With Oscar night fast approaching, it's always fun to play a little 'pin the tail on the donkey' in terms of WHO, WHAT & WEAR. Lets call it fashions answer to fantasy football.
With most of the cool New York designers focusing on uptown vs. downtown sportswear & separates, there is really only one American label any A-Lister worth her salt can turn to if she's hoping to create a flashbulb frenzy in Oscartown. That's Marchesa.
Sure, other U.S. fashion houses make great red-carpet clobber for mere Princesses of the paparazzi, but a wannabe Queen needs something a cut above the rest.
Of course, the Marion Cotillards and Keira Knightleys of this world always have the houses of Paris to turn to; but for a Stars & Stripes waving blue-blooded A-Lister, Marchesa is as close as you can get to American Couture.
Taking their inspiration from the equestrian portraits of Goya this season, Georgina Chapman and Keren Craig, sent an exquisite array of gowns down the runway. Interestingly, however, there was also a selection of luxurious separates and cocktail dresses, perhaps suggesting a further move by the brand, away from being exclusively associated with red carpet romance.
The jackets, topcoats and trousers were all rendered in heavily hand embroidered silk wools and duchess satins, whilst the form fitting shorter cocktail silhouettes (many also exquisitely embroidered) were frothily accented with tulle and gauze. These offered tantalizingly modern takes on red carpet dressing that would only work for the most daring A-lister. (The idea of a flame haired Tilda Swinton wearing a high collared scarlet duchess satin coat with embellished burgundy silk wool trousers to the Oscars is enough to get our sartorial 'spider senses' tingling).
Then came the gowns, each one more breath-taking than the other, many with body hugging fishtail silhouettes. Jessica Rabbit, however, was nowhere to be seen. These glittering garments were more evocative of the 19th Century Tsarinas of Russia and any actress with the hutzpah to wear one of these on Oscar night would certainly find herself 'Empress' of the red-carpet, let alone merely 'Queen'.
Imagining Jessica Chastain in a 'Garnet tulle strapless fishtail gown with corset detailing and gold floral embroidery', or Anne Hathaway in a 'Grey and white striped deconstructed gown with white tulle fishtail and pale grey floral thread work' is almost too much to bear. Quite the mouthful, but no doubt, even more of an eyeful for sure.
Roll on Oscar night. Let the transatlantic battle of the couturiers commence.
By Andrew Holden in New York