Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Red Carpet Review: 2016 Academy Awards

Since what feels like the beginning of time, the Academy Awards have been dubbed the most lavish, glamorous night of the year for Americans. From Bjork's swan dress to Hilary Swank's backless Guy Laroche number, the ceremony is ground zero for some of the biggest fashion moments in red carpet history. This year, however, was a snoozefest. Sure, there were looks that viewers ooh and aah-ed over, but the overall evel of glamour was an all-time low. If you forgot to tune in for the red carpet, you didn't miss much, but read on for the fashion high and lows from this year's Oscars.

The Worst

Lady Gaga in Brandon Maxwell: Compared to her looks of yore – think the meat dress, for starters – anything she slips on is a fine choice. This silhouette offered a cool take on an average red carpet-ready ball gown and was just as powerful as her tear-jerker of a performance during the Oscars, but the pants portion looked like a camel toe waiting to happen at some angles. Most likely, the problem wasn't the fit of this number: it’s the color. A clean white is always a win at award shows: the hue is great all year round and pops against a traditional little black dress. But, on the other hand, white is notorious for showing all flaws.  This number would look equally striking and present zero fit issues if it were in a dramatic black.  
Reese Witherspoon in Oscar de la Renta: Some of the actress-turned- Draper James designer’s best red carpet moments happened at the Academy Awards: the lacey Valentino frock in 2002, the vintage Christian Dior Witherspoon sported when she picked up a gilded statue of her own and the slimming Tom Ford number from last year’s event, to name a few. This purple gown from Oscar de la Renta failed to impress.  Not only did this silhouette age the actress a few years and add unnecessary bulk to her hips, the droopy sweetheart neckline looks sloppy. And for the love of the grooming gods above, do something else with your hair. This is the Oscars, after all: a straight mane doesn't cut it.
Olivia Wilde in Valentino Haute Couture: While lots of people applauded the actress for sporting this plunging dress, the whole ensemble was over-styled. The sexy neckline – which boasted cleavage, side boob and a bare back – and pleating would be enough of a statement. But with a silver chocker, milkmaid braids and large, embellished clutch? Too busy. And with so much to look at, it’s hard to deem this ensemble effortless and cohesive.  Instead, minimal jewels and a smaller purse would've yielded cleaner, chicer results.

Brie Larson in Gucci: And the most disappointing ensemble goes to … Brie Larson! Over the past few weeks, the Room starlet transformed herself from relatively unknown actress to decorated actress and style savant. She slayed in Michael Kors and Atelier Versace, not to mention became a deadlock for the sacred Oscar. As one of the most anticipated actresses to grace the red carpet, this ruffled number from Gucci fell flat. Between the wispy ripples on the skirt, blinged-out belt and slicked-back hair, the whole ensemble lookedcheap and would’ve been more suitable for the notoriously casual Screen Actor Guild awards. It’s kind of like wearing sweatpants to your senior prom. Yes, it’s that bad.

Amy Poehler in Andrew Gn: Oh look, your crazy, hippie aunt made it to the Academy Awards! Oh no, wait, that’s just Amy Poehler. Similar to Larson’s Gucci disaster, this frock read too maternal and casual for such a high-profile event. Forget red carpet glamour; this was more crunchy granola. And can someone please tell her that the fiery red locks look forced? Tina? Mindy? Anyone?
Kate Winslet in Ralph Lauren: Calling all ‘90s kids: do you remember those backpacks that boasted a scratchy screen with a holographic-esque image? That’s exactly what the super sheeny fabric of this Ralph Lauren dress looks like. The silhouette and color were pretty and offered a different take on a typical evening gown, but the sheen? Not flattering. The Steve Jobs star is beautiful, and who wouldn’t applaud her anti-Photoshop stance? But why the shiny fabric? It did do any favors for Winslet, and would look just as bad on us mere mortals. On the bright side, the nominee’s hair and makeup was flawless.
Heidi Klum in Marchesa: With legs for days and a gorgeous smile, Heidi Klum was once dubbed one of those people who could “wear a burlap sack and still look stunning.” As of last night, it seems that we all stand correct. In short, it looked like a hot mess of reject fabric from Project Runway. Most  Marchesa dresses are divine, but this one had no redeeming qualities: the asymmetrical keyhole looked awkward, the single sleeve was too costumey and the gown skirt wasn't even flattering. Can someone say auf wiedersehen to this sartorial disaster?

Jennifer Lawrence in Dior Haute Couture: First cardinal rule of red carpet dressing: don’t be a copycat. Especially when you’re a nominee. Surely, an actress who sported a red caped column dress would no longer make a statement. Instead, she’d be the spitting image of Lupita Nyong’o circa 2014. Dressed in Dior, Jennifer Lawrence’s sheer-bodiced gown paid some more homage to Gwyneth Paltrow’s Alexander McQueen number from 2002  than creating her own iconic look.  And with minimal jewels, natural makeup and a clean blow out, it looks as if the Joy actress left for the red carpet mid-fitting. A really great pair of earrings or red lip would up the sartorial ante.

