Oscar’s Fashion Hits & Misses Or You’re Only As Good As Your Stylist

Isabelle Huppert
Photos courtesy of the Oscars

Oh what a night! Oh what a gaffe! Who would have thought that the Academy Awards would ever have a ‘Steve Harvey’, rather than a ‘Hollywood ending’? Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway were given the wrong envelope to read from (“and the REAL envelope please?”) but at least, a very awkward moment was handled with class, While the real winner of the Best Picture Award, “Moonlight”, put the finish on an evening that was a true celebration of diversity and inclusion.

Quite frankly, after that finale (the biggest gaffe in Oscar’s history), it’s almost impossible to remember what preceded it. But even though fashion seems like an afterthought, I still figure I’d weigh in.  I should mention, sitting in sartorial judgement of some of the world’s biggest stars, I myself was a vision to behold (not!) dressed in my comfy pull-on sweatpants and fuzzy bunny slippers. The irony was not lost on me LOL.

As we all know, it’s really not about which star was best dressed but which stylist did their homework. Isabelle Huppert said it best. The ultra-talented 63 year old French actress, who has become somewhat of a red carpet style icon as of late, owing to her understated chic was the subject of an article “She Doesn’t Aim to Please”, written by Ruth La Ferla in the Sunday Styles section of the New York Times . As she observed, “It’s important how personal and singular you feel in what you wear. It’s important that you keep your identity.” FYI, she did just that, looking beautiful in her covered up and beaded Armani accessorized with diamante ear cuffs and punctuated with dark lips and nails. It perfectly suited her. But Roshumba Williams, who worked the red carpet, commented that she thought it looked a bit “dated” and offered that women, regardless of their age, should not be so covered up and should show off their beautiful collarbones. I could not disagree more.

Jessica Biel

Quite frankly, my jaw dropped when I first saw Jessica Biel, and she was entirely covered up from head-to-toe. While husband Justin Timberlake, who performed the opening act might not have gone home with an Oscar, did get to go home with Jessica. She looked like a gold statuette in her gilded Kaufman Franco haute couture gown, accessorized with Tiffany metallic collar necklace and stick straight center parted hair (while the crowd last night may have been pretty much left of center politically, the center part was seen on many women).  She told a similarly gold dress clad Robin Roberts, “You can’t go wrong with gold. Gold is the color of the night”.

Emma Stone

Indeed it was, and what better way to accessorize your gold statue than by looking like one? This is precisely how I would describe Best Actress Winner Emma Stone in her Givenchy Haute Couture. I loved how the bare slip top dress (a style that suits her and that she seems to favor) was punctuated with a flurry of fringe, adding a bit of playful “swoosh” as she walked on stage to get her award.

Viola Davis

Best Supporting Actress winner Viola Davis looked radiant, AND red hot I might add (someone referred to her as a “red hot chili pepper!”), in her red Armani Prive halter gown, red sandals, and new short hairdo. Ruth Negga also opted for red. Her Valentino gown, was graceful, long sleeved, and empire waisted, with a Victorian high neck. She accessorized with an ACLU blue ribbon (this was also seen on many other attendees).

Naomie Harris

Proving “simplicity is the utmost form of sophistication” were Naomie Harris and Karlie Kloss, both in minimal white. Naomie looked absolutely beautiful in her Raf Simons for Calvin Klein white beaded and strapless dress with asymmetrical hemline, accessorized with mismatched yellow shoes (Raf did this on his recent runway for Fall/Winter 2017). Quite a coup for Raf I might add.

Karlie Kloss

And Karlie looked fabulous in Stella McCartney, accessorized with a Roger Vivier clutch and a positively stunning diamond choker by Nirav Mode. I always wonder why more women don’t wear jewelry that draws attention to their faces!

Kirsten Dunst

Talking about simplicity, Kirsten Dunst, wearing a beautifully shaped Dior Haute Couture gown that was slightly higher in front (and was accessorized with black ankle strap court pumps and simple diamond necklace), proved that you can’t underestimate the power of a fabulous black dress and you don’t need bells & whistles to make a statement. It perfectly suited her and she looked comfortable literally and figuratively.

Taraji P.Henson

Taraji P. Henson was one of several women who paired black with diamonds, though she couldn’t seem to remember who designed her black velvet number when she was asked (for the record, it was custom Alberta Ferretti). She also did not know who made her stunning diamond necklace. Isn’t the point of borrowing, advertising?

Brie Larson

Others who opted for black: Presenter and last year’s Best Actress Brie Larson looking fabulous in Oscar de la Renta and Alicia Vikander who I thought looked uncharacteristically matronly in a Louis Vuitton number. It did absolutely nothing for her and her updo looked as if she did it herself  (and hastily at that).

Halle Berry

I also did not care for Dakota Johnson’s hairdo (or is it hair ‘don’t’?) and I am on the fence about her Gucci dress. For me, it was neither here nor there. I also felt the same way about Halle Berry’s Atelier Versace. Still not sure if I love it or hate it, but one thing is certain – that woman is undeniably drop dead gorgeous and there’s nobody else who could have pulled it off. And that hair! I have to say that I think Halle never looked as beautiful as when her hair was very short; the shorter length perfectly showed off her face and cheekbones. Interestingly, when Halle spotted Scarlett Johansson on the red carpet (with her very short hair), she exclaimed that she wanted short hair again.

Janelle Monae

In a class by herself was Janelle Monae. Regardless of whether or not you thought her Elie Saab was completely over-the-top (which it certainly was), you have to applaud her consistent and exuberant love of fashion and her love of personal expression.

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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