It’s that time again! The one week of the year when I let you off the pressure of rating the dress, and do it myself, as I Rate the Oscars.
As usual, I’ll go from best to worst, so keep scrolling to keep cringing (or not, you’re totally allowed to love the things I hate and hate the things I love!)
A note: I take quite a lighthearted approach to my own clothes, and will happily admit when I create outfits that just don’t work out. My critique is meant to be an amusing take on how I viewed the Oscars fashions, and includes only comments that I would find hilarious, rather than insulting, if they were applied to me.
Auli’i Cravalho’s is the only dress of the 2017 Oscars that I looked at and instantly loved, and looked a little closer, and still loved. Yes, it’s a little bit prom, but she’s what, 16? So prom meets Oscars is perfect! And it looks likes shells, and seafoam, and fans! How divine for the actress who voiced Moana! 16 year old me would have died of happiness if she could have worn this to prom, or the Oscars, and mumble-mumble-30-something me wouldn’t be ashamed to wear it either. 10/10
I LOVE a super-intellectual, super wacky, and super fabulous dress on the red carpet, but it’s really hard to pull all three of those off and succeed. Quite a few actresses attempted it this year. Who pulled it off? Only one of them, but the next one came SO close, loosing, not by a hairsbreadth, but by the width of a layer of illusion mesh. That stuff will trip you up every time!
So who succeeded?
Yep. Priyanka Chopra has managed to make a dress that could, by that proverbial hairsbreadth, look like a primary school craft project made from woven Christmas ribbons, with an apron front that is, as far as I can tell, help on by glue, the gravity-defying powers of boning, and hope, look amazing.
OK, possibly there is some illusion mesh in there, but it’s doing it’s job because you can’t see it, and that’s the important thing for illusion mesh (otherwise it ruins the illusion). 9/10
Speaking of intellectual fashions attempts and illusion mesh…
Things I’m loving about Janelle Monae’s outfit: the super modern take on 18th century skirt; the crazy collar, which also looks like a nod to 18th c pleated ribbon chokers; the headband (love a good diadem-esque headband); the rows of embellishment on the skirt, which have convinced a small portion of my mind to skip off and sit on a hill in the moonlight, blowing dandelions, in the firm and happy conviction that her skirt features little rows of stormtroopers chilling out and shooting the breeze while they wait for deployment AND DON’T YOU DARE TELL IT THAT’S NOT WHAT THEY ARE.
Things I’m not loving about this: the illusion mesh bodice with the giant mutant birds attacking her boobs while a nuclear bomb (so we know where the mutant birds came from) explodes beneath the left one. And the too harsh belt. That sucks too. But mostly the illusion mesh. Blech. It’s just about impossible to combine super-intellectual and illusion mesh, and while this is still fabulous, it’s loosed 2 points for the evil IM. 8/10
Some commentators have compared Leslie Mann’s frock to the iconic yellow dress from Beauty and the Beast, and said that when they saw it ‘A Tale as Old as Time’ started playing in their head.
When I saw it my brain started singing:
‘It was a…droopy, drapey, swoopy, swoony, yellow taffe-ta balloon-y, that she wore for the first time today!“
Despite this, I like it. It’s FUN. It’s not boring (and so much of the red carpet was boring). I’m not entirely convinced by the ‘Hey, let’s take a 1940s sarong set a la Wearing History’s Sunkissed Sweethearts pattern, and turn it into an Oscars ballgown’ brainwave that seemed to have inspired it, but I definitely won’t be putting it on a Worst-Dressed list. 7/10
(and this from a person who usually loathes pickups with a passion only otherwise reserved for thigh-length neon-purple fringe-covered spandex ‘Authentic 1920s Flapper Great Gatsby Deco’ dresses on etsy)
There is a lot I love about Ruth Negga’s outfit. The makeup is the best-possible take on the red-eyeshadow trend (not the biggest fan), I ADORE her modern-take-on-a-Regency-diadem headdress, the fit of her dress is spot-on, and it’s a really nice change from the usual ‘Hey, have you seen my boobs! What about the flesh between them and my stomach to my navel?’ (especially this season, when half the dress bodices seem to have been made from two tiny handkerchiefs of dress fabric – yeah, I’m looking at you Michelle Williams and Emma Roberts – at least ScarJo had a last minute panic and pinned her bodice together).
