For years, I have helped create some of Hollywood's most famous fashion moments as a stylist to the stars. Often, the most memorable events happen at the Oscars.
One year, I dressed 11 Oscar attendees. Remember Salma Hayek in the tiara and a beaded nude Armani tank dress with bright blue eye shadow? That was one of my favorite Oscar moments. This year, I've decided to take on some of the nominees in the lead and supporting actress categories and pick out looks that will make them shine on the red carpet.
(And I still have a few hot numbers from Badgley Mischka, Christian Lacroix, Oscar de la Renta and Calvin Klein that I didn't get to use. So Miley Cyrus, Jessica Alba — I know you're presenting. Call me, I'll hook you up! And Helen Mirren and Jennifer Hudson — I know you're both due back to pass on the little gold dude to this year's winners so have no fashion fear! That's why I'm here: to accentuate your positives and keep the fashion fanatics from attacking your assets!)
So, for those who crave the fashionista's version of fantasy football, here's my go at Phillip's Fashion Fantasy. Don't forget to check in after the Oscars air Sunday for my Bloch Buster Awards and Fashion Opinions.
Blanchett is an Oscar red carpet veteran. She won a statue for her supporting role as Katharine Hepburn in "The Aviator" and was stunning in a yellow Valentino gown. Knowing God is in the details, she actually carried a pair of Katharine Hepburn's gloves.
Blanchett is an actress who immerses herself in her characters as well as her fashion choices for awards shows and premieres. She probably has her favorite designers, like John Galliano and Jean Paul Gaultier, both of whom she has worn to the Oscars, on speed dial. In the past, she has stayed away from too-sexy necklines and opted for plunging backs with bejeweled detailing.
As a double nominee this year — she's up for awards for her roles in "Elizabeth: The Golden Age" and "I'm Not There" — Blanchett faces stakes that are higher than usual. And as she chooses her Oscar dress, she must remember she is dressing for two. Because she's also eating for two — Blanchett's several months pregnant — I chose this empire waist Marchesa gown.
The label's two designers, Georgina Chapman and Keren Craig, are Hollywood's fastest rising fashion stars. They have dressed everyone from Renee Zellweger to Jennifer Lopez (at last year's Globes and Oscars) as well as Blanchett, who was an early fan of Marchesa. I think the luscious drape of this Grecian gown will float softly across her maternal figure. Accentuated with a rich lipstick, the solid red against her soft hair and alabaster skin would create fashion magic for this style star.
At the tender age of 20, Page has become this year's It Girl. Her caustic and sarcastic dry humor is accentuated by her soft, demure feminine features in "Juno." In the film, she plays a high school teen who is clearly fashionably challenged, only sporting tees, hoodies and jeans. In real life, the actress seems equally unimpressed by designer gowns and jewels, but what Oscar nominee can resist the temptation to do it up in style on the big night?
When selecting a dress for Page, I opted for Zac Posen, a downtown, hip, edgy designer who has catapulted stars to best-dressed lists with his luxurious but cool designs. Last year, Gwyneth Paltrow was luscious and sleek in the '40s-inspired bisque color gown Posen gave her. He and I shared a great time at Elton John's sexy Oscar gala watching our hot clients strut their stuff. He is also responsible for many of the ultrachic looks of Rihanna, pop music's latest sensation.
Ellen Page/Zac Posen
I chose this Goth-inspired gown for Page because it's glamorous but not too fairy princess. It says, "I can rock this red carpet like the rest of Hollywood, but I'm going to rock it my way!" She's not wearing her mother's gown, though vintage might have been an interesting route for this Oscar fashion novice. I often see Page in black, so I felt that the color worked and she would feel comfortable. If you don't dress your star with her style personality in mind, it will never work. And even then, sometimes you miss … but at least your client felt good and, after all, that's what fashion is for!
Julie Christie has been in the Oscar race before and she actually won the Golden God in 1965 for her role in "Darling." As a prepubescent boy, I had a crush on her in a Mrs. Robinson sort of way. In "Shampoo," sharing the screen with Warren Beatty, she was the epitome of sexy … and still is. Her classic beauty has not dulled over the years; it's simply incandescent.
