Why yes, it’s my Oscar fashion roundup…

After my last thinky-thoughts, navel-gazing post, we’re back to the frivolity and snark of fashion. I’m nowhere near as good as the Fug Girls, but I do my part. Like the Golden Globes, I was left more or less underwhelmed by the fashions—only a couple of gowns really stood out with one in particular and those of you who know me, will know well which one, that gave me the feeling of OMG WANT.

Okay, first things first: I know the Muppets are back in this year, but would designers please, please, please stop sacrificing their pelts? Nancy O’Dell and Viola Davis, come on down!

Like Paula Patton, Nancy felt the need to channel Big Bird while Viola… Dang, Viola, I really wanted to love on you and your gown. And I know a lot of people really seemed to, but… I just couldn’t get into it. First off the green was just so… Kermit-like. The satin was almost too too heavy and smooth (kind of rendering it with a pleather-like appearance) and the embellishments seemed as if they’d been applied with the leaf tip of a pastry bag. Besides, those of you who’ve been around these parts know how I feel about doing that to The Girls. They just didn’t look comfortable.

Channeling Elmo was Emma Stone. Actually, scratch that—while the color was quite Elmo-esque, most of my Twitter feed hit the nail on the head when they said she was auditioning for a role as a Lexus. Can’t say I disagree—I’m not a fan of bows in general and this abomination was just… well. Girl wore it with confidence at least.

As for the actual Muppet fashionista in the audience? Miss Piggy looked quite fetching in a custom Zac Posen with Fred Leighton jewelry. Girl’s been doing this a long time and it showed.
(Seriously ladies, when the Muppet outdoes most of you on the red carpet, it’s time to consider firing your stylist.)

I dunno, like I said, I was fairly underwhelmed overall. Like any year, there were a few actively bad gowns, but mostly it was a collection of meh with a side of “Really? Not that it’s bad, but you thought that looked good on you?”

White seemed to be fairly predominant last night with a range of va-va voom to “Oh, girl, no. Just.. no.”

Oh, J-Lo…

I’m just not even sure what to make of this. It might work on the ballroom floor (no, really, give it a more flowing skirt and strategic inserts in the bodice, and it wouldn’t be bad, for a white dress), but to present at the Oscars? Oh, and her stylist is claiming the gown had “special cups” to prevent any accidents, that the dress was a magnificent confection of nude and white fabrics (or summat like that) and the joke was on those of us who thought we saw something. Got news for you sunshine—there’s not that much nude fabric where most of us saw the slippage. I just couldn’t shake the feeling she was eyeing down Rooney Mara from the stage and thinking, “See, little one? I don’t have to pierce my Girls to get them international attention.”

The rest of the look? Eh—typical J-Lo. Shiny face, skinned back bouffant, blah, blah, blah. Whatevs.

Going on with the white theme:

Gwynnie was Gwynnie. Structured column, the cape was a dramatic choice and okay for the red carpet; thankfully she lost it by the time she presented. Her makeup was thankfully understated, although I wouldn’t have minded a bit of lip color and I actually really liked her hair for once. Sleek, but not in a face-pulling way, nor was it her usual loose style. Shailene Woodley, on the other hand… girl, I don’t know what you were thinking. I mean, if you’re planning on entering a cloistered order, the dress works. Or maybe doing some sort of cosplay for ComicCon, but not for the Oscars. Now, while I’m not fond of the all over sequins of Milla’s I have to say, she looked remarkably put together. Not crazy about the extreme shoulder pad look on the one side, but all things considered, it worked. Love the bold pop of red lipstick and the Deco-style hair. She did good, finding a look and working it without going to an extreme (Oh, J-Lo…)

Now, initially, I didn’t much care for Rooney’s look. I think I’m way over the bangs.

However. That said, the more I looked at it, the more it kind of grew on me. Makeup was über-simple, hair simple, and no jewelry, letting her hair, lips, and the gown take center stage. The gown itself? Not nuts about the structured booby arches and there’s something about where the bodice and the halter overlay connected that seemed off to me, but overall, not bad.

Unlike her sister, Kate…

Does this look not scream, “Yeah, my sister’s nominated, so fucking what?” The press called it romantic. I call it a bridesmaid’s worst nightmare.

Melissa Leo, whoever is dressing you, Make. Them. Stop. Immediately. More than one person on my Tweet Stream last night referred to this as “Bought at Chico’s.” Can’t say I disagree. Her hair looked pretty, though.

