Was this the worst night in Oscars fashion history?

ByRonald A. Hurley

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Composed by Oscar Holland, CNN

This 7 days marks two decades considering that Hollywood served up a person of its worst-been given red carpets of all time. On a night time of major wins for “A Stunning Thoughts” and the to start with “Lord of the Rings,” 2002’s Academy Awards were being — in accurate Y2K style — awash with spaghetti straps, seen midriffs and shapeless eveningwear.
At the time, former Cosmopolitan editor Marcelle d’Argy Smith branded it a “night time of vogue blunders,” in advance of calling out a number of stars for their attempts. Julia Roberts, in a black Armani robe, appeared “dull” Whoopi Goldberg, who hosted the ceremony dressed like a glittering peacock, introduced “a type of circus ingredient to the proceedings” and Barbra Streisand was “swathed” in a velvet burgundy “wrap/tent/curtain.”

Far more damming testimonials were being saved for the year’s most effective supporting actress, Jennifer Connelly, who opted for a dishwater-coloured tulle gown and not-rather-matching scarf (a shade described by Smith as “pale dung-coloured,” and by Scripps Howard information agency as “phlegm-colored”). In other places, Cameron Diaz divided opinions in a floral print costume, ’80s Oscar-nominee Sally Kirkland sported an ill-advised bejeweled bindi and Faith Hill took a painfully literal strategy by teasing her performance of “Somewhere Around the Rainbow” with a strappy rainbow-coloured Versace gown.

Variously described as "pale dung-colored" and "phlegm-colored," Jennifer Connelly's gown was one of the night's many flops.

Variously explained as “pale dung-colored” and “phlegm-colored,” Jennifer Connelly’s robe was a person of the night’s a lot of flops. Credit history: Steve Granitz/WireImage/Getty Visuals

The evening will, having said that, often be remembered for 1 of the most maligned outfits in Oscars history: Gwyneth Paltrow’s notorious “goth” costume (pictured leading). The formless Alexander McQueen generation highlighted a scrunched-up taffeta skirt and sheer bodice that still left tiny to the imagination. The actress’ heavy eye make-up and milkmaid braid aided protected the outfit’s put on “worst-dressed” lists for yrs to appear.

In a characteristically slicing evaluation of the evening’s looks, lengthy-time Vogue editor Suzy Menkes, then of the International Herald Tribune, wrote that the evidently bra-a lot less Paltrow “seemed like she was off to see her particular coach.” (She also described Connolly as becoming “drear as a drowned nymph”). The Guardian’s vogue writer Jess Cartner-Morley in the meantime wrote that the star “arrived a cropper” in “gap-yr plaits, goth eye make-up and clunky jewellery.”

There was, arguably, worse to arrive. At the Vainness Good afterparty, “Meet Joe Black” star Claire Forlani wore what can only be explained as a sequined breastplate held up by perilously slim string ties Selma Blair arrived in a hardly-there fringe dress that seemed more like a shabby tablecloth and Heather Mills opted for a bizarre midriff-bearing two-piece. Actress and creator Suzanne Somers’ gown may possibly simply have doubled up as inexpensive curtains, and Television host Daisy Fuentes showed up in denims and a shirt, as if she had forgotten it was 1 of Hollywood’s most exceptional get-togethers.

The afterparty saw even more classic Y2K style, like Claire Forlani's open-backed crop top.

The afterparty observed even far more traditional Y2K style, like Claire Forlani’s open-backed crop major. Credit score: Gregg DeGuire/WireImage/Getty Illustrations or photos

Most tedious ‘of all time’

What really irked manner critics was not the perfectly-intentioned flops, but the collective lack of ambition. Just a year following Björk’s unforgettably eccentric swan costume, 2002’s red carpet felt like a meek, low-hazard affair.
This may well have been for great purpose. Held just 6 months following the 9/11 attacks, the celebration was engulfed by hyped-up stability and an understandably restrained ambiance. Armed police stood guard, stars were being sent by steel detectors and fashion-watchers who were lucky adequate to safe a seat on the pink carpet had to go through new track record checks, the LA Occasions claimed. In retaining with the nationwide mood, various stars arrived in respectfully reduced-crucial robes, with Reese Witherspoon, Glenn Shut, Helen Hunt and Renée Zellweger among the lots of celebrities to dress in black that night.

This was no excuse for Menkes, however. Calling attendees’ initiatives “the most boring Oscar outfits of all time,” the critic singled out Naomi Watts’ unadventurous corseted dress from a “sea of black,” producing that “even Gucci, usually a dead cert for pretty outfits” had designed the star search “sedate.”

