top of page

Patterns at the Oscars

Thom Browne Spring Summer 2024
Thom Browne Spring Summer 2024

I've reached a new era in my overall style (home, fashion, design, etc...), where I find myself embracing more colors and patterns. For several years, my comfort zone always lay in the earthtone palettes. More recently, I've come to appreciate the emotion behind a fresh burst of color or an unexpected pattern—neutrals still bring me comfort and make me at ease when I'm experimenting with textures. Paisley? Still makes my stomach churn.

The other day, I was scrolling through some vintage and contemporary magazines and online editorials and came across a photo of Tony Award and Grammy Award winner, Cynthia Erivo (Broadway's The Color Purple) in a stunning Paolo Sebastian gown at the 89th Academy Awards in 2017. The red carpet at the Oscars is usually a parade of celebrities in what I like to call evening "solidwear"—elegant choices in red, black, navy blue, white, and pink. However, in 2017, Cynthia Erivo showed up wearing a gorgeously embroidered gown in various colors and a beautiful floral pattern.

Seeing her launched me into an Oscar-themed rabbit hole. Here are some images I found. You will find some celebrities were more daring than others—you will also find some spectacular looks that may actually inspire you.

Cynthia Erivo arriving at the 89th Academy Awards in 2017. Her Oscars dress is designed by Paolo Sebastian
Cynthia Erivo in Paolo Sebastian arriving at the 89th Academy Awards in 2017.

Eva von Bahr, the Oscar-nominated makeup artist behind Dune, drew inspiration from the Italian Renaissance for dress at the 2022 Oscars. I live by the phrase 'you do you,' which applies perfectly here. Even if it's not my style, Eva looks overjoyed on the red carpet in this dress designed by Stefan Wåhlberg.

Here is a gallery of more previous Oscar red carpet show stoppers--in every sense of the phrase. I found, specifically this year's Oscars (2024) to be the years where celebrities got the most creative with color and patterns.

Left to Right: Adepero Oduye (not sure who designed her dress), Zooey Deschanel (not sure who designed her dress), Emerald Fennell in Gucci Resort 2021, Kartiki Gonsalvez in Rahul Mishra, Guneet Monga in Ekaya, Quannah Chasinghorse in Red Berry Woman, Blanca Blanco in a dress designed by a "friend," Nazrin Choudhury in Aarong, Ashra Kelly Blue (not sure who designed her dress), Robbie Ryan in Versace Fall 2024, Caroline Lindy in Zac Posen.