Monday, February 29, 2016

Red Carpet Glamour, Oscar Edition

Ah, the Oscars. Red carpet dresses as far as the eye can see. Pure fantasy in the form of fabric.

My absolute favorite of the night is Cate Blanchett in Armani Privé. What a stunner! Considering her red carpet history, she can basically wear anything and look amazing, but the color and silhouette of this confection does amazing things for her. She looks like Spring come to life. It reminds me a bit of Scarlett’s red velvet number in Gone With The Wind with that neckline and the embellished shoulders, which makes me love it even more.

If you had told me a few years ago I would like to own dresses in Lady Gaga’s closet, I would have thought you were crazy. But her red carpet style is pretty incredible lately! Can this be the same woman who wore a bunch of raw meat and covered herself in stuffed frogs not too long ago? And look at the impeccable fit on those trousers (except the pant hem length looks slightly too long in some photos). I am not familiar with the designer, Brandon Maxwell, but this reminds me a lot of this dress by Galliano for Dior. Am I the only one who wants to know what she is wearing on her feet?!

Okay, Versace - you are beginning to win me over. It would be rather challenging to make Jennifer Garner look bad, but this is stunning and a clear example of elegance personified. This is the way to do asymmetry! I would have loved a darker lip, but she looks pretty darn perfect, in my opinion. Although, I am not sure about the platform shoes with full length gowns - this is a definite trend this year, but I think it can easily go wrong with an outfit like this.

Whoopi needs to wear dresses more often. And I love her hair pulled up! That smile just makes me happy. There are distinct similarities to this wonderful All About Eve costume designed by Edith Head for Bette Davis. I do wish those amazing external pockets were added to this updated version. But my only real gripe is the hem - it looks like someone shoved it through a sewing machine at the last minute.

Rooney Mara can make just about anything work for her. She is like some beautiful, delicate, little alien creature. If anyone else was wearing this Givenchy gown, I would say it does not work - there are too many different things going on: the cuffs, the peplum, the cutout, the buttons, the neckline, the frilly bottom bits - but she pulls it off. Those shoes, though . . . (I love a platform, just not with formal wear).

I really want to like this Marchesa dress on Isla Fisher. A print on a formal gown can be divine, but I find this particular print slightly clumsy. The belt works, but I think the belt, bracelet, and clutch is a bit much - she should have left the clutch at home. And the hair is terrible - this would be fine for everyday, but it is just not polished enough for this dress or the red carpet.

Speaking of bad hair . . . it looks as though someone forgot to finish Margot Robbie's blowout. This gold Tom Ford gown screams 1940s siren to me. Love the sleeves, and love the tassel on the clutch - just not sure I love the black accessory with the gold and diamond earrings.  

Chrissy Teigen looks wonderful, but there are some problems with this dress. Mostly, I take issue with the placement of that embroidery motif. Is it a comment on her fertile womb? And a few inches down, there are more unfortunate bits of embroidery placed directly over her lady parts. But Marchesa sure does amazing things with these tulle illusion embroidered pieces - such a shame about those three dark red flowers right over her navel.

Once again, I do not like Priyanka Chopra’s dress choice. I think she is stunning, and I generally drool over Zuhair Murad gowns, but this one is not my favorite. It is certainly better than that pink monstrosity she wore to the SAG Awards, but she could do much better.

Sophia Vergara does love a sweetheart neckline. But at least this is not another strapless column gown. She looks a little Barbie-like, but the color is so rich looking on this Marchesa gown. Some of the bodice draping looks a bit sloppy, but overall, I like this.

Naomi Watts is wearing an Armani Privé design. The more I stare at this, the more I like it. The colors are gorgeous, and it certainly is eye catching! She looks like a bejeweled mermaid. What I do not like is the combination of the diamonds and the big black clutch. The accessories are a bit over the top on so many of these outfits.

