Monday, Feb. 26, 11 a.m. ET

Oscar Fashions and Foibles

Suzanne D'Amato
Deputy Editor, Sunday Source
Monday, February 26, 2007; 11:00 AM

Suzanne D'Amato, deputy editor of the Sunday Source, was online Monday, Feb. 26 at 11 a.m. to talk about what went right or wrong with Oscar fashion.

A transcript follows.


Suzanne D'Amato: Good morning, everyone. Interesting clothes on the red carpet last night! I thought that some were perhaps a bit too interesting... but on the whole, stars seemed to be taking more risks than they did last year, which can only be a good thing. What did you think? Let's dish.


Hermosillo, Mexico.: Who was the best dressed? For me Cate Blanchett

Suzanne D'Amato: She was definitely a contender. I thought her one-shoulder mesh and tulle frock (Armani Prive, I believe) was simple, yet unforgettable.

Naomi Watts also looked gorgeous -- I loved her hair, and that lemony yellow hue she sported is a big trend this spring: Expect to see it pop up everywhere from trench coats to scarves.

Chatters, who did you think ruled the red carpet -- sartorially speaking, at least?


Boston: Do any of the big stars actually buy their outfits or are they all borrowed?

Suzanne D'Amato: Nearly all of the clothes (and jewels, and shoes) are borrowed. Occasionally you'll see someone show up in their own clothes (Sharon Stone and that famous Gap turtleneck come to mind), but that's an exception.


Potomac, Md.: I have a slender 16 year old daughter who, I fear, sometimes worries too much about her weight. Thus I was quite relieved last night to hear her say about several actresses, "She is too thin! She looks awful!" Reese Witherspoon looks particularly skeletal. Someone should hook that woman up to a milkshake machine SOON!

The really scary thing is that I have a background in television and know the camera adds weight. So in real life these women are even thinner! Yikes!

Suzanne D'Amato: Reese Witherspoon was looking verrrrrry thin last night. As was Nicole Kidman -- there's skinny and then there's swizzle stick. The combination of her long, clingy gown and long, stick-straight hair was a bit overwhelming.

Still, it seems as though actresses are damned either way. If they're looking too thin, they make the cover of US Weekly. Alternately, should they look as though they've had too many suicide.


Bethesda, Md.: Best dressed? Gwyneth Paltrow. Hands down.

Suzanne D'Amato: Really? When it came to her dress, I felt that one could basically get the same effect by ripping up twenty pairs of tan pantyhose and stitching them back together.


Washington, DC: I thought Helen Mirren looked really good, stately and elegant in LaCroix. Also, while not a frock-wearer, I thought Ellen looked really good. Her haircut framed her face well and her eyes twinkled brightly the entire night.

Suzanne D'Amato: I agree. Helen Mirren is proof that one can look very sexy without dressing like a teenager. Bravo!

As for Ellen, while I wished she'd worn some dramatic jewelry to spiff things up a bit (perhaps some swingy earrings?), I appreciated that she dressed like herself -- she seems truly comfortable in her own skin, and I think viewers had fun watching her. Also: That woman is ageless!


Chevy Chase, D.C.: Jennifer Hudson's red dress for her song was a light year more attractive than the brown one she wore for her acceptance speech. How does someone get so wrapped around the axle that they can't see what works for them? Is it bad advice from their handlers, the lure of designer names or simply no taste of their own?

Suzanne D'Amato: I actually disagree -- I thought the brown dress, while unadventurous, fitted her beautifully. The red dress, on the other hand, looked like it could have come from the sale rack at Wet Seal: It was far too tight and low-cut. Once Beyonce joined her on stage in that dazzling, empire-waist frock, Jennifer's choice looked even worse.

Either way, it's clear Jennifer's having a major moment -- on the cover of the March Vogue and all. Chatters, what did you think of her look?