The Best

Olivia Munn in Stella McCartney: Selecting a punchy color for awards season is a great way to get attention, but it does come with its fair share of risks. Too bright, and you’ll look clownish. And of course there’s always the chance that an attempt to make a statement will totally clash with an attendee’s newly spray-tanned complexion. Consider Olivia Munn’s burnt orange dress a guide to wearing color to the red carpet. The color was unexpected, yet worked with the actress’s skintone, not to mention paired well with her bright lip. Also,  Munn deserves a round of applause for steering away from a basic column dress and opting for a coolm, asymmetrical silhouette instead.
Saoirse Ronan in Calvin Klein Collection: From ethereal gowns to a conservative Micahel Kors number, the Brooklyn star has been the award season's girl next door. And like all girls next door do at one point, Saoirse Ronan pumped up the energy in a sensual, and slightly rebelious, number. Plunging necklines were all the rage at last night's extravaganza, and this instance was especially great because it packed  on the drama without showing off an overwhwelming amount of cleavage, plus the cut of this dress gave Ronan a sublte hourglass figure. Paired with beachy waves and emerald earrings, this look married old Hollywood glamour with a youthful mentality.
Rachel McAdams in August Getty: The Spotlight star, and best supporting actress nominee, has come a long way since her days sporting tank tops and miniskirts as queen bee Regina George. A vision in emerald green, McAdams's gown was the perfect blend of old school glamour and minimalist modernity. While the slimmed silhoutte and halter neckline perfectly suited the token cool girl, the dress had its fair share of jawdropping elements: the lengthy train, high slit and bare back made a bold statement without looking too sexy. On the accessories front, the actress complemented the simple shape with a casual updo, dangling earrings and loads of silver rings.
Cate Blanchett in Armani Privé: Another year, another pretty fashion girl look brought to you by Cate Blanchett's styling team. Whether you loved this couture look or thought of it as a sad human version of the Barbie Songbird dress, you have to admit that this ensemble was perhaps the most exciting garment to grace this go at the red carpet. The color, floral fripperies and silhouette were wildly feminine, while the pointed gems and subtle V neck prevented her from looking more like Elsa in Frozen. As always, Cate reigned superior over everyone. Deal with it.
Emily Blunt in Prada: When it comes to maternity style on the red carpet, most actresses either opt for a skintight dress that highlights their growing bump or mask their pending bundle of joy with layers of fabric. But at last night's affair, Emily Blunt's dainty Prada frock was a happy medium.This pale pink dress highlighted her bump beautifully but didn't veer into vulgar territory. And, with hints of sparkle from head to toe, this was appropriate for the fancy affair without looking like a reject costume from a Liberace tour. The small curls and pale pink lip acted as perfect finishing touches to this sweet getup.
Charlize Theron in Dior: Ladies, take note: this is how you wear a plunging neckline. Unlike Olivia Wilde’s Valentino nightmare, this iteration worked because Theron either has a smaller chest or stylists who know how to work double-stick tape. The neckline was striking and sexy instead of  vulgar or tasteless. Plus, the drop necklace only highlighted the plunging V (unlike Wilde’s choker, which created a boxy shape). And that train? Totally worthy of a red carpet A-Lister. Obsessed.
Alicia Vikander in Louis Vuitton: It’s no surprise the Oscar winner sported Louis Vuitton to the ceremony. But who would’ve predicted she’d wear a princess-esque gown? Known equally for her acting chops and dazzling red carpet looks, The Danish Girl star is the industry’s recent cool girl. And paired with Nicolas Ghesquiere, whose reign at the French brand is modern, edgy and a far cry from his flamboyant stint at Balenciaga. Yet, as unexpected as a bubble-hemmed, full- skirted option is from both parties, the custom design was pretty and a fashion home-run. The yellow hue worked perfectly with her skin, plus the bubble hem and sporadic sparkles provided some subtle glamour. And though a bit casual, Vikander’s tiny top knot brought cool girl flair to this ladylike frock.
Naomi Watts in Armani Privé: When it comes to red carpet style, having a uniform is never a good thing. How would anyone consistently grace any best dressed list if they're wearing the same, boring column dress. For the past few years, Naomi Watts hasn't strayed far away from this shape. Yet, oddly enough, she is always one of the best dresses ladies at the party. Her trick? Experimenting with different colors and textures. Case in point: this pretty pailletted iteration from Armani Privé. Since the ombre sequins made a serious statment, the silm silhouette actually complemented the material instead of competing with it. And her glamazonian necklace, red lipstick and subtly wavy locks made this one cohesive and fabulous look from head to toe.

Photos courtesy of The Huffington Post
What did you think of the red carpet? Sound off below!