HOLLYWOOD AND DESIGN
LOS ANGELES — Oscar fashion trends? How about, in the spirit of Bing Crosby, going my way? After all the breathless anticipation — “What will Halle wear?” “Who’s getting the one Chanel couture?” — that was the big message at the Academy Awards on Sunday night.
Stylewise, it was one of the most interesting Academy Awards in years, thanks to a crop of fashion-loving actresses who know how to work a look — their own. There was chameleon Nicole Kidman’s glorious old Hollywood glamour in that solo Chanel; Uma Thurman’s unabashed celebration of buxom motherhood in Jean Paul Gaultier couture, and Jennifer Connelly’s dream-girl ode to fashion-insiderness, God love her. (Connelly may, in fact, do for Balenciaga’s Nicolas Ghesquiere what Thurman did for Prada a few years ago.) Actresses worked overtime to assert their personal style — and star power. In what had to be the night’s most fabulous assertion of the latter, Nicole Kidman carried a handbag on which Karl Lagerfeld had embroidered the initials “NK” where the CC should have been. Cameron Diaz, who always looks a bit undone, worked that attitude like a charm, in flower-power Ungaro couture. “This is so me that it feels like I’m wearing pajamas,” she said. Other actresses endorsed little known designers: Kate Winslet wore Ben de Lisi and Marisa Tomei collaborated with a young Scandinavian named Jurgen Simonsen. And best actress Halle Berry, who stopped the show with her tearful and historic win, stunned everyone — especially Valentino — by wearing an Elie Saab dress with a sheer embroidered bodice that borrowed more than a little from the figure skating school of fashion.
Still, one could extract a trend or two, especially in the play of light and dark. Joining Kidman on the pretty-in-pale front were Kirsten Dunst in Christian Dior and Audrey Tautou in Alberta Ferretti, her hair no longer the neat pixie bob of Amelie, but a faux-rumpled sexpot mess. But oddest coif honors went to Jennifer Lopez, who topped off her ice pink Versace with a “Valley of the Dolls” ‘do. Not a good look to begin with but worse yet, that was two years ago, Jennifer.
Conversely, a number of stars took Tom Ford’s advice. Last week, he said that every woman should wear black to the Oscars, and many did, including two of the most recent best actress winners, Julia Roberts and Gwyneth Paltrow.
“I found my McQueen on the Internet,” offered Paltrow, who loves surfing the Web during collection time to pick out her favorites. In fact, with her Goth eyes and edgy, sheer-bodiced ballgown, she could have stepped right out of the designer’s show. The problem is, see-through clothes don’t really work off the runway, not even on major movie stars.
Just ask Roberts. She can’t run away from see-through fast enough, even on photo shoots. But that doesn’t mean she’s opposed to a little well-placed peekaboo, such as Giorgio Armani’s black gown with oh-so-provocative slices. “I don’t think too hard about this stuff,” said Roberts, who chose among frocks by Armani, Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren. “At the end of the day, the best thing I can do for myself is be comfortable.” And of course, look fabulous.