But it wasn't always this way. The first Academy Awards, held in 1929 at the Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood, was a low-key affair — a small dinner and 15-minute ceremony. There was no red carpet, and no one's dresses were on display since the event was not televised. When
Fast forward to the 21st century, where the Internet has provided a forum in which everyone can voice an opinion on what Hollywood wears, from
Here's a look back at how Oscars red carpet fashion has evolved.
Before the world could see the show
A mix of glamour and patriotism
1940: Rainer could get away with a nightgown in 1937, but things changed in 1940, the first year the awards were filmed, and stars and their studio bosses realized the PR potential of glamour dressing. That's the year
Stars align with dawn of TV age
1951: The black
In 1953, the Oscars were broadcast on television for the first time, and lest you think actresses of that day were more demure than today's crop, a worried academy appointed costume designer
1955: Edith Head, an eight-time Academy Award winner herself for costume design, outfitted dozens of actresses for awards ceremonies, and collaborated with
1960s and 1970s
Fashion picks for the show loosen up
1966-1978: Not convinced? There was the gold jumpsuit
A decade of glorious excess
1986, 1989: If the '60s and '70s were madcap, the '80s were all about excess. In 1986, Nolan Miller, costume designer on the television shows
Looks on loan — and for sale
1990: In 1990, Rodeo Drive retailer Fred Hayman took over as fashion consultant. Determined to avoid worst-dressed disasters, he established a dressing service at his store where stars could buy or borrow clothes for the ceremony. At the same time, cable TV networks began extensive red carpet coverage.
1990: The same year,
1996: The next year, Dolce & Gabbana designed its first Oscar gown, a copper-colored creation, for lead actress winner
1996: Also in 1996,
Designers get closer with stars
2001: Vintage began to make a splash on the red carpet, as stars sought out individual looks. Renée Zellweger and Julia Roberts went elegantly vintage in 2001, Zellweger in a Jean Dessès gown from the 1950s and Roberts in Valentino circa 1982.
2001: In a flash of true individuality, Björk chose a Marjan Pejoski swan dress with matching egg purse in 2001.
For the most part, the 2000s have been about the symbiotic relationships between high-end designers and the stars who wear their clothes, often for a handsome sum.