Ballgowns and pantsuits: What to expect for Oscars red carpet fashion

Cameramen sit near an Oscar statue on the red carpet arrivals area along Hollywood Blvd as preparations continue for the 96th Academy Awards in Los Angeles, California U.S., March 8, 2024. (Reuters/Sarah Meyssonnier)

Celebrity stylist Jennifer Austin browses through a rack of glamorous dresses, before fluffing the bottom of a yellow frilled strapless gown.

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The frock’s voluminous shape is typical of the ballgowns expected on the red carpet at Sunday’s Oscars, but Austin, who has dressed celebrities like Angela Bassett and 2024 Oscars nominee Danielle Brooks, anticipates some more modern styles too.

“We always have our rule when it comes to the Oscars… you’re going to get their standard traditional ballgowns… a lot of long gowns,” she told Reuters.

“But honestly… I believe we’re going to see a lot of pantsuits on women.”

This awards season has seen celebrities wear styles ranging from ballgown silhouettes to embroidered and see-through dresses.

The dramatic floor sweeping gowns have nodded to “real Hollywood glamour,” according to Katie O’Malley, Elle UK site director.

“We’ve seen big grand silhouettes come back and a real celebration of design, texture and color that we haven’t actually seen for a lot of years,” O’Malley told Reuters.

“I’m loving seeing the big trains, the shawls, the opera gloves, there’s a real opulence that’s come back through the awards season.”

Among the celebrities wearing such looks have been Oscar nominee Da’Vine Joy Randolph and Brooks.

All eyes will be on them as well as best actress nominees including Lily Gladstone, Emma Stone, Carey Mulligan and Sandra Huller on Sunday.

“Carey Mulligan has shown the sophisticated, chic glamor that you can bring, whether it be an Armani Privé dress or a Dior dress. Emma Stone, as well, has been a real champion of color,” O’Malley said.

“Lily Gladstone and Sandra Huller… have just shown what it means to be not only excited by being at an award show… but also they’re bringing that injection of excitement when it comes with the fashion as well.”

As a stylist, Austin said she liked “anything that brings movement” to garments, like sequins and fringes.

“We’re creating fashion moments and texture really helps create that moment,” she said.

As well as classic tuxedos, men’s styles have included evening coats and suits with embellishments. Best actor nominees Colman Domingo and Cillian Murphy have also opted for ribbon bowties.

Red has been popular color of choice as have softer shades – for both men and women.

“We’re still seeing a lot… lilacs and pastels and the ‘Barbie’ pink is still there… but it’s starting to phase out… We’re seeing color roll into the men,” Austin said, adding white had also proved popular for men’s suits.

“We’re seeing a lot of color blocking now.”

— Reporting by Alicia Powell in Los Angeles and Marie-Louise Gumuchian in London; Writing by Marie-Louise GumuchianEditing by Frances Kerry

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