Angie, we get it. You have legs. Your gown is slit up to your coochie. You’re wearing black and going home with Brad Pitt. Is there anything we missed? Seriously, what was up with the 80s supermodel posing all night? Did she lose a bet or something?

In the close but ehhhhhh category:

Natalie Portman did okay. After the structured mess from the Golden Globes there was really nowhere to go but up. She went vintage (1953, I believe), lovely color, playful unexpected accent with the polkadots and it did absolutely nothing for her. *shrug*

This next one is tough if only because everyone kept saying how gorgeous it was and oh, Lordy, it is, but… but… dang it, the fit. Jessica, honey, there is no reason the boning should cut into your armpits. (Thing is, this gown wasn’t made for her. The bodice is too long.) I bet you had bruises by the Vanity Fair party didn’t you? The thing most people fail to understand about a structured fit is that it should mold to the body comfortably. Not be so structured it moves independently of the wearer’s body, nor be so tight it leaves bruises or welts. Yes, depending on the weight of a gown you may get some of it, but it shouldn’t be an objective. Otherwise… oh my word, I would so wear this bad boy if I were five inches taller. (I fear I’m too short for all the dramatic embroidery.)

Another close, but no cigar for me was Michelle Williams. At first, I thought it was red, but it was actually a deep coral/orange, which I actually really like. Especially for me. I honestly think it was a lovely dress save for one thing: that damned peplum. People the 80s called, they want their peplums back. (I didn’t care for the one on Tina Fey’s dress either, although I loved everything else about it.) Really, though, Michelle’s gown is rather magnificent in the majority of its construction. The waved organza pleating is masterful and in motion, was lovely. Ditch that damned peplum and give the bodice a slightly more sweetheart profile to accentuate that beautiful pleating even further and it would’ve been a winner for me. (We won’t talk about the bow brooch—what I have to say about that is not fit for polite company.)

Loved the back of Sandy Bullock’s dress—the front, on the other hand? Meh. Honestly, I think if it had had long sleeves rather than the cap sleeves, it might have fallen/looked a little better. I don’t know. This is one I’m going to have to keep thinking on. It’s a hard call for me because that blouson style isn’t one I can personally wear. I’m too short and too hourglass—I’d look like a gilt-encrusted tank. But I do love the back…

I honestly and truly loved Bérénice Bejo’s gown except for the color. Not even that it was mint green, even though it’s not my favorite color—I just wish it had been a shade or two darker, like Maria Menounos’ gown. But overall, I loved so much about it and would wear something in this style in a heartbeat. (See, Shailene? This is how we do long sleeves.)

Okay, into the home stretch.

A tale of How-To with respect to dressing the Big Girls.

Octavia did it right (and oh man, how charming and adorable was she?), Melissa McCarthy… did not. Admittedly, they’re both not built quite the same but Tadashi Shoji, who dressed Octavia, accentuated her positives (if you’ll forgive the pun) while whoever put Melissa in that mauve disaster needs to be taken out back and shot. She’s so pretty! She didn’t deserve to look like that.


It’s Meryl. She’s been wearing variations on a theme of the bathrobe look for years. Who fucking cares? She’s Meryl. It’s gold lamé, it’s a shapeless bathroom, but she is Meryl. Do we really think she gives a shit?

This is likely to be my controversial choice, with people falling on the side of either love it or hate it, but holy cats, I love Judy Greer’s gown. Sleek, simple, sexy, and her hair provided such a fabulous contrast. It needed to be hemmed, but beyond that, loved it.

And my winner (like this will come as any surprise) Penelope Cruz. Oh my stars and garters, y’all, how stunningly gorgeous was this gown and her in it? Armani Privé, custom made for her and it showed. A beautiful cross between periwinkle and lavender, fitted exquisitely, the hair, jewels, and makeup were gorgeous—the entire look just pure Old Hollywood perfection. I would so seriously mug her for this gown.

And finally… I said it on Twitter last night, but it bears repeating: I solemnly promise to y’all that if any of my books ever get made into a film that lands me on the red carpet of an awards show, I will a) work with a professional hair and makeup person b) wear proper foundation undergarments and c) for the love of all that’s good and holy, I will make sure I wear a gown that friggin’ fits.

Oh, and I’ll stand up straight.

I give you, Kaui Hart Hemmings, author of The Descendants. Girl, please…

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