Oscars 2016: Who won the red carpet race (and who lost)?

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Academy Awards 2016, pictures courtesy Oscars website

Effortless, cool, hardly a foot wrong. Those were some the descriptions of the the dresses on the red carpet last night and I have to agree. Even Tina Fey, who often gets it wrong, looked great.

In some ways it felt more low-key than usual but the lack of really OTT dresses was a plus as there was more to love and much less to laugh at.

Key trends? Deep V necklines, strapless, sequins, columns dresses, generally understated colour and simplicity on the beauty front. Nobody looks like they’d overdone the stage make-up and with hair ranging from simple updos to loose and slightly textured, it added to the ‘statement understatement’.

V for victory

The deep V neckline dominated the red carpet, some of them more easily wearable than others. I assume there was a lot of double-sided tape used on the night!

deep V

Academy Awards 2016, pictures courtesy Oscars website. Cate Blanchett in Armani Prive, Chrissy Teigen in Marchesa, Charlize Theron in Dior, Jennifer Lawrence in Dior, Margot Robbie in Tom Ford, Saoirse Ronan in Calvin Klein

Column inches

The most directional silhouettes were simpler, cut close but not excessively tight with elegant columns a popular option. Whether embellished, plain, simple or with elaborate detail, this is a key shape for bridal and eveningwear.

COLUMN

Academy Awards 2016, pictures courtesy Oscars website. Rooney Mara in Givenchy, Saoirse Ronan in Calvin Klein, Daisy Ridley in Chanel, Olivia Munn in Stella McCartney, Naomi Watts in Armani Prive

(Strap)less-is-more

The strapless dress is a fashion classic and a red carpet favourite. This selection showed how varied it can be but also how colour has a major impact: Tina Fey and Reese Witherspoon may look like they were separated at birth but just a change of colour and the two dresses would look very different.

strapless

Academy Awards 2016, pictures courtesy Oscars website. Tina Fey, Priyanka Chopra in Zuhair Murad, Kate Winslet in Ralph Lauren, Alicia Vikander in Louis Vuitton, Reese Witherspoon in Oscar de la Renta

Shine on

Shimmering sequins or shine woven into the fabric is a major feature of any red carpet event and the variety that can come from shine is clear from this selection. Think molten liquid looks or textural effects.

sequin and shine

Academy Awards 2016, pictures courtesy Oscars website. Margot Robbie in Tom Ford, Kate Winslet in Ralph Lauren, Saoirse Ronan in Calvin Klein, Naomi Watts in Armani Prive, Maria Menounos

Power colour

Intense colour can always make an impact and this time there were three clear choices: power red allowed designers to keep the cut simple; green proved a strong alternative colour that doesn’t always make it onto the red carpet; and a purple or blue-purple added rich intensity.

colour

Academy Awards 2016, pictures courtesy Oscars website. Charlize Theron in Dior, Rachel McAdams in August Getty, Brie Larson in Gucci, Tina Fey, Olivia Munn in Stella McCartney

Old Hollywood

There’s always a healthy dose of pure Hollywood glamour, sometimes very traditional and sometimes mixed up like Lady Gaga’s dress-cum-jumpsuit or Kerry Washington’s leather statement.

old hollywood

Academy Awards 2016, pictures courtesy Oscars website. Charlotte Riley, Jennifer Garner (x2) in Rene Caovilla, Lady Gaga in Brandon Maxwell, Sofia Vergara in Marchesa, Kerry Washington in Versace

Pale is interesting

Subtle colour effects or no-colour colour proved unusually effective with a lack of neutrals but plenty of pale pinks, silvers, lemon, aquamarine and off-white. They all proved that it’s good design that makes an impact, not overpowering details.

pale

Academy Awards 2016, pictures courtesy Oscars website, Emily Blunt in Prada, Rooney Mara in Givenchy, Cate Blanchett in Armani Prive, Alicia Vikander in Louis Vuitton, Daisy Ridley in Chanel

Embellishment

Embellishment came as allover beads or sequins, heavy encrustation of gems and pearls, appliqué that relied more on texture than shine, or trailing flowers across a sheer background. It provided great inspiration for the bridal and occasionwear markets but also showed how subtle embellished detail can work for anyone who simply wants to shine rather than dazzle anyone within a 20 metre exclusion zone.

embellishment

Academy Awards 2016, pictures courtesy Oscars website.  Chrissy Teigen in Marchesa, Brie Larson in Gucci, Maria Menounos, Daisy Ridley in Chanel, Priyanka Chopra in Zuhair Murad, Julianne Moore in Chanel, Cate Blanchett in Armani Prive, Alicia Vikander in Louis Vuitton, Emily Blunt in Prada

Could do better

The TV critics were cooing over these two but I really can’t agree. Heidi Klum is dressed up like a birthday cake in Marchesa while Olivia Wilde in Valentino Couture is a bit too obvious. Both are labels that rarely get it wrong but the big problem here is the almost-desperate need to flash the flesh. Neither of these women (and neither of these labels) needs to be that obvious to make it work.

duds

Academy Awards 2016, pictures courtesy Oscars website. Heid Klum in Marchesa, Olivia Wilde in Valentino Couture

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