The great ship ruled fashion on Oscar night, too, leaving an entire tide of turn-of-the-century styles in its wake. Kate Winslet’s bottle green hourglass-shaped Givenchy gown looked straight out of a 1912 London modiste’s. Cher perched an elaborately beaded headpiece over a costume inspired by a 1919 original. ”It’s my tribute to the Titanic,” the always outre actress proclaimed of her retro costume. ”It just makes me feel like me.” Of course, neither outfit could compare — at least in price — to the blue sapphire Asprey pendant adorning the slender throat of Celine Dion. ”The necklace came first, and we built my outfit around it,” the Titanic songstress said of the $2.2 million bauble. (So that explains the 12 bodyguards.) Not all of the evening’s trends were so ostentatious. A wave of conservative but chic satin dresses hit the stage — and for both Kim Basinger and Helen Hunt, who harked back to the glamour days of Grace Kelly, the choices proved winning.
But which outfits from the evening were first-class, and which should have been consigned to steerage? We asked a panel of critics — our own Degen Pener; E! Entertainment’s mom-and-daughter team Joan and Melissa Rivers; Katherine Betts, fashion news director for Vogue; Laurie Pike, fashion analyst on KTLA’s syndicated Oscar preshow; and designer Allen Schwartz,whose ABS clothing company makes a killing knocking off Oscar wear — to grade and comment on the night’s fashion statements. Here are outfits they say sparkled — and sank.
Barrymore in Eduardo Lucero
We love her. We love her not. Barrymore drew pans from the Riverses for the daisies. But Pike (like EW) loves the flower power: ”On Helen Hunt it would be weird, but this is Drew.” Still, Pike finds the off-the-rack black dress ”completely boring.”
Bohnam Carter in Deborah Milner
Bonham Carter’s lilac gown, based on a vintage Dior of her mother’s, lands her ”the ethereal Uma Thurman award of 1998” from Betts. Says Joan: ”She’s like an English rose.” Sadly, without an Oscar, she got lost in the crowd.
Cher in Bob Mackie
An homage to her former, gloriously tasteless self (and the Titanic), Cher’s concoction put her in deep water. Says Schwartz, ”She should have worn a boat.” Betts refuses to give a grade, saying the star belongs ”in a league of her own.”