The Oscars Red Carpet Wasn’t ‘Trendy,’ But That’s Okay

Enjoy this slideshow of the best dresses + five crucial takeaways

02.26.17

If you watched the Oscars red carpet earlier this evening and popped a blood vessel trying to mentally extract any semblance of “trends” from the veritable free-for-all of noteworthy ensembles, rest assured that your struggle is justified. It’s also a strong indicator that the celebrity stylists were simply doing their jobs well. Unlike fashion week, the purpose of red-carpet style is not to act as a harbinger of trends present or future. The purpose of red-carpet fashion is to… flatter.

Yeah, I know — that means it’s rarely going to be exciting. It’s probably not going to move the needle or disrupt and reshape your sense of personal style. But I don’t make up the rules! I just dissect them for you like a roast turkey, with a few jokes about Ryan Seacrest’s aubergine bow tie for garnish.

Just because the fashion isn’t groundbreaking doesn’t mean it isn’t fun to look at. It’s like a magazine you might flip through while you’re getting a pedicure, a beautiful and entertaining escape. The best kind of brain break, essentially.

So relax, kick up your feet and put your brain on its Enya/Koi pond/child’s pose setting. Zone out. Enjoy the show. Take a chill pill in the form of a mug of hot chocolate. Don’t worry about the heavy lifting — a.k.a. prepping for tomorrow’s water-cooler banter. I’ve got you covered. Behold, an analysis of the 2017 Oscars Red Carpet, free of trends but chock-full of talking points:

“You know what this needs? A belt.”

Scarlett Johansson in Alaïa (by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

Overheard at the dress fittings for Janelle Monae, Scarlett Johansson and Chrissy Teigen, presumably. I love a good non-utilitarian belt situation, i.e. not even pretending to hold something up, but rather keeping your belly button company for the sake of the look. Diamond earrings are a dime a dozen on the red carpet, but a leather belt? That’s something to chew on.

It’s my party and I’m gonna match the red carpet if I want to

Viola Davis in Armani Privé (by VALERIE MACON/AFP/Getty Images)

Keep your eye on the women who wear red to a red-carpet event. They are geniuses and if you’re wondering why, don’t worry, I am about to blow your mind: camouflage. When Viola Davis inevitably tires of dropping pearls of wisdom and/or looking at Ryan Seacrest’s aubergine bow tie, all she has to do is lie down and take a nap. Red dress. Red carpet. Ditto for Ruth Negga and Ginnifer Goodwin. Like I said — geniuses.

Not underwear, not not underwear

Naomie Harris in Calvin Klein (by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images)

I saw London, I saw France, I saw Naomie Harris and Alicia Vikander’s underpants. Okay technically that’s not true, but it was fun to say and Naomie’s bra-like bodice and Alicia’s corset-esque dress were definitely reminiscent of what we like to call lingerie. Good on them for doing their part to rescue this subset of clothing from the shadows of dusty bureau drawers and Fifty Shades Darker cliches.

Inanimate object showdown: Oscar statue vs. Grecian urn

Emma Stone in Givenchy (by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images)

Nothing like an inanimate object showdown, eh? Almost as exciting as Bachelor in Paradise. This was a popular category, probably because both Oscar statues and Grecian urns are shiny and sleek with curves in all the right places — hey! like the majority of flattering, black-tie dresses! Emma Stone, Jessica Biel and Dakota Johnson were team Oscar statue, while Karlie Kloss, Priyanka Chopra and Nicole Kidman were Grecian urn-ing it up. May the best tchotchke win.

The return of Charlotte York’s controversial bridesmaid dress

Taraji P. Henson in Alberto Ferretti (by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images)

If you are unfamiliar with this reference, it will be my greatest pleasure to enlighten you. In season 2 episode 7 of Sex and the City, Charlotte wears a low-cut (a.k.a. sExY) black bridesmaid dress in a wedding. To explain her selection, she tells her friends, “At every wedding I’ve been like, ‘No, don’t look at me, look at the bride.’ But this time, people are going to look at ME!” This was a seminal moment in Charlotte’s fashion awakening, trumped only by her bucket hat phase. But anyways, Michelle Williams, Kirsten Dunst, Taraji P. Henson and Brie Larson were all having a Charlotte York Bridesmaid Awakening moment on the red carpet, and it was truly excellent to witness.

All photos via Getty Images. 

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  • Greer Clarke

    It was such a weird haul this year!!
    I reckon Emma and Janelle nailed it, but otherwise I had to think really hard about everything I was looking at. But that in itself is kind of refreshing?

  • Andy

    Taraji was the standout!

  • Naomie Harris – Stunning!!

  • Mary

    Loved the Hidden Figures girls’ dresses and Naomie Harris. The beaded gold numbers looked really nice against Nicole Kidman and Emma Stone’s skin tones, too

  • Babs

    Kirsten, where ya been??

  • biljana milojevic

    *Alberta Ferretti not Alberto

  • Holly Laine Mascaro

    LOVEDDDD THAT RED VALENTINO DRESS – saw it on the tv from the other side of my apartment and immediately knew it was Valentino and swooned.

  • me

    IMO the best looks included the little blue ACLU ribbons: Ruth Negga,
    Lin-Manuel Miranda (& his mom), Karlie Kloss ….

  • Kattigans

    Ruth Negga, Nicole Kidman and Taraji for the win!

  • Lola

    Who did Meryl Streep end up wearing? Was it chanel?? I missed her on the red carpet…

    • Katy

      Elie Saab and it was a dress AND pants!!!

      • Lola

        Yesssssss! Thank you:)

  • Harling

    This is such a cunty post …