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Best and worst dressed at this year's Oscars

28 March 2022 - 14:29 By Ricci-Lee Kalish
Best Actress Jessica Chastain holds her Oscar for 'The Eyes of Tammy Faye' at the Governors Ball after the 94th Academy Awards in Los Angeles on March 27 2022.
Best Actress Jessica Chastain holds her Oscar for 'The Eyes of Tammy Faye' at the Governors Ball after the 94th Academy Awards in Los Angeles on March 27 2022.
Image: REUTERS/Mike Blake

Fashion is everything. An extension of one's identity, an art form and a symbol of our times.

Throughout history we’ve seen what happens to fashion during financial slumps and a world crisis. From the birth of minimalism to the reactionary maximalism, fashion is an indicator of what’s happening in the world.

The Oscars are certainly not an indicator of reality, but red carpet fashion choices can be.

On the one hand we witnessed minimalism in timeless silhouettes, classic designs and streamlining while on the other we saw extravagant gowns, over-the-top accessories and bold colours.

There was nothing we hadn’t seen before but the dichotomy of styles made the 2022 red carpet interesting. It was as if we got a glimpse into the minds of our favourite celebs and saw how they decided to deal with the worldwide crises we call reality. Which celebs do you think succeeded and which ones failed?

Best dressed

Zendaya

Zendaya, often a queen of the red carpet, looked regal and sophisticated in this two-piece Valentino design.

The perfect mix of minimalism and maximalism, Zendaya effortlessly meshed both worlds together with the simple silhouette and sparkling material. The edgy-midriff of the shirt keeps the look youthful and fresh.

We love the silver accessories throughout, as if the material of the skirt had unravelled onto her arms. We wish we could have seen Zendaya’s long locks loose on this red carpet, but there was nothing we could find fault with in her makeup choice. All in all, Zendaya stood head and shoulders above all the other stars.

Maggie Gyllenhaal

There’s nothing we love more than an over-the-top structured silhouette, other than perhaps the designer herself  Schiaparelli (founded by Elsa Schiaparelli in the late 1920s). Over the years, Schiaparelli has created weird and wonderful designs for the stars.

This iconic look is no different. Gyllenhaal (or her stylist) gets top marks for perfectly pairing this gown with her no-nonsense pixie-cut and dark lips.

This iconic black and gold dress stands out in all the right ways. This is when high fashion meets red carpet. Instead of the usual red carpet tropes, flowing gowns and lots of cleavage, Gyllenhaal decided to do something completely different.

Lily James

Trends are constantly in rotation and the early noughties are in fashion again, so we were interested to see how this would be translated onto the red carpet.

There were some good attempts but nothing came close to this gorgeous, modern rendition of the lingerie dress.

Made wildly popular by Paris Hilton and her posse back in the day, it takes a brilliant eye to be able to rework a stilted silhouette and make it into a modern-day stunner. James looks beautiful in this Versace gown. Her hair, makeup and  jewellery were perfect. 

Zoe Kravitz

Often dressed in Saint Laurent, with black her usual colour of preference, this sweet  baby-pink gown was unexpected but we loved it. Kravitz channelled Audrey Hepburn vibes and they definitely made a style statement. From the blushing-bride makeup to the barely-there accessories, minimalism has never looked this good. We love the juxtaposition of this girl-like look with her sexy and edgy tattooed arms. All in all, this simple and elegant design worked wonders on her.

Worst dressed

Mila Kunis

When upcycling previous trends and designs, make sure they’re timeless, unlike this walking postcard from the Oscars 2010. This may not be the most popular decision but anything this jaded and drab deserves a spot on our worst-dressed list. Why Kunis, known for her talent in comedy, chose a look with no personality is beyond us. Not even the styling brought any reprieve to this lacklustre look. It’s not often one gets to walk the carpet of the Oscars, so why not go wild with it. Even bad is better than boring.

Jessica Chastain

If gauche was a dress this Gucci gown would be it. After being crowned queen of the Oscars (AKA winning the Best Actress award) one would hope she would carry on winning. Sadly, this little-girls-dream gown was her downfall.

The purple and pink look is just too much. Too much colour, too much fabric and too much makeup. In cases like this, less is more, Jess.

For such a romantic and feminine gown her run-of-the-mill ponytail looks all wrong. Her beautiful red hair should be down in tumbling waves, not in a semi-messy pony like the ones we wore to school.

H.E.R

We love the colour and we love the personality but sometimes nothing can save a fashion disaster. OK, disaster may be a bit extreme but this look is all sorts of wrong. The 1990s sunnies, early noughties gauche makeup and kitsch jewellery may be trend du jour but the elegant Carolina Herrera mullet dress needed something a little less trendy and a lot more timeless. There is no elegant meshing of the two worlds here. It’s as if the stylist threw everything but the kitchen sink at this look and hoped it would work. It didn’t.

Kourtney Kardashian

Perhaps the rumours about the Oscars' unpopularity are founded. Why else would they invite reality TV star Kardashian? The least she could have done, to help with their failing ratings, was to serve some looks. Sadly, we were left with a less than desirable Little Black Dress — so dull, so pedestrian. The silhouette is nothing to write home about. To save a wallflower look such as this is simple. Bright platform heels, chunky jewellery and a bright lipstick would have done wonders. But this all black, passionless outfit certainly doesn’t equate with the loved-up, exciting newly engaged couple. The only thing that saves Kourt’s look is Travis himself. Hopefully her more stylish sister will be invited next year.

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