The Oscars have arrived.  Lauded as one of the highlights of the fashion season by the Hollywood elite, but are they?  When we think of haute couture do we just mean dresses and tuxedoes?  I don’t think we do.

The Academy Awards is one of the most watched events on television and dwarfs the viewers of the Prêt-a-Porter shows that have recently preceded them. Savvy designers therefore know that to get their dress on the back of a nominated actress is worth more than any spectacle and fanfare of a fashion show.

Nevertheless, the limited range of garments worn at the Oscars defies the very purpose of fashion and that is to create. We need only speak of the women as the men are all as dull as penguins – groomed and handsome no doubt, but so far removed from creativity that they don’t warrant words.  So let’s talk dresses. These garments are carefully chosen and often handmade or at least hand-finished to fit the lucky star’s body.  Sadly, this is where the fashion similarity ends.  Of course, they want to look beautiful, flawless, skinny and memorable but they don’t want to look daring, whimsical, brave or pioneering.  This contradiction always comes to me as I watch the red carpet reviews. Those who choose to veer towards the fashionable often get slammed and those who opt for Classic Hollywood chic (the equivalent of frozen-food fashion) get praised. Where are the trousers we see so much of on the catwalks (perhaps they are forbidden on the invitation) and where is the detail and adornment that scream NOW?

My hat goes off to Jennifer Lopez, who wore an Armani Privé gown that smacked of couture in all its glory. Indeed, her hair was a disaster but her choice was fashion forward.  Speaking of hats, the Spring/Summer catwalks were alive with headpieces yet I didn’t see one on the red carpet.  I can’t begin to explain why this is, but I do know that the mediocre offering on the likes of Sandra Bullock and Kate Winslet were what Oscar is all about: beautiful yes, fashionable no.

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