Like most of the major award shows, the Oscars offer fashion with a decided tendency away from “let’s get FASHIONY” and toward “this is a pretty and unremarkable dress/tux!”
But of all the “this is a pretty dress” award shows, the Oscars give us the most entertaining fashion. In the era of the best-dressed list, no one wants to take major risks or do anything as daring as, say, Bjork’s swan dress (now in the MoMA, FYI), but everyone’s stylists save their most elaborately beautiful gowns for the Oscars, a.k.a. Hollywood Prom. Nothing is too surprising, but a lot of things are beautiful.
Below are six Oscars fashion moments worth talking about.
Ruth Negga’s stylist told the Hollywood Reporter that she’s going for “pagan goddess” with this look, which … sure, I can see it in the hair, I guess. That high lace collar is a little less “pagan goddess” and a little more “Victorian nightgown,” but in the best possible way: It’s sweetly prim and emphasizes Negga’s long, severe lines. That blue ACLU ribbon is a perfect accessory — and it’s especially fitting for Negga, since the ACLU represented the case depicted in Loving.
Isabelle Huppert’s flowing silver sequins are dreamy and classic, but she punked it up a little with those black nails and that extremely French IDGAF perma-sneer.
There are never enough prints on the Oscars red carpet, and this William Morris-esque floral pattern is a stunner. It’s a big, dramatic look, but as anyone who’s seen Cynthia Erivo sing knows, she has more than enough presence to pull it off.
Emma Stone’s flapper gown is weirdly not quite as good as her star-studded Golden Globes look, and it’s perhaps a little on-the-nose for a nostalgic fantasy like La La Land. But as an Oscars look in and of itself, it’s pretty and playful, with a little more movement and fun than the average red-carpet dress.
Tuxedos are generally pretty boring, but this is a flawless iteration: perfectly tailored (note that his trousers are not puddling around his ankles), and with the blue velvet jacket adding visual interest without getting cheesy.
Taraji P. Henson
This look is so simple that it has to be perfectly executed to work. All of the details are just right: the sleekness of the silhouette, the old-fashioned glamour of the necklace, and that inky blue velvet just barely shading into black.
Whereas this look is all drama, and it is perfect. It takes a specific presence to make a sheer bodice with bumblebees flying across the boobs work, and Janelle Monáe is that presence. She looks like the benevolent empress of the galaxy, and I am here for it.