The 2016 Oscar Awards, as a television event, underwhelmed. Between the uncomfortable tension of the (legitimate) question of racial disparity and the clumsiness of an overworked production (unnecessary props and nauseating camera pans), the three hours (and counting) would likely have been better spent in some other way. As usual, I’ll take the red carpet arrivals over the show itself every day.
While there were some great fashion moments, and it was significantly more entertaining than the presentation that followed, the red carpet also underwhelmed this year. There was no single fashion moment that will live on for years to come. And there were fashion missteps, but no swans to speak of. Usually there is a single trend for the gowns walking down the carpet, but this season I don’t find any single element or color that stood out as particularly saturating the event. (Some sites are claiming it was the year of the plunging neckline, and there were several, but I wouldn’t say there were enough to declare it the theme of the evening.) Frankly, the biggest fashion “news” of the night was that Sofia Vergara finally wore something other than a mermaid-style gown.
Despite being comparatively underwhelming, that doesn’t mean there weren’t beautiful pieces and stunning looks. Here are the highlights of the 2016 Oscar Awards Red Carpet.
Best Dressed Men
Jared Leto in Gucci. It’s not just the red piping detail. It’s the crimson fabric flower in place of the standard bow tie and the red edges of the jacket. Also notable is the different shades of black between the suit and the shirt underneath. The contrast allows for depth within the overall look that would be lost otherwise. (I’m just going to skip over the shoes…)
Common in whiteDolce & Gabbana. As usual, the vast majority of the men wore black. There were several gentlemen in shades of blue and a few grays, but Common always manages to stand out from the crowd. While the cut is classic and the lines crisp, the color elevates the look. Black shoes and a black bow tie offer punctuation.
Best Dressed Women
Cate Blanchett in Armani Privé featuring Swarovski crystals. Delicate flowers and feathers, the softest sweetest baby blue… this dress has potential to end up squarely in the “what was she thinking?” section, but its structure grounds it. The sharp v of the plunging neckline and clear, distinct silhouette of Blanchette’s waist and hips give definition that balances the ethereal nature of the details.
Brie Larson in Gucci. I always love a bold, rich color. The cobalt immediately draws the eye. The winning aspects of this Oscar winner’s dress are in the layering of the bodice (sheer on opaque, but parallel lines) and the texture of the skirt (pleats and vertical ruffles). The flow, movement and ease of the gown could easily have done without any sort of waist detail, but the bejeweled sash ensures appropriate formality for Oscars night.
Rachel McAdams in August Getty Atelier. Evoking Halston with its reliance on the drape of the fabric, this emerald number is a personal favorite. It dances a fine line between exposure and coverage with a high neckline but a fully-bare back. The dramatic thigh slit keeps the front of the dress from becoming boring and the lengthy fringe draping down McAdam’s back offer visual intrigue and directs the eye to the v-dip at her waistline.
Dresses from my own dreams
Saoirse Ronan is basically living out my mermaid fantasy in Calvin Klein Collection, while Nischelle Turner‘s Kelly Faetanini dress would have been a serious contender when I was looking at wedding gowns. Because, make no mistake, that IS a wedding gown from Faetanini’s Fall 2014 collection. (And they say you only get to wear a wedding dress once…)
Who Wore It Better?
Chrisette Suter (wife of Oscars Producer Reginald Hudlin) or Christine Scuilli (wife of Oscar Nominee Carter Burwell)? Both arrived in J. Mendel’s off-the-shoulder ombre gown. The similarities in their names (they could both be called Chris S.) makes the coincidence even more amusing.
Charlize Theron in Dior Haute Couture and Harry Winston jewels. While the dress is good, it’s the jewels that make it come to life. Theron gets honorable mention for overall look.
Isla Fisher in Marchesa. Patterns are rare and often disastrous. The subtlety of the design, along with metallic tones, that make this pattern appropriate and elegant. Add in the perfect accompanying belt and everything comes together.
Louise Roe in Christian Siriano. The construction of this gown is phenomenal. The lines and fall of the ruffle detail are impeccable. However, the color seems slightly off for Roe.
Did I like more? Oh, yes. Dede Gardner, Priyanka Chopra in Zuhair Murad and Mili Avital all looked fabulous. Was there anything I truly disliked? Heidi Klum in a lilac Marchesa mistake more appropriate for a toddler, and Daisy Ridley in Chanel that got the proportions completely wrong. But the looks above, those are what made the Oscars (the Red Carpet, at least) worth watching this year.