Oscar Style: Simon Doonan on the Best  and Worst Trends of the Night.

Notes from the fashion apocalypse.
March 2 2014 11:40 PM

The Old Broads Killed It!

The best and worst of Oscar fashion.

Lunatic asylums are full of people who see patterns where there are none, and so is the Oscar red carpet. People! It’s called trend-spotting! The Oscar pre-shows are littered with dot-connecting fanatics scanning the horizon for any two actresses who have anything remotely in common. “Look! She’s wearing satin … and so is she? How significant!”

I am from a long line of psychotics. I am also a fashion person. As a result of this double whammy, I see “meaningful” patterns wherever I look. You may call them statistically insignificant coincidences. I call them glamour trends. Here are nine I spotted at the Oscars tonight:

Trend No. 1: Being d’un certain age.

Philomena Lee, June Squibb
Philomena Lee, June Squibb.

Photos by Jason Merritt/Getty Images


The red carpet was awash in golden girls. Some were superannuated thespians, but many were the moms of nominees: see Ma McConaughey and Ma Leto.  My pick: It’s a toss-up between June Squibb in a beaded emerald ensemble and the real Philomena—the woman on whom the nominated Judi Dench movie was based—in an orange something or other. Go seniors!

Trend No. 2: Wearing dresses of various colors.

Julia Roberts, Anna Kendrick, Jennifer Lawrence and Cate Blanchett at the 86th Academy Awards on March 2nd, 2014 in Hollywood, California.
Julia Roberts, Anna Kendrick, Jennifer Lawrence, and Cate Blanchett.

Roberts, Kendrick and Lawrence photos by Jason Merritt/Getty Images. Blanchett photo by Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

Not wearing black was a massive trend: Cate Blanchett and Jennifer Lawrence, bonjour! And wearing black was also a big trend, as we saw with Anna Kendrick and Julia Roberts. Confused? Just shut up and keep reading.

Trend No. 3: Being thin.

Barkhad Abdi
Barkhad Abdi.

Photo by Mike Blake/Reuters

While the older broads cited in Trend No. 1 elected to ignore the thin trend, the younger actresses did not. Most had clearly spent weeks at that place near Palms Springs where horrid nurses remove your ribs and subject you ruthlessly to 24-hour colonic irrigation. Despite the rigorous regimens, the thinnest person of the evening was not a chick. The magnetic Barkhad Abdi—he brilliantly played the terrifying Somali pirate in Captain Phillips—provided an unflattering adjacency for any actress or actor who stood next to him. Dude is attenuated.

Trend No. 4: Blue is the new black.

Liza Minelli and Amy Adams at the 86th Academy Awards on March 2nd, 2014 in Hollywood, California.
Liza Minnelli and Amy Adams.

Photos by Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

Or it would be, if black were not already both a trend and an un-trend. God, it’s hard to keep track. Liza Minnelli—another fab old broad as per Trend No. 1—wore a blue Halston-ish tent thingy and a punk-rock cobalt flash in her hair. Amy Adams wore a blue Gucci frock with chic little pockets. The lovely and talented Miss Adams would appear to have jettisoned Valentino as her designer of choice. The fact that an overzealous Val publicist recently promoted a pic of her carrying a Val handbag to Philip Seymour Hoffman’s funeral may well have something to do with her decision. Oh, the perils of accepting designer swag!

Trend No. 5: Being gorgeous.

Lupita Nyong'o and Charlize Theron at the 86th Academy Awards on March 2nd, 2014 in Hollywood, California.
Lupita Nyong'o and Charlize Theron.

Photo by Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images; Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images

Charlize Theron is a stupefyingly beautiful goddess, especially in that on- and off-trend black number with the illusion straps. But Lupita Nyong'o might have out-gorgeous’d her. In her Prada frock—the pleated number recalled the designs of the late great Madame Grès, the designer whose daughter kept her on ice for months after she died, but let’s not get distracted, even though it is a great story and would actually make a great movie—Lupita looked stunningly, poetically, divinely fabulous.

Trend No. 6: Being a glamorous lesbian.

Portia De Rossi, Ellen Degeneres
Portia De Rossi, Ellen De Generes.

Photos by Adrees Latif/Reuters, Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Ok, so there were only two, but, in a red carpet world, two is a mega-trend. Ellen and Portia De Rossi, take a bow.

Trend No. 7: Not putting your hair in a man-bun.

Jared Leto at the 86th Academy Awards on March 2nd, 2014 in Hollywood, California.
Jared Leto.

Photo by Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

Jared Leto’s flowing ombre’d tresses caused a global frisson. Should he have scraped them into a ponytail or top-knot? This was one of the hard-hitting questions of the night.

Trend No. 8: Statement necklaces.

Naomi Watts, Jennifer Lawrence
Naomi Watts, Jennifer Lawrence.

Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images, Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

This is one of the “exciting trends” which, despite popping up every year, gets the red-carpet commentators into a gasket-blowing frenzy. Who wasn’t wearing a statement necklace, and who won’t be wearing one next year? Nobody won’t be, because everyone wears them every year.

Trend No. 9: Looking clean.

Laura Dern, Bruce Dern and Andrea Beckett attend the Oscars on March 2, 2014 in Hollywood, California.
Laura Dern, Bruce Dern and Andrea Beckett attend the Oscars on March 2, 2014 in Hollywood, California.

Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images

All the attendees appeared to have undergone extensive ablutions. Nobody was doing grunge. Even Bruce Dern had whitened his teeth.

Simon Doonan is an author, fashion commentator, and creative ambassador for Barneys New York.



Meet the New Bosses

How the Republicans would run the Senate.

The Government Is Giving Millions of Dollars in Electric-Car Subsidies to the Wrong Drivers

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Cheez-Its. Ritz. Triscuits.

Why all cracker names sound alike.

Friends Was the Last Purely Pleasurable Sitcom

The Eye

This Whimsical Driverless Car Imagines Transportation in 2059

Medical Examiner

Did America Get Fat by Drinking Diet Soda?  

A high-profile study points the finger at artificial sweeteners.

The Afghan Town With a Legitimately Good Tourism Pitch

A Futurama Writer on How the Vietnam War Shaped the Series

  News & Politics
Sept. 21 2014 11:34 PM People’s Climate March in Photos Hundreds of thousands of marchers took to the streets of NYC in the largest climate rally in history.
Business Insider
Sept. 20 2014 6:30 AM The Man Making Bill Gates Richer
Sept. 20 2014 7:27 AM How Do Plants Grow Aboard the International Space Station?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Sept. 21 2014 1:15 PM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 5  A spoiler-filled discussion of "Time Heist."
Sept. 21 2014 9:00 PM Attractive People Being Funny While Doing Amusing and Sometimes Romantic Things Don’t dismiss it. Friends was a truly great show.
Future Tense
Sept. 21 2014 11:38 PM “Welcome to the War of Tomorrow” How Futurama’s writers depicted asymmetrical warfare.
  Health & Science
The Good Word
Sept. 21 2014 11:44 PM Does This Name Make Me Sound High-Fat? Why it just seems so right to call a cracker “Cheez-It.”
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.