Fashion at the Oscars

It is that time of year again: the 86th annual Academy Awards is today, and while the main spotlight will be on who does and does not bring home the little golden statue, another spotlight will be on who the celebrities are wearing. There is always a fascination with who is wearing whom, and on who makes the best and worst dressed list of every entertainment news channel. Special guests like Jeannie Becker and Jay Manual are even brought on to entertainment shows to be fashion critics for the night. Yet, the Oscars goes beyond who is wearing the most elaborate and gorgeous of gowns. Fashion can actually shine some light on a celebrity’s status and the confidence high powered brands have in an actor. It cannot be argued that outside of fashion week, fashion on the Oscar red carpet is the next greatest viewed fashion event by fashionistas around the world.

Jennifer Lawrence in Dior - 2013
Jennifer Lawrence in Dior – 2013

Entertainment media dedicates hours upon hours to guessing the latest trends to appear on the red carpet, wondering who will wear whom and sharing tips and secrets on how to “get the Oscar look,” as well as revisiting memorable red carpet moments. There is no denying that how celebrities look on the red carpet impacts public perception. However, who a celebrity wears goes beyond how amazing their stylist is; it reflects on who is the “It Celebrity” of the season. Who a celebrity wears is monumental to their status as an actor on the rise or accomplishing a milestone. Names such as Dior, Oscar de la Renta, and Valentino are synonymous with being the crème de la crème, and an actor who should be noticed by directors and movie aficionados alike. During the 85th Academy Awards, Jennifer Lawrence wore a blush tone Dior gown as she received her Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Female Role. Not only did it show the faith Dior put in the young actor to sell their brand brilliantly, she looked gorgeous accepting her award as well.

Grace Kelly in Edith Head - 1955
Grace Kelly in Edith Head – 1955

On the business side of fashion, the red carpet is the undisputed king of runways, where high powered labels clamour to get free advertising space. The more popular the celebrity, the more air time a dress or suit will get, which translates to more exposure to the world for the fashion house as a whole. Advertising space is competitive and can be monumentally expensive, and so by designing a gown or tuxedo for a celebrity, labels are getting a great turn on investment. After winning an Oscar, fashion labels are also quick to sign on celebrities due to their influence in exposing and selling their brand. Trends on the red carpet, like at Fashion Week, inspire fashion designers from all spectrums of the fashion world. With prom and wedding season shortly after the Oscars, there is a definite influence on looks people will want to achieve at their own special event. The red carpet is a major stage for not only the actors, but also the fashion labels that dress them.

While it is important to look glamorous walking the red carpet and on the acceptance stage, that is not to take away from the amazing work to which these actors have dedicated their lives. After all, the late Yves Saint Laurent did say, “Over the years I have learned that what is important in a dress is the woman who is wearing it.”

See below for more examples from the Academy Awards over the years (click to enlarge):