The industry voted for idiosyncrasy in the face of corporate moviemaking, but on the red carpet, classicism prevailed.
The arrivals/runway show portion of the evening may have changed in an effort to inject modernity. Its ethos hasn't been that significant.
Just as the triumph of "everything" may offer a new way forward for filmmaking, a select few Oscar attendees deviated from the norm for some quirkier, more emotional choices, and in doing so added a touch of freshness to the old recipe. They were more like co-conspirators and moved beyond the safety of promotion to expose some personal style. It is riskier than a movie about the multiverse with an everything bagel, but also more engaging to watch.
The better to bare her pregnant belly was the reason why she wore a leather bra and long leather skirt that opened and closed at her hips. That was only for the first time. She wore a silver beaded top and silver brocade pants to perform her nominated song "Lift Me Up" and then wore a mint-green silk skirt and stole for her after-party.
She wasn't the only one who brought a different attitude to the party.
The ocean of bedsheets with billowing sleeve-clouds attached to each elbow was the same color as the ocean of bike shorts, with a small pocket on the side for extra insouciance. The evolved version of the self-designed bike short Oscar gown of 1989 is for people who remember it from 1989.
After doing a little shoe shuffle, Harry Shum Jr. said he got Adeam a white smoking jacket with a midnight blue belt to represent East and West. Prada was asked to add a mandarin collar to Hong Chau's dress to represent her roots. The executive producer of the short film "Stranger at the Gate" wore a hood and scarf to show that high glamour and cultural values were not oppositional.
It was a reminder of the bigger context around these moments of shared pop culture escapism, which may also help explain the predominance of white, and one that calls to mind fresh starts and peace, among other associations. The winner of the best documentary was " Navalny", and the attendees were wearing blue ribbons to show their support for refugees. The precedent-setting best actress win of Michelle Yeoh will make her swan-like Dior gown a part of Hollywood history. Also, Paul Mescal wore a Gucci white dinner jacket with extra-wide lapels, and Rooney Mara wore Alexander McQueen mist.
Lady Gaga's Versace came straight from that brand's Los Angeles runway show the Thursday night before the Oscars, trumped in the statement making stakes only by her expectation-defying and completely non branded switcher. Nicole Kidman had a sequined Armani with asymmetric oompf, and Elizabeth Olsen had a backless Givenchy. The gown Danai Gurira wore was elegant.
There were several princess gowns, including acres of white Giambattista Valli, and Halle Bailey in sea-foam green. At least when it came to Ms. Bailey, the look was a nod to her role in the upcoming film. Every time, a princess gown beats the even more tired cliché of a mermaid gown. The person can walk.
The move that deserves the most applause is the embrace of vintage. The 2008 collection of Ms. Mara was the one that she wore, as was the 2005 collection of Winnie Harlow, as well as a Louis Vuitton top with jutting shoulders that had been unearthed from the archives.
The attention paid to what everyone wears can be used for a higher purpose than just promoting new stuff if the awards show circuit has become a piece of promotional fashion content. The reworn looks made the catwalk seem relevant.