2012 Academy Awards
Despite the glorious gowns, the agile acrobatics (Cirque du Soleil), the moving In Memoriam tribute, and the ample and often scary plastic surgery, the 2012 Academy Awards was the usual tame and tepid affair. Though the three-hour tedium of bad jokes, stupid sight-gags, and phony chatter at least had the saving grace of Billy Crystal as emcee.
The true star of the show was the Kodak Theatre, which looked every inch Old Hollywood. Done up in Deco splendor, the sets and lighting were a nod to the film that ended up winning Best Picture – The Artist. (And yes, I will continue to call it the Kodak Theatre, I don’t care what the court says. The other name is too silly to utter.)
Now on to the gowns.
Everyone always looks for a theme, a predominant color or style. The one trend that was unmistakable was an echo of the Kodak’s itself – retro glamour, specifically Art Deco. There was also a lot of white and ivory, and many one-shoulder or off-the-shoulder gowns.
Rooney Mara looked decidedly un-Dragon-Tattooed in an ivory silk Givenchy with an almost gauzy effect at the bodice. Though she looked like she desperately needed a sandwich, and the back of the dress resembled bandages or a harness, the dress was, overall, lovely. She kept a touch of the vamp with black bangs and bright red lipstick:
Even more vampy was Rose Byrne, who was drop-dead gorgeous in a backless liquid black column of sequins by Vivienne Westwood. Her hairstyle was pure Louise Brooks, and she wore enormous Deco earrings by Chanel:
There was little black this year, with Angelina Jolie, Melanie Griffith, and Olivia Wilde also opting for it. And I’m sorry, I know it won’t be popular, but it has to be said: Jolie looked positively freakish.
Her spindly arms and legs, so scrawny I thought her bones might break if she sneezed, are adorned with those hideous tattoos that could just as well be bruises. She looked like a refugee from a prison camp. Okay, a glamorous refugee, as her face is still beautiful. (Though when you get that skinny, your head looks freakishly huge in comparison – not necessarily a pretty sight.) Honestly, she gave me the willies.
And she kept thrusting her leg out from a gown (Atelier Versace) that was slit from here to kingdom come, in a move so ridiculously in-your-face that it was later mocked on stage by Jim Rash, as he accepted an Oscar as one of the writers of The Descendants:
Hey, Angelina, we get it. You’re a babe. You’re hot. You’ve had however-many kids and gotten rid of all the baby fat (and then some). Your man is Brad Pitt. You’re THE power couple. Everyone knows who you are. Do you really have to try so hard??
There were many welcome respites from such displays, such as Penelope Ann Miller in a nude, cross-halter-top sequined gown by Badgley Mischka that she helped design. Her look was another homage to ‘30s glamour, from the dress to the hair to the pink diamond ring and earrings and classic Deco bracelet:
Missi Pyle wore the winning design from the Red Carpet Green Dress Competition – a minty-blue eco-friendly dress made with silk from cruelty-free silkworms (yes, really), recycled zippers, recycled polyester, designed by Venezuelan-born, Miami-based Valentina Delfino:
A subtle gown that didn’t get enough attention was the Elie Saab creation worn by Bérénice Bejo. The mint-colored beaded-mesh bodice and long sleeves gave an effect of vines with green leaves. Her red hair, done up in an elegant braided side with back bun, showed off not only her lovely face but huge emerald drop earrings:
The undisputed stunner of evening was wearing another Elie Saab—Milla Jovovich, in a jaw-dropping ivory beaded one-shoulder gown with a slight train. Her hair was simply and delicately styled, almost marceled. Again, 1930s high glamour. Absolutely radiant:
Dare it be said – the gown reminded Glamour Girl of her own ivory silk beaded gown by Stephen Yearick (red-carpet-worthy if I do say so myself):
Speaking of radiant, Bingbing Li shimmered in an ivory (or was it white?) sequined column by Georges Chakra Couture, with stripes of sheer panels at the side and an almost-mermaid silhouette:
White did not work wonders for the young Shailene Woodley, who showed up in Valentino Couture vintage. Problem is it was late ‘60s-early ‘70s vintage, with a high neck, long sleeves, and a bodice that looked like a checkerboard. Hey, even Valentino couldn’t overcome the fashion uglies of that era:
Maria Menounos floated by in a breathtaking pale green, diaphanous-paneled creation by Maria Lucia Hohan that was pure Grecian goddess:
