UNDERSTATEMENT: It rained stars at the Oscars show but style only drizzled


UNDERSTATEMENT: It rained stars at the Oscars show but style only drizzled

Who isn’t familiar with the Hollywood red carpet look book? Sleek, tall, floor-sweeping, severely fitted gowns in block colours, mostly off-shoulder, vintage jewels, side swept hair, heels with bold spines and bejewelled clutches. No one does coarse textures, mysterious multi-layers, flat shoes, neon boots, ethnic separates–catwalk trends be damned. That’s why when any star makes as much as half an exception like Charlize Theron did last year in her cropped hair paired with a angular white Dior couture gown, Lupita Nyong’o wore bold teal at the SAG awards this year, or the gorgeous Halle Berry shone brazen and steely in a Marchesa dress with stiff shoulders last year, we sat up.

This year at the 86th Academy Awards, stars rained on the red carpet, they looked as glamourous as they always do but no one left us knocked out and gasping for breath with style that refused to follow the norms of the herd. Unless you want to give that to the frumpy Liza Minneli in her indigo satin pyjamas and matching blue streak in her hair. That said here’s where we stand on all things material.

Men with vim and verve: Jared Leto in his refreshingly unusual St Laurent white tux, maroon red bow tie and soft, anxious eyes with long hair let loose; Pharell Williams in fitted Lanvin shorts with formal tux, showing leg tattoo and Johnny Weir for wearing silver glitter loafers with Swarovski crystals.

Lupita Nyong’o, top but not quite: All eyes were on best supporting actress Lupita Nyong’o, fashion’s newest celebrity and reportedly the star most chased by top brands this year. She turned up wearing an ice blue Prada with a hairband, ear studs, bracelet and rings, saying the dress by inspired by the flow of champagne and she liked the hue as she grew up with blue all around her. Flowy and nice, an unusual colour too for the red carpet but not stunning as her Ralph Lauren vermillion caped gown at the Golden Globes this year. But the thing with Lupita is that she first wears her skin and herself with poise, and then accessorises it with fashion—turning up restrained and fabulous. Studded hairband? Not on our best list.

Best Dressed women: Charlize Theron for the way her statuesque figure, black Dior couture gown with chiffon panel and a mermaid train, the sleek hair, Harry Winston jewels and unruffled celebrity demeanour came together; Kate Hudson in Atelier Versace especially after she let go of the cape; Sandra Bullock in navy blue Alexander McQueen with side pleats and side swept hair (old world glamour); Penelope Cruz in Giambattista Valli, looking so feminine and pastry perfect; Jennifer Lawrence for carrying off her red peplum Dior gown in ‘elegant and nervous comfort’ and Naomi Watts but mostly for her Bulgari necklace.

Blue and pink: Top colours, did you ask? Navy blue and blush pink took the trophies. Sandra Bullock, Amy Adams, Jim Carey in deep, stately blue; Jada Pinkett Smith, Camila Alves, Penelope Cruz in blush pink….

Gilt-edged stars: More and more Hollywood gowns have got the glitter bug. These certainly: Naomi Watts in Calvin Klein Collection; Cate Blanchett in creamy gold Armani beaded with buttery shells; Kate Hudson in delicate Atelier Versace; Anne Hathway in a black crepe column gown by Gucci with crystal embroidered halter bodice; Angelina Jolie in Elie Saab, Sally Hawkins in pearly Valentino; June Squibb in Tadashi Shoji; winner for best costume design Catherine Martin and many more…

Jewels and jazz: Our favourites were Sandra Bullock’s floral earrings, Charlize Theron’s standout diamond necklace; Naomi Watts’ geometric Bulgari neckpiece, Angelina Jolie’s Ferragamo clutch, Jennifer Lawrence’s diamond string worn backwards and Johhny Weir’s Swarovski studded loafers for the incredulous hauti-tude they all brought. A side nod for whacky accessories to Whoopi Goldberg’s for her screaming red shoes, zebra stockings, and a pearl string as tall and resilient as the woman herself.

Disappointing darlings: After her cropped Prada top and skirt showing off her baby bump at the SAG awards earlier this year, Kerry Washington was a star to watch out for, at least on our lists. Her Jason Wu dress got a thumbs down though—she looked sweet and cheerily warm, as did her eyeshadow and lip colour. Then there was Julia Roberts, saved only by her smile wide enough to berth everyone else’s. Her dress? Let’s just pass the lace-front dull black Givenchy. That’s our sentiment for Amy Adams in navy blue Gucci—sophisticated said some, we didn’t thing there was any poetry in it. Adams looked too tame, unimaginatively styled and her hair was downright boring. Many love Angelina Jolie (more for the way she and Brad Pitt gaze into each other’s eyes)—but we didn’t think she looked like a red carpet diva who could set pulses racing. Her Elie Saab embellished gown was dull and unexceptional. Finally Emma Watson, the cover girl who has lit our style diaries—she came wearing a non-memorable Vera Wang. Gun metal can be fierce dear Hermione, but only if you know how to kill with it.