Hollywood has turned the countdown to Oscar week into a nightmare for the fashion business. Most of those who are slated to appear next Monday night have been besieged by designers all making them offers they didn’t refuse. One actress commissioned a dress from one source, only to back out at the last minute, claiming, “Well, this other designer offered to dress me for an entire year if I wear his dress to the Oscars.”
However, a handful of stars have finally narrowed it down this week. Jessica Lange and Sarah Jessica Parker are wearing Calvin Klein. Ellen Barkin will wear Chanel couture. Dianne Wiest and Jack Nicholson are going with Donna Karan. Miranda Richardson will wear Richard Tyler, as will Kate Capshaw and Steven Spielberg, and Laurence Fishburne. Winona Ryder is having “Little Women” costume designer Colleen Atwood whip up a number for her that she says will be looser than the Lily et Cie vintage gown she wore last year, a dress she said was,”way too tight — I had trouble walking.”
Susan Sarandon has abandoned pal Todd Oldham for Han Feng. Mary Ellen Zemeckis, wife of Robert Zemeckis, the director nominated for “Forrest Gump,” went to costumer Susan Becker for her dress, a gown with beaded bodice and sleeves and a Dior neckline. Jodie Foster will do her usual Armani thing. Also in Giorgio’s camp: Annette Bening, Maria Shriver and Arnold Schwarzenegger, host David Letterman, Chazz Palminteri, Gary Sinise, Matt Dillon, Robert Zemeckis, Sam Neill and Robert De Niro.
Gianni Versace has made some big inroads into Oscar dressing this year. Elizabeth Hurley will again don Versace. And so, supposedly, will Claudia Schiffer, Jane Fonda, Morgan Freeman, Steven Seagal, Quentin Tarantino, and Sally Kellerman.
Rene Russo has pulled the ultimate no-no: telling both Armani and Versace she plans to don their gowns. But Uma Thurman, Rita Wilson, Sharon Stone, Jennifer Tilly and legions of others remain uncommitted. Sally Field seems to have commissioned dresses from Chanel, Dior (see the designer’s sketch above), Versace and James Purcell. Rita Wilson has five dresses she paraded for husband Tom Hanks last week.
“All in all, I think it will be a very glam year,” noted Richard Tyler. “It’s become quite serious business, this dressing people for the Oscars. Even more than last year. I guess that’s because the Oscar photos from past years stay out there forever. And there are a lot of frightening ones. A lot of people just wish they’d go away.”