Thursday, February 28, 2013

How to wear an Oscar gown

Confession: I am not a big movie star follower, but I do look with interest at the photos from the red carpet at the Academy Awards.

One thing that tends to seem problematic is the juxtaposition of a glorious evening gown and a beautiful woman who is simply not used to wearing such structured, formal clothing. Should the clothes change to suit the casual style of Hollywood’s elite, or should Hollywood’s elite learn to move in these outfits?

I am not going to answer that, but I do want to make one statement: What you wear—whatever you are doing—should be something you feel beautiful in. You should be fine walking, climbing stairs, standing still, should be able to be yourself. In some cases maybe a glorified version of yourself, but yourself.

My favorite example of that from the 2013 Academy Awards is Amy Adams in the gown she inspired Oscar de la Renta to design. She showed him a number of ideas, and he connected to a vintage black and white photo of a model entering a doorway in a dramatic gown. I almost feel that I know the photo, but I can’t access the very one. This photo comes pretty close:

Nan Kempner in a gown by Jacques Griffe, 1949/Met Museum
Was Amy Adams’ dress modern? Not particularly, although the color is not something you’d see in the late 1940s to 1950s era that inspired it. This is not a novel dress. What I love is that it fits perfectly on Amy Adams, and she obviously loves it.

Her stylist said said that when Amy first put the dress on ‘you could tell that she was having that fairytale moment.’ When you love something you’re wearing, you float. Amy Adams floated in this gown!

AndrĂ© Leon Talley said Miss Adams’ dress got his best-dressed ‘top honors’. He wrote on ‘Her grand Oscar de la Renta skirt looks light and dramatic, the way a train should on a ball dress, and its powder-blue shade was the most sophisticated and subtle nuance of color on the carpet.’

Although I can’t find anything for sale online with such a dramatic train, you will find some vintage dresses that look delightfully princess-y by searching ‘vintage strapless ball gown’.

See you on the red year perhaps?

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