Gossiping about the most notorious, scandalous or just plain wacky fashion missteps is as good an excuse as any to indulge your inner Fug Girl and the biggest night in movies never disappoints when it comes to bringing out the crazy, whether it be frightful frocks, ill-advised hats or a grown woman wearing dancing apparel.
I mean, just wait till Gaga goes to the Oscars and redefines the idea of shockingly bad taste. But that's a separate rant for another time...
Here is a hand-picked selection of the biggest Oscar fashion faux-pas from the past 20 years. Share your favourite red carpet disasters in the comments below!
OH NO SHE DIDN'T
* 1987 Cher + head-piece + bare belly = Aging Vegas showgirl
Cher’s Bob Mackie creation had a distinct Spiderlady-meets-Vegas-showgirl vibe and even with a body that defies age, it’s mostly a bad thing. A gargantuan, feathered head-piece, a very bare midriff, and a half-top that bears a spider web pattern do not an Oscar gown make. On her award-winning night two years later, she bested herself with an even more scandalous gown (again a la Mackie) that was all sheer layers and barely-concealed naughty bits. This lady has tacky, overt sexuality down to an art and we wouldn't have it any other way.
* 1990 Kim Basinger: When bad dresses happen to hot women
Oh, Kim, quintessential ‘90s babe and erstwhile object of Garth’s affection – what happened here? This horrid one-sleeved dress suffers from a bad case of fashion schizophrenia and can’t decide what it wants to be – except hideous. Let’s start from the top, which marries half a blazer jacket with half a sweetheart neckline, and takes a stab at balance with a single elbow-grazing white satin glove. Things don’t get much better when we consider that the second half of this gaudy combo is a puffy skirt so obscenely voluminous it would make Glinda the Good Witch blush. Add in the harsh contrast of her alabaster skin against blood-red lips and the results are garish and costume-y at best. Did we mention that she designed it herself? Oy.
Lizzy Gardiner and Tim Chappel at the 1995 Oscars. (©A.M.P.A.S.)
Costume designer Lizzy Gardiner won an Oscar for designing the elaborate drag queen costumes in Priscilla Queen of the Desert and predictably wore a dress of her own design on the big night. While mostly a gimmicky number, her Academy Awards dress did get one thing right: its golden sheen matched the statue’s regal hue as it was made entirely of American Express cards bearing her name. Sure, she gets points for originality and an attempt to make a statement about conspicuous wealthiness while at a lavish ceremony, but wearing a dress made of plastic cards at arguably the year’s fanciest ‘do says nothing as loudly as “Look at me.” Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised that a woman who makes costumes for a living decided to make an ambitious one for herself but, in the end, it will be remembered for its ostentatious vibe and, unfortunately, not for its style.* 1999 Celine Dion Gets it Backwards
Our very own French songbird Celine Dion decided to go with John Galliano, a respected, bold-name, risk-taking British designer, for the 1999 Academy Awards. Sporting a rather non-traditional white tuxedo jacket – it was worn backwards – complete with an oversized, droopy fedora, Dion looked like she was one gilded chalice away from being in a Snoop Dogg video. This outfit was a miss from the start and it’s likely no one could have pulled it off but with wide-leg pants – she does have feet, right? – masking her petite frame, Dion was drowning in fabric and there was no one to throw her a life preserver.
* 2001 Bjork, Obvs
Two words: Swan dress. We all saw it and we all balked. Time has not dulled the shock of seeing the talented Icelandic singer wrapped in what appears to be the love-child of a stuffed animal and a figure skating costume. Yes, Bjork is definitely an individual but she should stick to making a name for herself with her ingeniously quirky music and not her fashion choices. A worst-dressed list staple for the ages, to be sure.
* 2003 Lara Flynn Boyle: Tiny dancer
Supremely slender actress Lara Flynn Boyle channelled her inner ballerina with this David Cardona creation that saw the tiny thesp wear a pink bodysuit and tutu, though she traded in pointe shoes for strappy heels, with silken ribbon winding up her slender legs like something straight out of Swan Lake. Though reminiscent of a garment Sarah Jessica Parker wore in a long-ago “Sex and the City” episode, the Oscars shouldn't be treated with the same flippant fashion sense as a day of galavanting in NYC. Also, as if this needs to be addressed, tutus are completely inappropriate for any non-dancers over the age of 10.
* 2007 Jennifer Hudson: Leave your jacket at home
Jennifer Hudson usually looks put-together and knows how to work her voluptuous frame, taking risks when she needs to or easing into a classic look when it suits her fancy. That’s why it was extra heart-breaking when she took a perfectly pretty, if not a touch tight, chocolate brown Oscar de la Renta gown and junked it up with a silver bolero jacket that wouldn’t look out of place at a line-dancing retreat. Apparently Andre Leon Talley, Vogue’s editor-at-large, was the man behind the, ahem, distinct look, and Hudson has since revealed that it wasn’t her first choice – obviously. We hope from on, she goes with her instincts.
What are some of your favourite Oscar fashion disasters? Tell us below! And head here for our complete Oscar coverage!
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