Oscars 2024 Fashion: Hollywood Brings Its Star Wattage and a Modern Touch to Vintage Looks

Oscar Fashion

Last year's historic Best Actress winner Michelle Yeoh arrives on the red carpet at the 96th annual Academy Awards on March 10, 2024. Photo: Christina House/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

In a ceremony short on surprises, it was left to the half-time show of fashion, the Oscars’ Red Carpet, to bring the drama at the Academy Awards on Sunday night. It started with a procession of architectural black gowns – a contrast to the white and cream popular during awards season and perhaps a nod to the serious subject matter of the Best Picture nominees. To wit, many celebrities wore red pins to signify the desire for a Gaza ceasefire. 

But it’s Tinseltown after all, and embellishment and colour took centre stage soon enough.

Best Actor nominee for Rustin, Colman Domingo, “set the tone saying he wanted to ‘shine like a diamond’ as a sense of a more sophisticated fashion palette emerged,” said Nicholas Mellamphy, Creative Director At Large for The Room, Hudson’s Bay.

His other picks for standout style statements were Best  Supporting Actress America Ferrara’s on brand Barbie – pink, corseted,  chainmail Versace – “the fit on it, beyond,” he said.  He also praised  Anya Taylor Joy’s  “recreated custom Dior”  because “it says big movie star dreams.”

Which is the point.

“I don’t think the red carpet impacts retail sales,” Mellamphy explained, “but what it does do is bring a greater awareness to brands and drives desire.” The biggest beneficiaries are hip insider brands like Loewe. It will  become more mainstream after being worn tonight by long-time A-lister Jodie Foster, among others.

Jodie Foster at the 96th Annual Academy Awards. Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images


And while that “desire” might not translate into dollars for luxury clothing – the fashion adjacent accessories, fragrance and makeup are more accessible dream merchants. That said, the jury’s still out as to whether Cynthia Erivo’s custom Louis Vuitton mashup of green leather, 80s batwing sleeves and a Jurassic Park–inspired train would translate into a duffle bag buy. However it may sell tickets to the upcoming Wicked movie musical, as the look was coded to her green-skinned character Elphaba, aka The Wicked Witch of The West. See her co-star Ariana Grande, who she presented with, below.

Cynthia Erivo and Ariana Grande speak onstage during the 96th Annual Academy Awards. Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images


The beauty trend of the night was fresh and uncontrived, with bobs and ponytails or loose and unstructured hair and natural, minimal make-up looks. And no competition for the liberal lashing of bling – for both men and women. Couples like Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen, Dwayne Wade and Gabrielle Union, Matthew McConaughey and Camila Alves, as well as Jack Fisk and Sissy Spacek, were outfitted so in sync that they were each other’s best accessory.

Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen. Photo: John Shearer/WireImage
Matthew McConaughey and Camila Alves. Photo: John Shearer/WireImage/Getty Images
Oscars 2024
Jack Fisk and Sissy Spacek. Photo: Christina House / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images


And rather than just being marketing vehicles for brands, the best dressed were those whose choices showcased their personal style. It made for an  individualistic and diverse red carpet sure to set trends for being the stuff that  fashion fantasies are made of.


1)  Dark & Sculptural

Clockwise: Sandra Hüller Rita Moreno, Catherine O’Hara. Photos: Getty Images


Best Actress nominee for Anatomy of a Fall, Sandra Hüller went dark and sculptural in a show-stopping custom Schiaparelli gown and Cartier jewelry.

A La Mode: Legendary EGOT winner  Rita Moreno and Canadian treasure Catherine O’Hara – the latter wearing Rodarte, from the California-based sister duo Kate and Laura Mulleavy, and reuniting with Michael Keaton to present an award during the 35th anniversary year of their classic film Beetlejuice.


2) Maximalist Minimalist

Clockwise: Colman Domingo, Simu Liu, Ryan Gosling. Photos: Getty Images


After burning up the red carpet the entire awards season, Domingo saved the best for last with this maximalist minimalist take on tuxedo dressing – a sleek  Western inspired silhouette, including cowboy boots from Pharrell’s Louis Vuitton collection, with David Yurman jewelry.

A La Mode: The Canadians were “definitely a 10 and more than Ken.” Simu Liu brought it in a Fendi ensemble with an asymmetric bejeweled closure, while Best Supporting Actor nominee Ryan Gosling kept it cool in black on black custom Gucci with silver piping. No ties necessary.


3) Sparkle & Shine

Clockwise: Michelle Yeoh, Zendaya, Emily Blunt. Photos: Getty Images


Last year’s Best Actress winner Michelle Yeoh already has Oscar gold, so she returned to the red carpet to sparkle & shine in edgily-draped silver sequinned Balenciaga.

A La Mode: After  shutting down international red carpets on the Dune: Part Two press tour,  Zendaya gave a timeless fashion moment with an L.A. appropriate palm tree patterned Armani Prive. Meanwhile, the floating straps and trompe-l’oeil men’s boxer shorts on Emily Blunt’s Spring 2024 Haute Couture Schiaparelli dress couldn’t overshadow her Tiffany & Co. diamonds.


4) Bright Lights

Clockwise: Regina King, Ke Huy Quan, Melissa McCarthy. Photos: Getty Images


Colour shined on this red carpet, but past Oscar winner Regina King was a bright light in a strategically cut Atelier Versace.

