In a long, sequined black dress decorated with a blooming red flower on her right hip, Sepideh Moafi brought the women’s revolt in Iran to this year’s Golden Globe Awards. The Black Bird actress wore the gown in homage to the people in Iran risking their lives fighting for freedom and an end to the country’s theocracy.
What some may not know is the story behind the dress, a collaboration between two Iranian-American designers and artists: Amir Taghi, who created the silhouette, and Milad Ahmadi, who calligraphed the flower.
Milad is a 26-year-old Iranian multidisciplinary artist living in New York City. A frequent collaborator of Amir Taghi, they hand-painted the vinyl red poppy flower to commemorate the lives lost since the death of Mahsa (Zhina) Amini after her arrest by the morality police. Their names spiral chronologically on the petals, with those of the four young men executed by the Islamic Republic after sham trials prominently featured on the front four petals.
“I wish I never had to write these names down,” Milad wrote in an Instagram post following Moafi’s appearance at the Golden Globe Awards. The victims were “artists, journalists, musicians, teachers, students, chefs, bloggers, designers, doctors, children, teenagers, brothers, sisters, friends, mothers, fathers … real humans.”