This year, Christie's up for best actress for her part in "Away From Her" directed by another actress many years her junior, Sarah Polley. Christie plays an Alzheimer's patient whose emotional path pulls at your heart strings. Her performance has already won many critics' choice awards and a Golden Globe.
While watching the Monique Lhuillier show at New York City Fashion Week earlier this month, I fell in love with three gowns — a vibrant green satin number, a flowing aubergine number and one elegant and romantic creation that instantly took my breath away. The black and gray ombre coloration is a subtle but modern twist on a regal look.
Julie Christie/Monique Lhuillier
Of course, it would have a matching long chiffon scarf created and worn backwards to drape and to cover the arms, neck, or even cleavage as many of the more elegant leading ladies opt not to let all their assets be exposed. At past award presentations, Christie has gone for minimalist, low-maintenance glamour but on Oscar night, every damsel has the right to dazzle.
Linney is an actor's actress. This three-time Oscar nominee (this year as best actress for "The Savages") is a consummate professional. She consistently delivers on screen as well as on the red carpet. Not a tabloid darling, she is extremely talented and is no slouch when it comes to fashion. Linney always seems to opt for classic, high-end designers like Prada, Armani, Michael Kors and Vera Wang, so the uberchic house of J. Mendel was the perfect place to pick a dress for her.
Gilles Mendel has infused the brand with glamour by adding fabulous ladies-who-lunch looks and goddess gowns to the iconic label. "Entertainment Tonight's" Cojo (Steven Cojocaru) and I oohed and aahed as one ultrachic look after another floated down the runway at the newly renovated Plaza Hotel Ballroom this past Fashion Week. From the first entrance, I knew his collection would mesmerize me with some marvelous frock.
Laura Linney/J. Mendel
Cojo and I both gasped at this heavenly confection with layers of raspberry sorbet-hued pleated chiffon punctuated by a three-dimensional cascading strapless neckline and perfectly finished with a flowing satin ribbon. The color is very of-the-moment — berry tones are the height of fashion for Spring 2008. But the subdued softness of this dress is perfect for creating Oscar elegance and Laura's statuesque height is just what it takes to carry off all the flouncy layers. A less fashionable star might not rock this look with the elegance that Linney has mastered and newer stars only wish for.
In years past, months before the Oscar nominations were even announced, there were several clear nominees. However, this year there was only one and it was up-and-coming French ingénue Marion Cotillard for her riveting portrayal of Edith Piaf, a true iconic diva in the world of entertainment. Everyone who has seen "La Vie en Rose" knew Cotillard would be exalted to leading lady status the day the nominations were released. Being French, tall and strikingly beautiful, she has inherited an innate sense of style as well.
Since Hollywood and fashion rumor mills have named Cotillard as the newest disciple to the empire of Karl Lagerfeld and his house of Chanel, I instantly scanned Style.com to check out the Chanel couture show, looking for the splendiferous gown Cotillard might select to accompany the ultimate Hollywood accessory (Oscar statue) if she wins. But often in fashion, the couture shows are chock full of daring designs that would have leading ladies crying in the rest room once they read the fashion critics' thoughts on their choices. Often the elements of design that are exciting, dramatic, and creative on the runway are laughable or horrifying on the red carpet. And that's how I felt after perusing Chanel's collection.
But have no fear, Cotillard — I can save you from a worrisome wardrobe malfunction. I rapidly clicked over to my friend Ellie Saab, who has gained international acclaim as the designer of Halle Berry's 2002 Oscar-winning look. His couture show was stunning and I opted to go for this decadent yellow gown.
Marion Cotillard/Ellie Saab
Often yellow is a bright and lucky choice in red carpet Oscar history, from Renee Zellweger's vintage yellow Jean Deses from the ultrachic Rita Watnick of Lilly et Cie to Michelle Williams' dreamy Vera Wang dress. All have been haunting visions of Oscar elegance. Like my friend Keisha Whitaker, Forest's wife, who was as radiant as the sun last year in her Georges Chakra couture dress. And, oh yes, who can forget Blanchett's yellow Valentino? All are fashion favorites from Oscars past.
