Oscars 2019: Five fashion takeaways from the red carpet

Julia Roberts, who presented best picture at the Oscars Sunday night, was one of the many actresses who came to the event dressed in various shades of pink.
(Kevin Winter / Getty Images)

Some of the more unexpected trends from this year’s Oscars ceremony involved a color that suddenly seems everywhere; a nifty sartorial touch that had an added (and practical) benefit for its wearer; an increasingly gender-fluid fashion look among both actors and actresses; and the growing realization that “four eyes” is no longer a pejorative term.

Think pink

The color pink — in shades ranging from pale rose (Kacey Musgraves in Giambattista Valli) to hot pink (Julia Roberts presenting best picture in an off-the-shoulder Elie Saab) to deep fuchsia (Angela Bassett in Reem Acra) — ruled the Oscars red carpet on Sunday night, continuing a trend seen at New York Fashion Week earlier this month, with designers like Carolina Herrera, Sies Marjan and Brandon Maxwell sprinkling it through their collections. Among those embracing pink for the final show of the long awards season were Gemma Chan (Valentino), Helen Mirren (Schiaparelli), Maya Rudolph (Giambattista Valli), Kiki Layne (Versace) and Sarah Paulson (Brandon Maxwell, in a dress right off the runway of his show on Feb. 9).

The pockets on Gemma Chan's Valentino couture gown would come in handy as Oscar night progressed.
(Frazer Harrison / Getty Images)

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Pockets rule

In the last few years, dramatic gowns that come with pockets have dotted the runways of designers like Elie Saab, Monique Lhuillier, Oscar de la Renta, Prabal Gurung and the couture collections of Christian Dior. Surprisingly, it’s also a growing trend among bridal gowns. But it wasn’t until Gemma Chan showed up on the Oscars red carpet on Sunday in Valentino couture in dramatic deep pink (yes, that color again) that this sartorial advancement might have finally become a thing. The term “pockets” immediately began trending on Twitter, and most of the fashion reviews that night named Chan among the red carpet’s best dressed. (Meanwhile, Gabriele Union-Wade showed up at the Vanity Fair party later that night in a burnt orange Valentino gown with pockets, and Denise Warren, a best song nominee for “I’ll Fight” for “RBG,” revealed on the red carpet that she had a tiny doll of Ruth Bader Ginsberg stuffed into the pocket of her outfit.) But it turns out that pockets were not just a fashion choice for Chan; they also had a practical aspect. After the ceremony, the actress admitted to an interviewer that she had stored a large cookie there, just in case she got hungry during the Oscars. “You don’t get dinner,” she explained.

All that glitters

Charlize Theron wore more than 360 carats of Bulgari diamonds, sapphires and emeralds to the Oscars.
(Frazer Harrison / Getty Images)

There is nothing like a statement piece of jewelry, especially when that statement is being made by a 128-carat, $30-million Tiffany & Co. diamond necklace last worn by Audrey Hepburn in a 1961 photo shoot for “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” and rarely seen outside of a heavily protected display case at the company’s Fifth Avenue store in New York. But that’s what Lady Gaga sported at the Oscars, paring it with a dramatic, flesh-baring black gown by Alexander McQueen. “Lady Gaga is the ultimate creator, innovator and rule breaker, and I am thrilled she will be wearing the legendary Tiffany Diamond on the awards-show red carpet for the first time since it was discovered 141 years ago,” Reed Krakoff, Tiffany’s chief artistic officer, said in a statement issued Sunday night. Gaga wasn’t the only actress wearing jaw-dropping pieces of jewelry. “BlacKkKlansman” star Laura Herrier paired her eco-responsible custom silk-crepe gown by Louis Vuitton with a Bulgari necklace made up of 10 antique-cut emeralds, while Amy Adams wore a vintage 1935 Bulgari brooch in diamonds and platinum on loan from the house’s archives. And almost rivaling Gaga in the wow factor was Charlize Theron, who accessorized her muted (though backless) ice-blue Dior Couture gown with more than 360 carats of Bulgari diamonds, sapphires and emeralds, including a Serpenti necklace crafted with 79.83 carats of diamonds set in 18-karat white gold. A statement, indeed.

Spike Lee finally got his Oscar, but it was his purple Ozwald Boateng suit and matching glasses that helped make him an early trending topic on Twitter Sunday night.
(Robyn Beck / AFP/Getty Images)

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Hot specs

The vision-challenged among us had their Oscar moment in 2019. First, two of the night’s early winners — Hannah Beachler and Ruth E. Carter — donned glasses to read their acceptance speeches, Beachler doing it off an iPhone that shook in her hand. Both quickly got shout-outs on Twitter. “This dress. These glasses. Yes. Yes. Yes. Hannah Beachler #Oscars,” tweeted one fan. And later in the show, when Laura Dern came out in custom Rodarte and a matching pair of reading glasses, Twitter again went nuts. “Laura Dern walked on stage wearing glasses, and my heart stopped, I was legally dead for a second there,” tweeted one overly enthusiastic fan. But perhaps the pair of glasses that got the most attention last night were the one wore by Spike Lee, a pair of purple specs that matched the Ozwald Boateng suit that Lee told interviewers was a tribute to his old friend, Prince. “You think Spike Lee’s glasses are available on Lenscrafters? Asking for a friend,” tweeted one admirer.

Elsie Fisher in Thom Browne.
(Richard Shotwell / Invision/AP)

Breaking barriers

Elsie Fisher, the 15-year-old breakout star of “Eighth Grade,” didn’t get an Oscar nomination this year, but she coolly took over the red carpet in a three-piece, grosgrain-tipped mohair tuxedo by Thom Browne, continuing her habit of mostly wearing suits this awards season. (The actress wore custom maroon velvet Kenzo at the Golden Globes, black Thom Browne at the Critics’ Choice Awards and a hot pink suit by A.L.C at the Gotham Independent Awards.) Of course, Fisher wasn’t the only actress who showed up in pants Sunday. Amy Poehler opened the show with her former “Saturday Night Live” cast mates Maya Rudolph and Tina Fey in an black Alberta Ferretti suit while Awkwafina (“Crazy Rich Asians”) wore a glittery pale purple pantsuit by DSquared2. But the person who probably caused the most stir on the red carpet by switching things up was “Pose” star Billy Porter who wore a tuxedo merged into a ballgown (by Christian Siriano) that continued his awards-season mission to challenge the traditional notions of masculinity and femininity. “People really have a problem with gender fluidity — it makes them uncomfortable, and the only way to normalize it, is by visibility,” Porter’s stylist Sam Ratelle told an interviewer this week. “Over the past year, Billy and I have made it our mission to remind people that clothes are just clothes, and we should all be able to wear whatever we want and express ourselves however we want.”