Oscars 2022 Red Carpet Style Trends

The past two years have been a curious experiment: the red carpet all but disappeared, as award shows went digital and stars wore lightly styled, more casual clothes and took selfies or portraits from their sofas or hotel suites. Even when live events came back, celebrities seemed reluctant to look too glamorous at the risk of sounding a garish note in the midst of a public health crisis. And in the meantime, runway fashion went haywire: the designer diktat was replaced by an obsession with the personal, with self-expression. Designers are pushing the motive and messaging of clothes onto the consumer and the celebrity, commanding them to create style. Both couture and ready-to-wear shows this past month filled with gestures and personality.

So this Academy Awards felt like a conveyor belt for all the ideas that those two years wrought. It’s the end of the worst-dressed lists, or at the very least, the end of the strapless mermaid-fishtail dress. The celebrity style machine, with its rigid standards of beauty and glamor, are being challenged by confident women who want to express a sense of themselves through clothes. Risk-taking is finally being encouraged, especially as a fashion-hyperliterate class of commentators, with followings large and small, is blossoming on Instagram and Twitter with a new urge to trace the runway-to-red-carpet pipeline.

Not for nothing: I saw a number of people on Twitter and Instagram over the weekend sharing that Gwyneth Paltrow’s much-maligned 2002 mesh Alexander McQueen dress, which the actor herself declared a red carpet regret, was one of their favorite Oscar looks. Other infamous “misses,” like Celine Dion’s backwards tuxedo by John Galliano in 1999, are also beloved by online fashion cognoscenti under 35. Closer to the center of power, stylists have emerged as major industry players, a hinge between fashion and Hollywood, who not only help negotiate major deals for their stars, but have convinced their clients and the world that not playing by the rules, and cultivating a sense of personality or a mission through clothes, can burnish their image. It doesn’t make them look more human, per se, but rather more like a character.

It’s the end of the worst-dressed list, or at least the end of the strapless mermaid-fishtail dress.

To wit, several of the night’s biggest looks were straight off the runway. Jada Pinket Smith wore a riotous look from the Spring 2022 Jean-Paul Gaultier couture show, which was guest designed by Glenn Martens, the designer of Y-Project who is also busy reinventing Diesel. Martens, a protegee and former employee of Gaultier’s, shares the French designer’s understanding of street subversion, and the green taffeta gown worn by Pinkett Smith, with ostentatious ripples of ruffles, looks like a House of Worth client in the midst of a glorious crackup.

red carpet arrivals for the 94th academy awards

Future PublishingGetty Images

Nicole Kidman wore an Armani Prive gown, ostensibly a design from the couture show that Giorgio Armani canceled in January amid rising COVID concerns. What made the dress great is a little cloud-like ruffle of a peplum overtop the classic Kidman column, which gave a dynamism to the actor’s pristine frost. Seeing these dresses with such runway lineage suggests a refreshing boldness taking hold in Hollywood style–the designer’s dream is no longer unsellable, or, at least, it’s within reach for those beyond the editorial fashion bubble.

94th annual academy awards arrivals

Mike CoppolaGetty Images

Other choices suggested that a more modern, efficient glamor is in, and the era of the large sweeping puffball of a dress may be over. The biggest and loudest is no longer immediately interesting; something more subtle telegraphs self-assurance. That was what I picked up from Alana Haim’s creamy Louis Vuitton dress, a long-sleeved column with scallops of whispery beading: equal parts Laurel Canyon girl and glinty studio system starlet. The same goes for Uma Thurman, who looked stunningly confident, in custom Bottega Veneta. Hollywood is second only to the fashion industry when it comes to fetishizing youth, and that happens at the expense not only of talent that’s pushed out in its prime, but also of the sheer pleasures of being older. Chic, after all, is something you cultivate, something you come to possess. It requires wisdom, patience, and poise. In her simple silk button-up, which was just a touch blousy, and a skirt that was tight but roomy enough for her to sling her hand in her pocket, Thurman reminded me that there’s a grace and logic to dressing for an occasion, or a mood.

hollywood, california march 27 alana haim attends the 94th annual academy awards at hollywood and highland on march 27, 2022 in hollywood, california photo by kevin mazurwireimage

Getty Images.

uma thurman oscars 2022

Getty Images.

Two other marquee looks were the kind of thing that, in years past, stylists might have scared actors out of wearing, or vice versa: Kristen Stewart in a Chanel tuxedo jacket and short shorts, and Jessica Chastain in a screaming lavender camp classic the color of Tammy Faye Bakker’s beloved eyeshadow, with an enormous ruffle at the hem. Hilariously, I got several emails in the days leading up to the ceremony about how actors are most likely to win Best Actress if they wear a black Armani dress, which only underscores how quickly things have changed over the past two years. Stewart is unrelenting in her personal style, which translates seamlessly from her T-shirts and low-slung jeans and Vans slip-ons to her dirty goth take on Virginie Viard’s Chanel. She cannot not be herself; she’ll never dress up in the Hollywood uniform of glamazon to please anybody, if such a thing even exists anymore. She dresses just to please herself, and while her look may divide red carpet observers and fans, many now seem to understand the potency of a star dressing for her own spiritual comfort.

hollywood, california march 27 kristen stewart attends the 94th annual academy awards at hollywood and highland on march 27, 2022 in hollywood, california photo by kevin mazurwireimage

Getty Images.

hollywood, california march 27 jessica chastain attends the 94th annual academy awards at hollywood and highland on march 27, 2022 in hollywood, california photo by kevin mazurwireimage

Getty Images.

Chastain, too, took a big risk, in pursuit of dressing the part of both Bakker interpreter and presumed winner. (She did, indeed, take home the Best Actress Award.) The gown had a sense of humor, which women’s clothing so rarely has; she wanted to tell us something more about herself than just that she is beautiful. Of course, it helped that the bodice of her Gucci dress made up for the cacophony of the gown’s skirt, with a peachy and purply ombre of sequins. It was bizarro, almost like a great designer’s parody of a classic bomb prom dress, but it fit perfectly. Just when it felt like camp was overdone, Chastain delivered a classic.

This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at piano.io

Leave a Comment