We all know that the Oscars red carpet is essentially the world’s largest runway. Yes, we’ve moved into the era of #AskHerMore, but people still want to know who the celebs are wearing, and as a style editor my job is to find this out, for better or worse. Still I’m very on board with the #AskHerMore movement, and I think Elvis Mitchell’s inclusion on the red carpet added the depth and context was sorely missing from the proceedings heretofore.
But we’re here to talk about fashion, and while best- and worst-dressed lists are tiresome as all get out, there’s still something wonderfully revelatory about what stars choose to wear on the red carpet. Here are the people we think used that time well and really made a statement.
The gold feather bustier paired with a voluminous African-print dress designed by Giles Deacon made a definite statement—but do we expect any less from Porter, even when he’s a host not an attendee? The Pose star has blazed fashion trails with his gender-fluid dressing. While the other emcees opted for more subdued getups, Porter went for it.
The fierce Wonder Woman vibe of this Alberta Ferretti gown was so empowering, I felt empowered just looking at her. For one, America’s pregnant with her second child and she carried her bump like a fertility goddess. But her headband brought the warrior look home. She said it was an homage to her ancestors in Honduras.
Spike is a well-known Knicks fan, so his tribute to late Lakers legend Kobe Bryant was especially touching. Dressed in a Lakers-purple Gucci tux with gold piping and a 2 and 4 on the lapel (Bryant’s number was 24), and a pair of Bryant’s Nike sneakers, he honored the player stylishly and respectfully.
Well, you might just see sparkles. But Janelle Monae’s custom-made Ralph Lauren gown, made out of 168,000 crystals and that took 600 hours to sew by hand, must weigh close to 15 pounds or more, so I see strength. Even if she ditched it in favor of a Midsommar-style flower appliquéd dress for an awkward Gilbert and Sullivan-type sing-along, she owned that hooded crystal getup (and put it back on for the rest of the show). She looked like a holy space priestess, and if she were offering a stress test or selling religious books, I’d sign up.
I predicted capes would make an appearance on the red carpet (thank you, Billy Porter!). The black tulle dress embroidered in gold and the Dior black cape might have had a haute-witchy-Stevie Nicks vibe, but it was what she had stitched into the lining of the cape that spoke volumes. Embroidered in gold were the names of several female directors not nominated for a directing award despite making superlative films last year. Subtle but powerful.
In a sea of basic black rent-a-tuxes, Chalamet stood out in Prada. Then again, he’s the guy who wore a sequined harness to the Golden Globes last year. His sporty outfit could best be described as Ford vs Ferrari chic. Not sure if he was under dressed at the Oscars or over dressed for the racing pit.
Ah, our homegirl. Naturally, the Highland Park native eschewed convention. Did anyone expect her to be in a Versace mermaid gown for the Oscars? The twist here is that while other luxury brands like Gucci have whole-heartedly embraced streetwear, Chanel has not. Chanel is the very antithesis of streetwear, yet Eilish wore Chanel like it was Karl Kani. Her baggie boucle suit turned the whole idea of old-school luxury on its head. And we want more of it.