Virginia: I thought there were much better fashions this year than in the past. More colors and styles. It seemed that more stars actually looked in a mirror before they walked the red carpet. The exception in my mind was JLo. That was not flattering at all. I understand Marc Anthony picked it out. What do you think?

Suzanne D'Amato: Regarding J.Lo, I thought: Yikes!

Four strands of jewels looped across the bosom = about four strands too many. Maybe she's been watching too many "Dynasty" re-runs...

That said, I agree that the fashions were superior to last year's, when everyone seemed to be wearing the same clingy beige gown.


Pittsburgh: "Nearly all of the clothes (and jewels, and shoes) are borrowed. "

Well, only the jewels are borrowed. The clothes and shoes are "gifted." What's becoming popular now is for the actress to then auction off the dress for charity, which makes sense since they probably won't ever wear the dress again.

Suzanne D'Amato: This is also a trend, though not in the case of the couture and vintage pieces that have been so popular over the last several years. The fashion houses tend to want those pieces back for their archives, pronto.

But yes, giving the clothes to charity does happen -- and it's obviously great when it does.


Ashburn, Va.: Jessica Biel... wow. Very bright. Amazing color. Simple. She was my best dressed along with Beyonce, who I thought looked amazing as well.

Suzanne D'Amato: Jessica Biel looked oddly underdressed, in my opinion. Her gown's guava color was beautiful, but something about the fit, or perhaps the fabric, didn't work for me. It seemed a bit...baggy? Or just not "special" enough for Oscar night? Or maybe it was the combination of the dress and her loose wavy hair -- which I typically love, but maybe a more structured updo would have made sense? I don't know. I couldn't put my finger on why I didn't like it. But I didn't.

Beyonce, on the other hand -- gorgeous!


New Orleans, Louisiana: I thought the third Dreamgirl - Anika Noni Rose - looked the best of anyone all night. Her dress didn't get much air time, but looked great. It was definitely an improvement on the unimaginative strapless gown. Will that EVER go out of style?

Suzanne D'Amato: Strapless dresses will probably always be around, but I'm not a big fan of them either. Depending on the dress's construction, they can be uncomfortable, and as last night showed, they can also be surprisingly unflattering on some women (looking at you, Anne Hathaway).

Yes -- Anika Noni Rose looked great. I loved the beaded detail of her dress at the neck and clavicle. That was one trend I noticed last night: Collarbones/shoulders replaced cleavage as the areas to show off. A welcome change from the jiggle-fests of years past, I think.


Alexandria, Va.: It seems to me the neutral/earth tones look truly good on very few people. Those silvery, beigey dresses may be pretty in and of themselves, but I think they don't really help the wearer look their best. What do you think?

Suzanne D'Amato: It doesn't help that so many women in Hollywood tend to be blonde and/or tan. Add a beigey dress, and the overall effect can be weirdly monochromatic. I think these sorts of beigey dresses look fantastic on women who have darker or more olive complexions, though.


Washington, D.C.: I have a comment more than a question. I think Michelle Williams deserves much of the credit for bringing color back to the Oscars. Remember the canary yellow dress she wore to last year's Oscars? It was a risk but she pulled it off beautifully. Jessica Biel also looked fantastic.

Suzanne D'Amato: I loved Michelle Williams's dress! It was more mustardy, and this Spring's yellow is more of a pale lemon shade, but I agree that she took a risk and it paid off beautifully.


I miss Cher: or Bjork -- someone wearing something outrageous that we can all yak about the next day. Maybe we could address Phillip Seymour Hoffman's nasty, unwashed hair?

Suzanne D'Amato: I missed that element of shock too. When it was announced that Maggie Gyllenhaal was coming out, I thought, maybe she'll be the one to push the envelope -- she's usually so quirky and innovative, fashion-wise. And then it turned out that she was wearing one of the most boring dresses of the evening!


