While Awards Season is filled with incredible fashion, stylists and designers generally wait until the big O before bringing out the best in their collections. This year, the Oscars celebrated the history of Hollywood with big wins for period films Hugo and The Artist, but we saw a mix of Old Hollywood and modern chic hit the red carpet.
Like the Golden Globes, hair and makeup was subtle with only a few wearing heavy eye makeup or a bright lip color –- and hardly the number of spray tans I'm used to in this town. In fact, pale as the new tan seemed to be a recurrent theme that, like the awards show ponytail, means I am ahead of the trends without realizing it.
Millions of dollars in baubles are always found on the red carpet, but a number of actresses opted for dresses that incorporated the sparkle into the design, like Sandra Bullock in black and cream Marchesa, Maya Rudolph in deep purple Johanna Johnson, and Melissa McCarthy, who paired her blush pink Marina Rinaldi gown, encrusted with crystals at the neckline and waist, with bespoke peep toe heels by one of her best friends, Brian Atwood (he inscribed a note to her in the soles).
BLACK AND BLUE
There were fewer little black dresses to be found, though Angelina Jolie wore an Atelier Versace strapless black gown with a slit so high her right leg earned its own twitter handle before the night was through.
I love navy as a black alternative, as was worn by Tina Fey in a Carolina Hererra gown with a peplum bodice, Leslie Mann in strapless Roberto Cavalli and Rose Byrne in a sequined, one shoulder dress by Vivienne Westwood. (The boys wore navy, too. From Bst Supporting Actor Winner Christopher Plummer’s navy velvet tux to Best Director Winner Michel Hazanavicius’ navy lapels to Steven Spielberg’s bow tie.)
LADIES IN WHITE
In perfect contrast to Jolie's black dress with full skirt, Gwyneth Paltrow arrived in a white, fitted Tom Ford gown with matching floor length cape (onstage, she removed it to reveal capped sleeves). Following the white trend were Milla Jovovich in a one-shoulder gown by Elie Saab, Jennifer Lopez in a form-fitting dress by Zuhair Murad and Best Supporting Actress Winner Octavia Spencer in a shirred and beaded gown by Tadashi Shoji.
Also in white was Rooney Mara, who told The Hollywood Reporter that her sleeveless lace Givenchy couture gown was created by Riccardo Tisci based on her own concept.
IN THE RED
Louis Vuitton seemed to be channeling a shade inspired by Pantone’s color of the year, Tangerine Tango, with Michelle William’s strapless, peplum gown while Emma Stone challenged the notion that redheads need to stay away from reds by wearing fuchsia Giambattista Valli couture with a flouncey collar bow, which drew comparison to a dress Nicole Kidman wore about 5 years ago (although I found it reminiscent of vintage Yves Saint Laurent). Speaking of vintage, Natalie Portman wore a 1954 red and black polka dot strapless ball gown by Dior Haute Couture.
GREEN AND GOLD
A range of green hues crossed the carpet -- from Bérénice Bejo’s mint green beaded Elie Saab to Viola Davis’ emerald green strapless Vera Wang to Glenn Close’s hunter green Zac Posen gown and fitted blazer.
Stacy Keibler chose a gold lame Marchesa gown in Oscar’s signature sheen, while Best Actress Winner Meryl Streep opted for an eco-chic ¾ sleeve Lanvin design -– part of the Green Carpet Challenge started by Colin Firth’s wife, Livia. The perfect dress for taking home Oscar -– thirty years after her last win.
* ALL IMAGES COURTESY OF ZUMAPRESS
While we never know what the Academy Awards will bring, there’s one constant: from the most star struck fan to jaded Angeleno, the red carpet pre-show draws as much excitement as the ceremony itself. (By the way, Wendi Aarons wrote a hilarious piece in 2010 about Oscar night predictions for McSweeney’s, here.)
By the time the dresses and diamonds make their way to the Governor’s Ball, fashion houses are already scrambling to create ready to wear inspired by the most glamorous night of the year.
Which looks do you think designers will be scurrying to imitate?
More from beauty-style