The Academy Awards ceremony, widely known as the Oscars, is one of the most highly visible fashion events of the year. Only the most fashion-conscious scour the online photo galleries from every runway show during Fashion Week.
Most people don’t get to see these top-of-the-line gowns until actresses wear them on the red carpet. If this year’s red carpet is indicative of the direction the coming year’s trends will take us, it would appear that fashion is hewing closely to subtle femininity.
We saw very little in the way of risk-taking this year.
The most memorable pair
The undisputed star of the evening was Lupita Nyong’o. She stunned onlookers in her custom-made pale blue Prada dress. She styled her short hair with a tiny diamond headband and adorned her wrist with a twisted gold cuff.
Nyong’o wore no necklace over the deep V-neckline of her dress. Style watchers were expecting her to wear something a little more form-fitting or fashion-forward, so her A-line princess gown was a huge surprise. This look is likely to be imitated at proms and weddings for the next few years.
Kate Hudson made the biggest style statement. Her caped white dress evoked Gwyneth Paltrow’s iconic choice from two years ago, but put a more evocative twist on the concept. Paltrow’s dress concealed her figure, and the cape created a sense of cold distance between her and other people.
Hudson’s dress was sleek, and the slung cape moved gracefully. Like Nyong’o’s dress, this one had a navel-grazing neckline that managed to not look too provocative.
Lovely but not too flashy
Jennifer Garner and Jessica Biel looked lovely without making any particularly overt fashion statements. Garner’s long fringed flapper dress was pure fun, and Biel’s silver sheath did justice to her figure.
Pink’s long-sleeved red sequined gown was cut down to her navel. Dramatic V-necklines seem to be a trend to look forward to in 2014.
More mixed responses
Much to the dismay of fashion critics, many actresses are still wearing glittery dresses in nude or champagne tones. While these outfits are empirically pretty, it’s difficult to distinguish one from another in photographs. A well-designed version of this concept is not far removed from a bad one.
Even more frustrating, actresses are drawn to these muted colors without regard for their own skin tones. Pale women look washed out in champagne fabrics. This effect is amplified when they wear the nude makeup tones that are popular right now.
A whole lot of work is invested in making beautiful women look like homogeneous masses of the same fleshy color.
In a class by herself
Despite all the champagne fatigue, it’s impossible to deny that Cate Blanchett stood out from her peers in her gauzy gown. The cap sleeves were just fluttery enough, and the structure of the skirt created an incredibly pretty silhouette.
Most importantly, she had the good sense to draw attention to her face with huge earrings and softly colorful makeup.
Based on the Oscars, this year’s biggest style trends are going to be dramatic necklines, princess-y hair accessories, and the continuing popularity of sparkly champagne hues.