"Wear" Are The Oscar Dresses Now?

Singer Bjork arrives at the 73rd annual Academy Awards in her infamous swan gown, pictured in this March 25, 2001 file photo, in Los Angeles. AP Photo/Michael Caulfield, File

One dress is not enough for Oscar producer Laura Ziskin.

Even 30 of the most iconic dresses ever worn on Oscar's red carpet are not enough. Ziskin wants more.

Not to wear, but to share.

Ziskin is transforming the annual Oscar fashion show, which typically forecasts what styles might grace the red carpet on the big night, into a retrospective of memorable outfits from the past five decades of Academy Award galas.

"A Celebration of Oscar Fashion" will feature dozens of groundbreaking gowns for a private audience of media, stylists and stars on Jan. 30. But Ziskin and the show's curator, Vogue editor-at-large Andre Leon Talley, still hope to collect a few other pieces.

On their wish list? Ellen Barkin's Versace dress from 1993, a Halston gown worn in 1990 by Glenn Close, the dress Julie Andrews wore in 1965 (which was featured in last year's Oscar poster) and "anything from Natalie Wood."

"Mia Farrow has a disco-era outfit that is great," Ziskin said. "Any of the ones that have been auctioned (to collectors) are signature dresses that we'd like to add."

The Academy asks that anyone in possession of a classic Oscar gown send an e-mail to publicityoscars.org.

One outfit that won't be in the fashion-show mix is Bjork's infamous swan gown (and coordinating egg purse) from the 2001 Academy Awards.

"They wouldn't give it to us," Ziskin said.

Still, she and Talley plan to show many memorable looks, including two dresses from Sophia Lauren, Diane Keaton's trademark white pantsuit, Sharon Stone's newsworthy Gap T-shirt/Valentino skirt combo and Barbra Streisand's unforgettable transparent bell-bottom jumpsuit from 1968, when she tied Katharine Hepburn for the best-actress Oscar.

"There's no way anybody could have worn that other than Barbra Streisand," Talley said. "It was that moment in fashion."

Ziskin was inspired to look backward instead of forward with the annual runway show to celebrate fashion's role in the Academy Awards.

"It's such an integral part" of the Oscars, she said. "It's the biggest fashion night of the year anywhere in the world."

Fashion is another way fans connect to their favorite stars, said Kevin James, historian for L.A.'s Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising.

"People want to see the glamour aspect of it. We want that dress-up time," he said. "This is a way for all of us to be able to dress formally while we're still wearing our sweats and sitting on the lounge chair in front of the TV."

The Oscars are as much about fashion as they are about movies, Talley said.

"It's a big celebration of fashion and style," he said. "The next day, everyone talks about who won and who wore what."
  • Amy Bonawitz

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