This year, the overall hue of the event seemed almost whitewashed. With a few exceptions, the color focus of the evening’s fashions were 50 shades of nude, buff and white. Some women looked ready to walk a wedding aisle instead of the red carpet leading to the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.
From Valentino to H&M, Tiffany and Harry Winston and even some less traditional red carpet accessories such as a stuffed puppy purse carried by the evening’s youngest nominee, the stars were at their most glitzy and glamorous at the Oscars.
Nudes, buffs and shades of white
Jennifer Lawrence, who won the Oscar for Best Actress in Leading Role for “Silver Linings Playbook,” looked ready to exchange nuptials in a romantic soft pink strapless Dior Haute Couture gown complete with a full chapel length train. So enormous is the skirt of the gown, Lawrence stumbled over it on the way to accept her Oscar.
Among the most beautifully pale starlets, Anne Hathaway, who won the Oscar for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for “Les Miserables,” wore a baby pink Prada gown that received mixed reviews. Some say the pink was too light for her complexion. We think Hathaway's baby pink was the most successful color of the washed-out fashion statements because her adorable short brunette style and sparkling brown eyes (two of her best features) became focal points. Downside: The gown looked a bit like a bridesmaid's dress. Upside: the Tiffany & Co. diamond choker was so spectacular it stole the whole outfit.
Another of the evening's sweethearts, Jessica Chastain, embraced the color theme of nude in an Armani Prive fitted gown that was nearly her golden flesh tone, with a touch of glimmer matching her light auburn hair color. Finished with a bold red lip, there was a distinct Jessica Rabbit quality to this look.
Kristen Stewart got the buff/nude memo, and her nude is vampiress. After a foot injury, the moody actress crutched to the event in a dress seemed to be made from cotton balls and wedding tulle. The Reem Acra gown could have been more successful had Stewart not looked so depressed and uncomfortable. And the bed head she had going on was the night's worst hair moment.
Octavia Spencer looked beautiful in blush, with her deep skin tone providing a perfect contrast with the light shade of her romantic blush tulle one-shoulder ballgown by Tadashi Shoji. The gown flattered her figure perfectly.
Amanda Seyfried, whose fashion sense I normally adore, also steered clear of color, at least until an after party when she donned a super hot red gown. But for the ceremony, she stuck with a beaded dove gray Alexander McQueen halter gown. The term “washed out” again comes to mind with Seyfried's look because that shade of gray does nothing for her nearly transparent flesh tone.
My choice for best of the colorless gowns goes to Zoe Saldana, who opted for a white Alexis Mabille Couture dress with amazing silver leaf floral work along the decolletage and a structured silvery belt. The skirt's full skirt slit high and flowed into a train, lined with black and gray stripes.
Daring to wear color
A few women really stood out at the Oscars, not necessarily for their films, but for daring to wear color to an event that seemed to be draped in 50 shades of blah.
Kudos to Jennifer Garner whose deep plum Gucci actually contrasted with her flesh tone. She looked dignified and elegant.
Then there were the red Valentinos. Jennifer Aniston's strapless crimson Valentino was a home run, though some complained about her standard bored board-straight locks.
Sally Field wore a romantic, sheer long-sleeve crimson Valentino gown with a ruched waist and tiers of ruffles along the skirt — almost exactly like the red Valentino gown with a ruched waist and tiers of ruffles along the skirt Hilary Swank wore to the Vanity Fair after party.
No, the two actresses weren't dressed quite alike, though it makes you wonder why Valentino loaned out two such similar gowns at such a high-profile event. (Hathaway was supposedly slated to wear Valentino but went with Prada at the last minute because the Valentino she'd chosen looked too similar to the Alexander McQueen gown Seyfried wore.)
A few actresses had the blues — Reese Witherspoon's shade was prettiest, but the bodice of the Louis Vuitton dress did little for her decolletage.
Helen Hunt was no doubt the evening's thriftiest celebrity. Her navy strapless gown was lovely and assumedly a bargain since she bought it at H&M. The dressed was very wrinkly, though, which detracted from its simple elegance.
And little Quvenzhane Wallis wore a gorgeous blue dress and shawl with sparkly black tulle accents by Giorgio Armani. But Wallis, who at 9 is the youngest actress ever nominated for Best Actress in Oscar history, gets the prize for the best accessory for her adorable puppy purse from Poochie & Co., appropriately dressed in a light blue tutu and dazzling tiara.
Jane Fonda glimmered in a canary yellow Versace gown that emphasized her fantastic figure (at age 75!). Her splash of color was refreshing, and she wins our award for the hottest septuagenarian at the awards (possibly anywhere).
Sci Fi-inspired metallic and black
Catherine Zeta Jones knocked it out, managing to stick with a flesh-tone gown by Zuhair Murad, but choosing one with some fantastic metallic accents. The futuristic beading pattern on the bodice, softened by layers of flowing skirts, gave the gown a feminine Steampunk quality that I loved.
Renee Zellweger, too, got the flesh-tone memo. She chose a fleshy gold-sequined skintight Carolina Herrera. Not a fan.
Naomi Watts rocked it sci-fi style in an Armani Prive sequin gown. The pewter gown's unexpected structure is reminiscent of the fantastical female aliens the crews of Star Trek might find on a far-flung planet. Watts' gown wins my vote for most unique of the night.
Halle Berry always looks amazing, and Sunday's Versace gown was no disappointment. The black and gold beaded gown's plunging neckline and structured graphic design again conjured a sci-fi feel.
Of course, Oklahoma's own Kristin Chenoweth, who co-hosted the show with Seth McFarlane, sparkled almost brighter than anyone in a black and white Tony Ward creation featuring cascading ice-inspired jewels. She also rocked a beautiful gold mermaid style Carolina Herrera dress as she and McFarlane closed the show by serenading the night's losers.