The stars arrived at the Oscars for a night of nostalgic escapismALLURE.COM

‘The show must go on’ feels fitting after months of delay and preparation to pull off the 2021 Oscars in person. After celebrities were discouraged from attending online, assured there would be plenty of safety measures, the event went ahead in-person at several locations across the globe. Following a year confined to our homes each nominee and presenter went the extra mile to prove Hollywood glamour lives on, bringing back nostalgia of pre-COVID times with a 2021 twist.

Regina King wowed in her figure-hugging blue numberINSTAGRAM / VOGUE

The stars of the evening were undoubtedly Regina King and LaKeith Stanfield. The modern royalty of Regina King’s stunning blue dress stood out, with rows of silver sequins perfectly tailored to her body and gently flaring out to a pool at the foot. The Louis Vuitton masterpiece - a magnificent show of workmanship from Ghesquiѐre and his team - dazzled with a daring 62,000 sequins, 8,400 stones and 80 meters of chain stitching. By contrast, LaKeith Stanfield’s custom Yves Saint Laurent (YSL) black jumpsuit felt subtly playful yet intelligent, blurring gender binaries seamlessly. The jumpsuit was inspired by a look from YSL’s Spring 2021 womenswear collection yet the sharp white collar against the black felt like a nod to 70s YSL womenswear. The utility pockets displayed on the front seemed reminiscent of boiler suits worn by labourers, a stereotypically male role, perfectly blending the lines between femininity and masculinity.

Carey Mulligan's stunning Valentino gown turned headsINSTAGRAM / VOGUE

Valentino also shone through dressing the stars Zendaya and Carey Mulligan. Zendaya wore a striking yellow and strapless couture gown with effortless skill. The soft chiffon material flowed beautifully in the breeze, gathering in a ruched knot around her waist with a cutout on the bust. Upon arrival she even wore a matching yellow mask upholding the utmost COVID chic. Carey Mulligan came out looking spectacularly over the top in Valentino Spring/Summer 2021 couture, a collection perfectly emblematic of the event. After Pierpaolo Piccioli’s all white couture collection in 2020 representing the clinical nature of a COVID world, the 2021 collection ushers in a return to normalcy as the classic Valentino colours work their way back into each piece. Carey Mulligan’s gold sequinned bandeau and full structured skirt showed off the vibrance and hope the collection captures. With a well-chosen necklace or a pair of gloves the look could be elevated further, embodying the drama such a ballgown skirt deserves.

Beside such standouts were a few looks that sat precariously on the edge of good and bad. Laura Dern’s Oscar De La Renta was a step up from the previous Oscars with its whimsical reference to Bjork’s swan dress. However, the stark change from black velvet to plumes of feathers was a shock to the system, needing a more seamless transition. Props to the bodacious attempt at something more fun. Leslie Odom Jr. tried to be more daring with an eye-catching, double-breasted Brioni suit reportedly made of ‘silk plated in 24K gold’. Yet the stiff and creased appearance of the material missed the mark with the look falling flat.

Margot Robbie's subdued silver look left us wanting more INSTAGRAM / VOGUE

Unfortunately Margot Robbie’s stylist yet again showed us what not to wear to the Oscars. Robbie wore a muted silver Chanel dress which looked as if she’d strolled over from a first date. The pattern was uninspiring with the clutch adding little, cementing the look as forgettable: an impressive feat for the stunning Robbie. For one of the first in-person events after a constrained year of COVID, you’d hope her stylist could muster up something more awe-inspiring.

"The gown itself would leave the Romans rolling in their graves, whilst the strange burgundy strip down the side was barely noticeable alongside the plethora of other offences"

Maria Grazia hit a new low. Her latest victim: Reese Witherspoon. Witherspoon wore a red draped dress with pleats running down it and cinched in with the classic skinny Dior belt. Grazia’s fondness for a belted dress can be off-putting, but this poorly draped toga-esque dress felt almost offensive. The gown itself would leave the Romans rolling in their graves whilst the strange burgundy strip down the side was barely noticeable alongside the plethora of other offences. With Dior known for its 50s ‘New Look’ which created an iconic shape for womenswear, this oddly shaped dress was a true fall from grace.

LaKeith Stanfield stood out with his tailored YSL look challenging gender binariesEONLINE.COM

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After a year of tireless lockdowns, the fashions nevertheless felt refreshingly fun. From LaKeith Stanfield’s iconic sharp collar to Zendaya’s iconic colour choice, 70s fun loving seems to be taking over the 2020s. The embracing of feminine fashions, from Colman Domingo’s hot pink suit to LaKeith Standfield’s jumpsuit, confidently rejected toxic masculinity. All in all, the Oscars presented a mixed bag with some brilliant highs and some unfortunate lows. Perhaps a symbolic lesson for emerging from the pandemic, we can’t expect all fashion to be perfect but must embrace experimentation as restrictions loosen.