Jewish Journal


February 24, 2010

So You Think You Can Design; “Oscars Designer Challenge 2010”



The Oscars aren’t really about the films, actors, directors, producers and so on.  Right?  Well, maybe a little.  It’s all about the red carpet style.

So, who wouldn’t want the chance to design a dress for the Oscars?  (Well me, for one, because I woudn’t know what I was doing, but that’s besides the point.)  Nine up-and-coming designers were selected by Patty Fox, Oscar fashion coordinator, along with an advisory committee, to design a dress for the “Oscars Designer Challenge 2010.”  I was invited to attend the pre-Oscar fashion event that was held yesterday, February 23rd, at the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, where the designers showed off their creations on the runway. 

The designers hailed from Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and Phoenix.  The Los Angeles designers include Fernanda Carneiro, Phong Hong, Oday Shakar, Ari Sheuhmelian and Oliver Tolentio.  Also participating are Elda De La Rosa from Chicago, Ivy Higa and Kelsy Zimba from New York, as well as Rania Salibi from Phoenix.  Each designer was paired up with Los Angeles-based models, whom if chosen will be presenting an Oscar at the 82nd Academy Awards on March 7, 2010. 

I got a sneak peak at the dresses and trends for the 82nd annual Academy Awards.  According to Fox, this year the trend will be shapely silhouettes and exposed necklines.  And silhouettes and exposed necklines were definitely apparent in the beautiful designs created by the participating designers.  All the dresses were beautiful and designed for one night only.  Fox stated, “The true definition of couture: one gown, for one body, for one night.”  Fashion expert Carson Kressley was also on hand with his fashion expertise.  He made it clear that he liked the sparkle dress.

All the gowns were accessorized with diamonds (of course, what else) by Martin Katz.  Although all the dresses were beautiful, the dress that stood out the most for me was a simple, yet elegant black chiffon mermaid gown designed by Fernanda Carneiro.  The simple elegance stood out for me, as well as the 56-carat diamond chain belt that was worn with it.  Another stunning gown was designed by Oday Shakar - a metallic French lace gown over one shoulder.  (Although I am not a fan of the one shoulder gowns, because I am always wondering what happened to the other strap.  Lost in a fight?  Maybe it is just the OCD part of me.)  The dress was covered with Swarovski crystals that looked amazing under all the lights.  Shakar explained that the inspiration for his dress was “an evening of stars” - very apropos.

There was even a sustainable dress made of ivory pineapple and abaca fiber by designer Oliver Tolentino.  It was adorned with freshwater pearls from the Philippines.

You can see these gowns for yourself at Oscar.com and vote for your favorite.  The competition can be viewed on Oscar.com between March 3-8 on “Behind the Dress,” a web series.  The winner will be announced during the Oscars red carpet arrivals on March 7 at 5 p.m. PT.  Be sure to vote for your favorite to see it on the red carpet…so that your choice will be there, if you won’t be.  You can still feel like you are part of the action.

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