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Oscar’s Fashion Statements

Times Staff Writer

It’s official. Black is out. Aqua is in.

That was the winning fashion statement made Wednesday by arrivals at Shrine Auditorium for the 61st annual Academy Awards. From Geena Davis to Jodie Foster, from Jackie Bisset to Rob Lowe (his tuxedo shirt), the color of choice was a Pacific Ocean green-blue.

Crew cuts also were in vogue. Tom Cruise, who sheared his locks for his new movie, “Born on the Fourth of July,” raced past reporters, perhaps out of sheer embarrassment. And Edward James Olmos, who flew in from the World War II concentration camps of Poland, where he has been shooting “Triumph of the Spirit,” sheepishly showed off his black hair cut like a skull cap.

But all the stars--and it did seem that everyone who was anyone in Hollywood was there--had plenty of time to admire each other’s attire because of the blissful absence of a single traffic jam. Tom Hanks was one of the stars who congratulated Los Angeles mayor Tom Bradley for making good on his no-wait-next-time promise following last year’s debacle of limo gridlock.

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“We were all set for traffic jams,” said an astonished Hanks on why all the stars arrived early. “And there wasn’t a single one in sight.”

Instead, the crowd delighted in what became a “hunk gridlock” on the red carpets outside the Shrine as Patrick Swayze, Tom Selleck and Bruce Willis--taking a fashion risk in a big-lapeled navy zoot suit tux--had to wait their turn at the microphones.

Most of the nominated stars went all-out for glamour. Geena Davis wore a stunning turquoise ‘40s-like gown made for her by Bill Harding Costume Design. Sigourney Weaver, as usual a fashion maverick, opted for a white Grecian-style gown with a gold braided belt.

But Melanie Griffith, on the arm of her fiance Don Johnson, went all the way to London for her snow-white, low-bodice-full-skirt gown. “It was done by the Emmanuelles, the same people who did Princess Di’s wedding dress,” she said, smiling.

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Goldie Hawn, arm and arm with her live-in boyfriend, Kurt Russell, went totally Hollywood with strapless gold lame. And Jodie Foster, her blond hair loose and flowing, wrapped herself in a figure-hugging aqua sheath that was as grown up as her role in “The Accused.”

John Cleese, nominated for screen writing for “A Fish Called Wanda,” declared it was “misery” having a stutterer’s group protesting his movie.

“I’ve heard that the League of Stupid People are protesting it as well,” he deadpanned. “And I can’t go back to Britain because the Archbishop of Canterbury has put a death threat on my life.”

Some celebrities dressed down, down, down. Oscar nominee Michelle Pfeiffer, in a mannish cut navy suit and white shirt, looked as if she was going to a business meeting instead of the Oscars. And Diane Sawyer, arriving with husband and “Working Girl” director Mike Nichols, wore one of her “60 Minutes” white pantsuits. The only glamorous touch in Sawyer’s outfit was a gold shawl thrown carelessly over one shoulder.

While the men’s outfits were unusually subdued, though “L.A. Law’s” Blair Underwood set a new tuxedo trend with bugle-beaded sleeves, the men came through in the quips department.

Michael Douglas, arriving with wife Diandra, declared that this year’s Oscars was almost as good as last for him because “it’s nice to come back and be able to enjoy it.”


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