Turns out the Oscar outfits were also white, #SoWhite…#SewWhite. Not merely the fabrics — though the nominee Rooney Mara looked like a medieval-castle bride in a Givenchy gown of cream translucent tapestry with a window over her midriff — but the fashion houses.
At an event being excoriated if not boycotted outright for its neglect of minorities, the red-carpet parade, in recent years derided for objectifying women, might have been claimed this year by nimble stylists as an opportunity to champion designers of color and independence.
But instead, viewers were treated mostly to a numbing procession of corporate labels including Chanel (Julianne Moore, in a deeply V-necked black gown with glitter banding and triangular straps), Dior (Charlize Theron, in a deeply V-necked red gown with low back and spaghetti straps) and Louis Vuitton (Alicia Vikander, the winner for best supporting actress, who in her strapless lemon-yellow frock covered hither and thither with silver sprinkles resembled a very slender cupcake).
Thus was represented France. Then there was Italy. Brie Larson wore Gucci, the label revivified by Alessandro Michele: a billowy, bold, blue ruffled frock whose lightness was bisected and somewhat weighed down by a large jeweled belt. Cate Blanchett returned to one of her regular sponsors, Armani, who made over red-carpet dressing in the 1990s with beige and subtle sequins but here came up with something suitable for a fairy princess leaping frantically between lily pads to get to her frog: sea foam and flecked with fluttery flowers.
And then came the New World. Kate Winslet was in basic black Ralph Lauren, also strapless, and so shiny that it seemed she might have just returned from a dip off the deck of the Titanic, cleverly accessorized with her former co-star in the movie about that doomed ship, Leonardo DiCaprio. Saoirse Ronan specified to her interrogator that she had her simple Calvin Klein slipdress rendered in lucky shamrock green, to reflect her Irish heritage. “Everyone comes from somewhere else,” she said pointedly. “We all came off the boat.”