Was this the worst night in Oscars manner background?

Created by Oscar Holland, CNN

This 7 days marks two a long time given that Hollywood served up a person of its worst-obtained pink carpets of all time. On a evening of large wins for “A Lovely Thoughts” and the very first “Lord of the Rings,” 2002’s Academy Awards had been — in accurate Y2K design — awash with spaghetti straps, seen midriffs and shapeless eveningwear.
At the time, previous Cosmopolitan editor Marcelle d’Argy Smith branded it a “night time of vogue blunders,” right before calling out various stars for their attempts. Julia Roberts, in a black Armani gown, looked “boring” Whoopi Goldberg, who hosted the ceremony dressed like a glittering peacock, introduced “a form of circus element to the proceedings” and Barbra Streisand was “swathed” in a velvet burgundy “wrap/tent/curtain.”

Far more damming critiques ended up saved for the year’s best supporting actress, Jennifer Connelly, who opted for a dishwater-colored tulle gown and not-pretty-matching scarf (a shade described by Smith as “pale dung-coloured,” and by Scripps Howard information company as “phlegm-colored”). Elsewhere, Cameron Diaz divided views in a floral print gown, ’80s Oscar-nominee Sally Kirkland sported an sick-suggested bejeweled bindi and Faith Hill took a painfully literal method by teasing her functionality of “Someplace About the Rainbow” with a strappy rainbow-colored Versace gown.

Variously described as "pale dung-colored" and "phlegm-colored," Jennifer Connelly's gown was one of the night's many flops.

Variously described as “pale dung-coloured” and “phlegm-colored,” Jennifer Connelly’s gown was a single of the night’s several flops. Credit rating: Steve Granitz/WireImage/Getty Visuals

The night will, nonetheless, often be remembered for a person of the most maligned outfits in Oscars history: Gwyneth Paltrow’s notorious “goth” dress (pictured best). The formless Alexander McQueen creation highlighted a scrunched-up taffeta skirt and sheer bodice that still left little to the imagination. The actress’ hefty eye makeup and milkmaid braid served secure the outfit’s place on “worst-dressed” lists for decades to appear.

In a characteristically slicing overview of the evening’s appears to be like, long-time Vogue editor Suzy Menkes, then of the Worldwide Herald Tribune, wrote that the evidently bra-much less Paltrow “appeared like she was off to see her private coach.” (She also explained Connolly as getting “drear as a drowned nymph”). The Guardian’s fashion writer Jess Cartner-Morley meanwhile wrote that the star “came a cropper” in “gap-yr plaits, goth eye make-up and clunky jewelry.”

There was, arguably, worse to come. At the Vainness Truthful afterparty, “Satisfy Joe Black” star Claire Forlani wore what can only be described as a sequined breastplate held up by perilously slender string ties Selma Blair arrived in a hardly-there fringe gown that looked extra like a shabby tablecloth and Heather Mills opted for a bizarre midriff-bearing two-piece. Actress and writer Suzanne Somers’ dress may easily have doubled up as low cost curtains, and Television set host Daisy Fuentes showed up in denims and a shirt, as if she had overlooked it was one of Hollywood’s most special parties.

The afterparty saw even more classic Y2K style, like Claire Forlani's open-backed crop top.

The afterparty observed even extra common Y2K design, like Claire Forlani’s open up-backed crop leading. Credit score: Gregg DeGuire/WireImage/Getty Visuals

Most uninteresting ‘of all time’

What genuinely irked vogue critics was not the well-intentioned flops, but the collective absence of ambition. Just a calendar year soon after Björk’s unforgettably eccentric swan dress, 2002’s pink carpet felt like a meek, small-threat affair.
This may have been for excellent motive. Held just 6 months after the 9/11 attacks, the function was engulfed by hyped-up stability and an understandably restrained ambiance. Armed police stood guard, stars were despatched as a result of metal detectors and manner-watchers who were blessed enough to protected a seat on the pink carpet had to undertake new history checks, the LA Occasions claimed. In retaining with the national mood, quite a few stars arrived in respectfully very low-crucial robes, with Reese Witherspoon, Glenn Close, Helen Hunt and Renée Zellweger between the numerous celebrities to wear black that night time.

This was no excuse for Menkes, however. Contacting attendees’ attempts “the most uninteresting Oscar outfits of all time,” the critic singled out Naomi Watts’ unadventurous corseted costume from a “sea of black,” crafting that “even Gucci, commonly a lifeless cert for pretty garments” had designed the star appear “sedate.”

