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Beyond the Red Carpet, It’s Oscars Fashion Week

Beyond the red carpet, all of Oscars week has become a fashion stage, a competitive one.

Brands are no longer sitting on the sidelines waiting to dress celebs for entertainment and media events. They are hosting their own, some consumer-facing, taking advantage of the global spotlight and keeping the content and dressing credits going all week long.

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Hosting events this year in addition to longtime regulars Giorgio Armani, Chanel and Gucci (which sponsors the Guy Oseary after party), are Dior, Prada, Versace, Saint Laurent, Saks Fifth Avenue, Net-a-porter, Chopard, Philipp Plein and Levi’s. And, in a development that sounds like a throwback to the Hollywood studio system of yore, if a star is contracted to one brand, they may not be able to go to another brand’s party, depending on the parameters of their deal.

There could be more of that to come as the entertainment and fashion industries grow ever closer after last year’s acquisition of Creative Artists Agency by Pinault family holding company Artemis, which also owns a 42 percent stake in Kering, and the launch of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton’s 22 Montaigne Entertainment earlier this month.

The Oscars’ move to after Paris Fashion Week has helped ease Los Angeles event planning. (Remember when fashion editors used to do the back and forth?) The runway to Sunday started in earnest Wednesday night when, with street pole banners and impossible-to-miss pink signage on Melrose Avenue, LVMH-owned Dior welcomed young things to its Miss Dior Avenue parfum pop-up just down the way from the Vanities: A Night for Young Hollywood event.

Dressed in Dior LBDs and toile de jouy, Banks, Maggie Rogers, Alexandra Shipp, Lucy Hale, Anna Diop and more spritzed, sipped and posed in the uber-branded, multiroom experience open through the weekend, including in front of old-timey pink phone booths. On the line, Miss Dior face Natalie Portman mused on fragrance notes, but she wasn’t at the opening IRL — note to Bernard Arnault, it was a missed opportunity for synergy.

Julia Hussein and Zeynab El-helw
Julia Hussein and Zeynab El-helw at the Miss Dior Avenue opening party.

Meanwhile, on the tented rooftop of the 1 Hotel in West Hollywood, Donatella Versace joined Annie Lennox, Zendaya, John Legend, Jennifer Coolidge, Michaela Jaé Rodriguez and more at the Green Carpet Fashion Awards. At an event that’s become a platform for all progressive causes, Versace, clad in a rosy metal mesh gown, touted her legacy of LGBTQIA+ advocacy, including speaking out in Italy for rights for same-sex couples.

The designer’s Oscars week momentum started last year when she staged her runway show in L.A., and she kept it going at Thursday’s Versace x Net-a-porter event at a private home in Bel Air with Angela Bassett, Sharon Stone, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Chloé Zhao and others celebrating the global pre-launch of six Versace spring 2024 runway looks on the e-commerce site.

Donatella Versace and Annie Lennox
Donatella Versace and Annie Lennox at the 2024 Green Carpet Fashion Awards.

Prada is joining the Oscars week fray in its own arty way, bringing its pop-up Double Club to town with an installation by Belgian artist Carsten Holler and a party at Luna Luna.

Drake funded the rescue and rehab of the long lost art amusement park, first staged in Germany in 1987, which has been delighting guests in a warehouse space in downtown L.A. since December with Instagrammable pieces by Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, David Hockney and more.

Prada is due to host a party Friday where Kim Kardashian, Kaia Gerber and others are expected, though the crowded schedule and long drive to get downtown to the Luna Luna venue could be challenging for turnout.

Also on Friday, Levi’s and stylist Karla Welch are hosting an International Women’s Day dinner celebrating America Ferrera’s Oscar nomination and the brand’s appearance in the “Barbie” movie. (Trucker vests like Ken’s will be gifted to guests including Tracee Ellis Ross and Margot Robbie.)

