Unless there was a secret dress code at this year’s Oscars, it was a huge coincidence that several celebrities wore pink as their outfit shade of choice. It may have been bubblegum, Barbie, fuchsia or flamingo but a statement was made for both fashion, and feminism.
Following the horrifying accusations made against Harvey Weinstein in October 2017, the awards season which followed was deeply soured. Stars of stage and screen justifiably felt wrong in celebrating an industry which was bafflingly corrupt, riddled with gender inequality and lacking justice. In those moments of raw pain and sorrow, A-listers took some solace by wearing all-black outfits to display their solidarity with victims of sexual abuse and present their support for both the Times Up and #MeToo movements.
The problem of inequality is far from resolved within the film industry, but fortunately at this years Oscars, the mood was, in all senses of the word, brighter. In contrast to 2018’s ebony gowns tinged with disappointment and dismay, this year featured a heavy dosage of pink on the red carpet. Despite being unintentional, one cannot help but speculate that the sartorial decisions made were based much more on what just simply looked “good”. This is an assumption, but it could be the case that celebrity stylists this awards season have viewed the colour as one that is socio-politically charged and more empowering than ever before. As a result, the ensembles selected have become a spontaneous feminist statement.
I’m certainly not commenting that fashion has the sole power to cure the fundamental issues aforementioned in the world of cinema. What I am alluding to is that, by selecting outfits that share a mutual feature, a collective declaration is made. In a similar way that punks chose Dr Martens, rockers don leather jackets and hipsters have their beards, the pink gowns worn were not utopian displays of princess perfection, but suggested to me a rose-tinted shield of armour; an unapologetic display of what it is to be a contemporary woman.
Some gowns distorted the female form with their haute couture flamboyance. The silhouettes were so fearlessly voluptuous it immediately induced total self-confidence, so despite having all eyes on them, the likes of Linda Cardellini and Gemma Chan looked like the only people they were wearing the gown for was themselves. Kacey Musgraves wore a tulle tiered Giambattista Valli dress, and similarly to Sarah Paulson, their looks were given resilience and attitude through slicked back hair and minimal make-up, emphasising natural beauty.
The expectation that pink = “girly girly” was subverted with every garment. Angela Bassett’s dress was cut to perfection, effortlessly hugging her figure, but this was offset with an oversized bow and whimsical train. Maya Rudolph’s classically feminine flowers were disrupted with cascading ruffles. Awkwafina took a pearlescent pink sparkly suit and overthrew the typically masculine ensemble with the addition of a sizable pussy-bow. Co-ordinating with his wife Lisa Bonet, even Jason Momoa had a pink scrunchie round his wrist.
Contrasting former years where black was the sordid wardrobe choice, the clothing of this year’s Oscars made the entire event feel like a step in the right direction for gender equality and female empowerment. This further supports the idea that fashion is much more than just clothes – it is the ability to manifest and translate inward thoughts, feelings and ideas into outward appearances. And I for one am here for it.
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Text: Natalie Zannikos
Images: Just Jared, People Magazine, W Magazine, ABC News, Popsugar