I'm sure the feeling and cut of this billowing gown will be the fantasy dress for little girls around the world. And with a little bedazzling of antique jewels from Neil Lane or the chicest French jeweler, Cartier, Cotillard will definitely be a dream come true.
Swinton is an extraordinary actress with a sensational career. At 47, she scored a best supporting actress nom for her role in "Michael Clayton." Though Swinton is fearless when it comes to fashion and is respected for often making over-the-top choices with daring European designers like Viktor & Rolf, she is no stranger to the worst dressed lists of many fashion savants. But it is this free spirit that enables her to march to the beat of her own stylish drummer. So, as my old Studio 54 buddy and "America's Next Top Model" judge Miss Jay and I reveled in Carolina Herrera's hunting-inspired fall 2008 collection, I knew the catch of the day for Swinton was this subtly elegant gown in the richest of luminescent coppers.
Tilda Swinton/Carolina Herrera
The gown would compliment her amber hair and fair and flawless complexion. And the decadent yet refined touch of plumage that doubles as both a belt and an origami-esque bow at the back of the dress, trailing behind like a mysterious aura, would certainly appeal to this dedicated fashionista. I often believe that only the right designer can understand a certain type of client and Herrera is truly one of the most distinguished, chic and talented women I know in the business. I think there would be an uncanny creative fusion if this dynamic duo would collaborate and listen to me about this dress on Oscar night. It's the perfect connection of high drama, European elegance, and fashion fantasy. This is the look Hollywood legends are made of.
Ruby Dee is 83 years old and as elegant as ever. Her career has spanned decades, though this is her first Oscar nomination — and it's been a long time coming. I have long admired her work and commitment to her husband, the late Ossie Davis, and was excited to meet her at Star Jones and Al Reynolds' Hamptons house this summer. She was so charming and entertaining. You could spend an entire day laughing and talking to this genuinely loving creature and her touching performance as a supporting actress in Ridley Scott's "American Gangster" is perfection.
While dress hunting for Dee, I thought about all the tricks of the trade stylists keep filed in our minds when dressing a leading lady of a certain age. The look must be dignified but not stuffy and old fashioned. So I instantly thought of a fashion icon — Valentino — to dress this film icon. Valentino just presented his final couture show in January in Paris so what better place to choose from?
I naturally gravitated toward the simple elegance of this Jackie Kennedy/Audrey Hepburn-esque one-shouldered sheath. The white would be classic elegance at its best. I even love the opera length gloves. Though, of course, we would have to alter the proportions of this look to accentuate Dee's petite stature but not compromise her enormous sense of style. And for Dee, I'd go for the glam with diamonds — a gorgeous bracelet over the glove and a dangling earring that gives the luster and sparkle that only a girl's best friend can deliver.
At the age of 13, Ronan is one of the academy's youngest nominees. She's up for an Oscar for her supporting role in "Atonement." For someone so young, the challenge is to be pretty, yet age-appropriate. Make a statement by whispering "I'm chic," not by screaming "I'm a fashion victim." Often young nominees look like Barbie dolls or fairy princesses gone amok at a little girl's costume shop. But you can actually find pretty yet appropriate dresses from many of today's greatest designers.
Giambattista Valli is one of Milan's rising stars in the world of fashion and he is quickly becoming a must-have among Hollywood's younger it girls. I particularly love the soft romantic ethereal quality of this angelic gown. The powder blue is as delicate as Ronan's diminutive features and yet this gown could be easily worn by someone with a little more experience like Kate Hudson or Kate Beckinsale.
Saoirse Ronan/Giambattista Valli
The emphasis on dressing a younger nominee should always be on beauty. Ostentatiousness is so passé. So Ronan, a delicate diamond pendant and a small but sparkly pair of blue diamond earrings from DeBeers is just what Dr. Phil Bloch, your fashion therapist, prescribes for this year's 80th annual Oscars ceremony. Perhaps we'd set your bling in gold to match your future statue. You go, girl!
For more Bloch visit www.phillipbloch.com.