HOLLYWOOD — If you think the Italians have had it tough, just wait and see how the French react.
With buzz heightening that next year’s Academy Awards could be bumped a week forward into March, the calendar clash that so conflicted with the Milan ready-to-wear presentations could next year become a Paris problem.
Of course, in some ways, Paris Fashion Week already kicked off a day early right here with the newly reinforced legion of French labels on Sunday’s red carpet — among them, Guy Laroche, Christian Dior Couture, Azzaro, Chanel and Rochas. Natalie Portman, best supporting actress nominee for “Closer,” absolutely shined in a Lanvin gown her friend, Alber Elbaz, made for her — and fast. “He said he didn’t have time with his show coming up [this Sunday],” Portman said. “Then he saw the movie and he really wanted to make something. I saw [the gown] for the first time yesterday ’cause I just got in from Israel and I just had to wear it.”
Add to the list those houses that show in Paris — such as Valentino and Stella McCartney — or have French designers, such as Roland Mouret, who shows in New York and lives in London, and the Oscars this time round were a veritable French festival.
But the Italians — many of whom dashed straight from Milan Fashion Week to the hills of Hollywood to sew away — are far from down and out in the Oscar fashion sweepstakes, with Atelier Versace, Armani Privé, Prada and Roberto Cavalli all garnering their share of stars. Donatella Versace hopped a jet the morning after her presentation in Milan to make fittings here, and Cavalli recently promised he would reschedule his next fall show so he, too, could come (of course, it will be easier if the Academy Awards schedule becomes a Paris issue next year).
Prada had not one but two standouts in Salma Hayek (whose décolletage kept L.A. radio buzzing all Monday morning) and Maggie Gyllenhaal, who said she “was choosing between two Prada dresses and I thought this one was hot.” (Her publicist carried her Prada fur stole in a manila envelope along with her Oscar tickets.) Even Leonardo DiCaprio was repeatedly quick to give Miuccia praise for his Prada tux on camera.
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