My first impression as far as the fashion show was concerned, was that this was the largest Train wreck in the history of the Oscars. There were so many gowns with unwieldy and unwearable trains that the actresses looked seriously at risk. From Jennifer Lopez's regrettable Armani Prive creation, which would have better been kept prive to Zoe Saldana's Carmen Miranda inspired Givenchy these girls were in need of assistance. Both were disappointments , but I expect it from Lopez, I didn't from Zoe. Every one's stylist, and yes, I blame the stylists, was under the misapprehension that the event called for a major gown with major volume. That volume was monotonously played out in the caboose department.
Navigating the Red Carpet, the seats, the stairs and the walk across the stage was painful to watch. So many of the actresses both young and older were so lovely that these cumbersome gowns did little more than take away from their beauty. Hair was all over the place, but mainly piled on or behind their heads. Sarah Jessica Parker was one of the most obvious casualties in both hair and gown categories. The Chanel Couture dress was a risky choice that would have worked better on someone taller. Her hair piece was so obviously nailed on that I had trouble appreciating it. Worst of all were the buckets of Man-Tan slathered all over her face and body. It was a blessing for the folks back on the Rue Cambon that it was just about as yellow as her gown....the stains won't show as much. Standing next to her husband Mathew Broderick looking cadaverous with no makeup at all, threw her coloring into even more stark relief.
Mo'Nique was attractive in Tadashi Shoji's blue draped gown, but fit is everything and it fit too tight in places that could have been better camouflaged. Her win was fantastic and her hair and makeup were glamorous. Charlize Theron in Dior Couture should know that sitting for hours in duchesse satin does nothing more than create a very rumpled gown. The rosettes on her bust were beyond comment. Kate Winslet's YSL, too, was beyond comment. I think yellow diamonds should be taken off the market. They are banal, over worn and wholly without mystery. No one considers fancy colored diamonds in blue, pink, brown or green. Yellow has been done.
Vera Farmiga of Up in the Air fame chose a Marchesa claret pleated ruffle number that someone described as a couture bed skirt. Peneolpe Cruz was beautiful in Donna Karan, a very couture draped gown but looked slightly overwhelmed by it. Demi Moore in Versace, pulled off the perfect look that straddled the fence between too much and just right. The over-emphasis on Spanish dancer ruffled trains was perfectly proportioned on her dress, not to mention the exquisitely draped bodice and mysterious color. Speaking of mysterious color, I loved the Elie Saab gown worn by Anna Kendrick also of Up in the Air fame. She was lovely, even if the gown looked more like a Chanel knock off. The shade of pale pink was fantastic. Carey Mulligan, the ingenue in An Education in Prada was one of the few who looked great even with a major train. It helped that the gown was shorter in front which balanced the over all look of the dress. She wore one of the few black gowns of the evening which was a perfect counterpoint to her pixie, white blond hair and alabaster skin.
Marchesa was a big player last night dressing a number of actresses including Gabourey Sibide. Sandra Bullock, the big winner of the night,also dressed in Marchesa, looked every bit the movie star in her silver gown of crystal embroidered twigs and leaves on nude tulle and a long sinuous skirt of hammered silver panne velvet. I could have done with less of the crystals on the back of the skirt, but she was glamorous and elegant in her overall presentation. Her hair was straight and long, her lips were extremely red and the jewels were discrete. What you really saw was her....a siren in full command. She rocked my world. Queen Latifah looked well enough, but she needs someone to give her some sexier choices and not gowns that scream," Big and Bad". That gown looked manhandled and ill proportioned. God is in the details. Again, plain, unadorned duchesse satin is a killer if you're not standing.
The Grande Dames of the occasion looked good but were not that moving one way or the other. Helen Mirren tends to make very mediocre choices, like her frothy, tulle Badgley Mischka. This was a bit on the Mother of the Bride side with an obligatory attached train just below her not so tiny tush. That's an attention grabber where you don't need it. Had the back not been so fitted and had flowed away at the low hip, it would have read REGAL. It didn't, so it didn't. Meryl Streep looked nice, but only that...nice. When you're that great and that successful you're allowed a PASS. Oprah also looked very M.O.B. (Mother of the Bride) but, hey.....Kathryn Bigelow looked very chic and unfussy; a very sexy , good looking, mature woman. I was mesmerized by her and her genuine spirit.
Cameron Diaz looked pretty good in sparkly, tulle Oscar, but not as glamorous or sexy as usual. I missed seeing Angelina Jolie. She usually adds to the glamour quotient. Gabourey Sibide was suitably lovely in her gown and jewels. It was thrilling to see such a young woman without the look of the establishment look like a princess at her own ball. I couldn't stop thinking about Precious and her character's dream sequences where she goes to the huge party and is celebrated by all of the masses. Well, last night that dream came true.
Jeff Bridges was very cool and my hands down choice for the Best Actor award. I must say that two of the very best looking men there were Colin Firth, probably in Tom Ford and Jake Gyllenhaal in Burberry. Those guys were spotless and impossibly elegant. Tom Ford surprised me in a suit of his own design that looked too tight and ill fitting. Julianne Moore , for that matter was sharing the same luxury dinghy. I'd have to say Maggie Gyllenhaal was a standout in Dries Van Noten. It was completely original in it's simplicity of cut and unusual print. The other dream on the carpet would have to be Rachel McAdams in digitally printed chiffon Elie Saab. The over sized floral print, with a fabulously draped bodice and multi-layered skirt was in smokey pastels. It was an absolute KNOCK OUT.
High Definition TV is a beautiful thing. Everything is so unbelievably crisp and clear. This will pose a problem for many as the hands of time continue to grind away. Bad skin, bad cosmetic surgeries and bad cosmetics show up glaringly harsh. When you factor in that the average tv screen is 46" we're all getting a peek that's more up close and personal than ever before. So for all of the unfortunate choices made, and all the rampant gum chewing that went on, the Hollywood Cognoscenti need to think twice before going live. Get to the theatres, Netflix or Blockbuster and catch what you missed. The films this season were extraordinary, despite the side show which aired last night.
On the Street…At the Shows, Milan
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