Top 10 Best and Worst Dressed at the Oscars 2021

93rd Academy Awards: the moral of the story is that great actors don’t always make the best fashion choices at the Oscars. Let’s just blame the pan-seared salmon for this array of lacklustre, aggressively mediocre red carpet fashion.

Before I get into this clothing condemnation, let me caveat my thoughts by telling you that I’m not a stylist. I didn’t study Fashion at CSM and I buy most of my clothes from charity and vintage shops. So, take this is a heaped teaspoon of salt because I’m just a f*gg*t with 20/20 vision, good(ish) taste, and lots of opinions.

Ashley Fox 

The producer of Promising Young Women came dressed to the 2s in the ruffled long-sleeved evening gown. The minimalist makeup was matched up with a 2nd term of beauty school side-pony. To be honest, it’s not all about serving red carpet eleganza extravaganza at the Oscars if that doesn’t make you feel comfortable but the placement and the amount of the ruffles just gives me Easter Sunday at the local Pentecostal church. Choices were made and the ensemble was…nice.

Zendaya 

Wow, so Zendaya really stepped out here in her Valentino Haute Couture (with matching mask), Bulgari jewelry, and Jimmy Choo platforms and said: “When I walk into a room, it’s the middle of winter and I’m the sun”. The makeup, hair and attitude were all so effortless and worked seamlessly with the joyful explosion of yellow that Law Roach chose for the Oscars. This is a great example of when a stylist, hair & makeup artist, and client are all on the same wavelength and share a vision.

Lakeith Stanfield 

The Judas and the Black Messiah actor playfully roasted his ensemble via a post on his Instagram, so I think he’s fully aware of his choice. This YSL number just didn’t fit. I don’t know if it’s the colour, the cut of the trouser or if there was an accessory missing. We applaud Lakeith for taking a risk because most CIS HET men on red carpets play it very safe with a blue or black suit. Once in a while, you’ll see one of the gowrls in a velvet blazer or a sequin number *eye roll*. This just missed the mark for me, but we see what he was going for. To really set this off, Lakeith could have served us some platforms and chunky jewellery, to give us the full 70s fantasy. Yes, some may think it looks costume-y but we just need our stars to fully commit to these looks and put on a show.

H.E.R

Of course, she won the award for best song LOOK AT H.E.R. This cobalt blue beaded look by Peter Dundas is everything! Matched with the Rapunzel style inches, plum glasses, and lips, this musical genius didn’t come to play. I mean, look at the material – need I say more? This is giving Princess Jasmine, it’s giving mystical enchantress, it’s giving she read the brief and delivered exactly what we wanted at the 2021 Oscars.

Cary Mulligan 

A gold, Valentino Couture two-piece wore Cary Mulligan to the 2021 Oscars. There’s nothing wrong with the garment but it ATE her. She didn’t look that comfortable or confident in the outfit and in my can’t sew, can’t draw, not a designer or stylist opinion it was too much dress for her small proportions and the colour washer her out and even swallowed her extremely pared back hair and makeup.

Tiara Thomas

A vision in all-white, the best song winner Tiara Thomas stunned us in her custom suit by designer Jovana Louis, embellished in H.Dayan & Co diamonds. But the cherry, on the icing, on the cake, is the braids and the baby hairs. There’s nothing that makes my heart sing more than Black people, especially Black women, rocking braids at red carpet events.  This braid parade was led by Rihanna at the 2019 British Fashion Awards and more recently by Symone, the season 13 winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race. It’s a celebration of Blackness and reclaiming the things we were told are “unprofessional,” “ghetto,” and “nappy,” reinforcing the message that there is nothing more elegant than a head full of braids.

Olivia Coleman 

Don’t get me wrong, we LOVE Olivia Coleman. We love her in The Crown, The Favourite and her 73 questions with Vogue is hilarious, witty, and charming. However, this scarlet number by Christian Dior was just not in vogue. There were just too many elements: the high neck which made her look like a floating head, the ruching around the collar and shoulders, and the cuffed long sleeves with the unfortunate puffs. It gave me the vibe that someone (possibly her inner saboteur) told her she needs to “dress her age,” which sometimes pushes people to suck all the fun out of fashion and wear unflattering costumes that do nothing to fan the flames of fun and whimsy that live within us all.

Regina King 

Excellent. 10/10. We love to see it. All phrases that came to mind when this Hollywood legend and icon graced us with this custom Louis Vuitton butterfly fantasy. It’s rare that you see Regina King not serving on a red carpet. She always looks rich, successful and radiant. 62,000 Sequins, 3,900 Crystals & 140 Hours wouldn’t look this good on anyone else. Everything from the hair, makeup and light touch of diamonds buy Forevermark come together to produce a vision of timeless beauty.  Take note hes, shes and theys; THIS is how you dress for the Oscars.

Halle Berry 

Urban dictionary describes a bus driver wig as “A short, cheap wig… it’s essentially a brown version of an early 2000’s short emo haircut” and that’s what Ms. Berry was serving. Her Dolce and Gabbana gown was lovely but it’s the wig for me. I can see what she was going for but it just made the whole look read as tired, exhausted, and “I had to be here”. Maybe long thin platinum or white gold chain would have given the look a sense of occasion, but all-in-all the vision wasn’t well thought out. The wig shouldn’t have even made it into the possession of such an icon like Halle Berry.

Colman Domingo

FINALLY, men are starting to take calculated and well-thought-out fashion risks on the red carpet. Colman Domingo’s custom Versace Hot Pink Suit is everything and a nod to Lil Nas X’s Versace creation at the 2020 Grammys. The colour was a perfect compliment to his deep complexion and the body-hugging tailoring screams the iconic house of Versace. 4,500 Swarovski crystals and 150 hours later this masterpiece was completed and Colman did his bit for the culture by pushing the boundaries of what is deemed as acceptable for Black men to wear, especially on a world stage.

If you want to see some more looks that go even further beyond the gender binaries then check out our Young Designer Spotlight on Creature Featur3.