Stepping out of a different part of Greek mythology was Viola Davis in a brilliant green strapless gown by Vera Wang. It was a cleavage-baring extravaganza, with a clean straight skirt that gave way to tiny ruffles cascading into a pleated bottom. With huge teardrop earrings by Lorraine Schwartz, a single statement-making diamond bracelet, and gleaming skin, she was an Amazonian beauty:
Hometown girl Stacy Keibler was, of course, on the arm of George Clooney. And truth be told, she looked magnificent. Her gold-bronze satin one-shoulder gown by Marchesa, with a huge pleated rose at the hip, made her a statuette unto herself. There wasn’t an ounce of cheerleader/wrestler tackiness about her:
Judy Greer was a knock-out in a slinky Art Deco column of silver & black by Monique Lhuillier. She could give the Chrysler Building a run for its money:
Melissa Leo, in Reem Acra, seems to go for these short-sleeved dresses, as she did last year as well. Short sleeves are odd on formal wear, too sporty, but she looks so much better with slightly darker hair instead of that washed-out faux blonde. And she’s clearly bitten the Botox bullet, which I imagine is near impossible to escape in Hollywood. Even Jane Lynch of Sue Sylvester fame (Glee) has recently succumbed to the wrinkle-erasing fix:
Primary colors were also bursting on the red carpet. Michelle Williams wore a coral-red strapless Louis Vuitton of tiered chiffon, with a dainty jeweled bow brooch at the waistline. This gown is beloved of stylistas this morning, but I don’t think it worked for her. It had a kind of frothy peplum over a straight ruffled column. I thought it was too frou-frou for her small frame. But it was evocative of the ‘50s, which is perhaps what she was going for, given that her nomination was for her portrayal of 1950s screen legend Marilyn Monroe:
Also overwhelming her figure, and also reminiscent of the ‘50s, was the red Christian Dior vintage (1954) gown worn by Natalie Portman. Yes, j’adore Dior, but this dress didn’t particularly stand out. Or perhaps it stood out too much on the tiny Natalie:
Janet McTeer also wore red – a jersey cross-bodice V-neck that hugged her voluptuous curves. I don’t know – maybe too much boobage? What do you think?
Octavia Spencer glowed in a beautiful nude-ivory silver sequined gown by Tadashi Shoji:
With Helen Mirren not in attendance, we need other women of a certain age to represent mature beauty, and Glenn Close fit the bill perfectly, in a fitted forest-green gown with a great swoopy train and an understated tuxedo jacket, all designed by Zac Posen:
The divine Meryl Streep, however, swung and missed with a glittering gold lamé gown. Yes, it was by the venerable house of Lanvin, but it looked kind of sloppy. Too blousy. But she’s so talented and beautiful she can do anything she damn well pleases. And her heartfelt acceptance speech outshone the dress:
Tina Fey: Okay, I know I’m supposed to love this simple, classic, structured Carolina Herrera, but I found the peplum too poufy and the whole thing just kind of blah. And her makeup was wan and washed out; she needed a pop of color. Her blue-stoned earrings were great, though:
Can someone explain to me why Jennifer Lopez always pulls her hair so tight off her face that it looks like it’s going to come out by the roots? Is this instead of Botox? In addition to Botox? So that it pulls her forehead skin so taut that even the hint of a wrinkle doesn’t have a chance? It looks weird, it looks painful. She wore another cleavage-baring, and shoulder-baring number, this time by Zuhair Murad. The stripey dress looked like it was ripped. It was sort of Star-Trekky, like Giuliania Rancic’s gown only with sleeves:
Cameron Diaz, Lopez’s presenter-in-arms (and asses – if you watched the show you know what I mean), was wearing the same ivory-nude color, and it was equally curve-hugging. But it was chic personified. Designed by Gucci, it was a simple strapless design that flowed into asymmetrical ruffled tiers leading to an almost fishtail bottom, with subtle panels of satin that glittered like ribbons of jewels when she moved. Her hair, however, was a mess. Ragged and unkempt:
Back to red, Emma Stone wore a red disaster by Giambattista Valli, with a huge bow at neck, reminding all of us of the Balenciaga Nicole Kidman wore a few years ago. Alas, it was no better in this iteration. Both looked like wrapped Christmas gifts:
Everyone’s talking about Ellie Kemper with her copper hair and copper starlight sequins strapless gown by Armani Privé. What can I say? She certainly looked coppery!
