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Page 2 / IDEAS, TRENDS, STYLE AND BUZZ | Fashion Notes

Gowns of Renown: Oscar's Glamour and Glitz of Yesteryear

March 24, 2000|MICHAEL QUINTANILLA | TIMES FASHION WRITER

And the little bald statuette goes to . . . Patty Fox for her historical--and funny--new tome on togs at the Oscars.

"Star Style at the Academy Awards" (Angel City Press, $30) takes movie fans on a memorable stroll, chronicling every fashionable star who ever sashayed her fabulously coutured body onto the Academy Awards stage.

From the first ceremony at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel in 1929 to the century's closing act last year at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Fox tells the behind-the-scenes story of historic gowns and the glamour gals who wore them.

There's Cher in her towering feather-duster look at the telecast in 1986. Madonna voguing a la Marilyn Monroe in 1991. And Bette Davis--yes, we love you--wearing a sequined and jeweled gold helmet in 1955. (She'd shaved her head for her role as Queen Elizabeth I in "The Virgin Queen.")

"The thought process for this book has been a long one," says Fox, a former fashion consultant to the Academy Awards program and former West Coast fashion director for Saks Fifth Avenue.

In fact, it was while she worked for Saks that the seed for her book was planted because, she said, "everybody I spoke to wanted to talk about the Academy Awards and all those dresses."

In more than 150 photos, the range of taste is explored--from vintage frocks to drop-dead dresses, as well as the multimillion dollar jewels worn.

"These days," Fox said, "the red carpet has become the celebrity catwalk. Movie stars are the real supermodels."

*

The Academy Awards has finally gone to the dogs. Well, one dog in particular: Sweetie, Elle magazine's canine contributing editor who's in town to cover the Oscars.

The adorable 6-year-old 14-pound mutt, whose "Inside Fashion" column is trance-channeled through one of her humans, Mark Welsh (her other human is designer John Bartlett), started her fashionista fido gig three months ago and gets more than 1,000 e-mail hits a week.

Negotiations are underway for Sweetie to walk the red carpet Sunday--and in a $2.5 million Harry Winston necklace yet. (You can bet she won't be the only dog there.)

"Sweetie will give a mutt's view of the week at the Oscars," Welsh said. "A sort of mix-breed girl's view of things."

And what a view. Already, Sweetie, who has a book deal in the works and a walk-on in a movie, has lapped up star attention from Hilary Swank, Sandra Bullock, Minnie Driver and Heather Graham.

Talk about dog tired.

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