While the rest of the world’s fashion folk are having their own red carpet moments on the streets of Milan this week, intensely concentrating on the dizzying Raf-Jil-Hedi-Stefano news, last night we were only interested in ogling the dress choices of Hollywoods stars at the Oscars. Classic seemed to reign on the red carpet, with the sophistication and allure of Hollywood glamour from days-gone-by overtly obvious in the brigade of pretty, but mostly bland, strapless gowns.
Hepburn style peplum dresses, delicate close-to-the-neck diamond necklaces, and many Grace Kelly updos were aplenty—the hair trend of the evening. This left any risk taking, edgy or directional dresses quietly at the door. The Twitterverse grappled with Angelina Jolie’s strange leg pose in her thigh-high Versace (and because of it, welcomed a new member to their family), J Lo’s apparent nipple slip while on stage in a plunging Zuhair Murad sequin number (which also spawned a social media offspring) and Gwyneth Paltrow’s cape, as they were the evening’s only interesting fashion points to dissect.
Paltrow proved to be somewhat of a regal fashion superhero in a white Tom Ford dress with a matching floor-sweeping cape over her shoulders. Her sleek ponytail and svelte silhouette was a welcome sight amongst all the nostalgic froth, pulling off easy Hollywood glamour without literally having to pay homage to the golden days.
There were many unremarkable looks, bound by tradition and retro hairstyles, but when they include a remarkably refined looking Tina Fey in a navy strapless Caroline Herrera peplum dress, it’s hard to find fault in sticking to the classics. Penelope Cruz had a Sophia Loren look-a-like moment in a lavender chiffon Amarni Prive dress that had a little too much poof in its off-the-shoulder straps and fitted bodice. Cameron Diaz chose a simple strapless pale nude Gucci gown which, with its full skirt of embroidered chiffon plissé layers, worked. And then there was Natalie Portman, who wore a vintage Dior (circa 1954) red dotted strapless dress, that while at first glance may have looked like she was going to the prom, was a sweet and quirky take on the Oscars’ golden era. Interestingly, though Portman chose Dior just a year after her public dispute with the house over the John Galliano incident.
Noteworthy was Emma Stone, mainly because her red Giambattista Valli dress with an overbearing bow at her neck reminded us too much of the Balenciaga Nicole Kidman wore in 2007. Newly-minted Best Actress Meryl Streep chose a long-sleeved gold Lanvin draped dress, a brave choice to pull off at a ceremony revolving around gold statues, but she wore it with aplomb.
Rooney Mara, the awards season golden girl, arrived in modern white Givenchy Couture dress that could have easily seen her take home best dressed—if it had only fit her properly. She claimed to have selected the dress just that morning, and without a heavy dose of tailoring, it looked sadly unfinished and deflated.
So Michelle Williams was left to fill the best-dressed gap, in Louis Vuitton. Yes, it was strapless, peplum and teamed with a delicate diamond necklace, but the unusual color was bold enough to make Williams usual meek and timid presence stand out. While the color alone seemed to confuse and preoccupy the entire online world—was it orange, red or coral—Billy Crystal seemed to get it. “Nothing can take the sting out of the worlds economic problems like watching millionaires present each other with golden statues,” he quipped in his opening speech. Especially when they’re doing it in such pretty dresses.
Photos courtesy of Patrick McMullan.