Gwyneth Paltrow – wow. She wore a pure white one-shoulder gown with cape by Tom Ford. Simple, elegant, powerful. She needed to do something with her hair and makeup, though, as she was another of the wan brigade. The single massive diamond bracelet was a great touch, but she could’ve done with just a tiny bit of sparkle up top—why no earrings?
Sandra Bullock was in an unusual Marchesa—a white bodice with embroidered-jeweled-gold mid-section going into a black velvet bottom. It looked kind of loosey-goosey and unfitted from the front, but it was backless so it made a statement on the other end:
Penelope Cruz looked like Cinderella, in a Giorgio Armani Privé ball gown of smoky blue silk chiffon, off-the-shoulder. Another ‘50s look. As I’ve said before, this woman is simply incapable of looking bad:
Shaun Robinson was another little statuette, in a gold lamé Romona Keveza simple straight halter:
Leslie Mann said she could barely breathe, but surely it was worth it for this gorgeous navy blue Roberto Cavalli:
And Virginia Madsen continued the color trend in a purple satin one-shoulder semi-strapless gown. The color was lovely, but I thought the gown kind of smushed her figure:
There were plenty more gowns (and tuxes) on display – the good, the bad, the ugly, and everything in between. But I’ll leave you with the one Oscar image that had me salivating more than any other, courtesy of Wolfgang Puck:
Salmon and caviar. Add some champagne . . .
. . . now that’s what makes a girl happy!
Ralph Lauren channels Downton Abbey
T-minus 4 hours and counting. No, make that T-minus 3 hours and 32 minutes and counting.
Can you tell what’s going on? What could be the cause of this minute-by-minute countdown?
Silly darlings. Why, it’s the time remaining until 9pm Eastern, when on the flickering screen will come the final episode of the best thing to hit Masterpiece Theater since Brideshead Revisited—Downton Abbey.
Glamour Girl is positively simmering with anticipation. In fact, if hubby hears her going “T-minus . . .” one more time, he might just sabotage the TV.
(Not really. He likes the series as much as I do.)
Will Matthew and Mary finally get together? Will she throw off the odious what’s-his-name? Carlisle, is it? Of course Matthew is grown up enough and worldly enough not to give a hoot that she had that one-night stand with the handsome Turkish diplomat who then died in bed. It’s post-WWI, for Pete’s sake! The world is way beyond caring about such things as a woman’s “virtue,” or her “marriageability.” Sybil’s going off to Ireland with a working-class chap. Edith knows how to drive. Mary is not going to stick around just to be an ornament on some rich guy’s arm, and Matthew’s not going to let her!
Be still, my beating heart.
When Matthew and Mary danced together in the foyer, and she said, “We were a show that flopped,” my heart wanted to break. They simply must get together.
What does all this have to do with fashion? Well, apparently I’m not the only one who’s smitten with Downton Abbey (it’s huge in Spain, too)—Ralph Lauren is also in on the act.
Mr. Lauren (né Ralph Lifshitz) is certainly not to the manor born, but like many of us, he still gets wrapped up in the whole English aristocracy thing. And he knows a good business opportunity when he sees one.
That’s why he ended New York Fashion Week with a collection inspired by Downton Abbey, complete with the glorious theme music to the series by Scottish composer John Lunn.
Need a new gown for dinner? What could be better than liquid gold lamé:
Or how about a riding habit? (Oops, I think that’s more a walking habit):
Okay, enough. I have to go get a cup of tea. I don’t have any crumpets, but c’est la vie. I’m too excited to eat anything anyway!
Dita Von Teese Lingerie for Target
As Glamour Girl has written in the past, she is a little obsessed with beautiful lingerie. So imagine her delight when she discovered that a much-admired exemplar of neo-burlesque, Dita Von Teese, has just come out with a new line of lingerie, exclusively for Target. Which means that we hoi polloi can afford it.
It’s called Von Follies.
Now wouldn’t that be fab for your Valentine? Or just for your own enjoyment?
And no wardrobe would ever be complete without the timeless, ever-elegant, and ever-sexy animal print:
If you’d like to read up more on the lovely Dita, you can click the links above, and if you’d like to learn about the wonderful practice of neo-burlesque, check out Glamour Girl’s article for Style about Baltimore’s own Trixie Little back in 2007.