News Column

Oscar Fashion: Newcomers Sazzle on Red Carpet

February 28, 2011

Jessica Banov, The Fayetteville Observer, N.C.

Sure, we knew that Red Carpet fixtures Gwyneth Paltrow, Helen Mirren and Halle Berry would dazzle us with their gowns. (Welcome back to the best dressed list, Halle!). And we were pretty sure that Helena Bonham Carter would wear some sort of wacky frock that's not fashion forward at all.

Instead, we decided to keep our eyes on some Academy Awards newcomers. We had high hopes that the first-time nominees and presenters would impress us with their couture (in addition to their acting skills, of course). They didn't disappoint.

Jennifer Lawrence, nominated for best actress for "Winter's Bone," was stunning in a form-fitting red sheath that showed no inch of fat. Hailee Steinfeld, the plucky 14-year-old nominee from "True Grit," sparkled in a blush-colored pouffy, crystal-covered dress by Marchesa. With a simple diamond headband, her debut at the Oscars was age appropriate and a breath of fresh air.

Mandy Moore, who performed "I See the Light" from "Tangled," showed a dash of sophistication (though her hair style was a little severe) and seemed inspired by the tutu-like gowns from "Black Swan." Meanwhile, Mila Kunis proved she has long moved past the styling from "That '70s Show." Her lacy lavender gown by Elie Saab stood out for its perfect fit and pop of spring color.


Red made its presence known on several A-listers' gowns. But we did a double take when we saw Anne Hathaway and Sandra Bullock, who both wore similarly cut strapless red dresses. Bullock's Vera Wang frock was accented by a gigantic bow on the derriere while Hathaway's was accessorized by voluminous bustles of fabric in a similar spot -- and the designer himself, Valentino Garavani.


We respect Christian Bale as an actor immensely, and he has a shiny new Oscar to prove it. But dude, could you at least trim your beard? We get it. You like facial hair. But a little grooming on your biggest awards night wouldn't hurt. Would it? OK. We're through with our scolding.

Now on to Nicole Kidman. For being so beautiful, she seems to have more Red Carpet misses than hits. We know. She's lovely in most everything she wears. But she avoids perfection more than she should. Her white Dior dress with crystal accents looked like origami had been incorporated into the design (or was it a fancy-folded napkin?), making the slender actress look unnecessarily hippy.

Viewers seemed split on Cate Blanchett's Givenchy Haute Couture, which had a strange circular cutout on the front. But it appealed to fashionistas for its avant-garde style and splashes of yellow beaded detailing at the collar and on the back.

Source: Copyright (c) 2011, The Fayetteville Observer, N.C.

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