The Oscars: And the best-dressed actress award goes to . . .

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Indy Lifestyle Online
The Oscars ceremony has become one of the biggest nights out, not for the stars and the silver screen but for the fashion industry.

Getting your dress on the backs of those stars is one of the greatest publicity stunts possible. Money cannot buy the sort of personal endorsement a star like Kate Winslet or Madonna gives when they are snapped by the world's cameras. And on Monday night the four British actresses nominated might not have won anything, but some of our fashion stars came out with flying colours. Alexander McQueen for one. His was the coup of the night: a dragonfly embroidered gown by the designer for Givenchy. And Nicole Farhi scored her first ever Oscar coup and should sign Judi Dench up for the next advertising campaing immediately. John Galliano dressed Cameron Diaz under his Dior label.

So forget acting ability. All we were really interested in was the frocks, in the greatest catwalk show of all.

Tamsin Blanchard and Melanie Rickey nominate the most glamorous night's winners and the losers

Winner

Winner

Julie Christie had been for fittings with John Galliano but opted at the last minute for this silver spider-web crystal beaded lace dress by New York duo Badgley Mischka. The skirt has a hand-painted hem and is an adaptation of a dress from the pair's autumn/winter '98 collection. If Oscar night was a competition of style, Christie, 58, won hands down.

Kate Winslet in Alexander McQueen for Givenchy. Full marks for supporting a British fashion export and putting her faith in a young designer. Kate went for a fitting for her deep sea-green gown with matching bolero with dragonflies and weeping willow branches, hand-embroidered in silk thread and crystals on the morning of McQueen's show for Givenchy two weeks ago. The final fittings were when the dress, the actress and the seamstresses came to McQueen's east London studio. Ms Winslet, who wore Vivienne Westwood to last year's Academy Awards, agreed to wear Givenchy on the understanding that the house did not make a dress for any other Oscar nominee. It fitted her immaculately. The glass-beaded bag by Antonio Miranda and shoes in embroidered silk matched.

Winner

Judi Dench wore a silver grey organza slip and organza coat by Nicole Farhi. The Dame met the designer through Ms Farhi's husband, the playwright David Hare. Dench is currently starring in his play, "Amy's View". The 63-year-old star looked fabulously understated and elegant and avoided the mutton-dressed-as-lamb syndrome successfully. She also avoided the "everything-but-the-kitchen-sink" school of Oscar dressing. Full marks all round; every inch the star.

Winner

Helen Hunt wore an ice blue bustier dress by Gucci. The colour was fresh and cool, though it crinkled a lot. Previously, Hunt has been a fan of Isaac Mizrahi but the American designer's office denied the dress was his. "It would have fitted a lot better if it had been by Mizrahi," they spat.

Loser

Kim Basinger wore a pistachio satin gown by Brian Rennie of German label Escada Couture, and ended up looking like a female version of the oscar statuette. All the illusions of her femme fatale image in "LA Confidential" were shattered in one lumpen, ill-fitting frump frock.

Winner

Sharon Stone attended the ceremony wearing every Hollywood movie star's favourite, Vera Wang. Her casual elegance shone out - how clever to wear a crisp white shirt wrapped insouciantly into a duchess satin evening skirt. Daring too, to reveal all that cleavage.

Loser

Minnie Driver. The dress was fine. But why oh why, on a warm Hollywood night, does anyone need to wrap a fox fur round her shoulders? Versace must accept responsibility.

Winner

Helena Bonham Carter typically wore a dress without a designer label. It was a one-off from a costume-makers. She always looks painfully thin and this dress was hanging off her. But it had a certain fragile Audrey Hepburn-style charm and she looked comfortable too.

Loser

Cher. The singer/actress has already gone down in the annals of Oscar-night mistakes but this one was a real corker. Imagine. You spend all that money on cosmetic surgery and hairpieces and you plonk a pirate's hat on top of it all!

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