Being no movie buff, I don't ever watch the Academy Awards, but afterward, I love to look at the "best and worst dressed" lists. I roll my eyes at the more tedious trends and ooh and ah over the beautiful gowns. Every now and then there's even an interesting suit among the men. Last year's highlight was Brie Larson in a black velvet gown by Oscar de la Renta that was a clear homage to Madame X's gown in John Singer Sargent's scandalous 1884 portrait! Beautiful!
Last night, my friend and I came home from church and pulled up Vogue's slideshow of red carpet looks from the 90th Academy Awards. We sipped tea, petted kitties, and compared reactions and opinions on each dress. For reasons of copyright and image hosting, I'm linking to pictures rather than inserting them in this post.
Every awards show there are a few looks that get recycled. For instance, there's what I call Pale on Pale: the super-pale white lady wearing a gown nearly the same color as her skin, possibly sparkly; the goal seems to be to make her look ethereal. I'm not a fan of this, since the color washes the woman out. Sparkly blah is still blah. The problem is not the color per se; champagne is a lovely color on the right complexion. It just doesn't work for pale skin. Michelle Obama, conversely, shows how good champagne looks on a black woman! This year, there were quite a few Pale on Pale looks, and they were blah.
Then there's the Nude Illusion gown... the dress made of sheer fabric with only the wearer's nipples and crotch obscured by carefully placed beading, applique, feathers, or embroidery. I'm sure the first time someone did this it was shocking and daring. You could even call it a feminist statement (like "wanna objectify me?! I OBJECTIFY MYSELF!"), though it's not my flavor of feminism. But now it's repeated so often that it's a cliche. And invariably, the nearly-naked woman will be surrounded by classy-looking fully dressed men, and the contrast is degrading to the woman. Also, practically speaking, isn't such a dress cold? And when she sits down, isn't it itchy to sit on the embellishment that covers her bum? I didn't see any egregious versions of the Nude Illusion gown this time around, although there were some questionable uses of sheers. Maybe the trend is on the way out? *fingers crossed*
As an antidote to all the nudity or near nudity which gets so tiresome, check out Fatma Al Remaihi's very modest Oscars look! She is the CEO of the Doha Film Institute, and was wearing a jilbāb--a high-necked, loose-fitting dress that is considered modest and appropriate in Muslim cultures. I think it was beautiful, and just goes to show that a woman doesn't need to show acres of skin in order to show herself well.
HISTORICISM IN 2018
There were quite a few dresses this year that evoked vintage or antique fashion for me.
Margot Robbie's Chanel gown was not a total win (I didn't care for the Christmas tree tinsel effect at the top or the color on the woman), but I loved the bottom, which reminded me of the Nineteen-Teens... the fish-shape to the skirt, with overlapping layers that create intersecting diagonal lines, the slippery, unstructured train. I think it's elegant and historical looking.
Another Teens look was Salma Hayek's lavender sparklefest by Gucci. I didn't like it (too much muchness), but she and Zoey Deutch (Elie Saab Couture) could go to the same Titanic party!
Time traveling from the 1920's, Gal Gadot's silver Ginvenchy dress was a total win for me! Her necklace matched her neckline, and the fringe looked fun to wear.
Laura Dern wore a crisp white gown by Calvin Klein by Appointment, which was streamlined and statuesque. It suited her body type, and I was taken by the bow on her shoulder, which made me think of 1930's butterfly sleeves. I also liked the Center Front seam.
Speaking of the 1930's, Phoebe Waller Bridge's Vionnet gown looked like it was taken straight off a vintage pattern envelope! Fluttery sleeves, bias-cut body, and lightweight fabric. I dislike the polka-dots, which reminded me of bread mold, but they still worked as a period detail.
ALL AROUND FAVORITES
As far as well-balanced design, good color, perfect fit, and general interest and beauty go, my favorite was Lupita Nyong’o in her gold Versace gown. Wow. What a stunner!
Among the menfolk, Chadwick Boseman rocked an embroidered Givenchy jacket that combined a shawl collar with heavy yoke embroidery, and somehow made the two elements play nicely together. He looked great, and as usual, I'm a big fan of men wearing artsy clothes!
A gown can be a woman's ally or enemy, but sometimes the gown is a work of art, and the woman is the walking display. So it was with the Christopher Bu gown worn by Paz Vega. She looked good in it, no doubt, but the gown was the star that night! Such beautiful fabric; such interesting use of prints; and such a modern take on a kimono silhouette! I love it! The woman made a good display for it, as well, since her hair and skin suited the fabric well, and she had the confidence to carry it the way it deserved to be carried. Kudos!
Dressing the "ladies of a certain age" this year was a designer called Reem Acra, who did a great job with both Helen Mirren and Allison Janney. Mirren's dress was the perfect color and simple silhouette, and kept the focus on her face and jewelry. Janney's medieval-sleeved dress was interesting in its shape but simple in its fabric, again: keeping the focus on the woman wearing it. I also liked the slight curve to her V-neck, which makes her bosom look a little more full.
Beanie Feldstein's ombre dyed black and white gown by Sachin & Babi was very lovely and suited her body type admirably. Win!
Finally, for its color, texture, and ease of wear, I like Greta Gerwig's Rodarte gown of canary yellow. Classic lines and cheerful, pretty color.
Quilting, dressmaking, and history plied with the needle...
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