Fashion by Felicia
Felicia Caponigri | Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Telling a fashionista not to watch the Oscars is like asking George Clooney to remarry — it’s never going to happen. Like haute couture runway shows, the Oscar red carpet presents our dreams as reality: countless layers of chiffon, Lloyds of London-insured jewelry, designer handbags raining like manna from heaven and, let’s not forget, all eyes on you.
The addictive component of the Oscars, however, lies in the fact that walking the red carpet in a mind-blowing gown is not precluded by height, body type, color or any other physical barrier. This differs from runway shows where petite women like myself will never walk, no matter how many times we insist the height discrepancy is solely due to a faulty feet-to-meters converter (come on — haven’t we ALL used that as an excuse?!).
In the truest sense of the American dream, talent — and lots of schmoozing — is the cultural commodity that can make you a star. Of course, in this modern technological century, talent is more than ever an equal opportunity inspirer. Every fashionista can tweet, blog, style spot and be street chic! Moreover, in today’s global fashion market, Marchesa dresses are only a click away via Net-a-Porter and Rent the Runway, while H&M and Zara give us designer quality at friendly prices.
Reese Witherspoon, Angelina Jolie and Emma Stone? Darlings, they’re yesterday’s stars — you are today’s headliner. And what better way to shout it from the rooftops, than by making the proper fashion entrance at your own Oscar Party?
There are two proverbial fashion yellow brick roads to travel at your Oscar fete: taking inspiration from the classic gold statue or contextualizing the style choice within the greater film nomination context.
The first is obvious. We’ve all seen those glistening gold gowns. In fact, we might all have one in our closet. Peek-a-boo mesh, lace fabrics, feathers and even lame have made their metallic appearance on the red carpet this season. Go for the gold in a flirty short dress, or rock an ankle length A-line skirt for a magical touch.
Even more appealing, however, is the huge roaring 20s Parisian theme which has pervaded this years’ films. “The Artist,” “Midnight in Paris” and “Hugo” all speak to this era and the Spring 2012 Fashion Week picked up on the beads, art deco and flapper silhouettes in the air. Take a look at Salma Hayek’s geometric bustier on her black Golden Globes Gucci dress for a point of reference (Francois Pinault, I hope you appreciate what a lucky man you are).
Reinterpret this look by placing it on a modern silhouette — fringe is also a definite option. Pick a monochrome dress and pair it with a sparkly sweater. The key to this style, like the art deco artistic movement, is linear symmetry. Think of the top of the Chrysler Building — alternating diamond shapes in shimmering silver. Who could resist that? Keep the shimmer coming in your accessories. Sparkly flats give that grounded, urban Parisienne feel. A vintage beaded bag can pull your whole look together.
While bold colors are in this season, this look works best with soft pastels and nudes. Would Bérénice Bejo have looked as elegant, arresting and ethereal in “The Artist” if she weren’t in black and white? The icons of those early Hollywood years of glamour knew what they were doing. Let’s show Mr. DeMille that we women of the 21st century are also ready for our modern close up.
Contact Felicia Caponigri at [email protected]
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.