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Gulfport designer's dress makes the red carpet at the Academy awards

Posted at 7:54 PM, Mar 05, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-05 23:25:25-05

GULFPORT, Fla. — The small quiet town of Gulfport is now buzzing with the news that one of their own, in a community of just over 12,000, hit the big time. A local designer's gown made the red carpet at the Academy Awards.

"I thought that was pretty cool that somebody in this little town participated in the Oscars!" said Kevin Walsh after he heard the news.

Inside a small shop, not even 200 square feet, designer Wendy Ohlendorf embraced her ultimate dream. 

She's designed dresses for other red carpets like the Grammy's but the Academy Awards are a whole new world. 

"It's really, really a big deal and it's an incredible honor to  have someone so taken by your work!" Ohlendorf said.

Ohlendorf recently relocated back to her home in Florida. The buyer spotted her designs at her old shop in Portland a year ago.

"And she just came in and that's how that happened!  We've been working on it since. I have flown out to L.A. twice in just the past couple of weeks," said Ohlendorf.

So who is she?  Ohlendorf said she can't say just yet. 

"It has not been released. But I can tell you this, she's not an actress. She's a member of the Academy," said Ohlendorf.

She has a replica of the dress in the Gulfport store. It has a very specific detail that caught the buyers eye. 

"She is big into bicycles so the dress had to be very bike friendly, because her and her husband ride their bikes to the Oscars," said Ohlendorf.

The gown transforms from pants to a gown thanks to five individual pieces.

"All of them can come off and be put back," said Ohlendorf.

 Ohlendorf said she charged $5,000 for the dress, but getting her label on the red carpet is priceless.

"Walking the red carpet with my same influences like the Dior's and all of those people, and now mine is walking the same runway, it's just such an honor again," said Ohlendorf.

And she hopes her story resonates outside this community with these words of encouragement.

"You should always foster dreams and I hope a young person might see this and see that they can come true!" said Ohlendorf.