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Oscar Always Looks Good in Gold, but What About the Rest of Us?

March 25, 1994|ANN CONWAY and PATRICK MOTT

S eductive but simple. Slinky yet sensible. Those are the catch phrases that came to mind on Monday night when we watched the fashion parade on the Oscar telecast. Come to think of it, the same words could be applied to the awards ceremony. The whole climate was meaningful and elegant . Did it hail a New Age of Innocence ? We know you're dying to hear our take on the glad rags ogled by 1 billion people . . .

SHE: What would I wear to the Academy Awards, given the opportunity to wear any of the get-ups I saw on Monday night? Tough call. I loved Sharon Stone's less-is-more-look, a sleek black flared number with dramatic neckline. Very California. Goldie Hawn's scanty cream silhouette was also a knockout, but I'd need two years (10 years?) with a personal trainer to sport that one. Give me Emma Thompson's shimmering silver pantsuit. It was very Old Tinseltown. High glamour. Very Norma Desmond.

HE: What would I wear if I could have my pick of any of the outfits? Geez, I kind of liked that backless white Vera Wang gown that Marisa Tomei had on and . . .

Oh. Sorry. Lost my mind for a second. Heck, I'd settle for looking as good in a tuxedo as Tom Hanks does. I was glad to see that most of the guys at the ceremonies realized that there's really no improving on the basic tux design. Christian Slater, Pete Postlethwaite and Liam Neeson wore entirely black outfits (Slater and Neeson didn't even wear ties), but for the most part the gents recognized the appeal of blazing white underneath all that black.

Besides--forgive me for repeating this truism--at a formal affair, the guys aren't supposed to attract attention. They're supposed to provide a clean background to accentuate the women they're with.

SHE: Unless they sport exotic whiskers like Cruise, Pacino and Keneally. Then they stand out. Who's Keneally, you say? None other than Orange County's own Thomas Keneally, author of the book "Schindler's List."

For the Academy Awards, the Irishman who hails from Down Under wore a new tux purchased at Fashion Island Newport Beach by his wife, Judy. Keneally accessorized it with gold-edged black studs and cuff links imprinted with the UC Irvine seal. (Keneally is a distinguished professor of English and comparative literature at UCI).

Judy Keneally searched high and low for her outfit, begrudging every minute. "I'm not much of a shopper," she confessed the day before the Academy Awards. She trucked to Fashion Island and came up with a zero. "Everything seemed too small," she said.

But a stop at the Escada boutique at South Coast Plaza, Costa Mesa, paid off. There, she found a glorious midnight-blue satin skirt with matching embroidered organza blouse. Accenting her outfit with sentimental pieces of jewelry--including a gold bracelet engraved with "Love Conquers All" (a gift from Tom at the premiere of "Schindler's List")--she looked like a million.

Their daughter, Jane, 26, wore a simple long brown dress that buttoned down the front and was slit up the side. Jane didn't get to go to the awards ceremony. She watched it at a party staged at Spielberg's Amblin Studios in Universal City.

HE: I wanted to kiss Winona Ryder (for a reason apart from the obvious one) because she had the guts to give the designers a miss and go with an old, but spectacular, vintage gown. She actually apologized for it to one interviewer, saying she knew it was a '40s-era dress and didn't know where it came from. Who cared? She made a lot of the more trendy women look thoroughly minor league.

Too bad a few of the guys couldn't have followed that example. What is it with this banded-collar-and-no-tie stuff? Do Cruise, Antonio Banderas, Jeff Bridges, Johnny Depp and Gabriel Byrne think they're being dangerously rebellious or something? They looked like they rolled out of bed, threw on the tux and forgot to put on a shirt.

SHE: It eliminates the need for a tie. I think they're sensible, simple, and yes, seductive. Banded collars make a woman want to slip her fingers inside them, make sure her sweetie's neck isn't getting too warm.

I got a hoot out of Whoopi. Loved her quick-change act from chocolate velvet gown to licorice Armani tux. Next time I hit a gala, I think I'll tote an extra gown. I'll wear the first one--a black number, natch--through the dessert course.

And then, just before they bring on the Peach Melba, I'll slip into a shocking red number just to see if anyone notices. My bet is my husband, Bob, will say, "What'd you do to your hair?"

HE: Even better: "Did you suddenly lose weight?"

Turnabout being fair play, how about this: Before they haul out the cognac, I duck into a convenient phone booth and remove my stylish, perfectly correct Perry Ellis tux and climb into an Armani and a shirt with a banded collar. Then someone will look at me and say, "Were you wearing long underwear when you first came in?"

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