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IMAGE GALLERY : The Oscars 2011 - Who wore it best?

The A-list stars were out in force last night for the 83rd Academy Awards with actresses opting for shimmering gowns and ramping up the glamour with feathers and folds - but which stars will influence eveningwear sales and which styles are best forgotten?

Natalie Portman, who picked up the Best Actress Oscar, payed homage to the costume designers for Black Swan in a plum coloured Rodarte dress which draped elegantly over her baby bump, thought it was a little on the safe side.

Scarlett Johansson also picked out a fruity shade with her structured raspberry Dolce & Gabbana lace gown, which was a sexy and successful red carpet choice.

Michelle Williams, who was nominated for Best Actress for her performance in Blue Valentine, wore an ultra-glamourous sheer white Chanel column gown which was embellished with pearls.

Pale, almost ethereal shades were popular and Hilary Swank chose a white strapless glistening Gucci gown with an elegant ostrich feather skirt.

Gwyneth Paltrow also shimmered in a shining champagne column with a thigh high split as she performed the Oscar-nominated song Coming Home on stage at the ceremony.

Nicole Kidman too opted for a light hue but did not have the same success with an Oriental inspired white Christian Dior gown, which was littered with embroidery and unflattering folds. She was one of the few stars to wear Dior, after the recent scandal around head designer John Galliano.

Cate Blanchett chose a highly unusual Givenchy couture gown with an offbeat lavender and yellow colour scheme, yet still managed to pull off the dress which was adorned with intricate beading and a bib style front.

The men played it pretty traditional in terms of style this year. Tom Ford was the designer of choice for Best Actor Colin Firth (and a number of other male celebrities.While classic in design, Firth’s tuxedo was made from ethically-sourced fabric. British actor Jude Law pared a white bow tie with his Dior Homme suit.

The experts view:

Antony Hawman,

Colin Firth - He looks the classic English gent, but still incredibly modern – exactly what you’d expect from Tom Ford.

Natalie Portman - This dress looks great, but Quality Street purple caramel springs to mind.

Jude Law/Robert Downey Junior - I like the idea of wearing a white tie with a white shirt for a tux, but something doesn’t look quite right. Roberts satin edging on the tux gives it a cool modern twist.

Gwyneth Paltrow - This look is OK but it’s nothing to get excited about.

Scarlett Johansson - Scarlett looks beautiful in this D&G gown. Every bit the screen goddess.

Michelle Williams - This gown is fabulous, but I fear a little old for her.

Cate Blanchett - A really interesting choice for Cate. I like the way she’s chosen something stunning and beautiful yet at the same time intriguing and quirky.

Nicole Kidman - I fear this dress would be more at home on a Casino hostess.    


Courtney Blackman, MD of Forward PR

Colin Firth (best) - Tom Ford is Colin’s go-to designer for the red carpet and it works. He always looks dapper and polished.

Natalie Portman (best) The Rodarte dress shape was an ideal choice for a bump on the red carpet and the deep plum hue goes perfectly with Natalie’s chestnut hair and skin tones.
Jude Law/Robert Downey Junior (worst/best)A white tie can be tricky. Robert pulls it off, as his complexion is a bit browner. Jude on the other hand looks slightly washed out. I think a darker tie would have been a smarter choice for Jude.

Gwyneth Paltrow (worst)I am a fan of Gwyneth and I am a fan of most things intergalactic, and I like this Calvin Klein Collection shimmering dress, but not on Gwyneth. It makes her look very box-shaped from the waist up.

Scarlett Johansson (worst) Custom-made? The colour is beautiful, but the Dolce & Gabbana curtain-esque dress does nothing for Scarlett’s figure, and it really ages her, as do the shorter locks.

Michelle Williams (best) Michelle pulls off regal mermaid in sheer Chanel. The drape is statuesque and the beaded detailing makes it a true red carpet gown.

Cate Blanchett (worst) Cate Blanchett is a stunning woman, but the lavender Givenchy Haute Couture gown, from afar, looks like a child’s summer play dress that has been elongated. Not quite suitable for the red carpet, the Oscars, or even a dinner party.

Nicole Kidman (worst)Another nod to curtains. The white Christian Dior gown looks ok from the back, but the embroidery and origami folds on the front are overcomplicated and highly unflattering.


Anna Bance, Girl Meets Dress

Colin Firth - Since watching A Single Man I’ve come to the conclusion that a man can never go wrong in a Tom Ford tuxedo; Colin looks dashing as usual.