Washington, D.C.: Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Wahlberg, and Eddie Murphy all looked fantastic. Helen Mirren, Cate Blanchett were gorgeous. Jessica Biel stood out in a good kind of way...very hip and retro. I thought Kirsten Dunst looked awful...that dress looked like it should have been worn by a 12-year-old and her hair looked like it had just been thrown up behind her head.

Suzanne D'Amato: Thanks for your take!


Chicago: So Suzanne -- who was the hottest guy in the crowd?

Suzanne D'Amato: I thought Ryan Gosling looked great -- largely because I loved that he brought his sister and mom as his Oscar dates! But most men played it pretty safe. The only thing I really noticed was that guys seem to be abandoning bow ties for ties. Not sure I love that trend; it's nice to see men really dress up every now and again. And if they're not going to do it at the Oscars, then when will they?


RE: Nicole Kidman: That big red bow attached to her dress made me think it was the Lexus December To Remember Event instead of the Oscars.

Suzanne D'Amato: Ha! That's a good one. I did like the color of her dress, but that was the only part of her look that worked for me. She also just never seems to be having a really great time at these things...


Kate Winslet: Loved the mint green with her peaches-and-cream skin. Could she have used more bling to amp it up, or was the interesting pleated bodice/drape/train in that lush fabric enough?

Suzanne D'Amato: I thought Kate looked lovely, and like you I adored the mint-green color. It's not an easy hue to wear (it can make many folks appear ruddy), but she wore it beautifully. I wouldn't have minded a little more bling, though. She's so elegant, she could have pulled it off without seeming over-the-top.


Anonymous: Worst dressed man and woman?

Suzanne D'Amato: Now we're getting down to business!

For women, it's a toss-up between J.Lo, Celine Dion and Diane Keaton.

For men, it's not a toss-up: Philip Seymour Hoffman.


Arlington, Va.: What was Abigail Breslin wearing? It looked liked some scaled-down prom dress, or refurbished bridesmaid's dress. And was that a see-thru midriff? I couldn't quite tell, but she is too young for that if it was...The overall effect was pretty awful.

Suzanne D'Amato: Aw, c'mon. How old is she? Like 10? (Or 4, to quote Ellen?) Give the kid a break!

Honestly, I didn't notice what she was wearing (not doing my job, I guess) -- I only saw her lovely smile.


Washington, D.C.: On one of the morning shows this morning, someone said that Cameron Diaz looked beautiful last night. I though she looked terrible. She doesn't look good with dark hair, and it looked as if she had a serious case of bed head.

Suzanne D'Amato: She wasn't my favorite, either. She's one of the few women who can pull off head-to-toe white, but the collar on that dress was distracting, and its architectural severity didn't mesh well with her flowy skirt.

I did love her earrings, though! If I were Cameron, I wouldn't be shipping those back to Harry Winston anytime too soon.


Austin, Tex.: Diane Keaton for worst dressed?? I thought she looked great! Maybe that's because she's capable of trotting out much wackier attire... but her dress was flattering and her hair looked amazing.

Suzanne D'Amato: But the belt was about six inches higher than it should have been! (And that necklace?)

OK, I'll simmer down now. You're right that it was an, um, improvement from some of her previous get-ups!


Washington, D.C.: Reese Witherspoon, Isla Fisher and Rachel Weisz all looked absolutely stunning!!! I was pleased to see Nicole Kidman wearing a real color, not another champagne or beige dress. Gwyneth needed a better lip color -- red lips with such a muted dress made her look washed out.

Suzanne D'Amato: I'm surprised that you're the first person to mention how stunning Rachel Weisz looked -- she was certainly on my best-dressed list. I loved her subtle red lipstick, and her gown looked like it was crafted from molten if I could just find a top like that, I'd be thrilled.


Suzanne D'Amato: Thanks so much for joining me today -- I hope you had as much fun as I did. Talk to you again in a few weeks!

In the interim, if you have more to say about Oscars fashion, or if you have style conundrums of your own that you'd like me to address, email me at


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