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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

The Oscars & Versace: A fashion affair to remember

Nancy Pelosi in Giambattista Valli / Shawn Mendes in D&G / Kate Hudson in Tamara Ralph / Emma Roberts in D&G

By Iris Edén Santiago

Special to The Star

What a weekend it was for the West Coast!

The Oscars. Versace. Rihanna. Lady Gaga. Cher. Naomi. Gigi. I mean. Everything, everybody. All at once!! Fashion. A-listers. Legends, Cranky old men, aka Hugh Grant. Most things and events worked, except yes, that champagne carpet. … Dull, boring. It reminded me of pedal pusher pants, they don’t do anything for anybody. Avoid at all times. I’m sure organizers can’t wait to go back to the Red Carpet being red. If it works, why change it, right?

The Oscars, as a ceremony celebrating movies, well … not memorable. For me it lacked excitement, big names, bubbly moments. But the fashion parading outside the venue? Fabulous! Like super elegant, stunning, well-fitted gowns. Celebrities went all out for the 95th Edition of the biggest night in Hollywood. Some actresses selected white (a bit too bridal for me), like Sofia Carson, Eva Longoria and Emily Blunt. The latter, however, with a minimalist off-shoulders dress by Valentino, is a best-dressed for me. Also perfection? Angela Bassett in a purple gown with asymmetrical neckline and a draped mermaid silhouette by Moschino. Others rocking the Red Carpet were Jessica Chastain in Gucci, Cara Delevingne in Elie Saab, and Nicole Kidman in Armani. At the high-style afterparties, models and actresses changed into more relaxed but equally glam looks. Some stars changed to better looks, like seen on this page. Bravo to Kendall Jenner, Kaia Gerber, Ana de Armas, Megan Thee Stallion, Julia Garner, Eiza González, Sharon Stone, and a slimmed down Mindy Kaling, who looks amazing with her 40-pound weight loss.

Now for the woman of the night, Lady Gaga. The singer, actress, composer and influencer owned the Red Carpet. She arrived wearing a fabulous sheer design with bustier bodice, drop corseted waist and low back that barely covered her derriere. The dress was modeled three days before by Gigi Hadid at Versace’s fall/winter 2023 presentation in Los Angeles. So this is truly, fresh off the runway. Also wearing Versace off-the-runway? Danielle Deadwyler. The actress selected a strapless mini dress in bronze and black print cinched at the hip with architectural bows.

And back to Versace. Because of bad weather, they had to reschedule their fashion show from Friday to Thursday, which did not affect attendance at all. It was packed. Packed with celebrities, the very rich, and the very famous. There were stars and global supermodels strutting their stuff on the roof of the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood. And there were superstars who sat in the front row, wearing fantastic looks by Versace, of course, who had all the paparazzis watching their every move. Among the stars invited by Donatella Versace were Dua Lipa, Elton John, Cher, Pamela Anderson, Ariana DeBose, Ke Huy Quan, Miley Cyrus, Demi Moore, Paris Hilton, Channing Tatum, Jeff Bezos with wife Lauren Sánchez, Anne Hathaway, and Lil Nas X.

The show, previously set for Milan, was a winning spectacle. With snow-capped hills and the city skyline as backdrop, Versace presented the joint men’s and women’s fall 2023 collection. This was their first show in Los Angeles in more than two decades. About the switch to LA, Donatella said late last year: “For me, Hollywood is both a place and a state of mind. It’s about storytelling and magic, power and vulnerability, creativity and emotional expression. It’s a perfect place for Versace. I can’t wait to go back.”

Dozens of models opened the show wearing black over black with more black in suits, trousers, minis, midis and corseted dresses. Glossy croc-embossed garments in black and chocolate were fantastic as were casual looks in blue denim and black. Versace presented looks that were girly, others were gothic and others just modern and chic. My favorite looks were those in orange, coral, fuchsia and turquoise: Textured coats, tiny mini dresses and glamorous ball gowns with structured sweetheart neckline and straps worn with embroidered opera gloves in contrasting colors. Colors are always mood enhancers.

Now for the show stopping accessory: The Versace very graphic eye makeup designed by Pat McGrath and inspired by Donatella. Models had thick black eye makeup, “perfectly structured wing shape” finished with a custom blend of metallic pigments and glitter. Said McGrath, “I wanted the makeup to represent the Versace woman while she radiates confidence, power and sophistication.”

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