Judging from the arrivals at the 95th Academy Awards in Hollywood, the days of playing it safe on the red carpet are history — and so, too, is the redness of the carpet. The stars embraced the maximalist themes that have been coursing through high-fashion houses, bringing vivid color, rich embellishment and a touch of fantasy to a pathway now carpeted in a faint beige called “champagne.” (This could be the launch of a sarcastic hashtag called #OscarsSoBeige.)
Yet some of the nominees continued to channel the themes and characters of their recent films, turning their formalwear into a glamorous extension of their movie wardrobes. Throughout awards season and even now, a bit of surrealism touches the attire of the nominees from “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” while Austin Butler of “Elvis” channels a bit of ’50s rock ’n’ roll. It’s easy to imagine conductor Lydia Tár in any of the pitch-perfect ensembles Cate Blanchett has been wearing. Others are cleverly using the Oscars carpet as another kind of stage, where they can audition new characters, such as the sexy vixen, the sophisticate or the gender-bending glamster.
The Oscars red carpet has come to represent the culmination of a months-long image campaign that is as much about the actors’ fashion aptitude as it is the nominated films.
Awards shows today help film stars use their fashion savvy to secure their place among the top tier of actors. It’s no longer a given that movies (and their empty theaters) command more prestige than television shows, but if their stars can convincingly carry couture or set fashion trends, the image dividends accrue, especially to the actors. It’s not so surprising, then, that they may land lucrative advertising gigs or even lead an esteemed fashion house, like Pharrell Williams, who was recently appointed men’s creative director at Louis Vuitton.
The high stakes make the Oscars arrivals exciting once again. The stars save the best of their many high-fashion ensembles for this event.
Here are the highlights from the Oscars’ champagne carpet:
Jamie Lee Curtis
Harry Shum Jr.