On SUNDAY evening the 85th annual Academy Awards saw a bunch of actors winning awards and, more importantly, wearing dresses.
Yes, half the fun of the Oscars is the fashion debrief, despite the fact that most actors are so afraid of fashion debriefs that they play it as safe (read: dull) as possible.
Indeed, the dresses showcased at the after-party hosted by Vanity Fair are traditionally more interesting than the ones worn to the ceremony itself. There were no real sartorial travesties to spice things up this year (give us Bjork’s swan dress over another strapless column gown, we say) and the older nominees and presenters stole the show, with our top fashion accolades going to Sally Field and Emmanuelle Riva.
Old Hollywood glamour reigned supreme and wardrobe malfunctions (of sorts) came via Anne Hathaway’s rather anatomical dress and Jennifer Lawrence’s trippy-uppy Barbie gown. The fashion world cooed over Jessica Chastain’s shimmery choice and emerging trends (not that any of us have the opportunity to follow them in real life) were full skirted and show-stopping red. Oh, and the gentlemen wore tuxedos. Read on for our guide to who got it right and who got it sort-of right.
Jessica Chastain can always be relied upon for a dress that’s classic but interesting. Her bronze Armani gown felt both modern and decidedly old Hollywood and got top marks from most fashion commentators on the night. It suited her skin tone, upped the glamour ante and didn’t detract from the more serious business of being nominated in the best actress category.
Anne Hathaway had a last-minute change of heart, switching from an unidentified Valentino gown to an ill-fitting sugary-pink Prada dress which was decidedly nipular. It was probably the placement of the darts that made it so pointy in the bust area but, regardless, when you win your first Oscar (for best supporting actress in Hathaway’s case) you want the world to be talking about your performance, not your nipples.
Jennifer Aniston never shakes things up on the red carpet. Indeed it was a surprise to see her wear something that wasn’t black or silver. She played it relatively safe in full-skirted Valentino, ensuring her status as America’s sweetheart remained intact.
Nicole Kidman, who was presenting an award, tends to get it very wrong or very right. On this occasion however, her choice was decidedly average. From some angles it was textbook shimmering bombshell, from others it was a hot mess of a fire hazard. One fashion observer summed it up thus: “It looks like she’s been doused in creosote.”
Naomi Watts had been working on her custom gown with Armani since January, apparently. Is that a sleeve? Or a strap? A “slap” perhaps? The asymmetrical look worked surprisingly well, perhaps because the fit was so impeccable, even if the breastplate vibe was a bit Xena: Warrior Princess. A confection of shimmering perfection, we say.
Emmanuelle Riva, a best actress nominee, was celebrating her 86th birthday on the day of the awards. Her custom Lanvin teal dress was as chic as you’d expect from the French legend and she complemented it with some serious bling. A slash of red lipstick finished the look off perfectly. If only she hadn’t flown all the way from Paris, in poor health, to be overlooked in favour of a woman a quarter of her age.