Designers vie to showcase wares on Oscars catwalk

Fashion fans are in a frenzy as Hollywood counts down to the Oscars, with designers and jewelers vying to provide the gorgeous gowns and fabulous gems on the red carpet next Sunday night.

Often referred to as the most famous runway in the world, the Academy Awards show offers fashion houses an unparalleled opportunity to showcase their most spectacular creations to hundreds of millions of television viewers worldwide.

The priceless publicity, and unspoken celebrity endorsements, can also influence mainstream fashion trends for seasons to come - with an impact, eventually, on the high street.

The timeless allure of a silver or platinum beaded gown has long been a popular choice, and Sandra Bullock, last year's winner of the Best Actress award, chose a spectacular form-fitting gown in silvery tones by Marchesa.

Helen Mirren followed in a silver Badgley Mischka, Kate Winslet in a platinum Yves St. Laurent and Cameron Diaz in a strapless oyster Oscar de la Renta gown with metallic ribbon and gold embroidery.

In previous years both younger actresses like Anne Hathaway (Armani Prive 2009) and Jessica Beal (Prada 2009), and more established stars including Julianne Moore (Calvin Klein 2010) have opted for gold and silver gowns.

Nothing speaks of class and a classic sense of style more than vintage couture: Julia Roberts wore a memorable black and white vintage Valentino gown when she won best actress for "Erin Brockovich" a decade ago.

Five years later Reese Witherspoon celebrated winning best actress in 2006 with vintage Dior couture, a fairytale creation of beaded silver tulle embellished with spun gold thread, which she bought in Paris.

Of this year's nominees, perhaps only Michelle Williams, nominated for her role in "Blue Valentine," could be persuaded to take this route.

Some say Helena Bonham Carter was born for vintage couture, but the quirky British actress is known for a more eccentric and individual look: she always wears Vivienne Westwood with a great deal of panache.

The leading contenders for Best Actress, Natalie Portman for her role in "Black Swan" and Annette Bening for "The Kids Are Alright," each have their own style.

Bening almost invariably wears black Armani; a simple tuxedo or a slightly more elaborate creation, such as the strapless long-sleeved fishtail gown, this time Armani Prive, she chose to wear to the 2005 Oscars.

The very pregnant Portman - who met her husband-to-be on the set of "Black Swan" - may decide to stick with cult label Rodarte, which created some of the costume designs for the ballet thriller's "Swan Lake" scenes.

However, she is also a fan of celebrity favorite Lanvin, and now that she is the new face of Christian Dior, there is a good chance she'll opt for a classic custom Dior gown.

Nicole Kidman - an enviable figure, tall and slender with porcelain skin, light auburn hair and a classically proportioned face - rarely makes fashion faux pas.

She has often favored Chanel couture as well as Balenciaga, John Galliano for Dior, Tom Ford for both Gucci and Yves St Laurent and, most recently, a daring strapless dress by John Paul Gaultier.

But perhaps there comes a time when the allegiance to just one or two designers has run its course.

Marilyn Heston, who represents Alexander McQueen, Nicole Miller and Zac Posen among others, says that stylists have been asking for lesser known designers.

"Maybe there's a backlash to there being X number of people in Versace and Chanel and Dior," she said.

Tom Julian, a fashion consultant and style expert for Oscar.com, agreed.

"How many times does Gwyneth Paltrow wear Tom Ford? A lot of actresses realize that after five years they don't want to be wearing the same designer," he said.

For the men, the classic tuxedo is the costume of choice.

Colin Firth, favorite for the best actor Oscar, may well stick with Tom Ford, the designer and filmmaker who directed him in last year's Oscar-nominated "A Single Man."

Ford, who last year sported spectacular diamonds as well as the most exquisite gardenia in his lapel - may well be called on to dress other male contenders at the 83rd Academy Awards on Sunday night.

Arts and Entertainment
'The Archers' has an audience of about five million
radioA growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried
Arts and Entertainment
Henry VIII played by Damien Lewis
tvReview: Scheming queens-in-waiting, tangled lines of succession and men of lowly birth rising to power – sound familiar?
News
Sir David Attenborough
people
Life and Style
Young girl and bowl of cereal
food + drink
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
News
Comic miserablist Larry David in 'Curb Your Enthusiasm'
peopleDirector of new documentary Misery Loves Comedy reveals how he got them to open up
Sport
football
News
i100
Life and Style
Virtual reality headset: 'Essentially a cinema screen that you strap to your face'
techHow virtual reality is thrusting viewers into frontline of global events and putting film-goers at the heart of the action
Arts and Entertainment
Ready to open the Baftas, rockers Kasabian are also ‘great film fans’
musicExclusive: Rockers promise an explosive opening to the evening
Life and Style
David Bowie by Duffy
fashion
Arts and Entertainment
Hell, yeah: members of the 369th Infantry arrive back in New York
booksWorld War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel
News
advertisingVideo: The company that brought you the 'Bud' 'Weis' 'Er' frogs and 'Wasssssup' ads, has something up its sleeve for Sunday's big match
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
i100
Environment
Dame Vivienne Westwood speaking at a fracking protest outside Parliament on Monday (AP)
environment
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Fashion

    Tradewind Recruitment: English Teacher

    Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: This post arises as a result of the need to...

    Tradewind Recruitment: Class Teacher Required ASAP In Uminster

    £120 - £150 per annum: Tradewind Recruitment: I am recruiting on instruction o...

    Ashdown Group: Head of Finance - Financial Director - London - £70,000

    £70000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Finance - Financial Controller - Fina...

    Ashdown Group: Marketing Executive - Wimbledon, SW London

    £24000 - £28000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Executive - Wim...

    Day In a Page

    Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

    Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

    The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
    Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

    Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

    Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
    Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
    Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

    Comedians share stories of depression

    The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
    Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

    Has The Archers lost the plot?

    A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
    English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

    14 office buildings added to protected lists

    Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
    Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

    Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

    Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
    World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

    Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

    The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
    Why the league system no longer measures up

    League system no longer measures up

    Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
    Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

    Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

    Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste
    Diego Costa: Devil in blue who upsets defences is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

    Devil in blue Costa is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

    The Reds are desperately missing Luis Suarez, says Ian Herbert
    Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

    Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

    Former one-day coach says he will ‘observe’ their World Cup games – but ‘won’t be jumping up and down’
    Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

    Greece elections

    In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
    Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

    Holocaust Memorial Day

    Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
    Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

    Magnetic north

    The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness