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The 80th annual Academy Awards presentation may have seemed a little ad hoc (no opening number, Amy Adams performing “Happy Working Song” from “Enchanted” with nary a backup dancer or animated furry friend in sight), but it was clear the gowns on the red carpet weren’t last-minute decisions — even if the ceremony was still up in the air two weeks ago.
“I’ve worked with him several times,” said Marion Cotillard of Jean Paul Gaultier, who designed her mermaid gown based on his spring 2008 couture collection. “When I saw this dress from his last collection, I knew I wanted to wear it.”
Julie Christie and her stylist turned to history books to come up with the design for her magenta cocktail frock. Others turned up in classic navy (New Yorkers Amy Ryan and Laura Linney in Calvin Klein Collection and Michael Kors, respectively) or black (Jennifer Garner in Oscar de la Renta and best supporting actress winner Tilda Swinton in Lanvin) and jewel tones such as red (Heidi Klum, Katherine Heigl, Miley Cyrus in Dior, Escada and Valentino), emerald (Amy Adams in Proenza Schouler and Saoirse Ronan in Philosophy by Alberta Ferretti) and purple (the pregnant duo of Jessica Alba in Marchesa and Cate Blanchett in Dries Van Noten).
“This fabric is actually a new invention of his,” said Swinton of Lanvin designer Alber Elbaz. “He started with devore velvet and he accidentally scratched it, so he then scratched the entire dress. I look like a cat’s been at me.”
And while the dresses were generally classic — or boring, depending on one’s view — the actress’ behavior could have used a little refinement. Alba smacked on gum the whole way down the line, for instance.
Some of the men weren’t any better — witness Gary Busey’s sneak attack on Garner’s decolletage. Meanwhile, it’s a good thing Javier Bardem won Best Supporting Actor for his role in “No Country for Old Men.” Said his brother Carlos, who accompanied him to the ceremony, “If he doesn’t win I’m going to light this place on fire.”
But plenty of the men were eager to comment on the night’s fashions. Take George Clooney, who said of girlfriend Sarah Larson’s beaded Valentino, “I tried it on first and it looked awful on me. It takes the right person to wear it.”
Hathaway, Ryan, Kidman by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images; Swank by Lester Cohen/WireImage; Adams, Diaz, Russell by Steve Granitz/WireImage; Cruz by Vince Bucci/Getty Images; Garner by Jeff Vespa/WireImage All others by Donato Sardella