When Oscar night arrives on Sunday 24 February, it will put an end to months of specualation around who will scoop the coveted gongs. With the fashion world heavily invested in the evening’s red carpet proceedings, the pontificating extends far beyond Tinseltown. Each year, the Academy Awards draw a global audience hungry to play witness and jury to the world’s most spectacular dresses, many of which are, as I type, being personally couriered into LAX from European ateliers by patient PR reps sworn to absolute secrecy. But then these diligent modes of delivery ultimately pay dividends in brand exposure. 26.5 million viewers tuned in to the 2018 Oscars, making this the high fashion equivalent of Super Bowl Sunday, and that’s not even taking into account the millions of regrams and memes a single paparazzi shot now has the power to generate. While the world’s biggest fashion houses gear up to dress the contenders, we’re taking a moment to daydream about the gowns that just might rule the red carpet at this year’s ceremony.
When it comes to the most flattering, flashbulb-ready gowns, floor-length metallic styles will always win the day. This year’s updates? Elegant capped shoulders courtesy of Givenchy and burnished pleats, brought to you by Dior.
We’re predicting Lady Gaga’s exuberant red carpet style run is going to inspire other actors to take a risk at this year’s Oscars. Cue an eye-popping colour palette (Valentino couture has it covered) and renewed confidence in exaggerated (rather than second-skin) silhouettes.
Our guess is that there will be more than a few actors showcasing a new spin on the old Hollywood favourite at this year’s Academy Awards: the feather-trimmed gown. The nominees? The sweeping lengths of Ralph & Russo and Giambattista Valli couture.
While we’ve noted a shift away from the red carpet’s “naked” dress trend circa 2014, demure sheers are now coming into their own. No one reveals just a hint of the bare skin beneath the fabric quite like Maria Grazia Chiuri at Dior.
The strapless black cocktail dress
Red carpet crash course: the simplest dresses, when beautifully executed, are capable of causing a sensation. Schiaparelli, Chanel and Armani Privé couture boast the kind of strapless cuts that dreams are made of (cast your mind back to Winona Ryder wearing Trigère, Oscars 1990) and nowhere does a classic, faultless black cocktail gown feel more at home than on the Oscars red carpet.
The one-shoulder gown
Plot twist: designers Brandon Maxwell, Ralph & Russo and Elie Saabhave reinterpreted the one-shoulder column gown for spring/summer 2019, recasting the red carpet staple in sugary shades. The main feature? A scattering of glimmering embellishment.