Tag Archives: Academy Awards

2012 Oscar Rundown

It’s the biggest red carpet event of the year… the Oscars!  Honestly, after seeing some great gowns at the SAG Awards and Golden Globes this year, we were a little disappointed with a lot of the fashion at the Academy Awards.  We’ll start with our favorites (as always!)  Gwyneth Paltrow (pictured, top left) was bringing it like she did back in the day in this caped Tom Ford creation.  Newcomer and first-time nominee Jessica Chastain (pictured, top right) looked glorious in a gold-embroidered black gown by Alexander McQueen with $2 million worth of Harry Winston yellow diamonds to go with it!  Chastain looked just lovely with her red locks half-up, half-down, which perfectly complemented her strapless dress (just like Blair’s prom gown!)  Penelope Cruz (pictured, below left) looked like she was straight out of 1950s Hollywood in a custom lavender Giorgio Armani gown, perfectly coiffed curls and 114 carats of Chopard diamonds!  E! anchor (and star of one of our own guilty pleasures Giuliana & Bill) Giuliana Rancic (pictured, below right) looked better than most of the people she interviewed in her stunning Tony Ward Spring 2012 couture gown!  She looked phenomenal, especially considering she just recovered from a double mastectomy.  New mom Natalie Portman (pictured, bottom right) looked adorable in her polka-dotted Dior Haute Couture dress (she is the face of Miss Dior), and one large diamond necklace from Harry Winston.  Octavia Spencer (pictured, bottom left) stayed faithful to Tadashi Shoji, wearing a beautifully-embroidered gown and 50-carat Neil Lane diamond earrings that looked like mini chandeliers!  While these girls looked just great, lots of our other favorites disappointed us.  We were bummed Viola Davis didn’t win Best Actress (although Meryl does get robbed nearly every year…), but we were equally disappointed with her ill-fitting Vera Wang gown, after looking gorgeous all season.  Kristen Wiig looks awesome as a brunette, but not in nude; Rooney Mara’s bangs and bondage dresses have got to go; and Emma Stone, take a cue from fellow gorgeous ginger-haired girl, like Jessica Chastain: avoid colors from the red family!  The color of her hair and gown was too close.  We would have preferred black, hunter green or navy on the funny lady.  And from our not-so-favorites?  Angelina Jolie… wow, you picked black again?  Shocking!  While we love the color black probably more than most things on Earth, we get it… so do you.  We did not like the thigh-high slit, red lips and constant posing.  We get it.  You love yourself more than life itself.  Stop shaking your hair like there’s a fan blowing it back.  Jennifer Lopez looked ridiculous with the skin-tight dress, slicked backed hair with a bouffant, and a nip slip to boot.  Otherwise, not much excited us fashion-wise last night other than these fashion stunners.  Better luck next year!  At least the show was entertaining!



Our favorite Hollywood couple – well, not exactly… Neither are actors, so not exactly a Hollywood couple, but definitely our favorite celebrity couple looked gorgeous, as always, at the Vanity Fair Oscars party last night.  Victoria Beckham looked glamorous in one of her own creations – a belted gray strapless gown from her Fall Collection, a large emerald cocktail ring, dark nails and the sexiest accessory ever – David Beckham in Dior!  Posh Spice posted a home picture of her getting ready on Twitter before the event in her own bathroom (which includes some sexy black and white photos of her husband on the right!)

