City Pulse

By Katie Calautti

All photos courtesy of Oscars.com

To know me is to know that I covet Oscar day above all others – not only because I am a self-professed cinephile, but also on account of the evening’s riotously entertaining red carpet portion. There is nothing more fulfilling to me than giggling and guffawing while scrutinizing the style selections of otherwise flawless actresses piece-by-sequined-piece.

Perhaps the schadenfreude of it all comes from some latent animosity bubbling deep within regarding my less-than-stellar high school prom experiences, but – really – this isn’t about me, is it?

This is about the fashions donned at the 82nd Annual Academy Awards – from haute to heinous!

BEST DRESSED

Sandra Bullock

Every element is pitch-perfect – the velvet, silver-hued Marchesa gown, the glamorous old Hollywood hair, the bold lip (one of the night’s many trends): this is what a Best Actress winner looks like. Bullock backs her newfound acting credibility with proof that she can skirt the line (pun intended) between vintage and risky, balancing traditional silhouette and unconventional color.

Maggie Gyllenhaal

Gyllenhaal has always made cutting-edge fashion decisions, and her Oscar pick is no exception. Luckily (unlike the Lanvin she wore to the 2009 Golden Globes), this Dries Van Noten creation is a winner. Not only does it fit her fragile frame like a glove (and she’s a mommy, people!), but the print and palette are a refreshing departure from the evening’s sea of black and neutral tones.

Kate Winslet

I’ll admit right now that I’m a little biased in the Winslet Department. The woman is a goddess, let’s face it. She rarely disappoints, and her chic, steel-hued Salvatore Ferragamo frock and slick hair are no exception (and also reinforce two more of the evening’s trends – metallic hues and side-parted, loose waves). The statuettes must’ve been seething with jealousy!

Carey Mulligan

Being billed as the next Audrey Hepburn is a world of pressure for a relative newcomer to the Hollywood scene, but Mulligan shoulders the reputation with poise beyond her 24 years, wearing more-than-basic black Prada. Paired perfectly with her classically cutting-edge cropped hair, the pee-a-boo front hemline and extra-large beading are bold standouts on an otherwise delicate frock. Methinks Audrey would approve.

Cameron Diaz

Normally I relegate Diaz to the dregs of an event’s worst-dressed, on principle of bad hair alone. For that reason, I’m going easy on her this time. Congratulations, Cammy – you’ve earned yourself a Complete Look! You may be a ho-hum hybrid of every one of the night’s trends (the hair, the dress color, the lip), but – aside from the slightly ill-fitting waist on your a-line – you don’t look half bad!

WORST DRESSED

Sarah-Jessica Parker

I’ve got an acronym for you, SJP: Super-sized Jaundiced Potato sack. You are a tiny woman – what business do you have swimming in this inverse-pleated Chanel Couture monstrosity?! Add to it the flyaway-laden frizz up top, overly-charcoaled eye makeup and pale yellow that sets off your oompa-loompa orange fake tan, and it’s a wonder your inner Carrie Bradshaw wasn’t screaming in horror. Perhaps you muzzled her with that large-and-in-charge neckline embellishment?

Zoe Saldana

Ms. Saldana may’ve taken her roll as an enviro-conscious Pandoran princess in Avatar a tad literally: her Givenchy ball gown looks like an upside-down version of one of the film’s mystical floating seeds of Eywa. While the jellyfish-shaped lavender buds floated effortlessly through James Cameron’s flora and fauna-laden brainchild, the look doesn’t exactly translate to the red carpet. I’d recant my opinion if – and only if – Saldana had presented with Ben Stiller.

Miley Cyrus

Any hopeful up-and-coming Hollywood starlet needs to adhere to three golden rules: dress your age, keep the makeup youthful, and practice good posture. Miley has smashed every one of those guidelines into tiny, razor-sharp bits. This look is cutting in every possible way – the caked-on face, electrocuted tresses, and way-too-tight bodice on the Jenny Packam creation are painful. Cyrus’ single accomplishment is the concoction of a fashion “don’t” that transcends age.

Vera Farmiga

There was much ado about the curvy Farmiga’s seductive turn in Academy favorite Up in the Air. Sadly, her ruffle-laden Marchesa dress hides all there is to celebrate about her womanly figure. Farmiga should take a page from Kate Winslet’s book – work with – not against – your body type. This kind of couture barely hangs properly on rail-thin runway models! The only saving grace to this look is the gorgeous, rich berry color, which offsets Farmiga’s porcelain skin and stunning blue eyes.

Diane Kruger

Talk about inglourious – this Chanel number is a world of wrong! Kruger’s pick has no idea what it wants to be – negligee, can-can costume, Wild West barmaid. Your guess is as good as mine! The severe makeup and hair only add to the confusion. Nein, nein, nein, nein!

This year’s resounding red carpet revelation: a simple statement is most effective. Pair bold color choices with classic silhouettes, play with a deep-hued lip (but keep the rest of your face neutral), style your hair simple and sleek, work with your body type, mix up your wardrobe with metallics, and remember: proper fit is key.

Originally published March 2010
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