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Posts Tagged ‘red carpet gowns’

I was looking at press coverage of the recent Academy Awards ceremony trying to spot historical references. The Dior designed ensemble worn by Natalie Portman (pictured above) incorporated several details of the past.

  • The gold embroidery on the long gown is reminiscent of the heavily embellished fabrics that the Byzantines (AD 339 – 1453) favored.
  • The gold rope sash reminds me of Greek and Roman ties that were used with tunics.
  • The black cape echoes the Mantle from the Early Middle Ages (10th & 11th centuries).

(Ms. Portman’s cape was embroidered with the names of women directors whom she felt had been snubbed by the Academy. Her actions are apparently controversial and since I don’t really know much about it, I don’t have a comment. Except to say that I do enjoy seeing clothing used to communicate messages – as long as it’s done subtly.)

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A depiction of Byzantine Empress Theodora surrounded by her courtiers.  The men are wearing short tunics under an outer layer called the Paludamentum, as is the Empress who was the only woman allowed to wear this garment.  The other  women are wearing a long-sleeved tunic called Dalmatic, and on top a Palla (shawl).  All the fabrics used are heavy and elaborately embellished.

 

Women from the Byzantine and Middle Ages kept covered from head to toe, so hair and chest would not be revealed. In that regard Ms. Portman’s ensemble is very modern. But what an interesting mix!

 

 

 

 

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Felicity Jones in a vintage 1950s dress at the BAFTA in 2011. 

I’ve always loved wearing black on the red carpet. It’s the color I wore to my first-ever awards show, and it’s the one I always come back to. Black is like Audrey Hepburn: absolutely classic. 

Felicity Jones – British actress.

You might recognize Ms. Jones from the 2014 movie The Theory of Everything, co-starring Eddie Redmayne, and for which she was nominated for an Academy Award. But I know her from earlier years as the voice of character Emma Grundy on the BBC Radio 4 drama series, The Archers.

It’s slightly unusual in the UK for an actor from a radio series to go on to Hollywood. The London stage, yes. British television, yes. But Ms. Jones has gone way beyond that and hit the big time with films such as True Story and Like Crazy. Now she gets to walk many a red carpet donning classic black.

I agree with Emma, ah … I mean Ms. Jones, about the versatility of black. It’s always an elegant choice.

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