May 31 - June 3, 2018

Oscar Fashion Story 2018

This Sunday, March 4th, Hollywood will celebrate the 90th year of the Academy Awards presentation and our largest query will finally be answered… what will the stars be wearing??? And, why do we care so much? Why does it matter? Because the movie star red carpet parade is a venerable fashion show of glitz and glamour that can be either inspiration or epic failure… From Barbra Streisands’ Arnold Scaasi moment (reminiscent of Gucci today) at the 1969 presentation to Gwyneth Paltrow’s pink confectionary Ralph Lauren gown when she won for her performance in 1999’s Shakespeare In Love to Angelina Jolie’s internet-breaking “leg” moment in Atelier Versace in 2012, Oscar fashion is not only memorable but can provoke our own personal black tie fashion moment. Whether it is in my blog or one-on-one with my clients, I always talk about “the girl finding the right dress.” And, that is exactly what happened in the cases of Barbra, Gwyneth and Angelina; they all found the right dress that created an aura of effortless confidence. For the purpose of this Oscar fashion story, I have chosen a gown that is both elegant and on-trend but may also be tricky to style. And, the decision was not an easy one, as there are so many amazing options out there this season.

Whether you are a fashion lover or a mere consumer, you pretty much have to have the Unknown Comic’s paper bag over your head not to notice that sequins are everywhere, and from what I have seen on the fall/ winter presentations on the fashion runways, apparently here to stay. And, I can pretty much guarantee that Oscar’s red carpet is going to be a shimmering spectacle that will make the Kirakira app (the photo app that makes even the most subdued sequin look like dancing diamonds) look muted. Especially after the solemn sea of black sisterhood #MeToo statement at the Golden Globes… the stars will be ready to shine again. Albeit, I am sure many will continue to show their support by wearing black. But, why can’t black also be sexy and glamourous??? I also believe women have the right to wear a sexy dress without the risk of literally being backed into a corner by a member of the opposite sex, but that is another story.

So, for the purposes of this fashion story, I have chosen this sequin and tulle frock from Oscar-nominated screenwriter, director and iconic fashion designer Tom Ford… Tom Ford is a gift to women because he truly understands our aesthetic for beauty and inspires a subtle sexiness… so much so that he personally tries on every garment and makeup color he creates. I love this gown so much not only for its undeniable shape and beauty but the sparkle actually moves like water when on the body. And, I love the provocative illusion top on the décolletage (another trend).

Here is where this frock gets tricky… Everyone loves the sparkly eye candy of sequins. But, if styled wrong, you can end up looking like you are working the Midnight Lounge at The Golden Nugget… It is important to remember when you wear sequins: they are the star of your look…Yes, we will accessorize but they are the muted co-star…

Now that we have the dress… we build, and the first block is always the shoe… The right shoes can make or break an ordinarily stunning dress (I always talk about my shoe sensitivity. It is literally a sixth sense)… Now, I usually am NEVER “one-note.” I think it is important to “mix” designers; it’s a great way to add variety. But, in this case, I am staying “one-note.” And, that is because these stunning gems brought me to the dress (a consequence that often can happen in my profession. No one really knows what comes first, the dress or the shoe when both are perfectly paired). So, in my hunt to find the perfect frock for our black tie fête, I found these fabulous, crystal-encrusted PVC slingback pumps brought to us by one Tom Ford. These are amazing for so many reasons: they are PVC (another trend that is here to stay) but also smoked PVC which I rarely see, with black crystals and a gunmetal heel and, most importantly, after you wear them with your dress you then can restyle them with a pair of skinny jeans and a sexy top for a hot night out. It is very important to choose accessories that you can mix back into your wardrobe. There is nothing worse than having lovely shoes just sit in the closet waiting to be worn to another black tie event because they only look good with one dress that you rarely wear.

Now that we have the dress and shoes… time for the handbag. Behold this plexi and crystal perfection from Alexander McQueen.

I happen to be partial to see-through bags because when I was a teenager I bought a PVC bowling bag with patent leather trim. And, my friends and I spent hours in the mall at scurrilous shops like Spencer’s filling it with all kinds of naughty knick knacks… And, because I believe the window into a woman’s soul is through her handbag you can really mess with people and have a good time. Plus, it is gorgeous. I think the black crystal skull eyes ties the entire look together and you can use the bag for even a casual night out. And, it comes with a gold chain just in case you would rather it as a shoulder bag.

Ok, so we have the perfect gown, shoes and handbag so we are onto jewelry. Remember when I said that the star in this look is the dress so we do not want to get too heavy on the jewels but just accentuate the entire look with a bit of glam? Just as I, as a stylist, look to several different vendors around the World to find the most unique and perfect pieces for my clients, so do others around the World use Greenwich’s own Betteridge’s (also the official jewelry sponsor of GIFF) to find the most exceptional jewels. I know they will always have the most perfect pieces whether I want to turn on the sparkle glam or mute it a bit…

Because there is so much glam happening with the sequin frock and the crystal shoes and handbag, I decided on muted elegance with these 1920’s inspired diamond fringe drop earrings. I also know how I want the hair and make up to look and this works well… I also decided on this 18 carat tanzanite stunner because I loved the mysteriously sexy diamond setting against the McQueen handbag and this is where I wanted to add a bit of color and drama. Finally, if you must, you can add a simple diamond bracelet onto the ring hand like this 1930’s diamond link bracelet that pulls the earrings and ring together… But, absolutely NO necklace. A necklace will decisively steal away from the sexy neckline of the dress. As a general rule, I am not the biggest fans of necklaces with black tie dresses, as I think a décolletage can and should stand alone. What else are we spending hours at the gym for?

So, now that we have our outfit all pulled together it is finally time to go see Alexandre and his team at Maison d’Alexandre (the official salon of GIFF) for hair and makeup. I love this sexy hair and subdued smoky eye look on Kendall Jenner and her sheer tulle sequin frock and long statement earring are quite similar to our own look. The hair is simple and swept back. You can also do a tight ponytail if humidity gets to be a problem. Vera Nicolla, head makeup artist at Maison d’Alexandre, has been doing my makeup for years. She is very capable of the smoky eye and nude lip look. Remember, we are adding subtlety to this show-stopping glam look. Try the Hyaluronic Sheer Nude in Bare Balm from make-up line BY TERRY (the makeup brand of Maison d’Alexandre), which literally plumps your lips.

And now, you are officially ready for your own black tie red carpet Oscar moment. They key is to have fun with the process. With so many options, it can be daunting and intimidating so stick to your own personal taste level and try on everything even if it is not something you would think you would ever wear. You might surprise yourself!

Until Next Year! Happy Oscar Night!

Ali Wolfe
About the author

Ali Wolfe is a Greenwich resident, GIFF Board Member, wife, mother of two children and stylist/ personal shopper with a client roster in Greenwich, the New York City tri-state area, Miami and Los Angeles. You can find her monthly 5 Fab Finds and fashion & lifestyle blog The Guggenheim Girls Guidebook on her website

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