Why this year's Oscars red carpet was one of the most experimental yet

There was latex, a gown-cedo, and copious pink ruffles inspired by a fictional serial killer

Olivia Petter@oliviapetter1
Monday 25 February 2019 18:14
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The red carpet is often a place for sartorial experimentation, and this year’s Oscars ceremony was no exception.

Celebrities were more creative than ever before when it came to choosing their looks for the night, trading conformist black tie garb for latex, confectionery cosplay and even a “gown-cedo” (a gown that looks like a tuxedo).

Leading the way was Pose star Billy Porter, who wore a full-skirted strapless velvet gown underneath a tailored tuxedo jacket.

Porter’s subversive choice was the most talked-about on social media, with fans praising the 49-year-old for casting aside conventional gender tropes.

The custom creation was designed by New York-based designer Christian Siriano, who is renowned for championing body diversity on the catwalk.

Porter told Vogue that he has encountered “a lot of homophobia” with regards to his outfit choices in the past and wanted his Oscars look to “challenge expectations”.

Porter pictured at the Vanity Fair afterparty

“Women show up every day in pants, but the minute a man wears a dress, the seas part,” he said, adding that he’s always wanted to wear a ball gown to a red carpet event.

“We wanted to play between the masculine and the feminine,” he said of how the look was created in collaboration with Siriano.

“This look was interesting because it’s not drag. I’m not a drag queen, I’m a man in a dress.”

Porter wasn’t the only one to subvert the status quo with his wardrobe on Sunday night.

Can You Ever Forgive Me star Melissa McCarthy might have arrived in a monochrome jumpsuit by Brandon Maxwell for the evening – so far, so normal – but she turned up at the preposterously glamorous Vanity Fair after party in an Adidas tracksuit. Yes, really.

It’s not everyday that you see an A-list celebrity in a pair of tracksuit bottoms on the red carpet

Other women who eschewed gowns for the big night included comedian and actor Amy Poehler, who opted for a wide-legged trouser suit by Alberta Ferreti, rapper Awkwafina, songwriter Diane Warren and actor Elsie Fisher.

Rachel Weisz sported a dress with a twist: The Favourite star channelled a Britney Spears circa “Oops I did it again” with her vivid vermilion Givenchy dress, the top part of which was made out of latex.

Elsewhere, The Wife star Glenn Close made a statement in a bright gold gown by Carolina Herrera weighing 19kg (almost double the amount of hand luggage you can take on a Ryanair flight).

The weight of Close’s gown might’ve had something to do with the four million beads that covered it

Emma Stone’s sequin gown was a textural feast for the eyes, feast being the operative word – the Louis Vuitton garment was compared to everything from waffle cones to KitKats on social media.

Another unlikely wardrobe inspiration for Oscars attendees this year was Villanelle, the seductive serial killer lead in Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s hit series, Killing Eve.

The role is played by British actor Jodie Comer, who sparked a nationwide frenzy after she wore a voluminous pink tulle gown by Molly Goddard in one episode.

Something about the girl-gone-rogue look, which is unapologetically bright and ruffle-heavy, seems to have caught on, with Gemma Chan, Linda Cardellini and Kacey Musgraves among those to sport similarly joyful shades and candyfloss-like silhouettes on the red carpet.

Last but not least, there was Selma Blair, who skipped the main event but made an appearance at the Vanity Fair after party.

It was the first time Blair had been on the red carpet since being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS), something she previously said has rendered her disabled; the 46-year-old posed in her Ralph and Russo chiffon gown with the help of a black cane.

Selma Blair broke the mould with her red carpet look

The cane had a glamorous edge, having been customised with Blair’s initials by celebrity manicurist Tom Bachik.

“These gifts to get me through,” she wrote on Instagram, prompting a flurry of supportive comments from fans praising Blair for her positivity.

Perhaps it’s only a matter of time until canes become the next accessory must-have.

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