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Celebrity fashion sparkles at Oscars

Kelly O'Sullivan | Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Although the Academy Awards would not have taken place without the great films of the past year, the fashions on the Red Carpet drew a large number of viewers before any statuettes were handed out. Whether audiences hoped to see elegant gowns or wanted to mock a fashion faux pas in real time, this year’s pre-Oscars festivities did not disappoint.

There were several standouts in the early evening festivities: Cameron Diaz wore a pale pink Dior gown with clean architectural folds that fell into a nicely draped body and skirt while Jennifer Garner’s Oscar de la Renta was another interesting design. Strapless at the top and fitted through the thigh, the gown featured a unique texture, with layers of black material that fell into larger ruffles at the bottom.

Kelly Preston strolled by the paparazzi on John Travolta’s arm in a gown featuring a recently popular silhouette. What set Preston’s look apart was the fresh and interesting marigold shade by Roberto Cavalli. Pregnant beauties Jessica Alba and Cate Blanchett glowed in richly colored gowns by Marchesa and Dries van Noten, respectively.

True to its name, the Red Carpet featured several dresses of the same color. Teen pop sensation Miley Cyrus wore an elegant, age-appropriate Valentino gown. Reminiscent of Old Hollywood glamour, Katherine Heigl showed off a vintage-inspired Escada gown, with an equally fitting hairstyle. The always classy Helen Mirren touted a deeply colored Georges Chakra gown with stunning Swarovski crystal sleeves.

Also in crimson, Heidi Klum’s bold John Galliano gown was auctioned off after the big night to benefit The Heart Truth, an organization founded by the National Institute of Health to promote awareness of women and heart disease throughout the country. The red dress is the national symbol of women and heart disease awareness, and Klum began her help promoting the cause when she wore a red Marc Jacobs creation on National Wear Red Day at the recent Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week.

The most debate-inspiring gown on the Red Carpet was certainly French actress Marion Cotillard’s mermaid-esque gown by Jean Paul Gaultier. However, even skeptics of the design could not deny Cotillard’s beauty when she stepped forward to accept her Oscar for Leading Actress for her role in “La Vie en Rose.”

One of the biggest misses of the night was Tilda Swinton’s shapeless and overly modest black washed silk-satin Lanvin gown that perplexed many. Rebecca Miller, wife of Daniel Day Lewis, topped the worst dressed list along with Swinton. Miller’s black frock featured large black gems on the bust and red ribbon bows as straps, along with long sleeves that appeared below her bare shoulders.

Further confusing the evening’s audience were the simple shoes that Diablo Cody showed off to photographers. Cody was scheduled to wear a pair of million-dollar metallic T-strap heels designed by Stuart Weitzman that featured roses of Kwiat diamonds. In the days leading up to the ceremony, the writer of Indie film “Juno” had made known her disappointment at being used as a stunt to publicize the shoes.

Despite the few exceptions, the ladies of Hollywood cleaned up nicely for the industry’s most important night. However, even those gowns that impressed viewers the most still lacked a certain something that memorable gowns in recent years had brought to the table. Loyal Red Carpet fans will certainly be waiting for more noteworthy looks, from both the best and worst dressed, at next year’s event.