Oscars fashion: bridal colours dominate as red carpet is scrapped

<span>Photograph: Mike Coppola/Getty Images</span>
Photograph: Mike Coppola/Getty Images

If the Oscars is seen as the peak of red carpet dressing, the Academy changed things up for 2023 – with a champagne-coloured carpet. While the change was not known about when stylists were finalising their client’s outfits, there was a noticeable matchiness between carpet and clothing. White, beige and oyster dresses dominated, bringing a slightly bridal feel.

Jamie-Lee Curtis wearing a shade of champagne, on a champagne-coloured carpet.
Jamie-Lee Curtis wearing a shade of champagne, on a champagne-coloured carpet Photograph: Chelsea Lauren/REX/Shutterstock

Related: Oscars 2023: the red carpet – in pictures

The stars of winning film Everything Everywhere All at Once were on board. Jamie Lee Curtis wore a long crystal gown the colour of champagne, while Michelle Yeoh wore a tiered white strappy gown by Christian Dior. Others wearing white included Halle Berry, Michelle Williams and the singer Tems. Florence Pugh, Ana de Armas and Rooney Mara went for an oyster shade, while the palest of pinks was also popular – worn by Andrea Riseborough and Hong Chau, from The Whale. Fan Bingbing and Malala Yousafzai wore silver.

Tems brings the bridal feel to the Oscars red carpet, in a white dress.
Tems brings the bridal feel to the Oscars red carpet, in a white dress. Photograph: Angela Weiss/AFP/Getty Images

The change to the colour of the carpet was made because the area for photographs was sheltered rather than outside this year and red was thought to be too dark for pictures. But, if the traditional red carpet provides the contrast for these pale colours, the new backdrop did not have the same effect. The change was not appreciated by attendees. On Saturday night before the ceremony, Curtis tweeted a face-palming Memoji of herself with, “Apparently, at the @TheAcademyOscars, their carpet is going to match my drapes.” Unlike red, the carpet also quickly got dirty with detritus, hardly the glamorous look of previous years.

Ahead of Sunday’s ceremony, the organisers of the Oscars had distributed a guide for attendees, encouraging them to make more sustainable choices for the red carpet. Few ended up adhering to these suggestions but some wore designs from brand’s past collections – including Rooney Mara, Winnie Harlow and Cate Blanchett, who chose archive pieces by Louis Vuitton.

If some red carpets recently have seen stars using clothing to make political statements, the Oscars was quiet on this front – with one exception. Iranian-born actor Shohreh Aghdashloo wore a Christian Siriano gown with the words “women”, “life” and “freedom” embroidered on one side, and the names of Mahsa Amini, Hajar Abbasi and Nika Shakarami (women killed in Iran in September) on the other. “I knew I wanted to wear something that would include the slogan of Iran’s freedom fighters,” said the actor.

Barry Keoghan, Paul Mescal and Kerry Condon at the Oscars.
Sophisticated … Barry Keoghan, Paul Mescal and Kerry Condon at the Oscars. Photograph: Emma McIntyre/Getty Images

There were other trends beyond carpet-matching colours. Some stars lucked out by wearing a contrasting bright yellow – including the costume designer Ruth Carter, Banshees of Inisherin star Kerry Condon, Winnie Harlow and Sandra Oh. Sleeves – not frequently spotted in the glamorous world of the red carpet – sneaked in thanks to a colder weather system in LA. Melissa McCarthy, Blanchett and Rihanna – in a floorlength leather gown by Alaïa – wore long sleeves, while Nicole Kidman’s asymmetric Armani design partially committed to the trend. It had one sleeve.

Men largely stuck to traditional tuxedos but there were some exceptions. Barry Keoghan, who is becoming known for his colourful suits, wore a lavender one for the red carpet, and Paul Mescal’s cream jacket and wide-legged trousers looked sophisticated. Lenny Kravitz lived up to his rock god image with a low-cut satin shirt. But it was details that were key here – whether with the exaggerated collars on Riz Ahmed’s Prada shirt or Everything Everywhere’s James Hong’s bow tie: referencing a detail from the now much-loved film, it featured two perfectly placed goggle eyes.