America Ferrera at the 2024 Producers Guild Awards held at The Ray Dolby Ballroom on February 25, 2024 in Los Angeles, California.
America Ferrera at the 2024 Producers Guild Awards in Los Angeles.

“We’ve worked together for a decade, and our ‘Barbie’ run has put her in a new light,” Welch said of Ferrera, who is nominated for best supporting actress. “Everyone is seeing America now as an activist and an amazing gorgeous woman. I wanted to do something to celebrate her as a friend and someone I feel so proud of,” added the stylist, who has collaborated with Levi’s on numerous projects.

Of the broader trend of brands having events this week, “It’s pure eyeballs,” Welch said. “For better or worse we’re in that metrics game. But when these events come together, it’s a celebration of the best of what we do.”

Saks Fifth Avenue, which opened its shiny new flagship in the old Barneys New York space in Beverly Hills in February, is branding itself as a curator of VIP experiences, even during Oscars week, by hosting top clients from around the world for cocktails in its Sabyasachi showcase space in the Fifth Avenue Club, followed by dinner with Saks fashion director Roopal Patel and designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee at a restaurant in West Hollywood.

Sabyasaschi Cinématique at Saks Beverly Hills.
Sabyasaschi Cinématique at Saks Beverly Hills.

“What better week to celebrate fashion and the new store?” said Patel, explaining that VIPs are looking for experiences outside of the runway shows, and the Oscars is just that. Sabyasachi has dressed many of the top Bollywood stars and films, and is bringing one-of-a-kind clothing and jewelry from his Cinématique red carpet collection to Saks Beverly Hills exclusively until March 16.

Meanwhile, Chopard is reaffirming its ties to the film industry by using Oscars Week to launch a three-piece haute joaillerie collection with Julia Roberts at a dinner at the Chateau Marmont. And Pat McGrath is coming straight off fashion month to L.A. to celebrate Oscar-nominated “Poor Things” makeup artist Nadia Stacey with cocktails, canapés and touch-ups, presumably with McGrath Labs’ MatteTrance lipstick and blitz blue eye shadow (from the Dark Star Gloss Kit) used in key scenes on Emma Stone.

The night before the big night, designer Philipp Plein is hosting his second annual Oscars fashion show at his “personal villa” Chateau Falcon View with a performance by “Total Eclipse of the Heart” crooner Bonnie Tyler.

“We show red carpet looks and then we dress the people for the [Oscars]. And that works out very well. We do a red carpet capsule collection and it’s all basically happening in my living room,” he said.

Meanwhile, Chanel and Armani are going head-to-head in Beverly Hills.

OG red carpet dresser Giorgio Armani has been a presence on the Oscars party scene since 2007 when he restaged his Privé runway collection at the famous Green Acres estate owned by Ron Burkle. The brand has been having a Saturday night pre-Oscars party in its current form for a decade, and will do so again this year at the Rodeo Drive store.

Michelle Yeoh, Brendan Fraser, Ke Huy Quan and Roberta Armani at the Armani Oscars event on March 11, 2023 at the Giorgio Armani store in Los Angeles.
Michelle Yeoh, Brendan Fraser, Ke Huy Quan and Roberta Armani at the 2023 Armani pre-Oscars event at the Giorgio Armani store in Los Angeles.

Whether any faces of Armani (or Gucci or Dior for that matter) will be heading to the Polo Lounge afterward for the Chanel-sponsored Charles Finch dinner is TBD, however.

“The challenge now is friends of mine who have deals with other brands are not allowed to come to my party because Chanel is my partner. I think it’s absurd and it does harm for all the brands to be that ruthless with their contracts, though I’m partially responsible because I made a lot of those introductions from the fashion world to the entertainment world,” said Finch, a film producer of “Priscilla” most recently, and chief executive officer of the brand development and investment company Finch + Partners.

That’s all ahead of Sunday, when brands will unfurl even more looks, more jewelry and more makeup not only for the red carpet but also the after parties. Now if only the actual Oscars broadcast could bottle half that buzz.

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