In celebration of tonight’s Academy Awards (aka Fashion’s Biggest Night), I’ll be posting my picks for best and worst; but they’re not the choices most of you would make. Rather than Julia’s Valentino and Bjork’s infamous ‘Swan Dress’ (which pops up first under a Google search of her name, a testament to its iconic bad-ness*), mine are slightly more controversial. In the case of Worst Dressed (posting tomorrow), down right scandalous!
Cate Blanchett in Givenchy is my choice for one of Oscar’s all-time best. There are so many fabulous things about this dress, styling and context-
- The hate this dress often generates stems from the fact that many people didn’t understand it. Unlike Oscar De La Renta and Atelier Versace confections (the kind Penelope Cruz favors) that are created for these events, Cate’s dress was made for the Runway. Taking a high fashion Runway dress and putting it on that traditional and conservative carpet is a big risk. True lovers of fashion love risk takers and rule breakers, and these attributes alone bump her past some safer choices (like Reese Witherspoon in vintage Dior).
- Created by Givenchy’s Riccardo Tisci who’s not exactly known for traditional black tie couture, this dress is edgy. The juxtaposition of the ethereal lilac with neon yellow, the front and back cut outs, the soft draping of the skirt contrasted with the strong lines of the ‘sleeve’ all present as fashion-forward while still embodying elegance and total sophistication.
- Great Red Carpet fashion is not just about the dress- it’s also about the styling. Cate (or her stylist) understood that to showcase a piece with so much going on, hair and makeup should be soft and modern and jewelry should be kept to a bare minimum. With the wrong styling (a severe eye, an ornate hairdo, statement jewelry), the precious balance she strikes between simple and detailed would turn into a hot mess.
*From all I’ve heard about Bjork, it’s obvious to me that she both knew and wanted that dress to be ‘bad’. Her meta-consciousness of Oscar Fashion should disqualify her from Worst Dressed consideration, and someone like Demi Moore, who thought that outfit actually looked good**, should instead wear the crown.
**I know this was the in the 80s, but still!!
Image via visual-therapy.com