“I think the decision to go with a champagne carpet rather than a red carpet shows how confident we are that no blood will be shed,” quipped Jimmy Kimmel, the host at the Oscars last Sunday, taking a jab at Will Smith for his infamous slapping of Chris Rock onstage at last year’s awards night.
The carpet was just one of many changes that the Academy, accused of not being inclusive enough following the 2015 #OscarsSoWhite controversy, was trying to put in place, like having more nominations from underrepresented racial or ethnic groups and women and encouraging studios to follow suit in their hiring process.
What has not changed, however, is the glamour on the “red” carpet, where the designers and jewelers showcase their creations as the world ogles and watches what’s in and what’s out. Many seemed to go with how the carpet lightened, with a predominance of white and lighter, pastel shades, but bold statements were still made with vivid colors, voluminous silhouettes and plunging necklines. The corset and structured, tailored looks reigned, while couture details of draping, rosettes and sequined embellishments kept things interesting and vintage pieces made a bid for sustainability.
Lighter tones from white to cream were favorites. To make up for the non-color, Michelle Yeoh’s Dior gown was made stunning with feathers, while Emily Blunt’s Valentino intrigued with gauntlet sleeves.
Among the men, Harry Shum wore a white jacket with a black obi sash tied around the waist.
On the pastel side, Hong Chau was resplendent in a pink custom Prada column with a Mandarin collar that she requested, matched with a black beaded train. Dwayne Johnson went soft in a pale peach tuxedo jacket by Dolce & Gabbana.
Sheer and black
To soften the starkness of black, gowns went sheer, like in Lady Gaga’s boned Atelier Versace gown with ’50s bullet bra top contrasted with a voluminous skirt and Rihanna’s Alaïa piece that had leather mixed with the sheer for a soft-hard edge mix to show off her baby bump.
Corsets were not the usual. Dolce & Gabbana’s versions had a Little Mermaid fairytale vibe in Halle Bailey’s light blue tulle ball gown with ruffled neckline, and went inside out on Jamie Lee Curtis’ crystal-encrusted blush column. It was sculptural and edgier with a bare midriff in Janelle Monáe’s ensemble by Vera Wang.
A favorite embellishment on the runway shows, the rose was seen in many iterations.
Grecian draping kept things elegant and classic, the way Sandra Oh did an orange Giambattista Valli gathered at the waist and Sabrina Elba’s radiating neon green Stella McCartney with strong ’80s shoulders.
A favorite embellishment on the runway shows, the rose was seen in many iterations. Our very own Dolly De Leon wore a black suit by Philosophy di Lorenzo Serafini accented with a red rose and matched with a red minaudiere by Neil Felipp of Cebu.
In Nicole Kidman’s black Armani Privé, the rose punctuated the slit and graced one shoulder. It added whimsy to Paul Mescal’s white tux Gucci worn with ’70s flares.
The more the merrier when it comes to volume, like Cara Delevingne’s red one-sided gown with a sumptuous skirt and matching huge bow wrapped up on the shoulder, and Allison Williams’ sweeping pink opera coat over a floral-jeweled dress with feathered hem.
Necklines went way down on both women and men. There was an Art Deco vibe in Eva Longoria’s flowy and glittering Zuhair Murad and Ariana De Bose’s beaded custom Versace. Lenny Kravitz rocked it with chains across his chest, while Riz Ahmed used an unbuttoned pink and tan shirt with oversized collar to get the plunging look under his classic Prada suit.
What’s the Oscars without the glitter, which Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai exemplified in a shimmering silver sequined Ralph Lauren gown with ruched waist. Salma Hayek Pinault went even bolder in a fringed Gucci number.
Some stars showed their concern for the environment by using archival pieces, like Cate Blanchett, who wore a draped velvet Louis Vuitton top with a sustainable-silk skirt. Rooney Mara’s empire-waisted Alexander McQueen gown was from the designer’s fall 2008 “Girl Who Lived in a Tree” collection.