The Oscars and a Nod to Old Hollywood Glamour

Frances Johnson

Posted on March 03 2014

While some people are still under the illusion that the Oscars are all about the awards, I think we can agree that they’re really all about the fashion.

OK, fine: 90-10. I am sure winning an Oscar is nice. But dressing up for the Oscars has to be pretty fun, too, and those red carpet gowns did not disappoint this year, or any other year. I mean, just look at all these years of Best Actress glamour! Even Diane Keaton wore a skirt for her big win.

Of course, we all know there’s plenty more where that came from, so here are our favorite vintage-inspired gowns from this year’s ceremony.

My favorite dress of the night, hands down, belonged to Best Supporting Actress winner Lupita Nyong’o. It was like she was wearing an elegant cloud. The color, the pleats, to me it was all floaty perfection that looked like it came straight out of a 1950s debutante ball or dance number. If I owned that dress I would wear it every day. But maybe that’s just me. And the beautiful blue color is the perfect throw-back to Grace Kelly’s Edith Head gown from 1955. True glamour, indeed.

There was a lot of illusion beading on the red carpet this year (maybe people were inspired by the recent Winter Olympics ice skating costumes?), but I think Angelina Jolie pulled it off the best. I thought it was just the right balance of feminine, subtle and sparkly, and a nice change of pace from some of her more overtly bombshell looks. She was on par with another bombshell who went the shiny but subtle route, namely knock-out Julie Christie in 1966. 

My other favorite illusion-style dress was Cate Blanchett’s. Though really, if Cate puts in on I love it automatically no matter what. The delicate details, the full flowing skirt and those perfect finger waves would have been just as much a hit in 1944 or 1954 as they were in 2014. Talk about timeless.

Though I like a little more color in my Oscar dresses, I did love Julia Roberts more creative take on the standard peplum. That lace was so delicate and flattering on the bodice and the waist, and I loved the final touch of the lapel-style collar. I think she might have taken a cue from Greer Garson’s 1943 dress. How about you?

And last but not least, I think Camila McConaughey’s dress deserves a nod. I am always in favor of a change from the standard strapless-ness that seems to dominate the red carpet, and the soft pink was a nice contrast to the starkness of winter colors and weather. The elegant half-cape sleeve was right on trend for this awards season, and really put an otherwise simple design over the top. Consider it an updated, improved version of Louise Fletcher’s 1976 Oscars dress. Though I think the studliness battle between Matthew and the young Jack Nicholson is pretty much a toss-up. 

And, there you have it: another year of Oscar fashion (and awards) in the books. Do you have a favorite look from this year’s ceremony? Or from years gone by?


Infographic via

Lupita Nyong’o photo via,,20783495,00.html#53&id=1582669

Grace Kelly photo via

Angelina Jolie photo via,,20768377_20792536,00.html?stitched#30112055

Julie Christie photo via

Cate Blanchett photo via,,20768377_20792536,00.html?stitched#30112020

Julia Roberts photo via,,20783495,00.html#29&id=1582703

Greer Garson photo via

Camila McConaughey photo via,,20783495,00.html#35&id=1582692

Louise Fletcher photo via

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