Many fashion critics — both professional and amateur — spent last night asking, “How?” “Why?” and “Is that a bath sponge?” about the plethora of pink floof at the Oscars. But I’m confident that you, my readers, merely nodded wisely, because you already knew that pink floof has been building up to this moment since Rihanna wore a pink, floofy Giambattista Valli gown to the Grammys in 2015.
At the time, RiRi got the full meme treatment, including comparisons to bath sponges and cotton candy. But Rihanna isn’t one to be daunted by the jokes of mere mortals, so after wearing a number of other dresses that took up plenty of space both on the red carpet and in the minds of others, she was back in pink floof in 2017.
As I’ve said before, my “Never Is the Next New Thing™” fashion rule comes from my observation that the most provocative/grating/startling looks — the ones that make you say, “I would NEVER wear that!” — are the ones most likely to become trends, big or small. After the 2018 awards season, I declared that Rihanna’s 2015 dress was officially a “Never Is the Next New Thing™” style starting to blossom, as seen on singer Dua Lipa and other performers.
It wasn’t in full bloom yet, which I pointed out:
“As I wrote for the Huffington Post in 2013, trends don’t come and go as quickly as we believe, especially when it comes to a new silhouette. I predict that this poufy, floofy style is still gathering steam, so if your motto is, “Go big or go home,” you’re not too late to dress the part. Seize the day … and the tulle!”
Since then, I’ve been admiring all sorts of voluminous gowns. “Bigger is better” has been the trend overall. However, I do think it is meaningful that so much of the floof at the Oscars last night was pink. Power pink sans floof has been having a moment anyway, in part due to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. So if you’re going to do floof, doing it in pink lets you make a visual impact — the way Rihanna did just sitting in the audience at the Grammys — but in a color that’s current and nearly always flattering. You’re doing something enjoyably eye-catching without going out on a limb in, for instance, chartreuse.
Because so many women wore pink floof at the Oscars, you might think none of them stood out individually, but somehow they did. True, no one had an envelope-pushing solo moment like the one Rihanna created, but we sure paid attention to each and every one of these dresses. If they’d gone with different looks, who knows if these floofsters would be as hot a topic today? Everyone’s talking about:
Linda Cardellini in Schiaparelli …
Helen Mirren, in Schiaparelli too …
… Kasey Musgraves in Giambattista Valli …
… Maya Rudolph, also in Valli …
… Gemma Chan in Valentino …
… and Sarah Paulson in Brandon Maxwell.
Angela Bassett is an official member of the Pink Ladies even though she eschewed volume in her skirt in favor of a big shoulder bow.
Props to the Schiaparelli and Valli wearers. Designer Elsa Schiaparelli’s signature color was shocking pink so it’s the perfect color to get from that design house, and Valli has been all about red-carpet floof since at least 2015. I get a kick out of it when people go to the source.
Other notable people in less-frothy pink included Julia Roberts in Elie Saab …
… and Jason Momoa in a muted pink velvet suit (with matching wrist scrunchie!) by the late Karl Lagerfeld for Fendi. Lisa Bonet, his wife, complemented him in her similarly hued Fendi gown.
Does the overload of Oscar pink floof mean the trend is over? Is it too late for you to indulge your poufy fantasies? Once again, the answer is no. As a Nordstrom’s executive once told me, “The longevity of a trend has to do with it appealing to multiple categories of people.” Both the color pink and a voluminous silhouette — whether they’re combined in one garment or are used separately — can be done in so many ways, for every price point, and for every age. For instance, the sweep of the tuxedo gown worn last night by Billy Porter, my Best Dressed/Wear What You Want winner, is an example of the non-pink “make way, I’ve arrived!” look that I loved on singer Andra Day at last year’s Oscars.
Remember the long, long reign of mermaid dresses? And how bored everyone was? This is a significant new direction, and now that we’ve made the change, we won’t be finished with it in one season. Another factor in favor of longevity: The floofy look isn’t limited to special-occasion dresses. Take it from me, the owner of a surprising number of floofy jackets.
So go ahead and get your Cinderella dress and/or Pelosi pantsuit and live as large and bright as you like! I’ll be here with my ruffled and puffy jackets, waiting to be proven right about skinny eyebrows. Hey, if you just exclaimed “NEVER!” about the eyebrows, you’ve probably made it happen. Don’t kill the messenger!
I’ll have more to come this week on Oscar fashion, Oscar jewelry, and some pre-2015 pink floof for history buffs … but tomorrow I’ll take a break to talk about my own jewelry.