Kerry Washington attends the ABFF Honors in dress worn by Whitney Houston in the ‘90s

Kerry Washington posed in one of Whitney Houston’s iconic dresses on Sunday, as she walked the red carpet at the annual American Black Film Festival Honors.

At Sunday’s event, the 46-year-old actor wore a velvet red, halter dress by designer Marc Bouwer. She paired the outfit with matching red shoes and nails and silver jewellery.

In a post on Instagram, she shared a video of herself in the look and addressed why it was so meaningful, as she could be seen lip syncing to Houston’s hit track, “I Have Nothing”. She proceeded to mouth the lyric “nothing”, in order to confess that there wasn’t anything “cooler than wearing Whitney Houston’s dress”.

Washington emphasised her point in the caption, writing: “No lies told. Whitney Houston’s ACTUAL @marcbouwer dress she wore in 1996…Sooooooo incredibly special. #ABFFAwards here I come!”

Houston originally wore the red ensemble in 1996, when she was honoured at the BET Walk of Fame ceremony. During the event, she performed some of her iconic hits, including “Exhale (Shoop Shoop)” and “Alfie,” as seen in archival footage on YouTube.

Washington’s stylist for Sunday’s event, Law Roach, took to Instagram to share a photo of the actress in the outfit. In his post, he also included a photo of Houston performing in the dress in 1996.

“And then THIS happened…Thank you @marcbouwer for letting me go into your archives and borrow Whitney’s dress for @kerrywashington,” he wrote in the caption.

Bouwer also highlighted the moment in an Instagram post, where he expressed how “incredibly special” the late singer’s dress was to him.

Many of Washington’s fans and Instagram followers praised her for paying tribute to Houston by wearing the dress.

“This is a colliding of worlds that I never knew I needed. Like… you talk about my 2 FAVS having a mash-up moment?” one wrote in the comments of her post. “ It’s THIS…(And ya look GOOD!)”

“I guarantee Whitney is honoured [that] an iconic queen like you is wearing it. Now two gorgeous queens have worn it,” another added.

A third commented: “Wow that’s amazing Whitney’s dress looks beautiful on you.”

However, other people on social media questioned Washington, along with other stars in general, for wearing clothes that belonged to celebrities who have passed away.

“What is the compulsion to wear other iconic women’s dresses? If these outfits are out there - they should be in a museum- not worn for bragging rights,” one person tweeted.

​​”Why do y’all like wearing dead people’s clothes?? I genuinely would like to be educated,” another wrote in the comments of Washington’s post.