Awards Season

Sunday 31 August 2014

Melanie Morris: Dressed up and pared down proved winning formula at the Oscars

Published 04/03/2014 | 13:30

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Cate Blanchett, best actress winner for her role in "Blue Jasmine" wears a nude Armani gown with metallic embellishments as she poses on the red carpet at the 86th Academy Awards in Hollywood, California March 2, 2014.  REUTERS/Mike Blake (UNITED STATES TAGS: ENTERTAINMENT) (OSCARS-ARRIVALS)
Cate Blanchett, best actress winner for her role in "Blue Jasmine" wears a nude Armani gown with metallic embellishments as she poses on the red carpet at the 86th Academy Awards in Hollywood, California March 2, 2014. REUTERS/Mike Blake (UNITED STATES TAGS: ENTERTAINMENT) (OSCARS-ARRIVALS)

THE Oscars are the biggie -- the one time of the year when actresses go all out to look their absolute best, whatever the cost, deprivation, hard work and agony.

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A bit like the Style Awards in Dublin, I guess.

This year was a vintage one in terms of Hollywood glamour. The stars, from budding to mega, really put their finely honed and toned shoulders to the wheel and looked a million dollars.

And so many of the stars chose to go nude. And by that, I don't mean "doing a Cher" of yesteryears, exposing all sorts of parts to the camera. No, I mean they chose gowns of blush and flesh-coloured tones, often with elaborate jewelling.

Cate Blanchett's Armani gown was a winner in this category, as were Angelina Jolie and Kelly Osborne's Elie Saab creations and Jessica Biel's glistening Chanel lace. Kate Hudson was voluptuous in nude Versace. Goldie opted for gold and ended up looking like an Oscar statuette.

It was definitely the year of the sophisticated wedding dress.

Pared-down was the order of the evening, as evidenced by the style headlines awarded to Lupita Nyong'o's plunging powder blue gown worn with just a skinny, sparkly hairband. In a world where more is more, she looked fresh, young and very much at the vanguard of a red carpet revolution.

Others who followed her lead included Amy Adams, bare of jewels in a midnight blue velvet Gucci dress, and Sandra Bullock, also in navy (Alexander McQueen) but equally bereft of diamonds and bling.

These ladies had the confidence to let their own personal beauty (and couture frocks) do the talking, and it worked.

Interestingly, and brilliantly, Hollywood's men were not to be left on the sidelines. They got involved in the style circus too and took their share of the red carpet spotlight with Action Man hair, buffed bodies, chiselled jawlines and some pretty sexy tuxedos.

Pharrell Williams sported a Prada tux that featured long shorts. It worked for me, as did Jared Leto's equally rock 'n' roll look -- a slimline Saint Laurent white tux jacket and red dickie bow.

And whether it was Dallas Buyers Club de riguer or just coincidence, Leto's co-star and fellow Oscar winner Matthew McConaughey also rocked an Eighties vibe, with a Dolce & Gabbana white tux jacket. Adam Clayton, though, might want to revisit that diamante-lapel jacket.

For the traditionalists, Bradley Cooper, in his impeccably tailored Tom Ford suit, ticked a few boxes. Hubba hubba.

With all the hype, and all the potential, there were no Irish success stories, except behind the scenes. Irish businesswoman Marissa Carter brought her Cocoa Brown tanning products to the Beverly Hilton and was spraying many nominees gloriously golden.

Because as any starlet can tell you, you're never fully dressed (or undressed) without a tan.

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