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Fashion highlights from Oscars 2023's champagne carpet

Moira Macdonald, The Seattle Times on

Published in Fashion Daily News

An Academy Awards red carpet — or, in the case of this year's edition, champagne-colored carpet — is typically full of pleasures both expected and unexpected. The former: Jamie Lee Curtis, looking absolutely classic and smashing in a simple, long-sleeved glittery sheath. The latter: Fan Bingbing, in a silver gown worn with a wildly dramatic, emerald green sleeveless coat; the sort of thing a fairy princess might wear to a Technicolor ball.

You wonder if everyone got the champagne memo — a few beige-ish gowns, like those on Zoe Saldana and Florence Pugh (the latter's dress, a lumpy mass of beige over black shorts, seemed to be trying to consume her), seemed to fade away into the carpet. As in recent years, there was a trend of white dresses: Michelle Williams, Emily Blunt, Mindy Kaling, Ariana DeBose, Halle Berry — all of whom managed to avoid looking like Oscar's bride (though Williams' caped gown did have just the faintest whiff of Miss Haversham). Best actress nominee Michelle Yeoh did veer a bit bridal — there was even a delicate tiara in her hair — but her ethereal white feathered gown suited her beautifully ... and seemed like it would set off an Oscar nicely.

But here and there some glorious color emerged: Halle Bailey in dreamy pale-aqua tulle gown (appropriate for the Little Mermaid-to-be); Sandra Oh in beautifully draped saffron; Cara Delevigne in wine red; supporting actress nominees Stephanie Hsu and Kerry Condon in vivid fuchsia and yellow, respectively. (Condon, on the champagne carpet, said the color of her Versace gown was a callback to her "The Banshees of Inisherin" character's final scene, in a yellow coat.) My favorite color statement: Angela Bassett in the most glorious shade of purple, with a pouffed shoulder detail. Or maybe it was Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, rocking (ha!) a salmon-pink satin dinner jacket. Or maybe it was the sapphire blue on Cate Blanchett, who in a power move showed up last on the red carpet in a dramatically draped top and black evening skirt; nobody else wore that color, making it all the more striking.


Glitter was everywhere: in Ava Duvernay's sparkly Old Hollywood black gown with silver capelet and train, in Malala Yousafzai's silver Ralph Lauren (featuring a graceful, cowled head covering); Sigourney Weaver in a simple gold gown; Jessica Chastain asparkle in silver; Nicole Kidman looking excellently witchy in black sequins. And some nominees chose ensembles with personal details: Costume designer Ruth Carter, in a dramatic yellow gown, wore earrings made by the jewelry designer who made Bassett's crown in "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever"; composer Diane Warren wore her usual dark rocker-chic suit, but added Oscar-gold shoes; supporting actress nominee Hong Chau chose a pink Prada gown with a collar reminiscent of a classic cheongsam dress.

My favorite gowns of the night? Duvernay, Kidman, Bingbing, Jessie Buckley (in steampunk-ish black lace), and Yeoh, whose dress got prettier the longer I looked at it. But next year, bring back the red carpet, and keep the champagne in glasses.

(c)2023 The Seattle Times Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.


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