Monica Corcoran Harel is contributing to Deadline’s Oscars coverage.
Clearly, God loves a red carpet. How else to explain how the torrential rain miraculously ceased by noon today so we wouldn’t have to see actresses with frizzy hair and streaked mascara in belted trench coats? Instead, this year’s Oscar red carpet brought us a bevy of gold beaded dresses, dozens of bare shoulders, an al fresco Jennifer Lawrence pratfall and many leading men in blue.
That red carpet also brought about $2.3M to our local economy, according to a recent study from a Los Angeles consulting firm that tallied wardrobe expenses for women attending the Academy Awards. (Of course, nominees and presenters don’t have to buy anything — all is custom designed or borrowed.) Celebrity stylists, however, can earn up to $10,000 per day for prepping, pulling looks and fitting clients. (Having co-written a book with Rachel Zoe last year, I can attest to stress of the task. However, any monthlong job that earns enough money to buy a Tesla is no crap gig, eh? )
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This year, beaded metallics reigned. Cate Blanchett in pale gold Armani Prive, Angelina Jolie in sparkly Elie Saab Couture, Sally Hawkins in Valentino and Lady Gaga wearing Atelier Versace were reflective. With barely any sunlight, the flashes of paparazzi made these women sparkle. Bare shoulders also were a major trend, and the ones who did it right opted for dramatic bodices and necklines, including Charlize Theron in Christian Dior, Sandra Bullock in navy Alexander McQueen and Amy Adams in Gucci Couture. The lack of straps also makes a great canvas for diamond necklaces, as we saw on Lawrence in $2 million worth of Neal Lane sparklers.
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On to the leading men, who proved to be even more daring — in my opinion — than the ladies. Jared Leto and Matthew McConaughey scored points and stood out in classic white dinner jackets. (McConaughey is the face of Dolce & Gabbana, so it’s no shock that he wore the Italian designers.) Leto’s burgundy bow tie added zip. Regal midnight blue in lieu of black was popular on Leonardo DiCaprio in Giorgio Armani Made to Measure, Jason Sudeikis in Prada and Kevin Spacey. Oh and don’t forget the blue velvet Yves Saint Laurent tux worn by Ellen DeGeneres.
Incidentally, directors Steve McQueen and Alfonso Cuaron wore Prada; Martin Scorsese went with Armani, who feted him with a party on Friday night. (Armani suits have also been featured in Goodfellas and The Departed.) Pharrell’s Lanvin tuxedo shorts were cute and kind of risqué. Then again, a guy who wears a 20-gallon hat to the Grammy Awards has a reputation to uphold.
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As for reputations, no one took a fashion swan dive this year. And don’t chortle on about Liza Minnelli because I think she looked like a shiny, happy broad in royal blue satin. Lupita Nyong’o — who I couldn’t wait to see — was lovely in the powder blue Prada, though I didn’t fall off my couch. The silhouette felt a bit too frothy, and the bodice would have been more elegant. (As Miu Miu’s new face, I suspect that wearing Prada was a gentle must.) Amy Adams’ Gucci wasn’t a showstopper either; it felt more presenter than nominee to me. Maybe a bit more saturation of color would have enlivened its effect, though it certainly showcased her sleek physique. Anna Kendrick’s J. Mendel dress sent mixed messages with its sheer panels, beading at the midriff and high slit.
Winners were easier to spot: Lawrence in red Dior because she nailed vibrant minimalism with her entire look and Blanchett because she regally outshone most, as usual. That woman can do no wrong when it comes to style. Kate Hudson’s white Versace with a cape won me over with its Studio 54-meets-Jean Harlow vibe. Bullock’s navy Alexander McQueen showcased her coloring and read very classic. When Penelope Cruz took the stage in pale pink Giambattista Valli, though, she epitomized diaphanous chic — and courage. Just imagine how that delicate silk would have wilted in a sudden downpour.
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Who Wore What:
Jennifer Lawrence: Strapless siren red Dior Couture column gown with peplum detail and Neil Lane 100-carat diamond necklace.
Cate Blanchett: Armani Prive sequined gold, cap-sleeved dress with tulle skirt and Swarovski crystal baguettes.
Idina Mendel: Dark forest green strapless custom Vera Wang gown with pleated bodice.
Sandra Bullock: Navy blue Alexander McQueen with sweetheart neckline.
Anne Hathaway: Black, sleeveless Gucci column gown with crystal at bodice.
Viola Davis: Deep emerald green Escada gown with asymmetrical bodice.
Sally Hawkins: Beaded gold Valentino with long sleeves and high neck.
Sarah Paulson: Beaded Champagne-hued Elie Saab Couture.
Kristen Chenoweth: Strapless and beaded Roberto Cavalli art deco dress with a structured bodice and Neil Lane jewels.
Amy Adams: Sapphire blue tux-inspired Gucci Couture silk-crepe gown with long train and Tiffany jewels.
Lupita Nyong’o: Sky blue pleated Grecian Prada dress with diamond Fred Leighton headband.
Kristen Bell: Strapless pale violet Roberto Cavalli with Piaget diamond necklace.
Naomi Watts: White beaded Calvin Klein Collection with capped sleeves and Bulgari jewels.
Anna Kendrick: Black J. Mendel.
Glenn Close: Black Zac Posen with long sleeves and dramatic fishtail.
Charlize Theron: Black almost-strapless Christian Dior column with avant-garde architectural bodice and tired sheer skirt.
June Squibb: Emerald green beaded Tadashi Shoji dress with Swarovski clutch.
Kerry Washington: Smoky purple-mauve Jason Wu gown.
Penelope Cruz: Silk mousseline Giambattista Valli Haute Couture gown with cape and Chopard jewels.
Olivia Wilde: Black sleeveless Valentino high neckline gown with Lorraine Schwartz jewels.