette agrees with Martini about not just dressing the paper doll. Finlay says it's best to begin by putting the doll on a piece of cardboard so it's solid.

Also, it's important to do some research on the actress so you know about her personality and fashion style, says Finlay, a previous winner.

“Look around your house and see what you have,” says Finlay, who used a bow she bought on sale after Christmas at Walmart for her winning gown last year. “Because you never know what might work. And you don't need a lot of material. Also, be aware of proportion, because what you think might be a sequin can look like a dinner plate and it would be too big and not look right.”

Bachor says she remembers Lawrence wearing a peach dress for an event on the red carpet.

She might use a sheer fabric this year. She wants something that goes with what Lawrence would choose for herself.

“It's about being creative, but it's also about showing a little bit of yourself through the dress,” Bachor says. “That is what makes it unique. I have big plans for this year. I am really going to step it up.”

Bachor uses supplies from around the house, including using fabric from old dresses.

“I say, if you have never entered this contest, you should try it,” she says. “It is fun. What does it hurt to try it?”

JoAnne Klimovich Harrop is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at or 412-320-7889.

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