Tuesday, March 8, 2016

The Best Dressed at the Academy Awards

The 88th Annual Academy Awards or the 2016 Oscars just concluded; and, as usual, people haven’t stopped talking about the outfits the stars wore - on the red carpet as well as the show itself.  To name a few, Cate Blanchett, Charlize Theron, Alicia Vikander, Margot Robbie, Rooney Mara and Brie Larson were standouts. But what about in past ceremonies? What about during the 52nd Annual Academy Awards in April of 1980?


When the awards ceremony first came about, it was an intimate affair with just a few stars in attendance. Dressing up wasn’t really a must then, as there was no press coverage whatsoever.  But by the 1950’s, with the dawn of TV, the ceremony had become a full-blown glitzy affair with the stars turning up in fabulous evening designer concoctions. The studio system was in force; and the stars were glammed up by the studios themselves. In the 1960s, the studio system was faltering; and so the stars slowly began dressing themselves up for the Oscars. In the early 1970s, the natural look was in and glamour was out - which was just as well, because few stars could afford to glamorize themselves for the ceremonies. So some would arrive in outfits that were, well, not Oscar-worthy. But by the late 1970s, glamour started coming back in vogue again. And in 1980, many stars showed up at the Oscars in fabulous evening gowns. Sans advisers and stylists, borrowed (designers began to see how much the exposure benefited their business) or bought, the gowns the stars wore made the affair glitzy once again.

Of course, some stars turned up better than others. And yet some were remnants of the previous decade. But who were the best dressed that year? And who were the worst dressed? Well, here is my list.

above: Sally, Kristy, Goldie, Edy and Barbara
The Not Oscar Enough
Some of these outfits were actually great for other occasions, 
but they were just not appropriate for the Oscars. 
And some were, well… I don’t know. 

Sally Field – As pretty as it was, her white strapless shift (which had a matching jacket) and embroidered short sleeved bolero that ties in the front looked more appropriate for cocktails than the Oscars.

Kristy McNichol – Her white bolero and purple jumpsuit getup was ruined by boots that, although color coordinated, just didn’t go with the rest of her ensemble.

Goldie Hawn – Her pantsuit just didn’t say Oscar enough; plus, the lace details made her outfit confused. Her evening pantsuit should have been appropriate, but somehow it just wasn’t glam enough. Also, it made her look wide.

Edy Williams – As great as her ensemble would be for the Grammys today, it wasn’t appropriate for the Oscars then. It was 1980 after all - and not 2001-Sex-and-the-City-episode-where-Carrie-Bradshaw-wore-fab-panties-on-the-runway yet.

Barbara Barrie – She looked more like she was going to her kid’s school event than the Oscars.

 above: Jane, Meryl, Farrah, Olivia and Jamie
The So-Sos
These outfits were kind of great,
but they just didn’t have enough oomph to make them memorable. 

Jane Fonda – Her chocolate brown evening gown (diagonally blocked with dark brown sequined insets) although quite glam, just didn’t pack enough punch.

Meryl Streep – Her all-white bolero and ball gown ensemble was bold enough; but I think a different hairdo would have made it look much better. PS, love the pockets in her skirt.

Farrah Fawcett – The top of her midnight blue gown was fab, but I don’t understand the skirt on it. She looked great anyway. And that hair, only she could get away with that.

Olivia Newton John – Her diagonally divided black and white gown was smart enough. Her hair style didn’t seem right though. But then she’s a pop star, so she could get away with unconventional hairdos.

Jamie Lee Curtis – Her red ensemble was really eye catching from the waist up (even that gold pendant). The problem was the hem. If it were full length, it would have been fab - although as was, it still wasn’t bad.

 above: Liz, Candice, Ann, Marsha and Marisa
The Notables
These outfits were great. There were better outfits;
but these were so gorgeous, they’re notable. 

Liz Treadwell – Her black evening gown (accessorized with gold jewelry) was and is a classic, and it looked great on her. She’s noteworthy.

Candice Bergen – Her black and white ensemble screamed class. Love the white silk flower on the bodice.

Ann Margret – Her coral-colored evening look was a dream; and it moved like a dream. When she was walking, she seemed to be floating. I wish she had a better hairdo though. But all in all, fab.

Marsha Mason – Her strapless red evening gown with gold accents looked stunning on her.

Marisa Berenson – The Supermodel looked downright chic in her black high-necked evening gown with draping on the chest. With it, she wore a gold belt, pearls and a flower on her hair. If she lost either the belt or the flower, she would have been perfect.

 above: Liza, Lauren, Shelley, Helen and Ann
The Best Dressed of the Evening: 

5. Ann Miller – She showed everyone “what becomes a legend most”. Her cerulean blue beaded and sequined evening gown was just perfect on her. The way it hugged her body at the right places, the comfortable way she moved in it… Her accessories matched her gown perfectly too, as well as her pulled back hair and her eye shadow. She was a bundle of energy, she just divine. Miranda Priestly would have been proud.

4. Helen Reddy – Her ivory-colored beaded and sequined column fit her to perfection. It showed off her perfectly-toned body and gave her ample cleavage. It had a slit until there; and when it fell open, it revealed matching undies. Simple accessories and a simple short flipped back coif finished her look.

3. Shelley Hack – The Supermodel Angel’s  black empire cut evening number was a stunner. The top half of the gown was held up by two wide straps that she crisscrossed over her chest. The bottom half had a black diaphanous fabric draped on it.  Golden earrings, a gold bangle and a matching black evening clutch finished her look. With her blondeness blown straight, parted on the side and allowed to fall on her shoulders, she looked Oscar-worthy.

02. Lauren Hutton – The 3rd Supermodel on the list didn’t disappoint. Although her attire could be deemed inappropriate (they were shorts for chrissakes), she carried her look off so well, she was a glamorous standout. Made of gold fabric (the metallic look was in that season), it had a roomy top, was cinched at the hips and had rolled up sleeves. Simple footwear and a perfectly smooth blonde bob finished her look. She looked modern and fresh.

01. Liza Minnelli – She was the best dressed celebrity that evening. Her ultra-chic black and white number was flawless (Was it a Halston?). Ruffles were popular that year, and her white evening blouse had huge ruffles around the neckline and was secured by a black ribbon around her waist. A simple black sarong-style skirt complemented her chic fabulous top. Simple pearl earrings finished her look, as well as an uncharacteristic slicked back hairdo. She was the perfect Oscar muse.

 above: Persis, Sally, Bo, Cloris and Jill
The Unfortunate Ones
These outfits were just so… 

Persis Khambatta – Her outfit was actually fine, if not for that matching coat edged with black feathers. She looked so coven-ready.

Sally Kellerman – Her outfit was just so ill-fitting, especially around the bustline. And that necklace…

Bo Derek – Did she intentionally wear a huge poncho to cover her body after being so exposed in 10?

Cloris Leachman – She’s a beautiful woman but her gown and her hair were just so…

Jill Clayburgh – I honestly don’t understand what she was wearing.