The Way W./E. Were

We’re not exactly Madonna fans here at theSkinnyStiletto.  After viewing the more realistic “love story” between Wallis Simpson and King Edward VIII in last year’s Best Picture winner, The King’s Speech, and how much pain and embarrassment he caused his younger brother with a speech impediment, who would have to take the throne following his abdication, this romance certainly lost any allure that Elaine was yammering on about when she made herself sick on a piece of their wedding cake on Seinfeld.  Considering those two facts (and that this film opened to horrible reviews), W./E. wasn’t exactly on our must-see list of 2011.  But, the photos of the costumes are so delicious, we’re quite tempted to rent this flick!  English actress Andrea Riseborough plays the American socialite that throws the line of British royalty out of whack, when King Edward decides to leave the throne, in order to marry the twice-divorced American.  (Riseborough was fantastic in 2010’s Made in Dagenham, if you’re looking for a good movie to see her in.)  Even though W./E. didn’t get positive reviews, Riseborough looks pitch-perfect as Wallis Simpson.  In fact, she actually even reminded us of Madonna herself, when she played a 1940s dark brunette in A League of their Own (the only film associated with the Material Girl that has a good reputation.)  James D’Arcy was also exceptionally well-cast as the young, slender blonde king.  Some of the film’s stills look so real, they could pass for actual historical photos.  Madonna hired costume designer Arianne Phillips to create the outfits for the film, and was nominated for an Academy Award for her stunning work.  (We think she deserves this Oscar!)  Phillips began work on the film a year prior to filming even began, studying costumes at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute in New York and Musée de la Mode et du Textile in Paris.  Many of Simpson’s original dresses have been kept in museum archives, which were unavailable for Madonna’s production.  Many couture houses offered to recreate outfits for W./E., including Christian Dior, Elsa Schiaparelli and Balenciaga.  (Fun Fact: Madonna asked for a wedding dress from one of Phillips’ competitors for the Oscar this year, Michael O’Connor.  The gown was on display at the National Museum of Costume in Scotland, whose general manager agreed to lend Madonna the dress.)  Co-stars of the film also looked fabulous in their various looks.  Abbie Cornish (pictured, above left) plays a modern girl researching Wallis, and looked wonderful in an all black shift with a matching cardigan, purse and pumps.  Natalie Dormer (pictured, above right) looks fantastic as a young Queen Mother.  In the above scene, she’s being fitted for a hat by the famous milliner Stephen Jones, which is Elizabeth and her daughter’s go-to accessory.  Phillips told W Magazine, “To me, Wallis Simpson was a style icon, but I didn’t know she was a couture client well before she met Edward.  She was also a hungry whore for jewelry.  Edward gave Wallis jewelry to make her feel royal.  My first task was figuring out how to re-create those famous gifts.”  Phillips contacted Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels to replicate several pieces from Simpson’s jewelry collection, including a famous emerald cross bracelet Edward gave to her.  Phillips also got in touch with luxury goods company Alfred Dunhill and Savile Row to get original fabrics and wool from the mills that actually created clothing for King Edward.  Phillips’ work and research on the film was not only thorough, but absolutely gorgeous.  Any one of Wallis Simpson’s beautiful outfits is inspiring today, even 80 years later.  We’re rooting for Arianne this year!


All week theSkinnyStiletto has been featuring our favorite looks from various movies nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards.  Today is the 84th Oscar ceremony and in honor of the film industry, we’re featuring our all-time favorite style icon, Audrey Hepburn, from the only Best Picture she’s appeared in, My Fair Lady.  This editor isn’t exactly a fan of musicals, and unfortunately My Fair Lady is my least favorite Audrey movie.  (Fun Fact: It was also Hepburn’s least favorite film she made!  Guess she wasn’t too happy about the studio dubbing her singing…)  Cecil Beaton won the Academy Award for this costume design on the visually stunning 1964 flick.  Our favorite outfit of the movie is the white lace Edwardian Ascot gown with black and white striped ribbons and the greatest hat ever worn.  This outfit would wear most people that threw it on, but Audrey looks elegant and completely confident in her massive costume – obviously, or she wouldn’t have yelled, “Move your bloomin’ arse!” in such a refined look.  The costume is worth between $200,000 and $300,000, and is currently part of the Debbie Reynolds’ auction of movie memorabilia.

Plain Jane Eyre

Sweeping romances and period films tend to dominate the Best Costume Design category, and this year is no different.  Jane Eyre was a novel published by Charlotte Brontë in 1847, and tells the tale of a strong-willed plain Jane (hmm… is that where the phrase comes from?) struggling through the 19th century.  Like most gothic tales of its day, this poor girl can’t catch a damn break.  Jane Eyre is an orphan who lives with her aunt (Sally Hawkins, pictured, above) and extended family that all seem to enjoy physically and emotionally abusing the little girl.  She finally escapes those sick freaks by attending an all-girls boarding school, only to get abused all over again by a clergyman.  (Seriously, what was wrong with people?  Why do they take such pleasure in beating up a little kid?!)  Jane’s only solace in the world is her best and only friend, Helen, who dies in her arms from consumption.  Man, this kid can’t catch a break.  And it doesn’t end there!  Jane grows up to become a teacher with a strong spirit, and goes to work for a man named Mr. Rochester (played by the very sexy half-Irish, half-German Michael Fassbender, pictured above, with actress Imogen Poots).  Jane doesn’t have looks or money, but she’s got opinions and independence that seem to drive the brooding Rochester wild!  Enough to leave his spoiled fiance (played by Poots).  Ah, a perfect match – finally!  Oh wait, on Jane’s wedding day (SPOILER ALERT!) she discovers her fiance has been keeping his crazy first wife stashed in the attic.  Oy vey.  This book should have been called Jane Eyre and the Curious Case of her Bad Luck.  In this 2011 version, Jane is portrayed by the very big up-and-comer Mia Wasikowska.  You may have seen her starring in last year’s Best Costume winner, Alice in Wonderland.  Costume designer Michael O’Connor has been nominated for his beautiful work on Jane Eyre.  He received his first Oscar for The Duchess three years ago, and has done lovely work on Harry Potter and Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day.  The Brit told Stylelist where his inspiration came from, “The inspiration is her character, the challenge is making a woman from that time look stylish today, while still looking simple.  She’s sort of a ‘thinking’ Jane, so it was about looking and finding paintings of women in simple costumes at the time.  And notes from Emily Dickinson, things like that.  I just thought, ‘How would we make something exciting in all black?’  So, instead of black, she could be in dark grey, and it could show more of the style, or detail.  The original costumes were a great inspiration.”  The other women in Jane’s life, like her aunt and Rochester’s fiancee, get to wear more elaborate outfits than she sports, but that doesn’t matter in the end, because Miss Eyre eventually gets her happy ending.  The film’s costumes are currently on display (pictured, bottom) at the FIDM Museum & Galleries.