Natalie Portman - Natalie definitely knows what colours suit her best. She looks beautiful in this plum Rodarte dress; very classic and ever so appropriate to wear the designers that dressed you for the film you won an Oscar for!

Jude Law/Robert Downey Junior - It is refreshing to see men experimenting with their Oscar looks! The white ties are a subtle-yet-fabulous fashion statement for them.

Gwyneth Paltrow - Ever since she stepped onto the red carpet in towering heels and mini dresses a couple of years ago Gwyneth keeps wowing us every time she makes a public appearance! This metallic Calvin Klein is no exception.

Scarlett Johansson - Oh what a terrible look for Scarlett! This Dolce & Gabbana dress is lace overload - although the colour suits her skin tone. The hair also looks too messy for the Oscars.

Michelle Williams - Chic, demure and perfectly poised. This Chanel dress was meant for Michelle; love the Harry Winston too!!

Cate Blanchett - Of all the red carpet looks at this year’s ceremony, this Givenchy couture dress seems to be dividing opinions the most. I don’t mind it at all and I appreciate actresses who are brave enough to choose a fashion forward dress for such a huge occasion, when it is so easy to play safe.

Nicole Kidman - I don’t love the styling here at all…or the dress shape and colour for her. The shoes don’t go with this embroidered Dior dress and it looks like she was wearing a hat that both flattened and frizzed up her usually glossy locks!


Danielle Radojcin, Senior Women’s Fashion and Beauty Editor, Asos

Colin Firth - Unsurprisingly, the Best Actor winner wore Tom Ford. Great that he went for classic black tie, and the pocket square is a nice, traditional touch.

Natalie Portman - As a mother, I have total admiration for Portman’s stamina on the red carpet, and she looked gorgeous. I was quite disappointed in the Rodarte gown, however; whether it was at Portman’s request, who knows, but the design was decidedly blah by their standards, especially in light of the amazing stuff they’ve done with Opening Ceremony recently.

Jude Law and Robert Downey Jnr. - As our menswear editor, Ian Wright, says, as long as the suit is black, white tie works, and I agree. The Sherlock Holmes boys look suitably dapper.

Gwyneth Paltrow - I’m so in love with Gwyneth’s performance on Glee that she could have turned up in a bright purple meringue and I would’ve applauded. But of course, this is Gwyneth, and she pretty much always gets it right, as with this sparkling gown by Calvin Klein Collection. Unlike lots of other red carpet A-listers, she always manages to look modern, too.

Scarlett Johansson - Love the dress, love the hair. Rear-view detailing was a trend at this year’s Oscars, and Scarlett, with her deep purple YSL gown with the back cut-out, looked really cool, I thought. Now, if only she’d make a good movie…

Michelle Williams - I always think of Michelle as quite short and curvy, but in this gown she looks ultra tall and skinny, kind of in the Nicole Kidman mould. Not sure whether that’s the Chanel couture talking, or testament to the acting skills of Heath Ledger’s ex, but she looks ravishing. That gamine cut is really working for her, too.

Cate Blanchett - This was my favourite gown of the night, hands-down. Why? The yellow beading on the cross straps at the back, teamed with her sharp, boyish crop. How cool and modern is that?

Nicole Kidman - Her gown seems to have gotten a fair bit of flak on the blogs for its supposedly unflattering cut across the hips. How wrong can they be? Ok, so John Galliano may be in the dog house right now, but there’s no denying the man can design a dress. It’s the way it points downwards from the hips, like a shard of ice, that is so beautiful, and the silver embroidery sprouting up from the waistline looks like an explosion of fireworks. I think she looks fierce, actually.


George Hadji, Anoushka G

Colin Firth - He’s an Actor, so it not about the fashion, but since befriending Tom Ford, both elements are award worthy.

Natalie Portman - She got it right for the Oscars, best of her choices this awards season. She blooming beautifully.

Jude Law/Robert Downey Junior - I must admit I  fasted forwarded pass these guys, needed to get to bed

Gwyneth Paltrow - She showed us the 21st Century Oscar dress, sometimes less is more, especially in this amazing fabric very nuevo. I like the dress she wore during her performance too, very Anoushka G.

Scarlett Johansson - She looked like she was in an evening swimsuit, very sexy, but not for the Oscars.           

Michelle Williams - Chanel at it’s best, but the beautiful detailing was lost on the read carpet without HD.

