Fashion Notes On 2016 Oscars

Chris Rock was brilliant, funny, smart, and right on point as host of the 88th Academy Awards. He rocked it last night. Dapper in his crisp white tuxedo jacket (perfectly fitting for “The Oscars So White”), he never let up and kept up his criticism all through the evening, but it was really never in bad taste or too over the top. He was even sort of subtle, well kind of. At one point, after a commercial break, he announced “We’re black” (instead of “We’re back”).

Lady Gaga

Quite frankly, he stole the show; which went on a bit too long and ultimately had no real surprises (with the exception of Mark Rylance’s win over Sylvester Stallone in the Best Supporting Actor category, “Spotlight” winning Best Picture over “The Revenant”, and Lady Gaga forgoing Marc Jacobs, platforms and all, in favor of a white jumpsuit created by her stylist Brandon Maxwell).  The spotlight was on Chris and he did not disappoint.

Alicia Vikander

There is so much hype and anticipation leading up to the evening; it’s almost inevitable one will be disappointed. And I was, particularly in the case of the two women everyone was most excited to see: Alicia Vikander (who won for Best Supporting Actress) and Brie Larson, (who won for Best Actress and admitted that fashion helps her express what her “soul looks like”).

Brie Larson in Gucci on the left: A better choice on the right
Photo credit: Left courtesy of Oscars; Right:

For me, Alicia’s custom made yellow strapless Louis Vuitton gown (with a skirt that was higher in front) looked too much like a prom dress and her hair style (half up, half down) didn’t help. Brie (with a similar natural hair style) opted for a custom made blue chiffon Gucci gown with a bejeweled belt. I knew I would see one of Alessandro Michele’s designs last evening but I was hoping it would be one of his more fantastical, highly embellished creations with a bit more going on (especially on top: a place many women tend to forget about).

Marchesa collection

This (in a color I have come to associate with politicians), was a little safe. Quite frankly, when I first saw it, I did not even realize it was Gucci. And she would have looked ravishing had she worn something by Marchesa. If ever there was a collection well suited for the Oscars’ red carpet, this was it!

Charlotte Rampling

Charlotte Rampling’s long sleeved Armani Prive black and white beaded dress might have been wonderful in person, but on television, it came off as rather dull and a bit too sack like and shapeless. I would have preferred to see the talented icon in a sharp tuxedo.

Charlize Theron

That being said, there were some high points. Charlize Theron looked every inch a movie star in plunging red Dior Haute Couture with Harry Winston jewelry. She looked so ravishingly beautiful, Tina Fey admitted that she started clapping as soon as she saw her on the red carpet.

Cate Blanchett

Cate Blanchett, who in my opinion can do no wrong, looked divine in her petal strewn, embroidered, pale aqua Armani Prive. Heidi Klum was another one who opted for a soft, feminine, flower strewn pale confection (hers, a one shoulder creation with a flowing skirt, was in pale lavender).

Margot Robbie

I thought Julianna Moore’s full skirted plunge front Chanel Haute Couture black gown suited her well, as did Daisy Ridley’s pale grey beaded Chanel Haute Couture. While it may be “the one night we all dream in gold” (in the words of Morgan Freeman, who made this announcement right before the award ceremony began), the only woman wearing gold was Margot Robbie (she actually looked like a gold statue in her Tom Ford).

Rooney Mara

Rooney Mara, with her pale skin, severe lip and sleek hair, gave us a high fashion moment, embracing a Goth Victorian look (which has become her signature) in a white Givenchy Haute Couture. (When she was asked if it was easy to fall in love with Cate Blanchett in the movie “Carol”, she exclaimed, “yes”!) Others in white were Priyanka Chopra in Zuhair Murad, and Olivia Wilde.

Olivia Wilde

I thought Olivia looked quite exquisite in her plunge front (and backless) all pleated Valentino Haute Couture gown. I especially loved her white Neil Lane choker, which drew attention to her face. Chokers just happen to be THE accessory du jour on the runways for Fall/Winter 2016 & 2017 that are ending in Milan, and soon getting under way in Paris.

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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