Looking at the fashion on the Oscars 2019 red carpet
By Brittney MacDonald, Life & Style Editor
When I think of the Oscars red carpet, I generally think of celebrities doing their very best to look as glamourous as possible. As I have gotten older and my understanding of fashion and personal style has evolved and changed, I now associate the Oscars with a time to be—as the kids say—EXTRA af. Not only extra, but extra in a way that is both timeless and fashion-forward. I think that the second part of that, the fashion-forward part, is what people (i.e. celebrities and their stylists) struggle with.
I understand the reasoning. Being in the public eye, especially at such a media-filled event, and being labelled “worst dressed” may or may not be someone’s worst nightmare. However, at the same time, many of us will never get the opportunity to wear a Miu Miu gown or a Dolce & Gabbana suit. We have to live vicariously through people like Olivia Colman—who was wearing Prada and looked fantastic! As a member of the general public, I want to be blown away by the fashion at awards shows. I want more like Billy Porter’s Christian Siriano tuxedo-gown, or Lucy Boynton’s Rodarte homage to 1950s old Hollywood. I guess that’s why I just can’t understand someone going to the Oscars and choosing to look boring.
Here’s a fun game—let’s spot the celebrity that needs some help.
First up, we have possibly the most boring outfit of the night, worn by Laura Dern. Dern is a very accomplished actress who has appeared in everything from the original Jurassic Park to Star Wars: The Last Jedi. However, she is not known for her exciting fashion choices, and her 2019 Oscars look is no exception. The dress is apparently made by Rodarte—which seemed to be a popular pick at this year’s Oscars—and is a plum-coloured A-line silhouette with a dropped waist, sweetheart neckline, and rouged bodice. Is the dress bad-looking? Absolutely not, but it is extremely predictable and utterly tame. Let’s be clear, I don’t expect every celebrity to got to the Oscars and have a Cher moment (Cher wearing Bob Mackie at the 1986 Oscars when she won Best Actress for Moonstruck, look it up). However, nothing about Dern’s outfit even gives you a hint that a famous designer made it. It looks like she picked it up at David’s Bridal.
Next up is Charlize Theron. In the past, I have praised Theron for her awards show looks. She often looks exceptional and does normally have a good eye for fashion that is both forward-thinking and complementary. She doesn’t wear flamboyant outfits, but you rarely look at her and think, “I’ve seen that before.” A prime example is when she went to the 2016 Oscars in a red Christian Dior gown that was stunning! However, this outing—also in Dior—is probably the worst I’ve seen her. There is nothing overtly wrong with the dress itself; it’s in a nice colour and the train is pretty. However, there is nothing special about it. It’s a structured, floor-length bodycon with padded shoulders. It looks like someone’s Mother-of-the-Bride wedding outfit. Not even the Bulgari diamonds could save this humdrum mess.
Lastly, and probably the criticism that will take most readers by surprise—Lady Gaga. I know it’s hard to believe, but even Gaga has her off days. I’m not saying I miss the version of her that wore dead Muppets, or literal dead animals—but I do miss being excited by seeing her. It is obvious to me that she was trying to capture a nostalgic old Hollywood feel, similar to the Versace number she wore to the 2016 Golden Globes. However, this Alexander McQueen gown failed to make her look like anything other than a Holiday Wishes Barbie—and that is not a compliment. This strapless ball gown with the dropped waist and form-fitting bodice has been seen on beauty pageant contestants for years. The only difference is they don’t stack out their hip pads.
I feel like the odd shape was meant to make this dress appear avant-garde—but it’s not. It’s just a boring dress that looks like it was altered to have extra space in case she wanted to bring a few water bottles. In my opinion, Gaga and her team didn’t take it far enough. Pair this dress with a flapper headdress or a rhinestone skullcap and it would have been a completely different story. You need to play up the powerful hip silhouette for it to work, not feminize the look more with a soft beehive. Right now, it’s giving me too much of a Stepford vibe.
All in all, there were some definite fashion highs on the Oscars red carpet this year—but not enough to overshadow the boring lows.