Even though awards show red carpets aren’t typically a showcase for the kind of fashion that moves the needle vis-a-vis personal style, I still love them deeply and look forward to seeing what people wear. Perhaps it’s precisely because the stakes are low that I have an especially keen appreciation for the guests who dare to wear their personalities on their sleeves.
I can understand why doing so would take courage: Choosing something out of the ordinary and maybe a little weird over something expected or flattering leaves you more vulnerable to criticism. But I like to imagine the satisfaction of wearing exactly what you want and therefore being the exact version of yourself you want to be is worth a thousand raised eyebrows.
I asked 10 Man Repeller editors and contributors to share their favorite looks of last night’s Oscars red carpet, and frankly, I couldn’t have handpicked the results better myself. The below list is a new and improved version of “best dressed,” in which the definition of that phrase goes beyond aesthetically pleasing and encompasses a characteristic that is arguably far more important: authenticity.
1. Whoopi Goldberg
Who picked this look? Harling Ross (me!), Fashion Editor
Why was it your favorite? I’m a sucker for any red carpet looks that involve sunglasses, but more than that, I love how clear it is that Whoopi had fun getting dressed. From the wide belt to the floral print reminiscent of a Mardi Gras king cake, her outfit is delightfully different and doesn’t play by any rules except those of her own making.
2. Lupita Nyong’o
Who picked this look? Yaminah Mayo, freelance writer and Man Repeller contributor
Why was it your favorite? Lupita Nyong’o’s Versace look brought Wakanda vibes to the United States, and more importantly, to the Oscars. Not only that, but the details were incredible, from the crown-like gold thread woven through her hair to her dress’s asymmetric silhouette and unusual texture. It was a bold look, but if anyone could pull it off, it’s Nakia…sorry, I mean Lupita!
3. Saoirse Ronan
Who picked this look? Haley Nahman, Digital Editor
Why was it your favorite? I generally prefer plain, structural clothing over slinky, flowy clothing, so perhaps this choice isn’t a surprising one for me. That said, I initially wrote off Saoirse’s dress due to my millennial pink fatigue. It wasn’t until the camera zoomed out and I noticed the awkward crop of the hem that I “ooohed” through a mouthful of jelly beans. I also found her look to be almost caricaturesque in its femininity (baby pink, long train, big-ass bow, cherubic cheeks) and yet managed to circumvent the more cliché red carpet signifiers of that (plunging neckline, corseted waist, high slit, fake eyelashes). It felt sort of pleasantly ironic in that ways, and seemed to suit her.
4. Timothée Chalamet
Who picked this look? Juliana Salazar, freelance consultant, brand strategist and Man Repeller contributor
Why was it your favorite? I read an interview a few weeks ago in which Timothée Chalamet told Frank Ocean he doesn’t work with a stylist, so when he showed up in an all-white suit, I felt like we were kindred spirits. I love an all-white look, and I’ve already waxed poetic about how much I love a good suit, so Timothée’s custom Berluti one (by Haider Ackermann himself) really did it for me. The sleek black boots provided the perfect contrast — simple but perfect. I was going to say I would totally wear this outfit, but then I realized I may have beaten him to the punch.
Who picked this look? Elizabeth Tamkin, Market Assistant
Why was it your favorite? I’m very into one-arm looks after seeing so many on the Fall/Winter 2017 runways, and I like that Zendaya wore a chunky diamond bracelet on her bare arm to balance out the asymmetry. I also love how the pleating creates an illusion that makes her dress look like a top and skirt from certain angles.
6. Agnes Varda
Who picked this look? Tahirah Hairston, freelance writer and Man Repeller contributor
Why was it your favorite? Aside from a few exciting outliers (Zendaya, Maya Rudolph and Eva Marie Saint), the Oscars red carpet style was putting me to sleep. Then Agnes Varda showed up in Gucci pajamas and woke me right up. Every aspect of her look (the dip-dyed hair, the matching robe, the red mock turtleneck, the tiny pink sunglasses, the white sneakers…) made it clear she was having fun. Upon further research, I learned that she also wore a purple Gucci tracksuit to the Independent Spirit Awards. Can we please get an Agnes Varda and Gucci advertising campaign STAT?
7. Viola Davis
Who picked this look? Amelia Diamond, Head of Creative
Why was it your favorite? That hot pink color is so fun to see on the red carpet. It’s a “risk” — hot pink is one of those colors that can wear its wearer — but I feel like Viola is so calm and elegant that the color works to her advantage and commands the room with her.
8. Greta Gerwig
Why was it your favorite? Greta Gerwig’s embroidered Rodarte gown leapt out from my Instagram scroll this morning (I live in Germany so I missed the Oscars due to the time difference). Gleaming like a two-legged daffodil, Greta epitomized optimism, a fitting followup to the appropriately somber black dresses of #TimesUp. Most importantly, though, her gown adhered to a golden (hehe) dressing rule we should all stitch on our underpants: A great dress is remembered for the woman in it, not the other way round.
9. Lakeith Stanfield
Who picked this look? Edith Young, Photographer and Photo Editor
Why was it your favorite? Lakeith Stanfield looked suave in his two-tone tux, which was apparently designed using sustainable silk production methods as part of the “Red Carpet Green Dress” movement. His diamond-shaped buttons were a nice touch, too. Swoon.
10. James Ivory
Who picked this look? Imani Randolph, Editorial Intern
Why was it your favorite? The next best thing to Timothée Chalamet in the flesh is Timothée Chalamet printed on a crisp, white dress shirt — thank you, James Ivory, for helping me come to that realization. (Also, where can I get one?) Mr. Ivory’s look delivered a dose of whimsy the red carpet seemed to be otherwise lacking. In a sea of tuxedo/button-down combos we’ve seen a thousand times over, Ivory’s Van Gogh-esque tribute to Call Me By Your Name‘s breakout star was heartwarming.
Feature photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage via Getty Images.