Monday, February 28, 2011

The Sschmoscars.

I loved watching the Oscars in the company of friends this year. Usually I want silence so I can concentrate on nothing but the show that feels so damn seriously important and heightened. I get annoyed when people dis what I like or like what I hate and irritation ensues leading to too many trips to the snack spread. This year, I welcomed the nay-saying peanut gallery chatter and the heartfelt cheers for adored winners, or abhorred losers. I'm just not that serious about the spectacle anymore, which makes it even more enjoyable. I do of course have my fashion favorites from last night. I was impressed with some of the individual choices, and the overall look felt more varied and thankfully less stylist-orchestrated than the year's other awards events. Also, Anne Hathaway played that stage like a pop star, changing outfits however many times it took to distract from her seemingly purple hazed co-host, the meta-tastic Jimmy Franco. I personally was wowed by Anne's quick switches. The verdict? This year was a popcorn munching kind of year--light, airy, buttery, golden. Sometimes it got stuck in my teeth type irritating, but mostly it was enjoyable.

My favorite look of the night came from the inimitable Ms. Cate Blanchett.

I can hear the decriers already slamming its weirdness or washed-out color scheme, but in fact that weirdness is the kind of pretty I like. It's off, it's not your typical Oscar fantasy dress. Blanchett is a woman of style and taste. Anyone can look great on a red carpet, but to move the pendulum of fashion in one direction or the other, to get people talking and splitting opinions is the second part-time job of a Hollywood style setting actress.

Her Givenchy couture dress is strange: The creped chiffon skirt and bodice set off the hard lines of the very structured shoulders. The dress looks like armor dotted with pastel caviar. Its laduree violet and egg yolk colors are atypical for fancy occasions, but complimentary on the color wheel which lets them settle in as strange bedfellows that work anyway. Cate's makeup and her glide across the stage brought the dress to an elevated level of comfort on her. It's not just what the woman wears, it's how she wears it. The dress came directly from Ricardo Tisci's Spring 2011 Couture show for Givenchy, his obsessive (and beautiful) ode to Japanism seen below.

Givenchy also gets praise for Anne Hathaway's first ceremony dress of the evening, which had a similar pretty armor feel. The thick jeweled straps criscrossing the bodice felt like protective chains. I'm sorry there aren't better images of the dress on the interwebs because the back of it is equally gorgeous.

Hathaway's later incarnation as a foil to Franco's cross-dressing Marilyn look, came off as less of a joke than I think the producers may have intended. I thought Anne's smartly tailored Lanvin tux--replete with a floppy bowtie hat tip to his Majesty Alber--outshone most of the girlie gowns.

And, speaking of shine, the sky-high sparklers attached to Hathaway's feet were fantastic. I was impressed with her bounding up those equally twinkling stairs to deliver that lung-busting musical number she did. Gold star, Anne.

Other favorites? These ones:

Goldie star Gwyneth! Sometimes the GOOPy blond just gets is so right on the red carpet. This golden sheath is liquid metal on her, and the column shape with the stick straight, ultra-blond hair, tan-as-tasteful-tan-can-be glow, and those jaw hugging bejeweled earrings all come together so well.

Scarjo's sexiness cannot be tamed. The dress she chose hugs and snugs her curves, the raspberry color is deeply, almost aggressively feminine, and her tousled hair/understated makeup combination is just comfortably sexy. When sexy is comfortable, or at least looks that way, it is actually sexier. Watch Scarlet and learn.

Not sexy? Hailee Steinfeld. Thank God! The teen actress looked so appropriately sweet and girlie it made me sigh a huge sigh of relief. Everything from the cut to the color to her hair are pretty and feminine and lovely. It's so wonderful to see a young Hollywood actress not being tarted up by the fame machine.

One final note of interest: Marisa Tomei wore a Charles James gown! I'm a bit astounded because most of the 1950s sartorial star's gowns are safely stored in environmentally controlled museum collections at places like the Costume Institute and the Museum at FIT. Her wearing the gown out last night to a public event is somewhat akin to a starlet borrowing a bit of Egyptian jewelry from The Met galleries for a few hours. Granted Lily et Cie, the vintage purveyor who lent her the gown is a reputable dealer in the historic costume world and the venture is a commercial one, it still raises questions for me about the idea of precious clothing being treated as irreplaceable, valuable pieces of art work. Should a Charles James be paraded down a red carpet? Exposed to the elements, losing fibers, damaging hems, and being flashed with powerful light? And then, gasp, sat on? Or, should it be safe and sound, preserved for posterity? Is it different because it is fulfilling its purpose? It's being worn and shown for the delight of it? Things that make you go hmmm...well, at least if you are a budding fashion historian. That is all.

Yo, Oscars, see you again next year!

All images from, except Givenchy couture shots from, and Anne Hathaway pictures from a diligent google search.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

HOT liquid metal. While I may or may not be a movie fan of Gwyneth, she looked like a star on the red carpet! I want those earrings!