Is it over yet? Man, that was one long show. But this is a fashion review, not a commentary on the lengthy, somewhat underwhelming, although thankfully not over-produced broadcast of the 86th Academy Awards last night. Ellen DeGeneres returned to host this years’ show, and had as many highs (opening monologue, the white suit) as she did lows (pizza bit, Little Lord Fauntleroy blouse suit get up). Perhaps the producers’ choice to NOT play folks off with music was what made the show so. darn. long. Ellen appeared to move things along on the relatively spare stage with exposed light bulbs and roses (wha?) with an underwhelming subtlety I both appreciated and lost interest in. I found much of the fashion last night to leave me with the same mixed feelings.
After watching almost 5 hours of television last night, I only gasped in delight once (Lupita) and in horror twice (Goldie & Liza’s faces). There were no AWFUL, scary, swan around the neck errors last night, and there were few transcendent, fashion “moments” that took my breath away. Even Lupita Nyong’o in ethereal blue Prada, as beautiful as she was, I kind of expected it. Ms. Nyong’o has had a PERFECT year on the Carpet without a single fashion misstep. She upheld my prediction and wore a deep v neck line, the pale blue against her skin was stunning, the floaty skirt matched her floating-on-air persona. But even her gown and adorable headband were no match for her words. We knew she’d look good. We knew she’d win. But boy did she touch our hearts in that speech. Brava.
Don’t get me wrong, there was no shortage of beautiful gowns last night, I particularly loved my girl crush Penelope Cruz in Giambattista Valli, although I know some will say it had too much fabric in the back. Also in pale blush pink was Camilla Aviles (Mrs. Matthew McConaughey) in a drapey, capey, long sleeve dress felt too complicated to me. From the back it just kept going with the drapey and the capey. I think this one needs to be seen in person to truly be appreciated. Pale colors were everywhere last night, with many women wearing a nude, heavily beaded type of gown — Cate Blanchett stunned in Armani, Sarah Paulson best not sit down in her Elie Saab lest she bust a seam, Sally Hawkins was a bit overwhelmed by her Valentino, Jessica Biel was better from the back in buttoned up Chanel, and Julie Delpy looked like a mature, stunning woman in her Jenny Packham long-sleeved beaded dress.
Continuing the pale trend were Naomi Watts in a closed up Calvin Klein beaded dress that was her first miss for me on the Carpet in some time. Angelina Jolie is always one to watch on the carpet, I have to say as the reigning Princess of Darkness I prefer her in leather and black with a leg or some jarring body part sticking out to the dress she wore last night. It was pretty. But I wanted to belt it, or open it up, or put it on Helen Mirren.
There’s always a gaggle of corseted mermaid gowns each year, and 2014 was no exception. Laura Dern in pale pink, as well as Kristen Bell AND Kristin Chenoweth in twinsie Cavalli gowns, (although Chenoweth’s had gold deco beading that made her look like a walking Radio City Music Hall — in a good way).
On the other side of the color spectrum in black were Julia Roberts in a saggy, sad, Victorian Peplum lace Givenchy that just didn’t work for me. I will say, her hair and makeup were so pretty that one tended to not notice that at certain angles she appeared to have breasts that sat atop the peplum itself. I adored Charlize Theron in black sculptural Dior with nude straps. Emma Watson was a yawn in charcoal Very Wang, and Sally Field has never looked better in a short-sleeved black sequined dress with loose, natural hair, I felt this look made her look young and very comfortable in her own skin. Meryl Streep seems to have gotten the hang of it in her off the shoulder drapey dress with creme top and black bottom. Anne Hathaway wore a mirrored Gucci dress that felt like I’d seen it before too recently, and was a tad short, a tad too bright, and I think I winced at the screen when she came onstage. My best dressed for the Golden Globes was Margot Robbie. She opened her inaugural awards season in a white Gucci with blonde hair. She closed the season in a black Saint Laurent with dark hair that made her almost unrecognizable. The back of the dress was incredible with a large bow, but the front was so boring, I felt this was a missed opportunity. She’s new to the Red Carpet. Before you turn around, we need to get to know you from the front first. Lastly in black was Anna Kendrick in J. Mendel. This dress was so interesting to me, and I really WANTED to love it. I spent the night trying to think what it was that bothered me about it. It had red accents, a pleated skirt, an asymmetrical hemline, a drapey thing in the front, beading, and criss crossy straps in the back. OH! I know. Too much going on! I loved the hemline, I loved the back straps, maybe if the illusion and piping in the front were gone around the sleeves? I think this look needed editing.
