LOS ANGELES -- She may have been holding court in a swanky Beverly Hills hotel suite, but Alison Krauss was still her usual giddy self Thursday (Feb. 26) as she tried on her new $2 million Oscar shoes.
Krauss has been chosen by Hollywood shoe designer Stuart Weitzman to wear his latest creation: a pair of 4-1/2 inch stiletto heels adorned with 565 Kwiat diamonds set in platinum. One of the stones, a 5-carat amaretto diamond, is worth more than $1 million on its own. Weitzman -- whose shoes have been worn on the red carpet by Oscar winners Halle Berry and Kathy Bates -- asked the bluegrass diva to wear this year's special shoes at the urging of his daughters, who are fans of Alison Krauss & Union Station. Craftsmen were still working on the delicate design when Krauss tried them on in Weitzman's pre-Oscar suite at the LeMeridian hotel.
"When I first heard, I was like, 'What were they thinking?' I have the worst feet of anybody who will be there that night!" Krauss told CMT News. "I love to dress up. I just never thought I'd be wearing anything that expensive."
Krauss also said she never imagined she'd be a part of the Academy Awards ceremony, which will be broadcast live to millions of television viewers Sunday night (Feb. 29). She will perform two songs from the Cold Mountain soundtrack -- "You Will Be My Ain True Love" and "Scarlet Tide" -- both nominated for best original song. Although Faith Hill performed on the Oscars in 2000 and 2002, she and Krauss are among the few country acts ever to sing on the venerable awards show, a fact not lost on Krauss. And she is also keenly aware that Oscar is one of fashion's biggest nights and critical eyes will be watching.
"I've been told that if I pick out what I'm wearing myself, I either look drunk or homeless," Krauss deadpanned. "So, I've had some friends come to help me, and now it's fun."
One of those friends is stylist Renee Layher, who has dressed Krauss for the past two years. For the red carpet, she has chosen Chopard diamonds and a sexy high-cut satin and crystal gown designed by Sunny Choi. For the performance, Krauss will wear a more demure winter white Vera Wang. (She calls them her "sin and repent" looks.) For both dresses, she'll be wearing Weitzman's shoes, which come with their own security guard. Krauss will turn into Cinderella when the show is over: The shoes will be returned to Weitzman, who will give her a replica pair made with Swarovski crystals. The singer seems fine with that. She's more concerned with the many rehearsals and Oscar-related soirees she'll be attending over the weekend.
"I just want the folks back home to be proud. To say, 'She sang in tune and didn't forget the words. And she didn't fall off them shoes.'"