Expect fashion and fun to be back at the Oscars next Sunday.
Stars plan to be out in full Hollywood regalia for the 76th Academy Awards, unlike the last two years when war in Iraq and the Sept. 11 attacks dampened the mood of the country and made ”red carpet” dressing -- the world’s most-watched fashion event -- a less than dazzling affair.
This year the red carpet, the long path from the sidewalk to the Kodak Theatre, will burst with brightly colored couture gowns, brighter smiles and bigger hair, stylists and organizers said.
“Because of the red carpet being rolled up last year, we should expect all-out glamour this year,” said Patty Fox, author of “Star Style at the Academy Awards” and official Academy Awards fashion coordinator.
“I think we’re going to see a lot of colors and chiffons and very flowy goddess dresses because it’s springtime and because last year was sort of a subdued year,” said celebrity stylist Phillip Bloch, who dresses the likes of Halle Berry, Jim Carrey and Pierce Brosnan.
“I think glamour is going to be one notch higher. ... I expect the Oscars to be a feast of glamour,” said Enzo Angileri, a hairstylist who will design Oscar looks for nominees Charlize Theron and Holly Hunter and for Lucy Liu.
TV viewers should expect million-dollar outfits on this year’s nominees and presenters. Couture, six-figure gowns are routinely lent gratis for the day by the world’s top designers because they know that a single photo of a movie star in one of their creations eclipses all other runway exposure combined.
Among the prominent designers whose works will likely make their way to the red carpet are Dolce and Gabbana, Bill Blass, Vera Wang, Armani, Christian Dior and Prada.
Hollywood secretsThe Hollywood hype notwithstanding, Tinseltown is keeping some things secret. Stylists never tell ahead of time what they know about stars’ outfits. And in most cases the stars themselves, who are normally presented with several choices, don’t decide until the last minute what they will wear.
“I’m completely in the dark as to what we’re going to do,” said Angileri of his upcoming collaboration with Theron, who is nominated for best actress in “Monster.”
“It will be glamour but in a simple way. Charlize is tall and looks good with things not too ... complicated. But it’s still time for thinking now,” Angileri said.
Unlike supermodels who serve as blank canvases for designers’ whims, the stars consider themselves to be the trendsetters. So it is wrong to assume they will mimic the latest catwalk trends.
Their aim is to create signature looks that will firmly root them in the public consciousness and hopefully be copied. Think of Diane Keaton, nominated for best actress this year for ”Something’s Gotta Give.”
In 1977 Keaton arrived at the Oscars wearing men’s-style clothing, the look she popularized in the film “Annie Hall,” for which she took home an Oscar. The look also took the world by storm after she was seen wearing it.
“The stars set the trends on the red carpet,” Fox said. “So many designers actually watch the telecasts and try to pick up (their) trends and they’re sketching the next day so they can get those designs into production.”
Stars, for the most part, also try to avoid making a fashion faux pas because the images could float on the Internet for years. Think of Bjork’s “swan” dress in 2001.
This year insiders were speculating that Nicole Kidman, who received less than stellar reviews for the coin-speckled ’20s-inspired sheath she wore to the 2004 Golden Globes, would turn to a different designer for the Oscars.
No doubt all the outfits will be punctuated by the world’s most beautiful diamonds, which are often lent by the world’s top jewelers for the day.
Jewelry will be more flirty, light and feminine, but no less expensive, said Carol Brody, a spokeswoman for jeweler Harry Winston.
Especially popular will be sleek “stiletto” diamond earrings, cuff bracelets, rope necklaces, so-called “right-hand rings,” which are essentially cocktail rings with big stones, and yellow gold.