If the Met Gala is the prom night of the fashion industry, then the Oscars are the prom of Hollywood. And as with any other school event, everyone seems to be following strict rules and codes of dressing, without ever showing too much originality or going outside the conventions of red carpet dressing. Men strut in black tuxedos and women parade in princess gowns, with a few exceptions here and there. It’s been quite a while since we’ve seen a legendary fashion moment on the Oscar’s red carpet. Björk’s Marjan Pejoski swan dress, Sharon Stone’s white Gap shirt, Cher’s Bob Mackie glitz creation, and Celine Dion’s reversed white tuxedo – all outrageously fun, representing what we at Because think red carpet dressing should be about.
In anticipation of this year’s outings and with fantasies that we just might be surprised by something other than embroidered tulle and mermaid hair, we paired up the brightest spring/summer 2017 creations by the current crop of British NEWGEN designers with the just announced Academy Award nominated actresses.
Ruth Negga in Faustine Steinmetz
The new fashion darling and the Best Actress in a leading role nominee Irish beauty has been a breath of fresh air on the biggest red carpets of the season, wearing everything from a custom Louis Vuitton gown to a pink embroidered Valentino number. But what about a true fashion risk? We’d love to see the star of Loving in the most luscious pair of trousers of spring/summer 2017 – the Faustine Steinmetz Swarovski crystal-covered jeans, matched with her own ruffled white shirt.
Emma Stone in Ryan Lo
The Arizona-born funny girl stunned in the glossy musical La La Land, winning a Golden Globe for the role and earning a Best Actress Oscar nod. Stone has already been nominated for an Oscar in 2015 when she wore a pistachio-coloured Elie Saab gown, opting for a very classic Hollywood look. For the upcoming ceremony, we see her arriving in a soft pink scalloped Ryan Lo dress, paired with a matching admiral’s hat Lo designed in collaboration with Stephen Jones.
Viola Davis in Molly Goddard
As the conqueror of screens both small and large, Viola Davis is a red carpet pro. She’s worn (and stunned in) probably every shade of the colour wheel, but white is probably her most-coveted shade. And we fully support that! For the 2017 Academy Awards, we see the Best Supporting Actress nominee and star of Fences stepping out in a crisp-white tiered A-line Molly Goddard gown and winning us over with her smile.
Michelle Williams in Marta Jakubowski
There are only a few Oscar dresses that match the elegance of Michelle Williams’ yellow Vera Wang dress from 2006. But it seems like ever since, Williams has been staying in that safe realm of pretty gowns, opting for big names like Chanel and Louis Vuitton. Cue Marta Jakubowski, the Polish-born NEWGEN designer whose hot pink velvet jumpsuit seems like a perfect opportunity for the star of Manchester by the Sea to break out of her fashion shell again.
Naomie Harris in Paula Knorr
The British actress might have embodied a drug-addicted mother for her role in Moonlight, but Naomie Harris is the red-carpet definition of femininity. We respect her fashion choices, but as these Oscars bring her first nomination, our pick for the Best Supporting Actress hopeful comes from Paula Knorr’s inaugural NEWGEN collection. The embroidered, asymmetric look mixes Harris’s signature elegance with some new kind of detailing, making it simultaneously appropriate yet different.
Natalie Portman in Sadie Williams
No one has a stronger look than Natalie Portman. If someone showed you 100 red carpet looks, you would instantly be able to pick Portman out of the bunch for her classic Hollywood looks. So, isn’t that a perfect opportunity to break a few rules in fashion? Embodying her groundbreaking character in the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis biopic Jackie, we see the Best Actress in the Leading Role nominee going for a new take on a classic. A Sadie Williams striped t-shirt under a red satin skirt-and-bralet twinset may be a total risk, but if anyone can pull it off – it would have to be Portman.
Meryl Streep in Ashley Williams
20 nominations. 3 wins. Meryl Streep is already established as the Queen of the Academy Awards, and as such, we want her to dress as a real rebel on February 26. Her starring appearance in Florence Foster Jenkins garnered her a nomination for Best Actress in the Leading Role, but she would win all of the awards in our eyes if she opted out for a printed suit for this year’s Oscars. Paired up with a t-shirt and some Renaissance-like flats, this Ashley Williams look is probably the only thing that can make Streep’s potential acceptance speech even better than her Golden Globes one.
Text by Dino Bonacic