Looks like you made it through the sea of bad taste, the Muppets outbreak and the ocean of yawn through to my final red carpet rundown from the 2011 Oscar Parties. Your reward? A dozen or so more dresses to cast judgement on, of course.
Lea Michele in Roberto Cavalli – There’s something slightly schizophrenic about this dress, like it was designed by a Mormon who raved it up in Studio 54 when his parents weren’t watching. For me, the uber-high neckline and long sleeves just don’t work with a dress that’s had Taylor Swift’s entire wardrobe of sequins flung at it. The pattern looks like it’s desperate to become a Union Jack but hasn’t quite made it, and although there is a slight 70s diva charm to it, my overriding feeling is one of ‘ugh’.
Taylor Swift in Zuhair Murad – Taylor’s here to reclaim her sequins. ‘They’re mine, all MINE! …Even the blue ones!’ ‘Wouldn’t it be nice if someone else wore us… just once’ begged Baby Sequin to Poppa Sequin. Pretty enough but even the sequins are starting to look bored of Taylor’s signature look.
Selena Gomez in Dolce & Gabanna – This is also standard for Selena, namely wearing dresses that are more grown-up than she is. I think this red gown is gorgeous (particularly the double straps) but I think I’d love it even more on someone taller, older and who isn’t dating Justin Bieber. How about giving it to me?
Kate Beckinsale in Julien Macdonald – If this was America’s Next Top Model, Kate would be receiving first call-out for this picture. Girlfriend is working it! Putting away my inner Tyra for a minute, this is a smouldering number that takes the basic shape of Lea Michele’s misfire and remembers to add some sex to the equation. Add Kate, who exudes a sense of stardom strong enough to make you forget she’s never really been in any good movies, and you have a winner.
Anna Kendrick in Marchesa – They say that ‘Life is like a box of chocolates’, so Anna came dressed as one. Specifically, a Valentines gift box. Needless to say, what works for a Thorntons shelf doesn’t necessarily translate to the red carpet.
Emma Stone in Chanel Couture – I don’t think I even need to mention the hair anymore so let’s head straight to the outfit. A top with a print that looks like it was made with 90s Clipart pictures of fireworks, a lace skirt that’s sprouted a ponytail and all in dark colours that seem at odds with Emma’s typically sunny disposition (and sitcom hair). And yet… perhaps I’ve been writing too long, perhaps I’m just willing to forgive the lovely Emma anything (including hair made of straw) but colour me crazy, I think it works.
Zoe Saldana in Prabal Gurung – I never thought pink and red were a great match yet Zoe carries it off with such aplomb that I almost wasn’t reminded of a Hallmark display. However, the ruff?! There’s a reason no one but clowns have worn these since Tudor times. I do applaud the candle holder/ornamental Turkish Delight box as a handbag though. In fact, I’m not sure it’s even supposed to be a handbag… just Zoe trying to extract some sort of use from the pretty frippery you find scattered in aspirational lifestyle stores and find yourself buying even though they have no other ostensible purpose than to sit and look pretty. Much like Jessica Biel. Ornamental Turkish Delight box may even have had more charisma in The A-Team too.
Emma Roberts and Ashley Tisdale in Jenny Packham – I really love Jenny Packham dresses. They don’t involve models wearing gimp masks down the catwalk, they don’t require “directional” (e.g. freaky scary) make-up to look their best and they don’t try and hit so many trends that they look like a fashion editor’s mood board just vomited itself onto an unsuspecting passer-by. They’re unashamedly pretty, feminine, feature liberal use of sparkle and are all the better for it. Emma Roberts’ dress is probably my favourite of all the Oscar party outfits (and indeed, edges out most of the gowns from the main event); I just love the way the sleeves sit and how it seems that a star is exploding from the gown’s middle. Shame it’s on Emma, who excites me about as much as a film starring Jessica Biel, Elizabeth Banks, Kate Bosworth AND Jessica Alba (in case you’re new here, that’s marginally less than staring at a blank screen). I like Ashley Tisdale a whole lot more but like her dress a little bit less – but it’s still a gorgeous shimmering champagne colour and I love that twisted shoulder detail.
Kerry Washington in Escada – Having sported thick heavy bangs (or as it was known then, a fringe) for most of my youth, whenever I see this hairdo, I immediately start having traumatic flashbacks to the pain and months of impaired vision that growing it out entailed. So, I’m not usually a fan (see Sandra Bullock at this year’s Golden Globes). But I actually like the blunt bangs on Kerry and it plays in well with the metallic line details on her glittering diva gown. I’d say it was sassy if I didn’t hate the word.
Paz Vega in Giambattista Valli – This is just lovely, soft and unexpected. It feels a little more suited to a charity lunch or a day at the races but it’s still a stand-out amongst all the sequins and vampy colours. Pretty yet directional thanks to the strong but squishy shape, the romantic ruffly skirt makes me thinks of pillows, clouds, marshmallows and meadows of spring flowers. All good connotations, let me assure you.