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2021 Oscars fashion: Who wore what and why

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So long to the sweatpants and hoodies and adios to the athleisure looks! Attendees turning out to the 93rd Academy Awards at L.A.’s Union Station on Sunday — and their teams of stylists — made an all-out effort to bring old-school glamour back for the final red carpet of the awards-show season. The result was an all-you-can-eat smorgasbord of eye candy that included gowns dripping in gold, sparkling in silver and bursting with eye-popping jelly-bean colors.

Perhaps in a nod to the hardware being distributed to the evening’s winners, the most-eye-catching metallic looks were head-to-toe gold, notably worn by Carey Mulligan (“Promising Young Woman”) in a midriff-bearing organdy copper Valentino Couture gown embroidered with iridescent sequins that was as voluminous on the bottom as it was spare on the top; Andra Day (“The United States vs. Billie Holiday”) in a clingy custom Vera Wang Haute gown that flowed around her form like fluid (despite requiring the help of welders to create); and Leslie Odom Jr. (“One Night in Miami …”), who opted for a gold metallic double-breasted Brioni tuxedo and button-front shirt layered over a black turtleneck.

Odom was one of the many men who brought their fashion A-game to this year’s red carpet. Others included “Minari” actor Alan Kim in a custom Thom Browne look in downtown Los Angeles and, from London, “Judas and the Black Messiah’s” Lakeith Stanfield, whose black Saint Laurent jumpsuit and white, wide-collared shirt nearly broke the internet when the look was posted to Twitter.

Regina King on the Oscars red carpet

Regina King in custom Louis Vuitton on the Academy Awards arrivals red carpet at Union Station.

(Chris Pizzello / Pool photo)

Metallic embellishments and sparkly crystal touches went beyond gold, though, turning up in some of the day’s other standout looks, including Maria Bakalova (“Borat Subsequent Moviefilm”) in a fairy tale tulle and satin custom confection by Louis Vuitton that featured a deep-V neckline embellished with crystals and silver bead embroidery, songwriter Diane Warren (“The Life Ahead”) in a custom ivory Valentino tuxedo worn with a silver-sequined turtleneck top and Regina King (“One Night in Miami …”) in a sky-blue custom-made Louis Vuitton duchesse satin gown embroidered with two tones of silver sequins. The unusual color made the already distinctive wide-shouldered gown stand out even further and put King squarely in the evening’s other big trend — head-turning shades of color.

Colman Domingo on the Oscars red carpet

Colman Domingo’s bright pink Atelier Versace ensemble put him on trend with the jelly-bean bowl of bright colors that dominated the arrivals red carpet at the 93rd Academy Awards.

(Chris Pizzello / Pool photo)

The boldest and brightest of the bunch were clad in red: Amanda Seyfried (“Mank”) in a stunner of a hibiscus strapless ball gown of plissé tulle from the spring and summer 2021 Giorgio Armani Privé collection, Angela Bassett in a crepe off-the-shoulder Alberta Ferretti gown with draped organza shoulder, Olivia Colman (“The Father”) in a Dior Haute Couture silk dress, Reese Witherspoon in an asymmetrical silk dress (also Dior) and Yeri Han (“Minari”) in a draped Louis Vuitton gown embellished with four metallic buttons festooning the right side of the bodice, each the size of a tea saucer.
Others dressed brightly enough to be seen from outer space included Colman Domingo (“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”) in an Atelier Versace three-piece suit in a cornea-searing shade of pink; Laverne Cox (“Promising Young Woman”) in a fuchsia and black textured tulle ombré layered gown by Christian Siriano; Zendaya, who turned up in a midriff-baring fluorescent yellow silk chiffon gown by Valentino; and Glenn Close (“Hillbilly Elegy”), whose custom Giorgio Armani Privé ensemble pairing a vibrant blue long-sleeved tunic encrusted with crystals with midnight-blue silk cigarette trousers and evening gloves looked as comfortable and effortless as it was colorful.

While Travon Free (“Two Distant Strangers”) definitely turned heads with his colorful three-piece Dolce & Gabbana tuxedo that paired black trousers and a shirt with a black jacket with contrasting yellow lapels and yellow bow tie, it was the jacket’s lining that made the most indelible visual of the night. That’s because when he opened it wide on the red carpet, visible were the names of victims of police violence, including Philando Castile, Daunte Wright, Tamir Rice and Stephon Clark.

Travon Free on the Oscars red carpet

The lining of Travon Free’s Dolce & Gabbana tuxedo jacket bears the names of people killed by police including Daunte Wright, Philando Castile and Tamir Rice.

(Chris Pizzello / Pool photo)




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