The Oscars: The ultimate fashion show of yesterday and today

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Ahhhh…The Oscars. For more than 80 years it has been the most auspicious night for Hollywood’s elite to be rewarded for the hard work of the past year and a time for designers to set upcoming styles and trends by promoting their best designs and brands.  With this year’s festivities being held on Sunday, February 27th, we are sure to see creations from some of the industry’s most notable veteran, repeat designers.  To name only a few, these include Christian Dior, Givenchy, Oscar de la Renta, Prada, and Versace as well as not-so-newcomers Elie Saab, Alberta Ferretti, Reem Acra, and Carolina Herrera who are also proving to be red carpet mainstays.

Below is a look into backgrounds and artistic progression of a few of the designers mentioned above and a glimpse into what to look out for on the red carpet from their Spring 2011 collections.

Christian Dior, who opened his doors in 1947, created fashion that stood for all things romantic and feminine.  His creations at the time focused on cinched waists and full skirts to mark the hourglass silhouette of the woman perfectly.  Fast forward to the Oscars of 1997, now under the creative direction of designer John Galliano, Dior gave Nicole Kidman her sleek body hugging sheath that turned heads and got the actress added to that year’s Best Dressed List.  Now, for Spring 2011, Galliano has taken the collection back to its very Christian Dior roots mimicking the 1950’s fashion illustrations of Rene Gruau from which Dior got his inspiration to begin with.  Back are the nipped-waist bar jacket, the pencil-line skirts, the swirling fan-pleat circle skirts, and the grand ball gowns with which Christian Dior dictated postwar fashion.

Versace, who opened their doors in 1978, has always been known for its glamour mixed with over-the-top sexiness.  Throughout the years, the label’s look has remained relatively the same, though under Donatella Versace’s direction the house’s decadent party image was toned down a bit in recent season. Though the looks have become more polished and slightly less revealing, Versace is still a house that’s sought out for its “strippy-strappy, safety-pinned, cut-down-to-there and slit-up-to-here camera-readiness”. (“Versace – Designer Fashion Label,” 2011)  Gone are the days of the neck plunging green dress that J.Lo wore to the 2000 Grammys.  Though there will still be some skin, instead look out on the red carpet for clean lines, geometric shaping, and body lean sheaths.

The daughter of a tailor, Italian designer, Alberta Ferretti, launched her line in 1974.  She is known for her “floaty and feminine” dresses and her signature floor-sweeping hemlines.  A favorite of A-list stars such as Uma Thurman and Sarah Jessica Parker, her work is an ode to the art of feminine draping and intricately embellished necklines.   For her Spring 2011 collection, Ferretti “got back to the garden” with her floating floral chiffons.  On the red carpet this year, look out for this version of fairy-tale femininity, key components being sheer, floor-sweeping dresses sprinkled with faux-flora appliqué.

For these 2011 Oscars, Lebanese designer Elie Saab will undoubtedly be a couturier of choice.  Elie is known for gowns that are made of brightly colored chiffons, silks, pearl-embroidered lace, sequins, flounces, fringes and everything that glimmers and this season’s collection delivers.  On the scene since 1982, he is a favorite of Hollywood starlets Zoe Saldana, Heather Graham, and Angelina Jolie but is best known for his creation that Halle Berry wore for the 2002 affair when she accepted the Oscar for Best Actress in Monster’s Ball.  Who could forget that perfect combination of burgundy satin and garden-inspired mesh?

Launching her own line in 1995, Reem Acra has gained most of her success with wedding gowns.  Her gowns are exquisitely adorned with intricate beadwork of Swarovski pearls and seed pearls.  Such opulence has made her a favorite not only among brides but celebrities such as Lisa Rinna and Nicole Ritchie looking to stand out on their walk down the red carpet.   A look into her Spring 2011 collection shows her staying true to her love for glimmer with bejeweled plunging necklines, gold lamé, and jacquard fabrics with rhinestone detail.  On the red carpet, expect nothing less.

Well be sure to stock up on your goodies and treats now and see you at the Oscars !

- Female Fashion Editor: Natasha Dyer

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Aryka Randall is a media mogul in the making from San Diego, California. After relocating to Louisiana in 2004, Randall became active in her local LGBTQ community. Randall was recently featured on Go Magazines annual ‘100 Women We Love‘ issue along with Tagg Magazine, the Dinah Shore Blog, and a number of other LGBT publications for her work in the LGBT community

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