2010’s Oscars were, for red carpet watchers anyway, some of the most exciting in years. It’s as if the stylists heard my moans of boredom from having to write up the Baftas and brought their A-Game to the dressing table. If the gowns weren’t breathtakingly beautiful (and many were), they were at least interesting, daring or adventurous in some way – and let’s face it, something has to be in order to keep us awake through the narcoleptic’s nightmare of the ceremony itself.
After much careful thought and deliberation as to how to order the eighteen dresses I wished to write about, I came up with the genius categories of ‘My Favourites’ and ‘The Rest’. Yes, revolutionary isn’t it? Commencing with ‘My Favourites‘:
Rachel McAdams in Elie Saab – Is this dress not one of the most breathtakingly beautiful creations you’ve ever seen?! I simply adore it. If the last time you gave watercolours some thought was when you found yourself wondering what the hell that one in your hotel/hospital/grandma’s room was meant to be, take a look at this dress and think again. The stunning swirl of pastel shades in a floral print is just a total dream and transforms what is essentially a simple gown into something greater than the sum of its parts. McAdams looks fresh, fragrant and fabulous. Love the earrings too.
Meryl Streep in Chris March – Proof that it’s not only Helen Mirren nailing the ‘sexy older woman’ market, Streep looks stunning in this simple yet sophisticated white number. It’s sexy in an understated way, extremely flattering and accessorised nicely with the blingtastic bag and bracelet. The real miracle, of course, is how youthful Meryl looks – her skin just looks so radiant, easily outshining the complexions of some of the mere toddlers walking the red carpet. I’m going to christen this look Slouchy Snow Queen (it’s all about the draping) and hope I look that good when I’m Meryl’s age. (P.S. I’m choosing to ignore the peep of a clunky platform wedge in the hope it will go away and I can pretend I never saw it and go back to unadulteratedly loving this dress like before…)
Cameron Diaz in Oscar de le Renta – Princess Dress Alert! God, this is gorgeous. I would like the assurance of Diaz’s stylist, Rachel Zoe, that no fairies were harmed in the making of this dress because it looks like unprecedented amounts of fairy dust may have been sprinkled on it. Exuding a shimmering old-school Hollywood glamour, Diaz totally pwns in this and there really is not much else to say.
Maggie Gyllenhaal in Dries van Noten – Gyllenhaal rarely disappoints with her slightly quirky sense of style and this is actually my favourite Oscars dress. By keeping the shape simple, the bold brushstroke print is allowed breathe without going overboard and I love the detail of it fading away at the hem. In a red carpet season dominated by actresses trying their best to look naked without y’know… being naked (when will the nude trend die? It totally kills Anna Kendrick’s dress… more of which later), the splash of bright colour is invigorating. I’m also a big fan of Gyllenhaal’s bubblegum pink lipstick, which makes the outfit pop even more without looking like it came from a Barbie dress-up set.
Miley Cyrus in Jenny Packham – …And speaking of the nude trend! I’m not quite sure what’s going on with the hunched posture that makes Miley look like she’s sucking in her stomach or the somewhat ginger quiff or even the too-small Ann Summers bustier masquerading as a top but believe it or not, I do really love this gown on Miley and it’s a massive improvement on last year’s tacky monstrosity that came complete with rhinestone belt. This outfit seems to channel Christmas tree fairy – but in the best possible way – and the stunning accessories (that cuff is just gorgeous) complement it perfectly. You could even say (if you’re a fan of a bad joke), that it makes me nod my head like yeah… [Red carpet hawks please note the similarity to Marion Cotillard’s Critic’s Choice dress, which was also beautiful]
Elizabeth Banks in Atelier Versace – Couldn’t care much for Elizabeth Banks as an actress (her character in Scrubs was insufferable) but she makes a fine mannequin for this stunning Versace gown. Seriously, what is it about me and ruffles? Stick them on any dress and I seem to go all goo-goo eyed. Romantic ruffles aside, I do think the unusual dove-grey colour is beautiful too. (P.S. Oh no, another hint of clunky platforms again… why do I keep spotting these and spoiling the look for myself?!) (P.P.S. Panic over for the Streep platforms at least… turns out it was the camera angle and they were a perfectly nice pair of Jimmy Choos, phew. Banks’ still look dodge though.)