Here come the Oscars

Pastel gowns and Joan Rivers with a face job

Fairfield Daily Republic ©

Let the red carpet roll!

The annual ritual of the largest fashion show in the world is headed our way this weekend with an array of selected designer dresses, shoes and jewelry that not even the nominees could afford to buy.

OK, maybe some of them wouldn't mind spending a few thousand on a dress or pair of shoes they'll wear just once in their lifetime. I suppose they can afford splurging some coin on designer fabric.

The reality of Oscar fashion, however, is that most actresses get paid to wear those beautiful gowns, have a contract with the designer (perks included) or, depending on the deal, get to keep the dresses (plus some other wardrobe accessories). Please, who wouldn't want a deal like that?

Granted, the Academy Awards are supposed to be about who takes home the Oscar - who put on the best performance, who artistically directed a cast of big names or who came up with the best, most likable song. But there's some other propaganda going on during pre-show and it's not who can walk down the carpet in a straight line with the brightest smile.

Fashion designers know that an average of more than 1 billion folks will have their eyes fixated on the stars as they parade the red floor covering, which statistically means more eyes on the gown than the flick for which the actress is nominated. And that is paramount - especially dollar-sign-wise - for the designer.
Do you remember Halle Berry wearing Elie Saab's couture gown at the Oscars? Although Saab had his fashions walk down the red carpet before, it was the first time an actress won an Oscar wearing one of his designs. Berry and Saab's gown were plastered everywhere in magazines around the world, Web sites and varied talk shows.

The results for this Lebanese designer was an increase in publicity and overall expansion of his business. No doubt, the publicity value of the designer carries on for years.

Of course, there are some designer flops and embarrassing moments. It wouldn't be fair to talk about actresses like Hilary Swank in Calvin Klein or Charlize Theron in Christian Dior without mentioning Bjork's swan wrap-around irrational creation by Marjan Pejoski. That still generates coffee table conversations. Or what about Reese Witherspoon's Chanel dress scandal? She was told by Chanel the dress she wore to this year's Golden Globe Awards - the one she donned to accept her award! - was vintage. Well, I suppose it was, if you consider that Kirsten Dunst wore the exact same dress three years ago to the Golden Globes after party. Shame!

So what designers should we be looking for at this year's gala event? Some of the regulars, like Valentino, Dior, Chanel and Versace, as well as some others that were featured in the Oscar fashion preview show, such as Monique Lhuillier, Colleen Quen, Richard Tyler, Issac Mizrahi (Target!) and Escada.

Regarding style, Patty Fox, fashion coordinator for the 78th Academy Awards, believes the red carpet fashion will reflect the Hollywood glamour era.

"And any color is fair game, as long as it's right for the actress," she stated in the Oscar Fashion Preview show in February.

Of course, expect to see Harry Winston and Martin Katz jewelry along with Stuart Weitzman shoes.

As for my predictions for the Oscar fashion show proudly presented by the gurus on ABC, they include gowns in a palette of pastels like green, creme and lavender for the screen goddesses; absolutely no red dresses - too many women wore it to the Golden Globe Awards; No bling.

Remember the rage? Forget it. Most actresses were forsaking jewelry at the Golden Globes Award, which means they created a no-bling craze for the Oscars; backless dresses; strapless dresses; handsome men in tuxes and Joan Rivers with another face job.