Naomi Watts was one of several stars opting for low-risk black gowns.

Naomi Watts was a single of many stars opting for lower-threat black gowns. Credit: KMazur/WireImage/Getty Photographs

Samantha Critchell, then a vogue writer for the Affiliated Press, was far more diplomatic, describing the evening’s red carpet as a person of “conservative” style on which “several stars played it safe.” Looking back again, 20 many years on, she attributed their fashion alternatives not to 9/11, but to trepidation encompassing the surging desire in pink carpet fashion.
“In the early 2000s, manner became a microcosm for the relaxation of the environment,” she explained to CNN in a cellular phone job interview. “I started off masking the red carpet with Jennifer Lopez’s how-did-it-remain-shut Versace robe (at the 2000 Grammys) — we didn’t do ‘night-of’ coverage of the manner in the ‘hard-news’ media until eventually that moment.

“There grew to become a realization that those people attire have been likely to define you. And I feel it experienced additional to do with the increase of style as a pop-lifestyle power — and a true-time force — and knowing that persons were sat at dwelling judging these outfits.

“There was no E! and no pre-demonstrate until then, and I assume that options were being possibly safer due to the fact of not understanding how to navigate that.”

As for the riskier appears to be, Critchell theorized that quite a few celebrities were “actively playing towards form” by providing a thing sudden or distinct from former outings. Nicole Kidman’s frilly pink Chanel gown contrasted with the classy chartreuse Dior gown she famously wore to 1997’s ceremony, while Jennifer Lopez’s traditional gown and bouffant hairstyle was juxtaposed from the raunchier seems to be she’d come to be recognized for.

Sally Kirkland sports a bejewled bindi as part of her gold-and-silver look.

Sally Kirkland sporting activities a bejewled bindi as portion of her gold-and-silver appear. Credit score: David Lefranc/Gamma-Rapho/Getty Illustrations or photos

Even Paltrow’s outfit can be seen as an try to avoid staying pigeonholed, Critchell explained. “She experienced been the princess a few decades just before (in 1999) in that pink Ralph Lauren costume, and I think she was taking part in from that,” she added.

“Famous people didn’t have a likelihood to clearly show their other sides in the way they do now. You previously know them, you what their style is, you know their view on all the things. But it wasn’t unusual in 2002, or any of all those other (pre-social media) yrs, for anyone to enjoy in opposition to what they did right before, because they failed to want to be stereotyped.”

Rays of hope

There have been a handful of hits amid the flops that evening. Kate Winslet’s a person-shouldered Ben de Lisi costume was extensively praised, and the evening’s guys fared better amongst critics, with Will Smith praised for his Ozwald Boateng accommodate and gold tie.
One of the night's few winners: Halle Berry in Elie Saab.

One of the night’s couple winners: Halle Berry in Elie Saab. Credit history: Steve Granitz/WireImage/Getty Pictures

There was genuinely only one winner, nevertheless — on equally the purple carpet and the awards stage. On her way to turning into the first Black woman to claim the Academy Award for ideal actress, Halle Berry surprised in gown that reworked the fortunes of its designer, Elie Saab. Like Paltrow’s outfit, it consisted of sheer top rated and taffeta skirt, even though Berry oozed glamour in crimson and champagne, with strategically put floral detailing completing the glance.

“I consider Halle Berry’s outfit has stood the examination of time,” Critchell reported. “It is really not a dress an individual would wear right now, but she was the belle of the ball. She was predicted to win and, as style writers, we ended up all ready for her transform. It fulfilled the second it was memorable, and it was appropriate for a ideal actress.”

Nonetheless, though the outfit is now deemed among the the Oscars’ ideal-ever appears, it wasn’t a hit with absolutely everyone on the night. The Guardian’s Cartner-Morley wrote that Berry’s outfit, total with its “gaudy embroidered net bodice,” had offered “loads to cringe about.”

Related video clip: A short background of the pink carpet

Her contrarian acquire serves as a reminder that excellent purple carpet design is in the eye of the beholder — and therefore the dilemma of no matter whether 2002 was the Oscars’ worst 12 months relies upon, as at any time, on who you request. In fact, presented the existing fascination in all points Y2K — a revival that has heralded the return of small-increase jeans, crop tops and butterfly clips — the electricity of hindsight (and the views of Gen-Z trend-watchers) could be kinder to 2002’s outing than a single may expect.

“I will not think it was the worst-dressed,” Critchell said. “I do not know if there would ever be a moment you could determine as that. But it was a distinctive time.”