And onto Part II, cunningly-named ‘The Rest’ category; this is what I was referring to when I said the Oscars 2010 red carpet was one of the most interesting and adventurous in years. Thought I’d hook you in with the uglies to start off…
Diane Kruger in Chanel – Kruger is usually one of the most impeccably-dressed women around (see what she’s been wearing the rest of this awards season here) but this is a dress only a mother could love. In fact, make that grandmother, as surely (cool hip grandmas apart) they’re the only ones constituting any sort of buoyant lace doilie market there may be and lace doilies appears to be what this dress is fashioned from. Screwed-up lace doilies occasionally throttled with screwed-up black lace doilies that is. Find the most unflattering parts of a figure to tie things around and in a quite remarkable feat, that’s where the black lace appears on this gown. The middle section reminds me of curdled cottage cheese, which in turn reminds me of thrush. No dress that reminds me of an infection whereby your urine looks like cottage cheese can be a good thing.
Vera Farmiga in Marchesa – I’m usually a big fan of Marchesa’s structural gowns but try as I might to love this one, rather like that Topshop dress that rocked on Alexa Chung/Kate Moss/Sienna Miller but just looks weird on you, I can’t. I love the cerise colour, I love the shade of lipstick and I love that the neutral-wearing Farmiga has taken a real fashion risk, but I just see pencil shavings… or pleated napkins… or cupcake cases, which are stiff, slightly grotesque and give Farmiga no shape at all. I think in isolated doses, just on the bodice with a sleek skirt or vice versa, it might have worked yet in its current state, it just looks like an infection running rampage over the entire dress.
Zoe Saldana in Givenchy – Some critics are going loop the loop for this dress, which just highlights the selective couture blindess that seems to go on. Saldana is stunning and sells this gown with all her Na’vi might but it was weird on the catwalk and it’s still weird now. Let’s go through this step by step. Glittering bodice: gorgeous. Origami-pleated waistline – delectable. Lavender colour – delicious. The bottom: *Red alert, fire alarms, sirens, screams of horror * What is it?! The remains of a Muppet? A crowd of purple Chuzzles? Some tie-dyed shag-pile rugs from the 70s? No idea, but DO NOT LIKE.
Charlize Theron in Christian Dior – In homage to her Arrested Development character, perhaps this gown would look better on inside out? Only a Mr F could have thought this would look good. Charlize really can’t have a go at us if we’re all staring at her tits because the two Danish pastries attached to her boobs make it kinda hard not to. I preferred them when held up to the ears to make you look like Princess Leia (you can have that style tip for free). In all fairness, the rest of the gown is fine and Theron is her usual immaculately-groomed but if the designer really had to “add interest” to this simple dress, couldn’t he have found a less patently ridiculous place to do so?
Carey Mulligan in Prada – I hoped it would be Kristen Stewart bringing a rock edge to the Oscars but step forward English rose, Mulligan, to do red carpet dressing with a punky twist. Rather than embellishing the bodice with mere girlie glitter, Prada have instead scattered it with miniature knives, forks, scissors, keys and watch gears, a really cute and quirky design detail that totally works and makes the top half of this dress rock. Bottom half however and things start to get a bit tipsy; I don’t like the shorter length at the front, the border is unnecessary and the shoes seem heavy. I think a shorter version of this would look great at some music awards show – get onto it Prada!
Sarah Jessica Parker in Chanel – Of course, SJP fans would have you believe this dress is amazing/beautiful/stunning and that she was one of the best dressed of the night. But those SJP fans tend to think she would look fantastic in a bin bag (and let’s face it, she probably has worn one at some stage) and the reality is that this dress is a bit of a let-down. It does have a classic sort of elegance to it, but the musty yellow colour makes it look like it was discovered amongst the mothballs at the back of the closet and you’ll have more chance of finding a real-life Big than any sort of shape in this saggy sheath. Nevertheless, the beautifully intricate neckline is fascinating, in a Derren Brown sort of way. Is sheer will power alone holding it up? A spell from the fashion gods granted for so many years of sterling service? Who knows but it, and those sparkling bracelets, are the best thing about this outfit.