Freida Pinto is the chestnut-haired stunner that plays Dev Patel’s love interest in the 2009 Academy Award winning Best Picture Slumdog Millionaire.  Pinto is so gorgeous, she looks good in any color, but yellow was her character’s go-to hue in this film.  Costume designer Suttirat Anne Larlarb spoke of the famous scarf in the final scene (pictured, below) to Entertainment Weekly, “I wanted to bookend the journey-to tie her childhood yellow dress to her final look.”  The scarf (which is traditionally known as “Odhni” in India) is made from fabric that looks nearly identical to a beaded top Pinto wears in an earlier scene, so we wanted to feature both looks.  While wearing these outfits, Pinto’s character is attempting to reunite with her one true love, and without spoiling the ending, it’s one of the most romantic movie scenes I’ve ever seen. ❤

Portrait of The Artist as a Movie

The Artist is a silent black and white movie that is sweeping this year’s award season!  The French movie features Jean Dujardin as a famous silent film star named George Valentin in the late 1920s, and Berenice Bejo plays Peppy Miller, who becomes an overnight “it” girl.  Both actors have been nominated for Oscars this year, along with Best Picture, Director, Screenplay, and, of course, Costume Design!  The designer of this film, Mark Bridges, is celebrating his first Oscar nomination for The Artist, but has had an interesting and varied career that seems to have gone unnoticed by the Academy.  Some of Bridges’ prior work includes Boogie Nights, The Fighter, Blow, The Italian Job, and There Will Be Blood.  Not exactly sweeping romances that demand big ball gowns, but they are definitely films that demand particular looks and eras, which Bridges perfectly captured from oil fields to 1970s porn.  The Artist begins in the late 1920s and proceeds through the early 1930s.  Dujardin is so handsome, he looks like he could be Gene Kelly’s French brother, and Bejo is so creative and easy to watch, she makes dancing with a hanger look like there’s a person under that suit jacket (pictured, above left)!  While the roaring 20s and old Hollywood glamor are always favored time periods to celebrate, Bridges had the extra hurdle of making the costumes look apropos without having colored film to show the stunning outfits of the movie.  Bridges discussed this difficulty with CNN, “Without the color to communicate the language of telling the story, I was trying to tell the story through textures, whether it be lamé, sequins and beads for Hollywood, or very flat rough textured wools to communicate down-on-your-heels, or the elegance of satin lapels for evening wear, or the shimmer of a beautiful nightgown.  It became a story of textures telling the story.”  Bejo certainly looks adorable in delicate white gloves and loose-fitting garments of the 1920s, as an ordinary citizen, but she looks right at home as a Hollywood starlet in minks, diamonds, satins, silks, pearls and evening gowns, after finding success in Los Angeles.  Peppy Miller’s headgear definitely matches her first name, adding whimsy to Bejo’s head of curls and firmly cements the film’s era.  Dujardin’s wardrobe is just as dashing as he is, as he sports three-piece tuxedos and suits, white bow-ties, black studs and one hell of a moustache.  This editor kept wishing to see the film’s wardrobe in color, but was actually disappointed once I saw the real-life versions on mannequins, which are now currently on display at FIDM Museum & Galleries in Los Angeles (pictured, bottom).  Guess the black and white film really created charm and magic for me!  Congrats Mark!