Indian designers list their expectations from the 90th Academy Awards

Feb 25, 2018, 09:22 IST | Letty Mariam Abraham

In a year that's seen red carpets painted black in support of the Times Up movement, Indian designers dole out their expectations from the 90th Academy Awards

Priyanka Chopra's Ralph and Russo outfit at the 2017 Oscars inspired several memes. But her white Zuhair Murad selection (top right) the year before was a hit
Priyanka Chopra's Ralph and Russo outfit at the 2017 Oscars inspired several memes. But her white Zuhair Murad selection (top right) the year before was a hit

Hollywood's biggest awards night is only a week away. Coveted as it is, the upcoming Academy Awards on March 4 will have industry bigwigs scurry around to get their ensembles on point. It will be a tough feat to make sartorial statements in a year when red carpets have been painted black as an act of solidarity with victims of sexual harassment in the industry. But, Bollywood's ace designers have an opinion on the trends that will be evident at Los Angeles' Dolby Theatre next week.

Designer Krishna Mehta, in awe of Chopra's elaborate trench coat at the MET Gala last year, is looking forward to her selection this year. Mehta also feels floral patterns, as seen on Cate Blanchett (top) at the 2016 Oscars, will dominate the red carpet this year
Designer Krishna Mehta, in awe of Chopra's elaborate trench coat at the MET Gala last year, is looking forward to her selection this year. Mehta also feels floral patterns, as seen on Cate Blanchett (top) at the 2016 Oscars, will dominate the red carpet this year

There's ample curiosity around Priyanka Chopra's selection. While she didn't make heads turn with her ensembles over the past two years, she didn't disappoint either. Her most notable selection was the white strapless gown by Lebanese fashion designer Zuhair Murad at the gala in 2016. It was among the most searched outfits on Google that year. However, her $3 million white Ralph and Russo dress at the function in 2017 inspired several memes, with trolls referring to her as kaju katli.

Krishna Mehta and Rohit Bal
Krishna Mehta and Rohit Bal

Chopra's elaborate trench coat from the 2017 MET Gala found a fan in Krishna Mehta, who is looking forward to seeing what she has in store at the Oscars. "Her red carpet appearances always push the envelope. It will be interesting to see who [designer] she wears, and the statement she makes this year."

Shyamal & Bhumika
Shyamal & Bhumika

Protests continue
Designer Rohit Bahl agrees that attires at the gala will continue to serve as a mark of protest against sexual harassment. "Simple trends will be visible. Social messages will be made through ensembles like the protest badge [TimesUp]." Going by the global fashion trends, designers Shyamal & Bhumika expect to see heavy embroidery and alluring back details on the red carpet. "We love the graceful evolution of the backless gown, and hope to see more of it. We are waiting to see what Scarlett Johansson wears this year. She carries herself with grace."

Indian designers will have their eyes on Charlize Theron, Margot Robbie (top right) and Meryl Streep (right) for their bold and defying red carpet selections. Nikhil Thampi says gowns in crystal embellishment (as seen on Nicole Kidman at the 2017 Oscars) will be common spotting
Indian designers will have their eyes on Charlize Theron, Margot Robbie (top right) and Meryl Streep (right) for their bold and defying red carpet selections. Nikhil Thampi says gowns in crystal embellishment (as seen on Nicole Kidman at the 2017 Oscars) will be common spotting

Mehta also opines that embroidered work will be frequently spotted at the gala. The year has been dedicated towards "floral embroidery", which, she says, is "chic and a classic". "Another emerging style, which is also gaining popularity among designers, is embroidered shirt dresses. The casual trend has been significantly played up to create what we call, a 'fashion moment'."

Margot Robbie

As celebrities supported the Time'sUp and #MeToo movements, the recently concluded BAFTA Awards and Golden Globes saw them turn up in black ensembles as a mark of protest. Gaurav Gupta says the fervor may spill onto the Academy Awards too, which will certainly be about "fierce individuality and feminism". There will be "millennial pink" mixed with "shades of lavender", he says. "Fashion will flutter between fantasy and functionality. We can expect power dressing at the Oscars. Tailored suits for women will be as dominant as ethereal gowns." Having appreciated her 2016 Oscar turn, Gupta says he is eager to see how Charlize Theron. "I'm also looking forward to seeing what first-time Best Actress nominees Margot Robbie and Sally Hawkins wear. I love the new crop of young, fearless actors, who are experimenting with their looks on the red carpet. We're in an age where the boundaries between male and female [wardrobe staples] are being blurred. As for the men, Daniel Day-Lewis, with his sharp sartorial style, is always one to look out for."

Arpita Mehta, Nikhil Thampi and Gaurav Gupta
Arpita Mehta, Nikhil Thampi and Gaurav Gupta

Up the volume
Nikhil Thampi also suggests that the Oscar outfits will promote social messages. He hopes to see "maximalist mood with strong silhouettes from the 1980s - nipped waists and strong shoulders". Thampi adds, "We may get to see power pastels, bright colours, puff voluminous sleeves, trouser suits, sheer gowns, vintage floral, fluffy marabou, ostrich feathers, crystals and OTT accessories." Tilda Swinton, given her "off-beat style", and Meryl Streep, will be among those he will look out for.

Arpita Mehra says the gala is an important when it comes to making sartorial statements. At this year's event, which will air India on March 5 on Star Movies, she expects to see ruffles - "exaggerated and subtle ones" - sheers and pastel colours. "We will also see an ethereal breath of fresh air through a cloud of couture feathers. The '80s shoulders are having a big moment, which means puffs and frills, with exaggerated volumes, will also make for frequent spotting. Fringes and flowers are back too," she concludes.

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