I love the Oscars! I love all the pomp and pageantry of its 88-year history and all the Hollywood glitz and glitter it represents. Mostly, it is a celebration of true artistry; writing, directing, filming, costume designing, composing, acting, technological advancements are all forms of ingenuity that should be celebrated and rewarded. And, let’s not forget that it has, will and always will be the most glamorous night in Hollywood. And, as I said in my last post, every other award’s presentation is just a dress rehearsal to tonight!
That is why, for me, when I critique the attendees, it all has to be perfect; frock, tuxedo, jewelry, hair, make-up, it not only all has to fit like the stories these people tell but it must be effortless. As if being nominated, presenting or invited is not enough.
It was really hard not to make it “The Mr. Armani” show. A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, give or take 15 years ago in a hamlet called New York City, I worked for Giorgio Armani and there happened to be a 15 step directive on how all his employees, garments and shops should look; impeccable and tailored were the words most often used as well as always having a lint brush and steamer nearby were the mantra to live by. Years later, these tricks of the trade are tools I continue to utilize and consider. I guess that is also why his designs continue to impress and stay relevant for 40 years.
So, without further ado, here are my picks for the Best Dressed at The 88th Annual Academy Awards…
Best Dressed Over-All: Cate Blanchett
To her lovely fellow nominees, this was not Miss Cate’s first visit to the rodeo as she has been nominated 6 times before. Rodeo; the event with equine; not the drive in Beverly Hills. And, it showed! She literally “schooled” in how to be a movie star. In a word, her Armani Privé gown was perfection. The soft aqua shade, the delicate floral applique, the crystal and feather placement, the fit of the deep v which added a bit of sexiness and trendiness, all worked together impeccably. And, Miss Cate understood that the dress is artwork and needn’t be gussied up. The classic hair style, the understated make-up, and the minimal jewels kept the gown the star. She looked confident, radiant, and uncomplicated and that is how it should be done every time, frankly in everything in life.
Best Dressed Female Nominee: Lady GaGa, Nominated for Best Original Song featured in
THE HUNTING GROUND
Whether she is a pop star, singing our national anthem in front of millions, attending a luncheon or just being a star; Lady Gaga always dresses the part appropriately. Tonight, she was a glamorous superstar who will forever have the words “Academy Award Nominee” preceding her name. I, on the other hand, will forever love a good jumpsuit. This cream one designed by Gaga’s friend and stylist Brandon Maxwell becomes a bit more elegant with the addition of the train accenting the wide-leg pant. And, I love the classic sexiness of the strapless neckline. Again, her hair is elegant and unfussy and the make-up is minimal. Do I wish she added a bit of bling to her wrist? Absolutely! But, again, she was showcasing the chic pantsuit with understated sophistication.
Best Dressed Male Nominee: Eddie Redmayne, Nominated for THE DANISH GIRL
Number one, not all tuxedos are alike. Number two, the most difficult part in wearing a tuxedo is not looking like one of the waiters at restaurant Mr. Chow’s. And, number three, when attending the Oscars, you must look impeccably tailored, crisp and clean. Oh, how I wanted it to be Leonardo DiCaprio in Armani so badly as tonight was really his night to shine. But, he was unshaven, and I kept thinking that the tuxedo was too tight on him. Eddie Redmayne, on the other hand, came to play. And, by the way, a velvet smoking jacket and shoe has never been my first choice for an elegant affair such as this probably because it is so hard to pull off and could end up looking a bit too “Masterpiece Theater.” But, this Alexander McQueen ensemble is absolutely dapper on Eddie. It is tailored to perfection and he looks comfortable. A real winner.
Best Dressed Couple: Naomi Watts & Liev Schrieber
First of all, this photo of Liev and Naomi is going on my “mood” board and will be referenced the next time my husband and I have a black tie affair. They just emanate sexy, cool. This couple cleans up nice too and I should know, I have seen them argue make-up free, in sweatpants about the virtues of purchasing blood oranges at the Brentwood Farmer’s Market in L.A. Totally a true story…
Lady’s First… I warned you that this was going to be the Armani show. Naomi is dazzling in this Armani Privé sapphire and hot pink sequin sheath. Again, the hair is Hollywood glam and the make-up is not too overpowering. And, she chose just the right amount of ornament in the Bulgari diamond necklace.
Liev… Again, no two tuxedoes are alike. It is like the belt scene in “The Devil Wears Prada.” They are all so different. And, it should be said, that Liev was also almost my Best Dressed Male, but he was not nominated, and keeping with the theme of the night, I wanted to keep things “diverse.” Things I look for in a good tuxedo, other than the tailoring… a simple crisp white shirt without fussy bejeweled buttons, the correct sized bow-tie and a pocket square. See… Mr. Schrieber in none other than Armani. As my husband said, “Ray Donovan is the man!”
Best Dressed Presenter: Charlize Theron
There is an unwritten law in the “Academy Handbook…” A “female” presenter shalt not look better than any nominee. What a hard feat for Academy Award winner Charlize Theron. Even in a simple red Dior Haute Couture gown, she shines. And, I usually hate a long necklace on a deep-v halter neckline but in this case the 50-carats worth of Harry Winston diamonds works. I wish the hair was a bit less fussy, but seriously she probably looks amazing in sweatpants, fussing over blood oranges at the farmer’s market.
Best Dressed Dazzler: Margot Robbie
I appreciate that the gorgeous Margot Robbie has been taking fashion risks ever since she came on the scene in 2013 with “The Wolf of Wall Street” as she really doesn’t have to. She probably can just get away with wearing a Marchesa ball gown over and over again and be on everyone’s best dressed list but instead she experiments and there has been hits and misses. Tonight was a homerun in this sparkling, sexy Tom Ford gown. Again, Margot, was only a presenter so she kept things simple but dramatic which is apropos for a stunner such as this. She kept the hair and make-up classic and sexy which really complimented the over-all tone of the gown. It is very easy to go a bit disco-crazy with this one but Margot took the risk and it paid off!
I hope you enjoyed my critique of the Best Dressed at this year’s Academy Awards. Until next time… keep it elegant and effortless!
xo, Ali Wolfe
(Image credit: Getty Images, Photo Graphics created by Lindsey Hascher)