Naomi Watts was one of several stars opting for low-risk black gowns.

Naomi Watts was a single of several stars opting for small-chance black gowns. Credit score: KMazur/WireImage/Getty Illustrations or photos

Samantha Critchell, then a vogue writer for the Related Press, was a lot more diplomatic, describing the evening’s pink carpet as one particular of “conservative” trend on which “numerous stars performed it secure.” Wanting back, 20 years on, she attributed their design and style options not to 9/11, but to trepidation surrounding the surging desire in pink carpet fashion.
“In the early 2000s, trend became a microcosm for the relaxation of the environment,” she informed CNN in a phone interview. “I started off covering the crimson carpet with Jennifer Lopez’s how-did-it-remain-closed Versace robe (at the 2000 Grammys) — we failed to do ‘night-of’ protection of the vogue in the ‘hard-news’ media until that second.

“There became a realization that those people attire have been going to outline you. And I imagine it experienced additional to do with the increase of fashion as a pop-lifestyle power — and a true-time drive — and knowing that people today were being sat at home judging these outfits.

“There was no E! and no pre-demonstrate until then, and I feel that selections ended up most likely safer simply because of not recognizing how to navigate that.”

As for the riskier looks, Critchell theorized that a lot of stars were “enjoying versus sort” by supplying some thing unanticipated or diverse from previous outings. Nicole Kidman’s frilly pink Chanel gown contrasted with the elegant chartreuse Dior dress she famously wore to 1997’s ceremony, though Jennifer Lopez’s typical gown and bouffant hairstyle was juxtaposed towards the raunchier appears to be she’d turn out to be known for.

Sally Kirkland sports a bejewled bindi as part of her gold-and-silver look.

Sally Kirkland sporting activities a bejewled bindi as aspect of her gold-and-silver appear. Credit rating: David Lefranc/Gamma-Rapho/Getty Images

Even Paltrow’s outfit can be viewed as an endeavor to stay clear of currently being pigeonholed, Critchell explained. “She had been the princess a number of yrs in advance of (in 1999) in that pink Ralph Lauren costume, and I imagine she was playing against that,” she extra.

“Stars didn’t have a chance to clearly show their other sides in the way they do now. You already know them, you what their fashion is, you know their feeling on anything. But it wasn’t unusual in 2002, or any of individuals other (pre-social media) many years, for somebody to participate in from what they did prior to, mainly because they failed to want to be stereotyped.”

Rays of hope

There had been a handful of hits amid the flops that evening. Kate Winslet’s one-shouldered Ben de Lisi dress was commonly praised, and the evening’s guys fared much better between critics, with Will Smith praised for his Ozwald Boateng match and gold tie.
One of the night's few winners: Halle Berry in Elie Saab.

Just one of the night’s several winners: Halle Berry in Elie Saab. Credit rating: Steve Granitz/WireImage/Getty Images

There was really only a person winner, nevertheless — on the two the crimson carpet and the awards phase. On her way to getting to be the to start with Black female to assert the Academy Award for best actress, Halle Berry shocked in robe that reworked the fortunes of its designer, Elie Saab. Like Paltrow’s outfit, it consisted of sheer prime and taffeta skirt, while Berry oozed glamour in crimson and champagne, with strategically put floral detailing finishing the glimpse.

“I imagine Halle Berry’s outfit has stood the check of time,” Critchell claimed. “It is not a costume a person would don today, but she was the belle of the ball. She was predicted to gain and, as trend writers, we have been all waiting around for her transform. It fulfilled the moment it was unforgettable, and it was proper for a very best actress.”

Nevertheless, when the outfit is now viewed as amongst the Oscars’ ideal-at any time seems to be, it wasn’t a hit with everyone on the night. The Guardian’s Cartner-Morley wrote that Berry’s outfit, comprehensive with its “gaudy embroidered web bodice,” had presented “a good deal to cringe about.”

Related online video: A short heritage of the purple carpet

Her contrarian consider serves as a reminder that good crimson carpet style is in the eye of the beholder — and as a result the concern of whether 2002 was the Oscars’ worst yr relies upon, as ever, on who you request. In fact, provided the current curiosity in all issues Y2K — a revival that has heralded the return of very low-rise jeans, crop tops and butterfly clips — the ability of hindsight (and the views of Gen-Z trend-watchers) may perhaps be kinder to 2002’s outing than a single may hope.

“I really don’t feel it was the worst-dressed,” Critchell stated. “I don’t know if there would ever be a minute you could outline as that. But it was a distinct time.”


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