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Oscar chic: Revisited on ramp

Beverly Hills, Jan. 31 (AP): Barbra Streisand. Cher. Elizabeth Taylor. Sharon Stone.

Each made style history at the Academy Awards. Who can forget Streisand’s seemingly see-through sequinned pantsuit at the 1969 Oscar show, or the certainly see-through sparkling creation Cher wore in 1988' How about Taylor’s 1970 periwinkle chiffon gown that matched her eyes, or the Gap T-shirt Stone built an outfit around in 1996'

These red-carpet contributions — and those of two dozen other stylish female stars — were recognised yesterday at the film academy headquarters with “A Celebration of Oscar Fashion”, a retrospective of iconic Oscar wear.

The private runway show, curated by Andre Leon Talley of Vogue magazine, was designed to inspire this year’s nominees and presenters to express their personal style and “create their own memorable moment” at the Oscars, said telecast producer Laura Ziskin.

The Academy Awards are about movies, but “Oscar night is also arguably the biggest and most scrutinised fashion event of any year”, said Ziskin, who transformed the academy’s annual fashion forecast into a trip through style history.

Talley, a veteran fashionista who helped dress Nicole Kidman for the 1997 Academy Awards and consulted with current supporting-actress favourite Jennifer Hudson for this year’s show, called the Oscar red carpet “a gridlock of haute couture”. It has been that way since the awards’ inception in 1929, he said.

The oldest dress on display yesterday dated back to 1942. Jamie Lee Curtis wore the ivory beaded confection, which originally belonged to Marlene Dietrich, to the Oscars in 1984.

Legendary Hollywood costumer Edith Head created three of the show’s featured gowns: a silver beaded sheath worn by Janet Leigh in 1960, Taylor’s 1970 stunner, and the embroidered, cream-coloured strapless dress she wore herself to the 1959 Academy Awards, where she celebrated her 15th costume-design nomination.

Other timeless looks included Carol Channing’s rhinestone-encrusted number from 1968, which Talley said weighs 22.5 kg, and a champagne tulle dress designed by Arnold Scaasi (who created Streisand’s news-making pantsuit) worn by Mitzi Gaynor in 1967.

Cher is “one of the most original Oscar red-carpet sweepstakes winners”, Talley said, calling her sheer, beaded Bob Mackie dress “bold but brilliant”.

“Cher chic does not get any better than this,” he said.

Hilary Swank’s midnight-blue backless gown from 2005 is “one of the great Oscar dresses”, Talley said, and Stone’s T-shirt/designer skirt/velvet coat ensemble is “history at its best”.

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