The Oscars fail to address fashion on its biggest night. Why that’s significant amid the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements.
Who were they wearing?
Red carpet wranglers left America in the dark at the Oscars Sunday night when it came to addressing the glamorous looks and inspiration behind them on fashion’s biggest night.
E! host Ryan Seacrest, who was accused of sexual misconduct last week (he denies the allegations), played it safe in wake of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements. When interviewing the few celebs who stopped for him, he asked them softball questions and steered clear of their ensembles. Critics took notice.
“It was terrible. It was the worst-covered awards ceremony I have ever seen in 10 years of covering them,” Tom Fitzgerald, co-publisher of the TomandLorenzo.com lifestyle blog with Lorenzo Marquez, tells Moneyish. “At the end of the day, the people who are tuning into red carpet coverage are people who want to know about the fashion, and it’s not a dirty word to talk about fashion. It’s not wrong.”
Stylits praised stand-out looks from Allison Janney, who won the award for best actress in a supporting role for “I, Tonya,” for choosing a bold red gown. “Wonder Woman” star Gal Gadot glittered in a beaded silver fringe frock with a matching statement necklace; Lupita Nyong’o shimmered in a gold metallic gown with a high leg slit. Ashley Judd, one of the actresses who accused former producer Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment, looked radiant in purple; and “Girl’s Trip” star Tiffany Haddish took the red carpet in a traditional African gown, a nod to her Eritrean heritage.
“There is very little (shockingly little) discussion of fashion on E!, which makes me feel the need to say: liking or showing an interest in fashion is not a bad thing, it does not make you shallow or ignorant or foolish,” Elizabeth Holmes, a former fashion reporter for The Wall Street Journal, tweeted.
There is very little (shockingly little) discussion of fashion on E!, which makes me feel the need to say: liking or showing an interest in fashion is not a bad thing, it does not make you shallow or ignorant or foolish.
— Elizabeth Holmes (@EHolmes) March 4, 2018
Award season kicked off on a somber note with stars wearing all black in support of the Me Too and Time’s Up movements in solidarity with victims of sexual harassment and assault at the Golden Globes. The attire was a bit more subdued at the Grammy’s weeks laters, with stars wearing white roses instead to show their support for #MeToo. While wardrobe has taken a backseat at award ceremonies this year as women champion for each other and equality alongside their male colleagues, critics say there’s a way to discuss fashion respectfully.
“Hollywood and the Oscars have always been an aspirational fashion night, and Hollywood needs to find a way to still be glamorous while still being respectful to the people in the industry, and not marginalizing or objectifying anyone. But we’re in a transitional period now, and they still haven’t figured this out yet,” Fitzgerald says.
Still, the majority of actresses didn’t choose to make their ensemble the stars of the night, with many opting for more neutral and pastel hues at the Oscars this year, compared to previous Academy Award shows. Some decided on all white, the color of the suffragette movement women activists wore to promote their struggle to gain the right to vote. Laura Dern, Janet Mock, Mary J Blige and Margot Robbie went with the simple, yet elegant, route in all-white gowns with subtle embellishments like beads and jeweled detail. And Jane Fonda, also in a form-fitting white strapless dress, wore a Times Up pin. It was fitting for the current political conversation, some say.
“Tonight is serious business. On the wings of #timesup, we all want to see women seen as serious power players and not just clothes hangers. Which is not to say that the dresses and jewels aren’t amazing, but they aren’t the point,” says Ann Shoket, author of “The Big Life,” and former editor-in-chief of Seventeen.
But some still crave the artistic and light-hearted fun fashion commentary typically brings to award season.
“The red carpet is a parade of expression. I look to forward to that showmanship, and a lot people tune in just for the fashion,” pop culture and entertainment expert Valerie Greenberg says. “It sets the tone for different trends — we want ideas and we translate those looks into our everyday lives as viewers. We want to emulate a look we saw on the carpet.”
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