|Lara Flynn Boyle’s tutu dress|
As Oscar night beckons, it behooves us to review the history of Oscar dresses and to recommend some appropriate gown or pants choices for current nominees. Over the past decade we have seen some abominable fashion choices nearly end the career of numerous celebrities, such as Lara Flynn Boyle, Bjork and Kim Basinger. It is difficult to assess whether a bold outfit will catapult a star to stratospheric heights, or end up on the worst dressed list of every fashion blog and newspaper. Therefore, stylists have recently chosen to play it safe by veering starlets away from controversy and into safe territory by choosing an Oscar de la Renta, Givenchy or Armani confection, with little possibility of offending.
|Cher in Bob Mackie|
The delicate balance necessary to gain publicity without becoming a laughing stock is difficult to achieve and has ruined the fun of the show that was experienced back in the days when Cher showed up in 1986 in a feathered Bob Mackie. Consequently, an already too long, too staid Awards show has become nearly unbearable with predictable fashion choices leading most to let out a big yawn. Moreover, this year we face the added hurdle of bland host, Neil Patrick Harris, who averts controversy, and thinks tap dancing and show tunes are exciting. Needless to say, I will be sitting out this year’s show, but will nonetheless try to make some predictions as to who will dress appropriately, who will bore and who will shock.
|Bjork’s swan dress|
Bjork’s swan dress which she wore to the 2001 Academy Awards was the major fashion disaster of all time. Designed by Macedonian designer Marjan Pejoski, the dress was in the shape of a swan and at the Awards Bjork mimicked laying an egg on the red carpet. While the dress has received some salvation by being reimagined for the Spring 2014 Valentino couture show, it is largely viewed as the fashion faux pas of the decade, and Bjork has largely disappeared from the public eye. Similarly, Lara Flynn Boyle’s choice of a pink tutu like confection for the 2003 Golden Globes was just wrong. Her look was “ballerina meets starving Hollywood wannabe” and it ensured the demise of her already shaky career. Thankfully, we have not heard from her since this major fashion misstep, except to see her on some National Enquirer “who had terrible surgery” lists. Kim Basinger, another fashion victim, showed up to the 1990 Oscars in a gown she designed herself, in which she looked like Cinderella after an encounter with a dangerous mugger, and we have not heard much from her thereafter. While Cher’s outrageous look was lauded as one of the great fashion moments in history, these women virtually destroyed their careers by their daring and unfortunate getups.
|Lupita Nyong-o in Prada couture gown|
Last year’s nominees mostly played it safe with Lupita Nyong’o leading the crowd in a pale blue Prada couture gown-pretty but nothing outstanding. Jessica Biel bored in a metallic Chanel gown, and Julia Roberts made absolutely no list with her black peplum Givenchy. Even Lady Gaga showed up in a demure metallic Versace gown with a pink scarf-we are certainly in trouble if she underwhelms. Similarly, Kerry Washington, a usual fashion standout, showed up in a pale mauve Jason Wu gown-I am getting disinterested by just enumerating the blah fashion of last year. This year’s nominees are a fashionable group, yet they frequently play it safe and suffice it to say we will not be seeing any Jennifer Lopez green Versace gowns on the carpet. Julianne Moore, will most likely don a Givenchy gown with some sequins in either green, red or gold. It would be great to see her change it up and go for a more modern look, in a Naeem Khan feathered number or in an edgy pantsuit-however, this is unlikely.
|Marion Cotillard In Dior couture|
Another predictable dresser, Marion Cotillard, loves Dior and will probably appear in one of their elegant gowns, with her hair in some French chignon. Emma Stone, has been spicing things up a bit with a Lanvin pantsuit worn to the Golden Globes and a sheer tuxedo Dior dress worn to the SAG Awards, however, her unappetizingly boyish figure make her a “who cares what she wears” in my estimation. Assured is that Patricia Arquette who stated she “would love to wear overalls” to the Oscars, will appear in a dowdy, monochromatic dress designed by her friend Rosetta Getty and Felicity Jones will likely disappoint in a covered-up frock by Dolce and Gabbana or Dior. There is some hope that Rosamund Pike will choose poorly as she did with that dreadful off-white poorly fit Vera Wang she wore to the Golden Globes, but Reese Witherspoon will most likely disappoint in a safe single color, custom fitted gown with a stiff looking hairdo.
|Gwyneth Paltrow in Tom Ford|
Oscar history has produced some audacious fashion choices that have awed the public, including Gwyneth Paltrow’s white Tom Ford cape worn in 2012 and Julia Robert’s vintage Valentino worn in 2001. These choices were edgy, fashion forward, and spectacular without resulting in a spectacle. This year there may be some provocative garb donned by Rihanna, Miley or Gaga but their excessive risk taking is becoming tedious and desperate. The wish this year is that someone relatively unknown, will create that fashion moment that will cause conversation for the next 30 years, following in the footsteps of fashion iconoclast, Cher.