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Trib readers roll out red-carpet best for paper doll contest

JoAnne Klimovich Harrop
| Friday, Feb. 22, 2013, 8:57 p.m.
Theresa Olesky - Greensburg
Theresa Olesky - Greensburg
Cindy Haines - Jefferson Hills
Cindy Haines - Jefferson Hills
Brook Mordaunt - Irwin
Brook Mordaunt - Irwin

There were more than 300.

We challenged readers to design a dress for Jennifer Lawrence's red-carpet moment at Sunday night's Oscars. We provided a paper doll and stood back.


These designers went all out in creating some truly lovely gowns with luxurious brocade, delicate silk, intricate lace, tulle and chiffon. The dolls were embellished with sparkling gemstones, feathers and glitter.

Gowns appeared in formal black and rich colors of emerald green, deep purple and ruby red. There were fun and wild patterns from animal prints to florals. Entrants used intricate beading, sparkle and pearls to create additional flair. Jeweled earrings and bracelets, darling little handbags and sandals added the finishing touches.

The decision was difficult, but three grand-prize winners emerged: Jacqueline Martini of Evans City, Meghan Kokoski of Cheswick and Theresa Olesky of Greensburg. They each receive a pair of tickets to Sunday's “Lights! Glamour! Action!” black-tie gala, hosted by the Pittsburgh Film Office, a gift pack from Pittsburgh Popcorn Co. and a set of “Hollywood Movie Stars” paper dolls. Six runners-up each receive a $50 gift card for DVD purchases.

Each winner approached the contest in her own way.

Martini, a five-time winner, added a tiny silver martini, complete with an olive — a bead from a charm bracelet — as her finishing touch.

“After I designed the dress and added the purse, I looked and saw she had a free hand, which needed something, so I went with the martini glass,” Martini says. “Usually, the dolls only have one free hand, with the other hand on their hip, but this one has two free hands, and I just thought the martini glass completed the look.

“I am shocked. I am thrilled to win. I really enjoy this contest, whether I win or not. I enjoy a challenge.”

Martini decided to go a different route this year, choosing the metallic wine-colored fabric. She added four cascading metallic flower appliques in the same fabric, encircled with olive metallic knit in the background. Each flower has a rhinestone in the center. Her handbag is made from a charm with a pearl inside.

Martini used an iron-on design for the bodice detail to emphasize Lawrence's small waist. The earrings are from the bottom of drop earrings.

“When designing a doll, you have to make sure everything is to scale,” Martini says. “The proper proportions make all the difference.“

It is important to understand the subject and her style, she says. Because Lawrence is young, Martini decided a strapless dress worked. She viewed photos online where Lawrence wore other strapless gowns on the red carpet.

The wine-colored fabric was made in India. Martini added a slip under the dress to provide fullness. The doll is standing on a coaster between two pieces of acrylic.

“I am flattered,” Martini says. “I am so psyched. We love the Oscar party. It is such a wonderful event. People should give this contest a try, because it is fun. It's a chance to create fashion and a wonderful way to celebrate Oscar night.”

Celebrating Oscar night is fun, Olesky agrees.

“I love the Oscars, and I love movies,” says Olesky, a first-time entrant. “I really love watching the actors and actresses on the red carpet. I look forward to that night. And it will be even more special this year, knowing my doll won. I knew it was pretty, but there also are so many pretty dolls out there.”

Olesky got her inspiration for the fabric at Pat Catan's Craft Center. She saw the peridot — an olive-green color — which is her birthstone. Then, she found satin ribbon and tulle with glitter.

She fashioned a handbag from a piece of felt wrapped in ribbon and added glitter. Olesky made sure to paint Lawrence's finger and toe nails and created sandals out of glitter. She took gold rickrack to create a bracelet and earrings. She stood the doll in a box and painted it red.

A nurse at Barclay Inpatient Rehabilitation at Excela Latrobe Hospital, she says doing crafts is a way of relaxing.

“I am so excited,” she says. “I had been wanting to enter this contest every year, but I never took the time to do it, but this year, I decided I was going to do it. I guess the first time's a charm.”

A love of making things is one of the reasons Kokoski entered again.

“I like that it is a contest where you can pretty much do anything you want, so it leaves a lot of room for creativity,” says Kokoski. “I like to play around with different designs and have always enjoyed crafts.”

A runner-up last year, Kokoski says she felt she would have to do something additional to win.

“After looking at past dolls in the contest, I knew I had to create something different by adding something to the doll,” she says. “Because the winners always added that something extra special.”

Kokoski's “extra” was a scene. She created everything from the red carpet to life-size photos of Oscar dolls in the background. The scene includes a silk curtain and gold trim along the red carpet.

When thinking about the design, her approach was to create a dress that would fit Lawrence's style. She started with black-and-gold fabric to create an off-the-shoulder gown, which she bought at Jo-Anne Fabric and Craft store. The bodice is made of lace, with the bottom created from a piece of netted silk with sparkles.

Kokoski created the handbag from a piece of cardboard and covered it with silk fabric. She fashioned a few pieces of material to create a weaving pattern on the purse. She chose the black and gold because she liked the pattern.

“I just picked what I thought I would like if I were Jennifer,” she says. “I am so excited that I won. I will definitely continue to enter this contest. I like doing projects like this. I really like being creative.”

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

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