Oscars 2012 Fashion: Red carpet trends
What lessons can we learn from the fashions on display on the 2012 Oscars red carpet? Belinda White investigates.
It's called the biggest night in fashion, though quite how many of us mere mortals will be studying the Oscars red carpet to see what we'll be wearing this spring is fairly questionable.
But remember, we're in the realms of fantasy here. Assume for a moment you have the perfect body as standard, that money is no object, that you are the wife of a foreign dignitary/oligarch/sheikh, and that - most important of all - you have somewhere fabulous and decadent to go.
Still with me? Okay let's take a look at what lessons can we learn from last night's Oscars fashion...
1. IT'S OKAY TO COORDINATE YOUR DRESS WITH THE CARPET
Michelle Williams has to be our best dressed of the night in her strapless tulle Louis Vuitton gown. She headed up a red gown gang whose notables also included Livia Firth in a stunning fairytale Valentino Haute Couture gown which was custom made for her Green Carpet Challenge from recycled polyester from plastic bottles (not your average style statement); Dior ambassador Natalie Portman who neatly dodged being predictable by choosing a vintage dress from the Dior archives from 1954; and veteran British actress Jane Seymour who by some genetic miracle managed to pull off a strappy red sparkly gown at the age of 61.
2. LONG WHITE GOWNS ARE NO LONGER JUST FOR SAYING 'I DO'
The red carpet was positively fit to burst with all the floor-length white gowns on show from Cameron Diaz to Octavia Spencer. Of course, leave it to our favourite new fashion plate Rooney Mara to do it best. Her Givenchy by Riccardo Tisci gown was offset to perfection by her alabaster complexion and jet black hair.
3. NO FUSS DOESN'T MEAN NO DRAMA
Just ask Gwyneth Paltrow whose sharply tailored white Tom Ford gown with cape detail was a total knockout without any need for elaborate frills, jewels, bells or whistles. Following suit were Charlene, Princess of Monaco who resisted temptation to over-embellish her elegant white Akris gown; and rising star Shailene Woodley who confessed that one of the mahor attractions of this beautiful Valentino couture gown was that she could still breathe in it.
4. GO AHEAD, MATCH YOR OUTFIT TO THE AWARD
This is totally fine if you're a) planning on winning one later like Meryl Streep whose custom made Lanvin for the Green Carpet Challenge gown looked a triumph next to her Best Actress statuette; b) possibly winning one like Jessica Chastain who although sadly lost out on the the night, still looked a winner in this Alexander McQueen gown; or c) escorting a potential winner like Stacy Keibler whose stunning Marchesa gown was teamed with the ultimate accessory - George Clooney. No one else need apply.
5. BY ALL MEANS VAMP IT UP, BUT DO IT WITH GUSTO
Not every woman can pull off the whole 'I'm sexy and I know it' look without looking like they're trying too hard. Notable exceptions to this were Angelina 'OMG Amazing' Jolie who looked ready to ravish the photographers at any moment; Jennifer 'Shake Your Money Maker' Lopez whose motto is 'never knowingly underdressed'; and a surprise entry, Glenn Close whose whole demeanour screamed 'yes I may be old enough for my bus pass, but I've still got it damn you!'. Watch out Helen Mirren, there's a new sexy sexagenarian in town.
6. A TOUCH OF OLD HOLLYWOOD GLAMOUR GOES A LONG WAY
Trends schmends. Sometimes we just want to look at a gown and sigh at how wonderfully, magically, dreamy it is. Step forward princess Penelope Cruz who channelled Grace Kelly in a dusty blue, off-the-shoulder Giorgio Armani fancy; best actress nominee Bérénice Bejo in her mint parfait Elie Saab couture gown. Of course, this is what Mr Saab does best, so no surprise that model-turned-actress Milla Jovovich also floored the competition in one of his creations.