A local fashion designer is vying for the chance to have one of his dresses featured on the red carpet at the Academy Awards Sunday night.
Rod Philpott, originally from the Botwood area, is taking part in a contest by Global TV's Entertainment Tonight Canada to design an Oscar gown for host Cheryl Hickey.
Philpott designs under his label Shkank and operates a shop in Toronto. He's been creating dresses for Hickey - including the dress she wore to last year's Grammy awards - for the past five years, and has also designed gowns for former Miss Universe Canada, Inga Skaya.
The television program commissioned Philpott and two other designers - Ines di Santo and Cindy Renee Mathieu - to design a dress for Hickey, and the public was invited to vote for their favourite on the Global TV website. Voting is now closed.
Hickey will wear the dress as she interviews stars on the red carpet outside the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood before the Oscars ceremony.
Philpott's creation is royal blue and strapless, with a fitted bodice hand-beaded with pearls and beads, a ruffled skirt and train.
"I know what she likes and what she doesn't," Philpott said of Hickey. "Normally we do really over-the-top things, but she likes to be toned-down, really classy and super sexy. We like to put her in jewel tones, because she looks great in them. She likes the way our corsets fit - and for the record, she's a tiny girl with a 24-inch waist."
Philpott's not worried about not winning the contest, since Hickey has told him she loves the dress, and will wear it to another event if it doesn't get the most votes.
Philpott said he's overwhelmed by the stir the contest has caused for him, and he's received thousands of phone calls and Facebook messages.
"I've heard from kids I went to high school with that I hadn't heard from in years. My mom even got dozens of phone calls and messages," he said. "It's amazing."
The Oscars will be broadcast live on ABC Sunday evening at 9:30 NT. Hickey's dress will be shown on ET Canada Monday evening on Global TV.