Each year, the Oscars red carpet comes with a few key fashion trends. They not only set the tone for the evening (and the way we look at the evening in posterity); they also inform how regular people might considering dressing for a big night out. In the late ’90s, Sharon Stone inspired women to pair ballgowns with white button downs, while the spaghetti-strap became the must-have silhouette for high school proms everywhere when Gwyneth Paltrow stepped out in a pink Ralph Lauren number in 1999. Julia Roberts in vintage Valentino black-and-white gown in 2001 spawned countless knock-offs.
More recently, inhabitants of the red carpet have taken to using fashion as activism, such as when a group of actresses wore black at the 2018 Golden Globes as a statement of solidarity on the Me Too movement. More often than not, however, a fashion statement on the Oscars red carpet is less explicit, and more implicit on a collective vibe or sign of the times. It informs how people might think about their own moments of glamour in real life.
For this year’s Academy Awards, the red carpet was swapped out for a “Champagne” hue, as a way of providing a bit of variation on the evening. And while there may or may not have been a correlation, the switch to a cream carpet made for an interesting background with this year’s crop of Oscars fashion trends. Some came directly from the Paris Fashion Week runways, while others made a broader suggestion of future and current trends.
Here, a look at the top three fashion trends that walked the Oscars carpet and its after parties last night, and some insight as to how we might see them crop up in real life later this year.
1. Bridal white
The Oscars red carpet is often glittering with gold sequins, liquid metallic silks and other sparkling Champagne-hued embellishments meant to make subjects shine like human statuettes. Rarely has that look included white, since a white gown has traditionally been reserved for bridal moments, not the red carpet. But at Sunday’s awards show — and the numerous after parties — white was the most prevalent hue, making the carpet look something like a bridal procession.
Michelle Williams’s Chanel couture column gown featured a delicate crystal-embroidered lace overlay, while Emily Blunt styled a bare-shouldered, long-sleeve Valentino dress with Alexandre Birman heels, a Judith Leiber crystal bag and Chopard chandelier earrings for what might be interpreted as something a modern minimalist bride would wear to nuptials. Same for Mindy Kaling’s Vera Wang gown, which featured plenty of cutouts and a corset bodice. The star paired the look with enormous Giuseppe Zanotti white platforms.
But the evening’s big moment for the white gown came from Michelle Yeoh, who wore a Dior haute couture ivory silk organza gown embellished with waves of feathers, a look she wore to accept her Best Actress award onstage. As the first Asian woman to win it, the white gown read like a sartorial milestone for making history, an accomplishment worthy of that once-in-a-lifetime gown (which for many women, is the wedding dress).
Apart from inspiring actual bridal looks this year, the Oscars white gown trend might embolden some women to take the risk of wearing all-white looks they might normally reserve only for brides and take them outside of wedding territory.
2. Opera gloves
The second-biggest fashion trend at the Oscars seems to have come directly from Paris Fashion Week and the rest of the fall winter ’23 runways. Gloves — and more specifically, opera-style gloves, which reach up above the elbow — were everywhere.
Velvet gloves provided a head-to-toe-and-fingers effect for Tracee Ellis Ross’s Balmain look, which came directly from the brand’s fall winter ’23 runway show at PFW last week. Danielle Deadwyler’s patterned Versace mini dress and turquoise gloves also came directly from the runway, at the brand’s L.A. runway show just days earlier.
Both Rihanna and Yara Shahidi pulled looks from Bottega Veneta’s fall winter ’23 runway show for colorful, textured looks that incorporated matching gloves.
Camila Alves McConaughey also tried the look with a dramatic Louis Vuitton gown — and wore her Cartier bracelet and rings over matching gloves for a look that is pure throwback.
In real life, this Oscars and runway trend could inspire people to take their outerwear and evening looks up a few notches next fall for some vintage glamour.
3. Oversized flowers
While florals are certainly not groundbreaking (enter Miranda Priestly’s deadpan remark), and they weren’t exactly a big trend on the spring summer ’23 runways, plenty of stars chose a flower accent — and really ran with it.
Both Nicole Kidman and Michael B. Jordan opted for an oversize floral lapel situation; she in a custom Armani Privé sequined gown with a massive silvery, 3D flower on both her shoulder and her hip, while Jordan swapped his traditional Louis Vuitton tuxedo from the awards show for an oversized black flower lapel moment at the Vanity Fair Oscars party. Suki Waterhouse also opted for a supersize flower in a silver sequined Elie Saab gown. All three looks had a whiff of Carrie Bradshaw’s penchant for the flower as major accessory.
Elsewhere, Halle Berry donned a Tamara Ralph white gown with a high slit and a series of gilded rosettes, while Iris Apatow sported a sequined Colin LoCascio gown dotted with flowers, including around her neck. Tessa Thompson took the floral motif to a bralette as part of her tuxedo gown — which also included opera gloves.
With the imminent return of Carrie Bradshaw and “And Just Like That” to the HBO Max screen (where the character’s recycled fashion has factored in heavily to her updated style), we have a feeling these flowers just might start making their way into real-life statement moments alongside the show’s second season.