For 50 years, the world's most famous fashion show has been remembered best for the missteps.
Our favorite “Oscary” outfits (from left): Bjork lays an egg in Marjan Pejoksy, 2001; Cher shocks in Bob Mackie, 1986; Barbra Streisand’s cheeky seethrough Arnold Scassi, 1969.
Does anyone really watch the Academy Awards for the movies? Of course not. Armed with a bevy of stylists, makeup artists, fashion assistants and salivating designers from Madison Avenue to Melrose Place jonesing to get noticed on the red carpet, our movie stars have become more fashion icons than mere actors.
It wasn’t always this way. Jane Fonda recalled that before she received her Best Actress Oscar for Klute in 1972, she pulled a 5-year-old black Yves Saint Laurent pantsuit out of her closet and did her own hair and makeup. It wasn’t the most compelling ensemble, but she is to be forgiven since the mega-machine that is Tinseltown fashion today had yet to be invented.
Amid the glittering parade of stunning gowns over the years, what we remember best are the really big missteps: Celine’s backwards white tuxedo, Gwynnie’s braless Goth look, Faith Hill’s multipastel-hued taffy candy number. It all started exactly 50 years ago when “Funny Girl” Barbra Streisand donned a diaphanous black pantsuit that, as she strutted to the stage amid the glaring lights to accept her Best Actress Oscar, exposed her perky backside for all to see. Oops. On the other hand, serial offender Cher made a calculated mistake (sans apologies, natch) with her outrageous nude Bob Mackie outfit at the 1986 awards (for fashion-forward drag queens, Cher never disappoints). The most infamous Oscar get-up to date? That award has to go to kooky Icelandic singer Bjork’s Marjan Pejosky swan dress with white tights she wore in 2001, an ensemble that Ellen DeGeneres sported to great comic effect later that year at the Emmys. In fact, that swan dress still shows up as a Halloween favorite 18 years after it was first hatched. Fashion misstep? In Hollywood, we call that longevity a hit franchise. Two wings up.