And the Oscar Goes To. March 2018.

Dear Rowley,

Wouldn’t you know it, the all-black dress code for actresses at the BAFTAs was out of the window at the 90th anniversary Academy Awards yesterday. There was still a deal of tub-thumping post-Weinstein but now the leverage is about women being first class producers, directors, sound people, scriptwriters as opposed to victims of the casting couch.

Interesting that Frances McDormond – who won Best Actress – encouraged all the women in the hall nominated for an award to stand up and be counted. They would still be outnumbered significantly by men had the exercise been repeated for everyone with a cock who had been nominated. So clearly there is some way to go.

The fashion statements at the 2018 Oscars made interesting reading. The winners were the gals who channelled vintage Gianni Versace and wore metallic goddess dresses such as the gold micro-scrap Dior Couture mermaid gown sported by Jennifer Lawrence, Gal Gadot’s silver fishtail dress and Lupita Nyong’o fabulous Atelier Versace gold glamour diva column dress.

Nicole Kidman is increasingly looking like Truly Scrumptious in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Her face is tight as a drum and she wore an Armani Privé blue bow-front strapless sweetheart neckline dress that was designed for Instagram: seen from the front, it was darling. Seen from the side Miss Kidman looked like she was carrying twins.

The Old Broads have it down to a fine art. Jane Fonda channelled 1940s Joan Crawford in a white column dress with shoulder pads that looked as if she’d borrowed one of Helen Mirren’s bras to pad em out. Saint Meryl of Streep wore scarlet Dior that covered the upper arms and presented her cleavage like a Swan to be devoured by Henry VIII.

Necklaces seemed distinctly out of fashion much to the disappointment of the jewellers though chandelier earrings and diamond cuffs were clearly dans le vent at the Oscars this year. Helen Mirren was the exception to the rule again wearing a dazzling Bulgari diamond and sapphire collar with a Royal blue Reem Acra (who he?) evening gown.

I found Emma Stone’s capri pants and wrappy Vuitton get-up a disappointment and Whoopie Goldberg’s crinoline that had a sweeping neckline revealing a hideous tattoo a monster of frock. Frances McDormond dressed like Stig of the Dump and Margot Ronbbie looked like a pair of ruched net curtains in Chanel. Glad I got that off my embonpoint.

I was so proud of Henry Poole & Co for dressing Gary Oldman in bespoke Churchill suits for his Best Actor Academy Award role in Darkest Hour and loved Gary telling his Mum to put the kettle on because he was bringing Oscar home for tea. Pity he didn’t wear a Poole dinner jacket to the ceremony seeings as they originated the garment.

The boys let me down with Jewellery for Gentlemen largely because of the ‘Me Too’ badges in support of women being exploited by the Weinsteins of the business. However, a men’s trend emerged in the shape of crystal embroidery. A notable exception was rapper/actor Common who wore a vintage Tiffany & Co black tie brooch and cufflinks.

Interesting that the most directional men’s style came from black fly guys such as Winston Duke who wore a diamanté-embroidered scarf with his dinner jacket and Lakeith Stanfield whose Zegna frock coat was embellished with crystals on the front panels behind his grosgrain lapel. He rocked out drainpipe trousers and zip-front Chelsea boots.

What we were seeing was the death of the Dinner Jacket as formal dress code for the Academy Awards. I loved the Call Me By Your Name lovers Timothée Chalamet in an all white original outfit and Armie Hammer in a gorgeous velvet Giorgio Armani suit as comfortably cut as an Adidas tracksuit.

All the cufflinks and dress sets appeared to be courtesy of Montblanc who clearly had the monopoly. I was nonplussed by ice dancer Adam Rippon turning up in a Moschino get-up that incorporated an S&M harness and a black leather filigree bow tie. It was an odd choice for a man who had no business being there unless he was dating one of the nominees. Let’s hope he had a change for the Vanity Fair after party. I did like his Cartier 18ct yellow gold bracelet and the knuckleduster rings however.

Velvet ruled for the boys this season and I think I liked it. Christopher Plummer resembled Peter Cushing playing Dracula in his velvet number. Interesting that the big stars were not in evidence on the red carpet at the Oscars which might signify the end of a cycle. The exception is Saint Meryl of course because it is treason to host an awards ceremony without her in the front row.

There was no Angelina, no Brad, no Tom Cruise and no Cate Blanchett although they will probably pitch up at the Vanity Fair after party with Madonna, the Beckhams and every fashion designer who scored on the red carpet. I enjoyed Lesley Manville, Gary Oldman’s ex-wife, scowling like a Disney Witch when she lost.

I would imagine that Salma Hayek is getting fed-up of having to wear Alessandro Michele’s hideous frocks for Gucci … owned as it is by her husband Monsieur Pinault Jr. The Oscar effort was a pink abortion with layers of frilly nonsense reminiscent of a toilet doll. Then again, some of those block colours worn by Meryl and Helen Mirren did make them look like a BBC weather presenter Carol Kirkwood tribute band.

Whatever the verdict of the fashion police, the Academy Awards are one of the most important dates on the fashion calendar and makes critics of us all. It is a hoot but also a hoot that makes millions for the fashion industry. Until next time…