Baby Bump Alert! Two major stunners last night were Olivia Wilde (in Valentino) and Kerry Washington (in Jason Wu). I LOVED both of these dresses for their simplicity. It appears Ms. Washington has been on the verge of labor since Awards Season began, and the woman is getting more and more beautiful with every one. Her hair was so easy and breezy, and the dress looked like a swathe of satin she just happened to gather up with a diamond bar pin. I love style when it appears effortless. Well done. Olivia Wilde wore a black dress from Valentino with cream accents in the back. It evoked Julia Roberts vintage Valentino she wore when she won her Oscar, but for maternity.
I’ve never seen Bette Midler look better, she wore a scrolled red Reem Acra dress that seemed familiar to me but fit her so perfectly, and showcased her, um, assets in the most beautiful way. I was underwhelmed with the perfectly suitable red peplum Dior that Jennifer Lawrence tripped in, although I did like the long diamond chain that she wore longer in the back than the front. In general there were NO jewelry statements last night, lots of demure diamonds and Tiffany tear drops.
The last color trend I spotted was Navy. Here’s the thing about Navy. Navy is one of those colors that requires things of you. It’s needy. You can’t just throw on any old dress in Navy and expect it to work. It asks, “What color shoes will you wear with me?” “What color purse?” “Hosiery?” and, “Why aren’t I black?” Don’t get me wrong, Navy done right can be better than black. I prefer the deepest midnight, and in a textural fabric like duchess satin to a flat wool crepe, but my point is with Navy you better BRING IT. I don’t feel the Navy Girls did last night. Sandra Bullock wore a strapless navy dress that I doubted so highly was Alexander McQueen I looked it up twice. I hate that, when the designer and celebrity stylist collaborations change the vision of the designer entirely. Similarly, I kept thinking, “Gucci?” when seeing Amy Adams in her not dark enough, not accessorized enough, simple blue dress.
There are a few dresses I’d like to mention that I found I was drawn to because they were different. I LOVED (like, almost best dressed loved) Portia DeRossi in a Boho cream colored Naeem Khan halter and I didn’t love Jennifer Garner in a flapper style fringe type affair that Anne Hathaway already wore when she hosted the Oscars a few years ago. I had mixed feelings about Kate Hudson’s homage to the 80’s, she was certainly beautiful, I’m just not sure I loved the severity of the shoulder.
I don’t always mention them, but hey! There are boys at the Oscars! And last night I had stronger reactions to some of the men than the women, so I feel they’re worth mentioning. Pharrel Williams wore a Lanvin tux with knee-length SHORTS! Just like the Vivienne Westwood hat he brought back from the Grammys for his performance last night, not everyone will understand this look. It’s one of those looks that only he could pull off, and just like his song, made me smile. Jared Leto won an Oscar for his performance in Dallas Buyers Club. He wore a Saint Laurent white dinner jack and red bow tie with perfectly tailored slim pants and his trademark long hair. I thought this was a great example of mixing it up on the Red Carpet without looking weird. Also in a white dinner jacket were Ryan Seacrest and Matthew McConaughey. Elegant. Dashing. Fit is everything in fashion, especially in mens suiting. Jason Gordon Levitt knows this, in his Calvin Klein tux, while poor Brad Pitt and Bill Murray were in saggy, ill-fitting messes. My pick for male best dressed is Kevin Spacey, who BROUGHT IT in a navy tux that was perfection.
I can’t really pick one worst dressed starlet from the Carpet last night, there were worst dressed moments to me. Ellen in her first bow necked blousey suit looked costumey and silly, and Julia Roberts from the side looked weird, and wowza why did she lend her Dolce & Gabana Golden Globe getup to Whoopi Goldberg, but really, no one was really all that bad. In terms of best dressed, Charlize Theron would be my runner up to the best dressed, the most magnificent, most luminescent Lupita Nyong’o. Truly, I cannot wait to see what she wears next.