No matter what you do to it, even if it’s made of silk, bright red lace just looks like it came from the $2 shop and was super-glued on. It has the magical ability to make any dress look like one of those frocks from the really dodgy Chinese knock-off sites. In fact, give it a week and those sites will be selling this ‘exact’ dress, and when you get it it will look just like Ruth’s frock, only the lace will be so itchy you’ll scratch your upper chest until it’s so red you won’t need the bodice-filler net, and the bodice will fit a 4 year old, and the sleeves a 14 year old chimpanzee.
Naomie Harris wins all the points for cosplaying as that time Jabba the Hutt decided to make his own Stormtrooper clone army (his own clones, ‘natch).
Naomie Harris also looses all the points for cosplaying as that time Jabba the Hutt decided to make his own Stormtrooper clone army. This is the Oscars, not a Cosplay Convention (but if she wears this in a CosCo CosCom she’d better win!)
So…that makes it 5/10?
Darby Stanchfield laser-cut pleat-layer-thingees are amazing, and the illusion tulle is fine, because it’s tulle, not mesh, and loose, not skin tight, and I desperately, desperately, want to see her spin, and those earrings are fabulous (if slightly painful looking), but the overall look is just a teeny-tiny bit obvious. It’s the pose and the hair. It needed sleek hair pulled back in a bun, and Janelle Monae’s pose. She couldn’t quite commit to being intellectual, and had to shove in a big dose of sexy, and that just ruins it. I’d still totally wear this in a heartbeat if I was getting married again though. 4/10
Emma Stone got criticised for being too literal in her star covered frock at the Golden Globes (personally, I loved it, just fyi), so instead of going as the Oscar statuette to the Oscars she channelled Old Hollywood and came as the fringed lamps that Joan Crawford had in her dressing room before her Baby-Jane career revival. Her makeup (which was apparently based on Dante Gabriel Rossetti paintings, because she’s a readhead, and he liked to paint them, ‘natch) is also giving me creepy Baby Jane era Joan Crawford vibes. I feel like we just got a glimpse of what Emma will look like in 40 years. It’s pretty good for 60+ years old, but it’s weird now! So, lampshade dress, ageing makeup, and yet…it’s not even interesting terrible. It’s just boring. 3/10
Brie Larson’s dress is an obvious nod to Sargent’s Madame X. From mid-thigh up I love it. From mid-thigh down it all becomes obvious and boring. So boring that if it wasn’t for the Madame X nod I wouldn’t have bothered including it, because boring is almost the worst fashion sin of all. 2/10.
I suspect this is hardly an original positioning of this outfit on a best-to-worst dresses list for this year, but oh, my, it’s so bad… Poor Dakota looks like she spent so much time with her kit off, and was so desperate to get anything on, that she picked the primmest dress possible, and then accidentally put the top half of her dress (with attached supposed-to-be-a-butt-bow) on backwards, and forgot to do her hair. Apparently the dress is a nod to the famous Faye Dunaway ‘morning after’ photo, but Faye’s warm cream was right for her colouring: this pale gold is all wrong on Dakota. Just a little too try hard ‘I’m a serious fashionista’. 1/10
And a final bonus shout-out to Allison Schroeder’s (she’s the screenwriter behind Hidden Figures, in case you’re wondering) dress, which has a lovely backstory, and which makes me really happy because it reminds me of a slightly in/famous Annie Bonza dress. I’m not rating because it would get a super-high rating if it didn’t have a train, but it does have a train (and shouldn’t), so I’m so conflicted. Also, I thought I’d leave something for you to rate 😉