What's red, black & boring all over?

By Veronica Saroli (ArtSci ’14)
Staff Writer

I got the impression that if you were nominated for a non-acting category at this year’s Academy Awards, you were dressed in black. Jacqueline Durran, who won for her 1950’s Dior inspired costume design for Anna Karenina, provided a slight variance in the colour scheme and sported an inky navy blue. Lisa Westcott and Julie Dartnell, who won for their work on the makeup and hairstyling for Les Misérables wore black, as did the winner for best original song and all around demigod, Adele. No matter what’s said, black is always the new black.

Jacqueline Durran and Adele with their Oscars

Actresses are often used to being the gems, or the “stars” of the show. This much is evident, even on the red carpet. Yet gratitude and adornment for the crew should also extend to the red carpet, where they often act as a backdrop to the cast, sporting boring black.
And this year’s sea of black was not enough to save the sea of blah. It seems that every year the fashion pundits call out for more experimental and daring attire, and that call again went unanswered. There were plenty of neutrals, pale colours, subtle metallic tones, the token red dresses and a few cutouts … but that’s essentially it.

Halle Berry and Jane Fonda in Versace

At any rate, the actresses still looked beautiful and flawless, just not bold or dauntless. It’s irksome because it seems that the red carpet now only means business. Rather than dressing for the fun of it, most actresses seem to be dressing for their next role, or to appeal to the next employer.

Jane Fonda and Halle Berry both donned Versace and went for a sharp look. It’s a look that would be sure to have some detractors, but they did it for the pleasure of dressing up. Berry asked for her custom Versace to have a Bond girl look as she was presenting the Bond retrospective. Thanks to a contract with the brand, Jennifer Lawrence wore Dior Haute Couture. It was a beautiful dress – likely more so up-close – but as Samuel L. Jackson (who wore a dashing maroon velvet suit) says in Pulp Fiction, ‘personality goes a long way’ and what made Lawrence’s outfit special was the person wearing it.

Jennifer Lawrence, graceful as ever in Dior Haute Couture

Django Unchained cast member Samuel L Jackson and Quentin Tarantino with his Oscar for Original Screenplay and a black leather tie

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