A La Mode: Last year’s Best Supporting Actor winner Ke Huy Quan was dapper and not too traditional  due to the ox-blood shade of his textured Armani tuxedo. Don’t try this at home but Melissa McCarthy fearlessly combined hot pink with fire engine red for a fashion risk that paid off.


5) Couture Callback

Clockwise: Anya Taylor-Joy, Carey Mulligan, Lupita Nyongo. Photos: Getty Images


Taylor-Joy led the  couture call back in a haute couture Dior inspired by the brand’s iconic Fall 1949/1950 Venus gown, paired with Tiffany &Co.

A La Mode: Best Actress nominee for Maestro Carey Mulligan followed suit to stun in a custom Balenciaga gown which was created from a 1951  velvet and tulle dress by the house. The colour of Lupita Nyongo’s feathered Armani Prive column was a tribute to the 10th Anniversary of her win for Best Supporting Actress, when she famously wore a “Nairobi Blue” Prada dress.


6) Heritage Classics Chic

Clockwise: Billie Eilish, Andrea Riseborough, Justine Triet. Photos: Getty Images


Oscar winner for Best Original Song Billie Eilish also had an original take on evening wear with the heritage classics chic  of tweed and houndstooth and office essentials like the white shirt, black blazer and Mary Janes.

A La Mode: Andrea Riseborough wore a  plaid Loewe dress which  paired with the brand’s cult flamenco day bag, putting a twist on the sense  of occasion. Winner of the Best Original Screenplay Oscar for Anatomy of A Fall, director Justine Triet was glam but all business in a sleek pinstriped suit by Louis Vuitton.


7)  Red Carpet Royal

Clockwise: Lily Gladstone, Ariana Grande, Emma Stone. Photos: Getty Images


Lily Gladstone’s historic nomination as the first Native American woman to be nominated for Best Actress for Killers of the Flower Moon meant that her dress had to meet the moment. And it did, in a manner that can only be called red carpet royal. Her column sheath by Sabato De Sarno for Gucci was designed in collaboration with Indigenous artist Joe Big Mountain, who festooned the deep purple velvet train and bodice trim with authentic floral quillwork motifs.

A La Mode:  Emma Stone, who pipped Gladstone to win the Best Actress Oscar – her second – for Poor Things wearing a custom embossed Louis Vuitton gown in a seafoam sorbet shade. A master of construction, its  exaggerated oyster- shell -reminiscent peplum was regal, broken zipper notwithstanding.

Ariana Grande’s custom Giambattista Valli  Haute  Couture gown not only channeled her Glinda, the Good Witch character in the upcoming Wicked, ( see Cynthia Erivo, above ) but featured a “Princess and  the Pea” poofy cloak that she wore around her elbows to recall  18th century panniers.


8) Satin Doll

Clockwise: Charlize Theron, Florence Pugh, Dwayne Johnson, aka The Rock. Photos: Getty Images


Past Oscar winner Charlize Theron never disappoints. In a liquid bias cut Christian Dior Couture gown, she was a satin doll channelling the silver screen star of Hollywood’ s Golden Age.

A La Mode: Rising star Florence Pugh  put a Young Hollywood spin on the style in this ensemble by Del Core,  adding a hard-ware caged bodice and au courant floating straps to the bias cut skirt.

Her other bow to tradition – leaving her ever present septum nose ring at home. Not quite Chippedales and not quite disco, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson defied explanation and expectations by rolling up in this Dolce & Gabbana three-piece look.


9) Modern Dandy

Clockwise: Bradley Cooper, Cillian Murphy, Kingsley Ben-Adir. Photos: Getty Images


Nominated  for Best Director, Best Actor, Best Picture and Best Screenplay for his tour de force Maestro, Bradley Cooper once again went home empty handed. But his custom modern dandy look – a sleek double blazer kicked up a notch with Western turquoise buttons and a 70s silhouette – courtesy of Pharrell’s Louis Vuitton was a winner.

A La Mode: Best Actor Winner Cillian Murphy took home the gold in a sharp-shouldered custom Versace tux paired with Chelsea boots, a black silk bow tie and a brooch that referenced the nuclear bomb at the centre of his film Oppenheimer.  Meanwhile Kingsley Ben Adir – who played a Ken – in an impeccable Gucci tuxedo and the brand’s trademark Horsebit Loafers is worlds away from the denim and dreadlocks he sported as Bob Marley in One Love.


10) Go With The Flow

Clockwise: Greta Lee, Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Laverne Cox. Photos: Getty Images


This award season’s red carpet darling, Greta Lee , star of the Best Picture nominee Past Lives, finished strong by going with the flow  in Loewe.

A La Mode: Winning Best Supporting Actress for The Holdovers,  Da’Vine Joy Randolph took home every award she was nominated for this season and kept her fashion clean sweep going too in this custom Louis Vuitton. Vintage Mugler has become a bit of a thing too. While on the said Dune: Part Two press tour, Zendaya broke the internet in a 1996 space age suit of armour from the brand, with Barbie herself Margot Robbie heading to the post ceremony  Vanity Fair Oscar party in a metallic playsuit from that year. Not to be outdone, on the red carpet Laverne Cox sported Ready To Wear Mugler from Fall 1986, proving that in decades long fashion cycles, what goes around comes around.