Are the Oscars just a big fashion show?

 When the attire itself became a form of entertainment? asks fashion editor Alexander Fury

“What are we doing for the Oscars?” That was an email I received from a news editor while I was right in the middle of Paris Fashion Week – my professional equivalent of Wimbledon, the World Cup and the Test Series rolled into one. I had no idea. To be honest, in the midst of 14-hour days, I barely realised they were happening.

This year, the Oscars less coincided than collided with Paris – the bleary-eyed American editors who stayed up to watch could testify to that the next morning. The calendars usually fall a bit differently, so the Oscars are smack in the middle of Milan fashion week. I remember one season when Versace couriered still-warm dresses from models' bodies across the Atlantic to frock a constellation of stars.

What I don't remember is when the Oscars became a fashion event, when the lines between attire and entertainment became quite so blurred. In fact, when the attire itself became a form of entertainment – frock watching, they call it.

You get the reverse at fashion shows, attention grabbed by the celebrities seated front-row. Maybe designers realise when a collection is weak, and call in the big Hollywood guns as a diversionary tactic?

The crossover of fashion and fame is slightly more necessary at the Oscars: celebrities have to wear clothes, too, after all. And have the right to look good. But does it always have to be commented on, dissected and analysed? Is the Oscars now just another fashion show – and considering the audience (43 million in the US alone), is it the one that really matters? Should I be watching the Oscars, rather than Oscar de la Renta?

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