To create the perfect red carpet look for leading lady Auli’i Cravalho – the voice of Disney’s Moana – the studio tapped New Zealand fashion designer Kiri Nathan. Kiri dressed the rising star in a stunning, cobalt blue gown with a cascading, wave-like train emulating the shades of the ocean (Moana means “ocean” in several Polynesian languages). Auli’i debuted the look at last night’s Moana premiere.

Below you can find an exclusive, behind-the-scenes video from Disney showcasing the “making of” the dress. Watch the design team discuss each intricate element of the garment, which pays homage to Māori culture and tradition; and see 15-year old Auli’i’s reaction as she meets with the designer for the big reveal of the gorgeous gown.


The dress incorporated:

  • Flower designs, traditionally worn when hosting or welcoming.
  • Kona pattern, representing authority and determination.
  • Raranga weaving and Whakairo carving.
  • Pounamu jewelry, the most precious stone to the Māori, only found in the south island of New Zealand, and the most significant gift you can give to another person.
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