Oscars fashion: Joaquin Phoenix, Margot Robbie, Timothée Chalamet make eco-style statements

Natalie Portman, left, Regina King and Joaquin Phoenix at the Oscars.
Natalie Portman, left, Regina King and Joaquin Phoenix show off some of the standout fashion trends at the 2020 Academy Awards.
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times; David Swaons / EPA-EFE / REX)

As Hollywood’s biggest stars hit the red carpet at the 92nd Academy Awards on Sunday, sustainable style statements played out as the most notable (and commendable) macro trend on the red carpet, echoing what was going on thousands of miles away on the runways at New York Fashion Week.

Although there were pops of color at the Oscars (Regina King in a blush pink Versace gown; Idina Menzel in magenta J. Mendel; and Saoirse Ronan in a custom Gucci gown with a lavender skirt and a statement ruffled peplum waist), the majority of the nominees and more seasoned stars kept it elegant in black, white or neutral looks. Standouts in that camp included Cynthia Erivo in a custom white Versace gown with an asymmetric cutout bustier top, Scarlett Johansson in pewter-colored Oscar de la Renta and Oscar winner Brad Pitt in a black velvet Brioni tuxedo.

Scarlett Johansson in pewter-colored Oscar de la Renta.
Scarlett Johansson, in pewter-colored Oscar de la Renta, was part of the Oscar crowd on Sunday that stuck to a neutral palette on the red carpet.
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

There was noticeable peacocking, however, thanks to “Pose” star Billy Porter and others. “The category is royalty,” Porter posted on Instagram, in reference to his custom silk couture gown, designed by Giles Deacon, with a pattern inspired by the design of the Cupola Room at Kensington Palace and a bodice covered with a flurry of 24-karat-gold feathers.

Channeling Grace Jones, Janelle Monáe dazzled on the red carpet in a custom crystal-lacquered silk lamé tulle mesh evening gown with a draped hood, custom-made by Ralph Lauren, embellished with more than 168,000 Swarovski crystals.


‘Parasite,’ Bong Joon Ho’s genre-bending Korean thriller, made Oscar history in becoming the first foreign-language film to win the academy’s top honor.

Feb. 9, 2020

Then there was director Spike Lee, who didn’t have words on the carpet to describe his Oscars fashion tribute to his friend, the late Lakers star Kobe Bryant. Lee actually said it all in his suiting. His gold-trimmed, purple custom Gucci suit was emblazoned with patches on the lapel and back that had the number “24,” Bryant’s jersey number.

Tonya Lewis Lee, left, and husband Spike Lee.
Tonya Lewis Lee, left, and husband Spike Lee arrive at the 92nd Academy Awards. The “BlacKkKlansman” director wore a custom Gucci suit that paid tribute to Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, who died last month in a helicopter crash.
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

Another red-carpet standout was Natalie Portman, who made a statement on gender parity in Hollywood with her Dior Haute Couture look. Her cape (a piece from the spring-summer 2018 collection) was embroidered with the names of awards-snubbed female directors, including “Hustlers’” Lorene Scafaria, “The Farewell’s” Lulu Wang and “Little Women’s” Greta Gerwig.

Here’s a look at the best and worst dressed on the Oscars 2020 red carpet.

Feb. 9, 2020

And speaking of the latter, “Little Women” star Timothée Chalamet, one of the evening’s presenters, stepped out in a custom Prada look that called to mind an upscale gas-station attendant. However, there was a deeper message to his zip-front gabardine jacket with satin racing stripes and matching trousers: It was crafted from Prada’s regenerated nylon, Econyl.

Cynthia Erivo, left, Brad Pitt and Janelle Monáe
Cynthia Erivo, left, Brad Pitt and Janelle Monáe stuck to one of the Oscars red carpet’s big trends: elegance in neutral tones.
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times; David Swanson / EPA-EFE / REX)

As a grand finale to his eco-fashion run, “Joker” actor and environmentalist Joaquin Phoenix stuck to the same black Stella McCartney tuxedo with grosgrain shawl lapel that the Oscar winner had worn for nearly every appearance during this awards season.

McCartney, a longtime leader in eco-fashion at the luxury level, outfitted presenter Olivia Colman in a custom midnight-blue velvet and sustainable silk cady gown with statement sleeves and a long cape train.

Kaitlyn Dever, Léa Seydoux and Oscar-winning director Elena Andreicheva are this year’s ambassadors for Suzy Amis Cameron’s Red Carpet Green Dress initiative.

Feb. 9, 2020

“Booksmart” actress Kaitlyn Dever made an entrance in a stunning strapless fuchsia and scarlet column gown by Louis Vuitton created from eco-friendly silk satin and embroidered with glass beads and more than 14,400 Swarovski crystals.

“I’m here to support sustainable clothing,” Dever said on the red carpet, adding that she tries to “think before buying something new.”

Margot Robbie was part of Sunday's sustainability fashion message at the Oscars.
Margot Robbie was part of Sunday’s sustainability fashion message at the Oscars. She wore a navy-blue silk Chanel bustier dress from the spring-summer 1994 haute couture collection.
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

As part of the initiative, Louis Vuitton also custom-designed a sustainable dress for Léa Seydoux, who stars in the new James Bond film, “No Time to Die.” Los Angeles-based fashion designer Laura Basci created an eco-gown for director Elena Andreicheva, who directed the Oscar-winning short film “Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You’re a Girl).” Seydoux’s and Andreicheva’s gowns were made with a new Red Carpet Green Dress textile crafted of Tencel Luxe yarn.

Instead of new fabrics, several stars donned vintage gowns as another nod to eco-chic. Margot Robbie stood out in a navy-blue silk Chanel bustier dress, plucked from the spring-summer 1994 haute couture collection designed by Karl Lagerfeld. “We tried it and just knew,” said Kate Young, Robbie’s stylist. “I love the magic of a vintage gown.”

Experience standout Oscar dresses from the last five decades, including Farrah Fawcett’s disco dress and Billy Porter’s tuxedo gown, in augmented reality.

Feb. 7, 2020

Then there was Elizabeth Banks, who pledged to rewear a Badgley Mischka dress that she originally wore to Vanity Fair’s Oscar party in 2004 to the same star-studded affair on Sunday evening.