By Laura Trask
Screen Gods. That is how we view those who make their way down the Red Carpet on Oscar night. Like so many aspects of our culture, the origin of the Red Carpet dates back to ancient Greece and the age old struggle between mortals and the Gods. In a play by Aeschylus written in 458 BC, a red carpet is rolled out for King Agamemnon by his wife Clytaemnestra after returning victoriously from battle. Agamemnon, knowing that only the Gods are allowed such a luxury, refuses the grandiose gesture, which of course angers the queen and ultimately ends in tragedy — much like the fate that befalls the poor starlet who wears the wrong dress with the wrong shoes with the wrong jewelry only to meet her fate in tomorrow’s tabloids.
The Red Carpets of today, which are rolled out in Hollywood for award show season are definitely no less drama-filled with all of us mere mortals anticipating the arrival of our favorite stars with the ever present question in our minds: what and who will they be wearing?
The relationship between celebrity and fashion is an important one to both the designers and the stars. One of the greatest coups for a fashion house is to dress an Oscar winner, a feat that launched designer Elle Saab from virtual obscurity to instant star when Halle Berry wore his creation the year she won best actress. She was the first African American woman to win the award, which made the win even more historic.
Stars went out in a shimmer rather than a blaze of glory at this year’s Oscars. Yes, there were a few in dark colored gowns and some in unforgivable shades — Jane Fonda for one was not going to be missed in her neon yellow nighttime soap opera number! Peach, gray and white dominated the color trend as was best demonstrated by the Dior Couture gown worn by Best Actress winner Jennifer Lawrence. She owned her queen of everything status and looked like a true princess, even with her enthusiastic trip on the stairs when heading up to claim her Oscar … ball gowns and stilettos often don’t get along.
Some in this category were misses, such as Anne Hathaway, Best Supporting Actress, who added a diamond choker to her cream-colored Prada halter top gown. Although the necklace was stunning, the dress and the necklace seemed in competition for the viewers’ attention. The other problem was the ill-fitting top portion of the dress. The breast pleats were distracting and again took away from the whole effect. The actress reportedly choose the dress only three hours before the show, which may account for some of these styling missteps.
Jessica Chastain wore a shimmering peachy Armani Prive gown and added Veronica Lake waves to her hair and bold red lips which took this ethereal look and sexed it up!
The ever-versatile strapless, mermaid shape was one of the top trends of the evening in a variety of colors and materials. Although a seemingly easy choice to highlight one curves, this shape is not always the most flattering on just any body type.
Helen Hunt shocked reporters when she revealed that her dress came from H&M, not typically a designer you hear mentioned by a superstar when they are walking the red carpet — not to mentioned someone who is nominated for Best Supporting Actress. Be sure H&M will be launching a new evening gown division in the future.
All in all, the gowns and the actors stayed pretty safe this year, which makes one wonder: Did the CBS memo prior to the Grammy’s calling for artists to step up their game and keep their privates private in an attempt to “keep the airwaves free of obscenities and nudity” have an effect on red carpet decorum?! Regardless of the reason, hopefully next year there will be some fashion risks taken and some new daring designers’ careers made!