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Oscars fashion recap: Hardly a neck in sight!

Janelle Monae owns the red carpet before the 89th Academy Awards at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. Noel West/The New York Times

Janelle Monae owns the red carpet before the 89th Academy Awards at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. Noel West/The New York Times



Well, well, well.

Remember how Faye Dunaway read the wrong best movie winner? THAT WAS WEIRD.

We're all in a chocolate haze of confusion here at the office, so it helps to focus on one thing in order to concentrate. Let's do that with fashion while others scramble to decode what just happened at the end of The Dullest Oscars In History Until the Last Three Minutes.

So, fashion! Remember how everyone came to the Golden Globes in plunging necklines that traveled all the way to belly buttons? And then all the fashion prognosticators were like, this is the year of the flat cleavage! They shall all come with long, exposed sternums, come, come they shall!

The stylists must have been in a fit trying to go against the grain, because a ton of stars showed up to the 89th Academy Awards wearing the exact opposite. Mock turtlenecks! High collars! Ruffle chokers! That, coupled with the abundant American Civil Liberties Union ribbons, made me wonder if it was less pure trend, like a single shoulder or a fishtail, and more of a concerted move away from overt sexualization, from chest tape and sliced abdominal cutouts. Ask us more. Give us jobs. We are up here.

Let us explore.


Ruth Negga showed off the oft-seen red carpet ACLU ribbon, pinned to a dress that first struck me as very high-fashion Handmaid's Tale. This might be because I just finished the Handmaid's Tale audiobook yesterday, standing in my kitchen, wiping a glass as Claire Danes' voice trailed off, staring off into the distance, forever changed. Maybe Ruth knows? Or maybe she was just out in front of this trend, because she was the first of the night to rock a mock turtleneck.

Oh, God. Yes, we can talk about how this dress looks almost identical to Ruth's. But let's focus on how sad Ginnifer Goodwin looks and how terrible we all feel that her Big Love costar Bill Paxton JUST died. Truly tragic, and it's remarkable that she got it together enough to come to this show. I always thought Bill loved Margie the most, deep down. This is heartbreaking.

Superhero filmmaker Ava DuVernay opted for a lovely gray lace number and a confident look of self-assurance.

I genuinely did not recognize Hailee Steinfeld here. Whoever is doing her makeup has been watching some pretty intense contouring-strobing tutorials online. She looks glam, though. Also, I cannot look away from the boob petals. Is that intentional? Geez, I can't think about anything without considering a political subtext anymore.

Jessica Biel is a great test model for any number of dress styles. A devoted fan of the deep plunge, she makes us all mad by also pulling this off. Cool. 

This is the most upsetting thing of the night. Dakota Johnson here is Little House on the Prairie Goes Prom, in the special-order color “Cream of Wheat,” complete with a bow over the womb to send a message of stern warning to all potential suitors. Even her hair has a certain sadness. Is she really this mad at Jamie Dornan?


All potential Isabelle Huppert fans should read this story in which she was stunned to find out she was somehow wearing a jacket by the lowly J. Crew. She seems like a campy delight who does not care what anyone thinks.

Janelle Monae has turned out to be the red carpet darling of the year, thanks to her fearlessness. Is this modest? Is it not? Do we care? Is there a master's thesis below that skirt? What does this all mean? I need a sandwich.



And then Taraji P. Henson showed up like, "I SHALL HAVE NO PART OF THIS TURTLENECK TREND. UNLEASH THE LADIES." She looked pretty incredible, thanks in part to that stunning diamond neckpiece, and thanks in part to her attitude, and -- let's give credit where it's due -- to the work of her makeup artist in the area of chest contouring. See also:

Go girl.

I don't know too much about Sofia Boutella but it's truly inspirational that she saw fit to dress as Babette from Beauty and the Beast.

Because life is just one big Beauty and the Beast remake, here's Belle! JK, it's Leslie Mann, going Full Ballgown Experience Because She Can.

This dress does no justice to the lovely and talented Naomie Harris. We want better for her. The shoes are pretty fun.

Emma Stone could be way edgier and pull it off, but this is her year to be a giant slice of delicious cheesecake, and she's not throwing away her shot. Her pixie cut/caftan phase can wait.

Let us never begrudge a woman a full skirt made of ostrich feathers. Silver is a nice color choice for Octavia Spencer, and it really seems like she is living her best life in every way. Would like to bottle some of this. 

A friend texted me to say, "No pale person with pink undertones in their skin should wear that yellow beige," re: this Felicity Jones dress and I can't disagree with this trenchant analysis.

This is on-brand for Halle Berry

A quick plug for Laura Dern on HBO's delicious show Big Little Lies, and in fact, Laura Dern on pretty much everything she's ever been on/in. Laura Dern is such an undervalued member of the human acting race, and it's time we all stopped to remember. Her dress? It is fine.

Times are fraught, but Priyanka Chopra's breastplate seems a little extreme.

Did you watch her performance? Auli'i Cravalho, a mere 16, got hit in the head by a flag whipped about by one of the members of the color guard, right there on the stage! And she didn't miss a beat! This young woman clearly has a bright career ahead of her if she can get brained with a bolt of fabric and stay in key. Her white art deco gown is also very beautiful and whimsical and good for her age, and she seems to be having a great time. I do hope she is not concussed.

What can anyone say? Viola Davis crushed. And she won. 

You may have heard about a scandal involving Meryl Streep and Uncle Karl Lagerfeld and accusations of pay for play. I am pretty tired, and Jezebel did a good job summing it up, so, here. Safe to say, she didn't show up in Chanel. She showed up in this Elie Saab pants/dress thing, which ultimately feels very Meryl.


For everything you need to know about this Ryan Gosling ruffled shirt, see this post, which includes sea life.

Lin-Manuel Miranda brought his mom, Luz Towns-Miranda, because of course Lin-Manuel Miranda brought his mom. They both look like national treasures.

Nicole Kidman is classic and elegant, but I put them in the dudes category because we need to talk about Keith Urban's hair. It hasn't changed in a while, and it's time. It's like 2003 scene kid hair, and he is a talented, handsome grown man in 2017! If he's balding or something and it's an Andre Agassi situation (merely hypothetical, not issuing unsubstantiated hair claims), it's time to embrace the buzz. Glad we had this talk.

Here is Jackie Chan with some Unicef pandas. Yay!

Winner Mahershala Ali went for an all-black layered look with a funky pocket square. He is having a wonderful night and looks solid doing it. 

Future American president Dwayne Johnson, with Lauren Hashian, wore a blue velvet tuxedo and made it look charming, effortless, masculine and kind of fun. Like, there's something you kind of like about this tux but you can't figure it out, but you'd like to see more of this tux, and wow, this tux has some really white teeth.

Let's end with Sunny Pawar from Lion, who will have about 17 bow tie endorsement deals lined up after tonight, and the brands will all be top sellers, and all will be right with the world. 

(Photos via AP and Getty)

[Last modified: Monday, February 27, 2017 1:16am]


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