Ladies dressed like princesses from a brave new world, smooth, smiling and predictably tuxedoed men, no bras falling out, no one tripping on the red carpet, no breathless lip locks and some stunning couture sightings. Barring a few exceptions, the red carpet appearances at the 85th Annual Oscar Awards at Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles made a beautiful affair but not half as intense as the performances nominated for the top wins of this year.
The most spectacular look was that of Charlize Theron (one of the presenters) in white Dior Haute Couture, Roger Vivier shoes and Harry Winston jewellery. She looked sleek and sexy in her angular strapless dress with its trendy peplum and her buzz-cut hair. “Buzzing it off”, she told journalists, was a “freeing experience”.
The Oscars’ red carpet this time must have been a rewarding experience for Raf Simons, the creative director of Dior as Jennifer Lawrence (nominated for best actress for Silver Linings Playbook) made a breathtakingly lovely picture also in Dior Haute Couture. Lawrence, also the face of the French brand, wore a white-and-blush pink strapless gown with a fitted bustier and poufy hemline. Her pulled-back hair made her look sublime while her diamond-ball earrings and a long necklace hung down delicately.
Standing up strongly for red carpet looks that come together to define winning moments, were Jennifer Anniston in a strapless red Valentino (an award presenter too), Anne Hathaway in a palest pink Prada (she won best supporting actress for Les Miserables) and Jessica Chastain (nominated for best actress for Zero Dark Thirty) in a copper-gold strapless Armani Prive. All three looked comfortable, desirable, and terrific. “It’s business in the front and party at the back”, said Hathaway of her Prada dress, happily showing off her striking Tiffany jewels and revealing, half a side boob. She had decided on Prada only a few hours before the ceremony, she said.
Hathaway’s good hair days with her pixie hairstyle have been the stuff of beauty salon and drawing room conversations but she talked of hair-raising challenges while filming it. At the same time, Chastain’s glistening beaded gown with a mermaid hem made her look like an old-world movie star (she had meant to, she confessed), a big credit for which also went to her vintage Harry Winston diamond earrings and bright red lipstick.
Edged out by stunning white dresses with diamond jewellery, black, the otherwise favourite colour at black tie events looked on, like a slightly left-out spectator and largely only from men’s tuxedos. If it came up for notice, it was mixed headily with silver in the gowns of actress Halle Berry ( a presenter of the 50 Years of James Bond segment through music) in Versace and George Clooney’s girlfriend Stacy Keibler in Naeem Khan—both silvern blacks. “I wanted to come to the Oscars as a Bond girl, so Donatella made this for me,” said Berry of her severely tailored gown, though her outfit didn’t really bond with the best. Keibler’s Erte-inspired Naeem Khan stood out more starkly for its sheer back.
Actor Sandra Bullock did a black number too in Elie Saab but didn’t come up a fashion winner. Though Jennifer Garner in a plum, strapless Gucci did--her Harry Winston clutch lifting her ensemble. Nine-year-old actress Quvenzhane Wallis (nominated for her role in Beasts of the Southern Wild) wore a blue Armani Junior gown, and carried her pooch purse, her red carpet staple this season. Blue was also Reese Witherspoon’s colour of the moment as she wore a deep blue Louis Vuitton gown with LV jewels.
The ooh and ouch elements this time were made by actor Amanda Seyfried’s fitted Alexander McQueen dress; songstress Adele’s 50 kg heavy gown and Chastain’s red lipstick. “I can’t sit down and I feel like my organs are being pulled out of my body slowly,” said Seyfried-- a candid, bold, behind-the-scenes comment that makes fashion both terrific and terribly awesome.
If the Oscars red carpet is a trend guide, then it is all about white ensembles, diamond jewellery that sparkles with moods and short, messily sculpted hair. Raf Simons is the toast of the couture season, oh yes, but the go-to designer for vintage jewellery and accessories is Harry Winston. Don’t forget the black and white beards billed by some as the “facial fuzz” of the Oscars. George Clooney’s as the most enticingly salted number, Bradley Cooper and Ben Affleck’s dark and suave ones, Jason Clarke’s untrimmed sprout among other bristling stories.