Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Middle America, I'm sure, was very pleased.

This short sentence regarding this year’s Oscar fashion summed up the red carpet better than anything else. The dresses that were generally beloved by the press (and one can assume, the masses), were generally rather boring and safe. For instance, Nicole Kidman’s Balenciaga had a simple strapless silhouette with some tone on tone embroidery – pretty enough, but boring and beige. And yet she was lauded for her choice.

Simple is not always the epitome of chic, people. Sometimes, less is boring and risks should be rewarded.

Carolyn Bessette Kennedy could do minimalism and make it work. So could Audrey Hepburn. However, the rest of us need a little more color and sparkle to look our best. Even if you are as gorgeous as Nicole Kidman, your dress, skin, and hair should not all be the same color. But as glamorous and important as the Academy Awards are, they still aim to appeal to the billions of viewers around the world. And that means, essentially, catering to the middle.

Anything deemed too “out there” is left on the racks and it is usually the most classic looks from major designers that make it on the red carpet – we’re talking long satin column dresses and basic black or white, with estate jewels from Harry Winston and Fred Leighton. Every year, nearly all in attendance channel old Hollywood glamour, and as a member of the fashion-viewing public, I am tired of it. And I don’t think I’m alone.

We want to see couture, we want to see the wild, the crazy, the fantasy ballgowns that every woman has dreamed of wearing since she was a little girl. We’re tired of Vera Wang and Armani, we want Galliano and McQueen and slashed-to-there glitz. We want color and ruffles and sequins – bring back Cher! If you can’t go over the top at the Oscars, when can you?

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