‘Because She Can?’

Not only were last night’s Academy Awards pretty much of a snore (too long, too many of the same film clips being shown over and over again, too many rather unimportant awards being given out ) but the fashion was, well, pretty low keyed, dull and predictable as well. (See Style.com’s red carpet photos of what the stars were wearing.

Not that some of the stars didn’t look great – of course, there were the usual stunners who, no matter what they wear, would still look amazing. Of course, I had always put Uma Thurman in this category, well that is, until last night. Her ridiculous, unflattering, and almost comical and costume-y Christian Lacroix frothy ensemble was beyond puzzling. The only explanation is that she chose to wear it because – well, she can! She has already been defied by the fashion elite, and seemingly she could do no wrong – so I suppose she just wanted to test how far she can go. Well, regardless- this is one case where it didn’t work.

But in general, I did like the overall quietness of it all. No big, overblown, over the top fashion messages, no major fashion statements. It seems that the most successfully attired attendees were dressed in beautiful dresses that seemed to accent their own individual beauty- rather than overpower them. Nicole Kidman in pale green/blue satin Chanel couture exemplified this, as did Catherine Zeta Jones in red Versace, Renee Zellweger in white satin Herrera with beautiful long train, Liv Tyler in beautiful black Dior couture – very grown-up, chic, and arresting (and proving that black can indeed be a powerful shade), Scarlett Johansson in emerald green satin Ferretti, and Julia Roberts in pale gold satin body hugging Armani.

And I can’t leave out the beauteous Angelina Jolie, in plunging white satin Marc Bouwer – cut like a magnificent nightgown – who looked truly amazing. Interestingly, Marc Bouwer’s recent fall/winter 2004 collection, shown at the Bryant Park Tents, was an homage to Red Carpet glamour (one of the few designers to really make a glamorous evening statement). In fact, the entire show was filled with what he considered to be Oscar worthy creations, and as if to exaggerate the point, he used a long red carpet to cover the runway.

The star who stole the show however, was Charlize Theron, who accepted her Oscar in a simply beautiful pale beaded body hugging Gucci gown. Am I the only to note that in the last several years, the Academy Award for ‘Best Actress’ has gone to a tall, beautiful, model perfect goddess? Someone who would be perfect for all those glossy magazine covers, and someone the fashion designers would kill to dress? Just ponder these names: Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman, Julia Roberts, and Gwyneth Paltrow. These women have the undeniable and enviable mix of talent and looks- what more could the fashion industry ask for?

By the way, one of the biggest fashion dont’s of the evening, was Joan Rivers, who is becoming a cartoon caricature of herself and is beginning to look more and more like a cross between Zsa Zsa Gabor and Jocelyn Wildenstein with all her plastic surgery. And what is she thinking with those terribly aging and old fashioned Auntie Mame-worthy fur trimmed and beaded outfits? Her ensemble last evening seemed to upstage (in a bad way) the stars she was attempting to interview. I mean, let’s face it- it’s Los Angeles- nobody else was even wearing fur.

Oh, and one more thought- though I truly adore Diane Keaton- and love her individuality and consistence, I’m afraid she is giving gloves a bum rap. I know she has long loved gloves- long before they became such a big fashion statement this season. And I myself happen to love gloves. But at this point I can honestly say, enough is enough.

Marilyn Kirschner

I am a long time fashion editor with 40+ years of experience. As senior market of Harper's Bazaar for 21 years I met and worked with every major fashion designer in the world and covered all of the collections in Paris, London, Milan and New York. I was responsible for overall content, finding and pulling in the best clothes out there, and for formulating ideas and stories.

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