Actresses brought a stunning array of billowy, princess-style glamour to the Academy Award red carpet Sunday evening.
But these dreamy confections weren’t your run-of-the-mill, shimmering, floor-grazing frocks.
They were striking, featuring cinched waists, sweetheart necklines, capes, tiers, and lots of metallic. And the high-low skirts, full-sleeves, and dramatic peplums spoke to an architectural style that prioritized strength over sass.
Favorites include Regina King. The presenter was one of the first to arrive, but her Versace remained one of the night’s most memorable looks. Brava. The black flowers on Beanie Feldstein’s gown were eye-grabbing, but it was the severity of the halter top and sweetheart neckline that gave her a sharp look. The pleated details of Greta Gerwig’s Dior gave the princess gown a more womanly feel. And the shoulders of Sandra Oh’s nude Elie Saab were wing-like, giving her red carpet look a fantastical touch.
Here I must gush about Cynthia Erivo in a white Atelier Versace.
The only two men who weren’t wearing plain black suits were successful with their creativity. Shout-out to Spike Lee for his purple-and-gold suit he wore in honor of the late sports hero Kobe Bryant. And Billy Porter didn’t disappoint. Not only did he look amazing, his voice in that opening act also forced me to sit up and take notice. What a singer.
And the environmentalist in me must send an approving nod to Kaitlyn Dever’s Louis Vuitton. The cherry-hued gown is a dime-a-dozen on the red carpet, but Dever said the dress was sustainable, and that, in and of itself, is praise-worthy. She didn’t say how, but we will take her word for it.
Lastly, her dress wasn’t big, but this move was: Natalie Portman surprised in a Dior cape with all of the names of the female directors who were snubbed for Oscars this year. How’s that for a boss move?
Penelope Cruz always adds a little zig and a lot of zag to bring up her red carpet silhouettes more than a notch. This year’s Oscars were no different. Cruz absolutely killed it in a black, strapless high-low gown. But what won me over was the pearl belt.
Saoirse Ronan’s Gucci confection was confusing to me. All of the pieces had the potential to be cool individually, but just not together. The deep decolletage is always red-carpet appropriate. The black peplum was striking. The purple moire skirt was just princess enough. But on top of one another? Thumbs down.
The force appeared to be with Janelle Monae as she appeared in a shimmery, silver, hooded Ralph Lauren gown. I wouldn’t be surprised if she had a sword hidden under the shiny billows -- she has to, with 168,000 Swarovski crystals.
Little Julia Butters sent sketches to designer Christian Siriano of her precious pink Oscar gown. This 10-year-old has style because the tiered sleeves were truly beyond.
I think everyone but me on the red carpet loved Billie Eilish’s somewhat goth, could-be-terry-cloth and very oversized Chanel pantsuit. The nails. The green hair (a carry-over from the Grammys). It was all doing a little too much. And none of it worked. But she is still cute.
Who of us has ever met a hot-pink dress that we didn’t like? Oscar-nominated Idina Menzel’s J. Mendel is a slam dunk.