Judgmental Pants Off: Haute Couture On

The Oscars are this Sunday, which is my most-favorite slash least-favorite thing on television. Ever. On one hand I love watching glamorous people doing glamorous things and then getting up on stage and delivering the speech they have been practicing into a hairbrush, for decades, only to pretend the first thought of winning orossed their mind moments before. It’s like candy. The hard part comes the next day when social media is flooded with people who suddenly find themselves newly crowned fashion police, free to critiszie these actors, actresses in particular, for no other reason that they can. I don’t get that. Why is it fun to cut people down?  Why is okay for someone to mock another person’s physical appearances, and then, as if that wasn’t bad enough, go on Facebook and ask other people to agree with them? AND PEOPLE DO. wtf.

That’s not a wtf-question-mark; it’s a wtf-is-wrong-with-you?’ rhetorical question. No mark.

I digress.

My point is, less than a fraction of a percent of the people watching the Oscars have seen enough nominated films to sit in objective judgement, so we sit to gawk and star gaze. People watching. And because it’s much quicker to conjure an opinion on an outfit than a film, that’s what we do. We look at the dresses. It’s pretty shallow. I’m not going to feel bad  about looking at dresses because people like me looking at dresses is what keeps Hollywood in business. People like me looking at dresses is what makes the Oscars special. That said, even if I don’t like the look of an outfit, I’m not going to be an asshole and criticize it. Not just because I think the person wearing the outfit deserves to be treated with dignity (which they do), or because women’s appearances are judged far more harshly than men’s (which they are), but because the garment — that dress — was designed by someone. With consideration. With talent. Is a dress art? I don’t know if it is, but I sure as hell wouldn’t argue against it with the person who designed it. Or the team who made it. Or the seamstress who stayed up all night mending it. Or the stylist who spent days contemplating its role on the red carpet. Artistry, creativity, takes man forms. To crush another person’s art for the fun of it isn’t cool. Do you know what it does to a kid when they see their mom making fun of another woman’s appearance?

Again, I digress.

Back on track: if you have never thought of a beautiful dress as anything more than a shield from the elements, think again…

As if Chanel wasn’t impressive enough, wait until you see this doll’s dress from Dior> Yes, a doll.

No flowers on this one from Dior, but it still took 200 hours.

Suddenly my Old Navy sweatpants are making me feel underdressed.

Happy Oscar night, everyone!


    • aunt peaches says

      Me too. And a giant sequin loom!

  1. Ellicia says

    I wonder if you might like The Pink Suit by Nicole Mary Kelby. It is the history of the suit Jacqueline Kennedy wore to Dallas that fateful day and Chez Ninon and the dressmakers who put their hearts into the making of it. I think I’m going to need a tissue or two as I read it.

    • aunt peaches says

      That sounds like a fascinating read. Sad, but fascinating. Talk about iconic…

  2. Spring B. says

    Yes! I love looking at all the pretty clothes on Oscar night, but the day-after judgement fest makes me queasy. I’ve never stopped to think about it from an artist’s point of view (which is kinda silly, since I’m an artist…), and you’re so right. Thanks for the reminder that other people on the Interwebs still think being human comes first. <3

    • aunt peaches says

      Well said: “Being human comes first.”


  3. says

    I agree with you a 100% about the judgement fest. I actually stopped watching television years ago when the so called “news” agencies most important topic of the day was talking trash about some celebrity’s bad judgement.
    I once read that those who trash others are either jealous, or hate themselves, and tear others down makes themselves feel better. Looking at it from that perspective just makes you pity the haters.
    One of my favorite quotes, “Girls compete with each other. Women empower one another.”

  4. Dana says

    AP–Thanks for sharing this with your audience–if you’ve never seen what Couture really is then these will blow your mind. The pure artistry and craftsmanship (too rugged of a word for this, but you know what I mean) m-a-k-e-s m-e w-e-e-p! It’s so stunningly beautiful.
    And oh! to be a model that gets to wear it for 90 seconds. swoon

  5. Jeanine says

    I think you mean “confer an opinion” rather than “conger” because I don’t think eels really have much to say about fashion. 😉

    • aunt peaches says

      Conjure, actually. Darned spellcheck.

  6. Jac says

    There are times that the problem is not with the dress itself, but the person that chose it, who didn’t take into account body type, proportions, complexion, or the event in question (even Lady Gaga dresses differently for the Oscars than for the Grammys, but not everyone is so enlightened). But whenever we create art, we are going to hit or miss. We all welcome the positive judgements, but isn’t it a bit hypocritical to reject them if they are negative? Are we really that thin-skinned?

    Of course we all prefer praise, but seriously, no child’s feelings are going to be hurt when the fashion police criticizes a gown. The designers at Dior, Armani, Vera Wang, etc, are not going to tear up if they receive a bad critique.

    • aunt peaches says

      Agreed- Vera Wang isn’t crying over someone insulting her design (and if she is, she’s doing it at the bank). That said, nobody picked their Oscar outfit because it made them look unattractive. If they liked the way they looked when they left the house, then that’s good enough for me. It ought to be good enough for all of us. And even if I don’t like something about someone/anyone’s appearance, I ought to have the common sense to keep it to myself.

  7. says

    As I see it, people have lost the skill of critical thinking, and resorted to mocking and ridicule as a poor substitute.

  8. Deb in Oklahoma says

    I’m in total agreement. People do tune in to these events just to criticize the fashion, but part of the problem is that the women who wear these dresses are basically walking mannequins to show off the designer’s work. This is a double-edged sword, because, unfortunately, the criticism tends to not just be about the dress, but about the wearer, as well, which is a shame. I thought all the women at the Oscars looked great.

    However, there is nothing like Haute Couture to make you realize the craftsmanship and artistry that goes into these one-of-a-kind dresses. There are some seriously talented and patient people who do all the handiwork on these designs. And the process of pleating fine fabric is fascinating–the pleat, in any form, one of the greatest developments in fashion. if you want to go one step further, check out Fortuny pleating. What I wouldn’t do for a silk dress with those tiny pleats!

  9. Leslie says

    If you enjoy these beautiful handcrafts, you’d love a book I just picked up. “Fashionable Selby.” It’s a gorgeous, colorful book full of the work of “eccentrics, couturiers, obsessives, outliers, pickers, technical geniuses, bohemians, jewelers, denim-junkies, wig makers, and knitting gypsies.” Many of these artists have worked in or for the haute couture market. Foreword by Simon Doonen, Creative Ambassador, Barneys New York, which should tell you something! And I have no connection with the book other than I absolutely loved it.

  10. Susie Q. says

    Wow! Toyota can produce a car in 17 hours, but a Dior dress takes 200 hours. I’ll bet the dress costs a lot more 😀
    I admire the people who create those beautiful clothes — I hope they get daily massages as part of the deal. I’d be falling off my stool at the end of the day.

  11. Nancy says

    The Chanel video is breathtaking.
    I have never understood why people get a rush from trashing an event like the Oscars. Once a year for a few hours people dress up, have fun,maybe get an award, a few drinks, and then go home and put on their jeans. Seems harmless to me.

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