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And the Oscar Goes to . . .

"I would love to dress everyone...but what all these actresses this year have in common is great style, lots of personality and that star quality that makes the red carpet come alive."
                                                               -Donatella Versace

With the People's Choice Awards and the Golden Globes just behind us, Oscar nominations announced on Tuesday, and the Screen Actors Guild Awards tonight, the awards season is upon us. The red-carpet, star-studded nights are almost as important to fashion designers as the actors being acknowledged. Every top designer has one goal at this time of year: to dress an A-list celebrity for one of these glitzy affairs.

The Academy Awards began in 1929 and, despite all the glamour now, there was a time when some of the leading actors in Hollywood shunned the ceremony. According to Bronwyn Cosgrave, fashion historian and author of the book Made for Each Other: Fashion and the Academy Awards, "It wasn't cool--it was an obligation. Louis B. Mayer and Adolph Zukor had to twist arms. The chic women didn't go. Hollywood bred rebels in the 20s and 30s who didn't want to hang out with V.I.P.s in penguin suits." Over time, the Oscars did gain popularity among celebrities and the public with a big emphasis placed on fashion.

In 1954, Audrey Hepburn, who had impeccable personal style, was outfitted by Givenchy for the Academy Awards. She glowed in a pretty white floral dress as she accepted her award for Best Actress in Roman Holiday. Four years later in 1958, an article was published in the New York Times titled, "Film Queens Win 'Oscars' for Fashions." The piece included tidbits about the last-minute fashion decisions of Mae West and Zsa Zsa Gabor and how that impacted a radio report of the ceremony. It also stated that, "The Academy hinted to all who participated that extremely low dresses were not welcome." It went on to say that there was a few feet of tulle available that night just in case any of the necklines "had to be built up at the last minute." I highly doubt Hollywood starlets would go for that today, but it's funny to think about. 

I didn't watch the Golden Globes this year, but I saw pictures and became obsessed with the Atelier Versace gown worn by Angelina Jolie. It was stunning. I decided to make an every day top similar to the Versace dress, so I rummaged through my scraps and found the perfect red and ivory fabrics. I also made a skirt using a homespun cotton and sewed piping along the bottom to tie in the red accent on the top. I'm not a big fan of the "looks for less" often seen in magazines because they never look as good as the original design, but this would definitely be classified as my "look for less."