In this case, I like the accessories, but the dress is not great. Reese looks wonderful in that color, but the skirt darts do not even pretend to match up with the boning channels in the bodice - for shame, Oscar de la Renta drafters. There are six or more seams to choose from and still nothing matches up. What the heck. The gown reminds me of a basic prom dress that would be sold at Macys or David's Bridal, and not just because seamlines do not match - it's just rather bland and boring.

Here we have a similar idea, right down to the color choice. This one, however, is the couture version. Tina Fey is wearing another Versace design that I love. Look at her glorious silhouette! She really does Old Hollywood Glamour so very well. Madame Grès would definitely approve!

I think Julianne Moore is an incredible beauty, but I often am disappointed in her red carpet choices. She does the 1970s look very well, and this dress reminds me a bit of that (or will she be making a Game of Thrones appearance?), but I want to see her in color! Her hair and skin looks incredible in so many vibrant tones and yet she so often chooses black and white. The beaded bits (I think those are beads) are too thick and heavy. I know, it's Chanel, and I am sure the workmanship is exquisite, but I am just not a fan of so many of Mr. Lagerfeld's designs. It may also have something to do with the fact that I have seen Kendall Jenner in a version of this dress on the runway, and somehow that makes me like this even less.

Saoirse Ronan’s choice (Calvin Klein), on the other hand, is 1970s glamour done right! Actually, this dress would have looked amazing on Ms. Moore, as well. I love that she did not clutter the streamlined silhouette with anything more than an amazing pair of earrings.

But I do have to complain about one thing that is really getting on my nerves: what is up with all of the four and five inch wide horsehair braid on hemlines that are too long and fabric that is too lightweight. It looks terrible! Why is this happening?! These garments are clearly fitted to individual bodies, so how does this get past the person altering the gowns?! Make it stop!!!!

All in all, I think there were a lot of lovely gowns this year. And as a palate cleanser, and to get those ridiculous hemlines out of my mind, I will leave you with the amazing Cate Blanchett. Her hem knows just how to handle horsehair braid (but I would expect nothing less)!

Who were your red carpet favorites?


  1. You have an eagle eye for garment construction! What a fascinating post--and I agree with everything you said.

  2. Love your posts after the award shows!

    Those hems make me gag. We all know better - and designers?! Clearly they're not paying attention for this all important last step... Either that or these gals are all changing shoes at the last minute.

  3. There were actually *pretty* dresses this year, in lovely colors - what a nice surprise! Cate Blanchett and Tina Fey were my favorites. Tina's is gorgeous and really fits perfectly. I would love to see really close up detail shots of Cate's - the best one I saw looks as though those flowers are really beautiful.

    Your reviews are so enjoyable.


  4. Another great wrap-up, found only on Lilacs & Lace.

    You always pick the winners, and pick apart the real design/sewing mis-steps.

    Thank you for featuring Whoopi. She looked absolutely radiant.

  5. What a fun post! Yes, those hems are quite an oddity.

  6. Great post and I agree with almost everything you say. Love Kate's dress, but I do really like Islas dress and not do much the mermaid. These hems! Shocking.

  7. I always love your reviews although I have to say that I didn't particularly like any of the dresses this year! I guess I'm not a fan of plunging necklines (and I'm really tired of strapless...). :) I honestly thought Cate Blanchett's dress was way too frothy (and I usually like her fashion choices). I would say my favourite was Saoirse Ronan with Naomi Watts in second place(agree with you about the clutch though). Saoirse Ronan is sufficiently small-busted that she can wear the 70s plunging neckline well and the emerald green was beautiful and so fresh. Likewise, I liked the colour of Rachel McAdams's dress but not the plunging back and front slit. Completely agree with you about Julianne Moore - one of the most beautiful women at the Oscars but much better in a rich colour such as green or purple. Gosh, I'm difficult to please!

  8. I missed Sandy Powell's Bowie tribute suit, and she split her own vote so didn't see her onstage.
    Spot on about Whoopi's All About Eve dress. I bought that film to stare at that dress (my fave quote: "I'll wear something simple, a fur coat over a night gown" - I have it posted to my sewing machine!) It is flattering and wonderful on her. It's good on everyone, frankly. I guess I should draft one for me.