Cate Blanchett - How beautiful and feminine, for a change, new type of Oscar dress very 21st Century again, but Givenchy done beautifully. She looked different in a good way for once.

Nicole Kidman - The back to front bridal dress, which only looked good for a second when she made her entrance onto stage to present. Someone is trying too hard and not getting it right.


Brix Smith-Start, Start

Michelle Williams - Michelle Williams in Chanel has got to be a candidate for best dressed at the Oscars. Discreet, flattering, serious yet playful, Michelle Williams looked angelic and her hair and make-up was perfection. I loved it.

Cate Blanchett - For me, Cate Blanchett knocked the ball out of the park. Another definite candidate for this year’s best dressed. Her Givenchy dress was both elegant and edgy and the circular detail around her heart symbolic not only of her openness as a woman, actress and human being, but also her willingness to push fashion boundaries. The neon detail gave a nod to one of this year’s most prevalent trends.

Scarlett Johansson - Scarlett Johansson looked beautiful in her Dolce & Gabbana floor-length lace dress, but I couldn’t help but feeling that she was trying to leverage her brand as a serious actress and step away from the sex bomb image that she is known and loved for. The Oscars are a serious fashion affair, and boundaries are rarely pushed. Although this dress IS lovely, I consider it to be a very safe option. I did love her minimal hair and natural make-up though.

Nicole Kidman - I’m not going to get into the political debate about wearing or not wearing Dior to this year’s Oscars. It’s not for me to say, although it is interesting to see who did and who didn’t. Natalie Portman (the face of Dior perfume) didn’t. Nicole Kidman did. In all honesty, it wasn’t my favorite dress of the evening. I thought the colour too pale for her alabaster skin and the silhouette too vicious for her straight proportions. I felt it sharp and cool to look at, the same way I feel when I look at an Origami paper statue.

Gwyneth Paltrow - Gwyneth Paltrow is a tale of two halves, sleek and cool like a melting iceberg in silver lame. Part of me loved it, especially the top half of the dress (as well as her relaxed hair and make-up) but I wish the dress had been an all-in-one column of material and not bisected by an unflattering seam across her middle and the added hem on the bottom. But, Calvin Klein is absolutely Gwyneth’s default setting and, as always, she looks fantastic in it. They are both American classics.

Robert Downey Jr/Jude Law - White on white is always a tricky combination. Robert Downey Jr looks like he feels uncomfortable and so has undone his tie to try to create a look. Personally, I think it would have been better to wear no tie at all. Jude Law, on the other hand, looks great in his white bow tie. Here is the perfect example of when white on white DOES work. Best dressed man at the Oscars.

Colin Firth - Great Tom Ford suit, but Colin Firth looks a tad predictable. I can’t help but think he just looks like someone’s dad.

Readers' comments (6)

  • Scarlett Johansson looked fantastic. Also loved Mila Kunis.

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  • Marie Davies

    I love the colour and fabric of Scarlet Johansson's dress, lace was seen everywhere for eveningwear at Pure and is a sure fire hit for autumn 11.

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  • Nicole Kidman's dress is horrendous as are her shoes. Also really surprising to see her wear Dior given the controversy around that brand at the moment.
    I found Natalie Portman's dress dull. I know she is heavily pregnant but I feel an Oscar winner should be doing better than that with the gown she chooses on what will probably be the biggest night of her life.
    I agree with the above that Scarlett's was a good choice and I expect we will see influences of this, namely the colour and the use of lace, filter down into contemporary eveningwear in time for Xmas.
    The pale palette was a strong theme too, though I do think it will be hard to translate long white dresses. Wearing a white maxi to an event like this is much easier than in everyday life when it can look a bit wannabe bride.

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  • It's all about pale or purple... I'm not a fan of the latter but reckon it will be a big seller, and taps in perfectly to the autumn 11 collections on offer at Pure. Opinions about Cate Blanchett's unusual Givenchy gown are divided in the Drapers office, but I like it and reckon the cut-out back could translate to the high street effectively. Flashes of highlighter colours could also be a good way to lift the pale palette and make it suitable for real life wear.

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  • What was Nicole thinking??? Somebody should sack her stylist. Mila Kunis (not shown above) was the best dressed for me, she looked stunning and as for the men it has to be His Royal Purpleness - Prince

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  • Cate Blanchet is wearing Givenchy couture from the latest round of Paris shows and looks amazing. She has such poise and class, and this dress really backs that up. Mila Kunis lokoed amazing in Ellie Saab.

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