Thursday, March 4, 2010

Oscar Fashion

Ah, award season — that wonderful time of year when anyone possessing a loud mouth, Twitter or the ability to update her Facebook status can fancy herself a fashion critic. “So-and-so looks like a bloated sausage dressed in duck feathers,” the remote-wielding Tweeters will likely type.

“Anyone can get all dressed up and glamorous, but it is how people dress in their off days that are the most intriguing,” designer Alexander Wang’s website reads. From the looks of the red carpet, I’d argue that it’s a little more complicated than that. Judging from the legions of fashion disasters that parade their way down the paparazzi trail, even “somebodies” can barely get dressed up and look glamorous.

Celebs with mega-budgets for gowns and stylists seem to have mega-troubles pulling themselves together. Christina Hendricks, I’m looking at you. The “Mad Men” star’s curvaceous figure is the kind of challenge a “Project Runway” contestant would throw a hissy fit over. For the Golden Globes, Christian Siriano stuffed her into a nude, ruffled, asymmetrical number that landed her at the top of the worst-dressed list. Hendricks, why not try something in a darker color without all the extra volume this time around?

At the Golden Globes and Grammys, warm-toned ruffles were all the rage. You couldn’t swing a trophy without hitting a cascade of frills. In moderation, the look is great. But when applied with a heavy hand, the ruffles look like a cake ready to trigger a sugar overload.

Max Azria’s Hervé Léger bandage dresses are still turning up on the carpet, and while I appreciate the slimming effects as much as anyone, I think it’s time for something original.

I understand it’s a challenge for stylists to find something that’s equally flattering and fashion-forward without being so avant-garde that the celeb looks crazy. Evening gowns generally limit opportunities for styling creativity. This year, however, I think celebrities should stick to simple dresses and focus on interesting accessories. After all, due to the economy, that’s what every woman in America is doing these days.

Like Alexander Wang, I’m far more interested in seeing how celebrities dress on their way to the airport than on their way to their seat at the Academy Awards. But I can’t help but wonder who will seal their identity as a fashion industry darling and who will end up in a photomontage of the most bizarre gown choices of all time come Oscar night? Only Sunday and the E! fashion police will tell.

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