Womens fashion

The best-dressed men and women at the Oscars. . . and the salad leaves?

Jada Pinkett Smith.David Livingston/Getty

BEST KALE DRESS – Jada Pinkett Smith

The last time we saw a real water cooler moment on the red carpet was Bjork’s swan dress in 2001. Does anyone remember anything else about the Oscars? 2001 in addition to this dress? Also, does anyone remember water coolers? Well, stay away from Bjork, because a giant piece of cabbage casts a considerable shadow over your swan. Jada Pinkett Smith wore not just a dress, but a sculpture by Jean Paul Gaultier that bore a striking resemblance to the leafy green vegetable. Maybe I’m being repetitive in calling it kale. Seaweed? Spinach sewing? Let’s agree that it’s art, and not necessarily a dress. Pinkett Smith should be applauded for carrying it – and even sitting in it!

Nicole Kidman. Jordan Strauss/Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

BEST DRESSED – Nicole Kidman

If Kidman ever decides to retire from public life, red carpets everywhere will be in mourning. The Aussie actress, nominated for this year’s ‘Being the Ricardos’, is Hollywood’s most trusted source of old-school glamor. Always in Armani, always impeccably styled, this year Kidman wore a custom-dyed strapless pale blue dress with a deep V-neckline and a dazzling train. Other actresses on the red carpet tried a (always risky) train, but Kidman pulled it off. I’m all for edgy, modern looks (thanks, Kristen Stewart), but there’s nothing quite like a swoon-worthy red carpet moment.

Jessica Chestnut.Emma McIntyre/Getty

ON THE FENCE — Jessica Chastain

Here’s the thing about Jessica Chastain’s iridescent Gucci dress. I know that I am Assumed like it, but something seemed off. Could it be that bronze and lilac are not intended to live together on the same garment? Shouldn’t a sparkly top be paired with chiffon? Or do the floral embellishments along the hem remind me of a bed skirt my grandma had in the 1970s? I’m sure Tammy Faye would have approved, and maybe that’s all that matters. Hopefully next year Chastain will call Rita Moreno for some sartorial advice.

Kodi Smit-McPhee.Mike Coppola/Getty

BEST CLOTHES FOR MEN — Kodi Smit-McPhee

Smit-McPhee’s powder blue suit was both prom and power. It was divisive, but fashion isn’t always pretty (we’re looking at you, kale dress). Smit-McPhee’s suit was part of the men’s evening tonal trend. Witness the monochromatic moments of Jeff Bridges, Wilmer Valderrama, Jason Momoa, Sebastián Yatra, Wesley Snipes and Jesse Plemons. The other must-have menswear piece for the rug was jewelry. Let’s call it the year of the pin boy. Am I right, Rami Malek? We’re giving an honorable mention to Simu Liu for his smile and for standing out from the pack in a fiery red tuxedo.

Tracee Ellis Ross.Jae C. Hong/Jae C. Hong/Invision/AP

BOOBY AWARD — Tracee Ellis Ross

Is it Gypsy Rose Lee, or the “Black-ish” star? Let’s start with the positives. It’s a pretty color. Many actresses putting their stilettos on the carpet arrived in red (Rosie Perez, Amy Forsyth, Marlee Matlin, Kirsten Dunst). But something was missing from the red that Ross wore, namely the top of the dress. Some may claim that her Carolina Herrera dress had a plunging neckline. Nope. A plunging neckline would mean the dress had something remotely resembling a neck. What Ross had were nipple pasties. It wasn’t just what was going on upstairs. The hemline wasn’t quite a dress, not exactly a tea length. Timothée Chalamet also receives a booby award for completely skipping the jersey. Is that really how your mom raised you Timothy?

Timothée Chalamet.Mike Coppola/Getty
Olivia Colman.Emma McIntyre/Getty

BEST INCARNATION OF AN ART DECO GODDESS — Olivia Colman

Here’s a confession: No matter what Colman wore to the Oscars, I would have loved it. Luckily, she pulled off her most successful red carpet look yet in a silver pleated Dior gown. It was a true 1930s show-stopper. The key to pulling off a classic dress without looking matronly is in the styling, and Colman’s loose braids and playful makeup keep the proceedings light and fresh.

Zoe Kravitz.ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images

BEST AUDREY HEPBURN MOMENT (PART 1) — Zoë Kravitz

Everyone loves a good reveal from Audrey Hepburn. The ‘The Batman’ star channeled Hepburn in a baby pink satin dress by Anthony Vaccarello for Saint Laurent. But it was the style that really evoked the spirit of the legend. A simple diamond necklace (was that from Tiffany?) and bangs (who doesn’t love bangs?) really brought the look to life.

Saniya Sidney.VALERIE MACON/AFP via Getty Images

BEST AUDREY HEPBURN MOMENT (PART TWO) – Saniyya Sidney

The ‘King Richard’ star brought some much-needed fun to the mat. At just 15, Sidney was already dressing like an award show pro (meaning either she has great taste or has hired a super talented stylist). Her floral Armani bustier dress was as playful as her smile. To top it off, she sported the Hepburn fringe.

Rita Moreno.VALERIE MACON/AFP via Getty Images

BOW TO YOUR MOMENT OF QUEEN — Rita Moreno

If you suffered the terrible E! pre-show chatter on the red carpet, then you’ve probably noticed the words “icon” and “iconic” being torturously overused. The only time those words really applied was when Rita Moreno, 90, arrived in a black Carolina Herrera gown and explained her sartorial inspiration. “I love the way I look. Kill me, sue me! You tell them EGOT! And then there was the hat. “It’s from France and I just thought ‘What the hell is this? ?’ and then I put a black wig underneath, because, ‘What is it, right?’ Ms. Moreno, we’ll give you a standing ovation no matter what you’re wearing.

Kristen Stewart arrives at the Oscars.Jae C. Hong/Jae C. Hong/Invision/AP

BEST CROP SHORTS EVER — Kristen Stewart

It seems nearly impossible, but Stewart managed to make a deconstructed (and I mean deconstructed) tuxedo look dangerous and glamorous. The ‘Spencer’ star, her hair playfully piled to one side, wore a satin jacket and button down shirt. But when you’re Stewart, do you really need buttons? Say hello to the punk princess! Somewhere, Joan Jett nods.


Christopher Muther can be contacted at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @Chris_Muther and Instagram @chris_muther.