When you get right down to it, the Academy Awards show, from a fashion-watch point of view, was a bore.
Cher left her feathered and sequined G-string at home. Kim Basinger didn't wear a one-shouldered cupcake wonder, Demi Moore wore a stunning lace gown instead of bicycle shorts and Barbra Streisand's derriere stayed under cover.
Still, there was hope when Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon took the stage as presenters. The duo should have traded shoes. Ms. Davis looked like a cancan-dancing Amazon in a frothy white confection. She towered over Ms. Sarandon, nine months' pregnant and dressed like a bowling ball in her tiered black gown, trimmed in gold.
With an audience estimated at a billion viewers, the Academy Awards could be billed as the world's largest fashion show.
"It's bigger than the Super Bowl," agreed Fred Hayman, fashion coordinator of "The 64th Annual Academy Awards Presentation" that aired Monday night. Mr. Hayman solicits the designers to donate or loan gowns for the stars to wear to the ceremony. The arrangements are made through his Fred Hayman store (formerly Giorgio's of Beverly Hills).
According to rumors before the show, Giorgio Armani was one of the most popular designers, and was selected by Laura Dern vTC and Jodie Foster. Other Italians who set tongues wagging were Gianni Versace and Valentino. U.S. designer Donna Karan would most certainly dress Kathleen Turner, Barbra Streisand and Liza Minnelli.
"In the old days, the studios told the stars exactly what to wear, with whom to be seen and exactly what to say," said Jim Brady, a Sacramento-based couture designer. "That is no longer true."
Mr. Brady has spent many years designing and creating costumes and garments in Hollywood. He has dressed such stars as Ann-Margret, Glen Campbell, Liberace and Michael Jackson.
So, how would Mr. Brady rate the dignity factor of last night's performance?
* Geena Davis. "The most revolutionary thing was Geena Davis' crotch-length-in-front and floor-length-in-back gown. It was follies that fell."
* Barbra Streisand. "Streisand's gown matched her hair -- both were pleated. I think it was a fashion first."
* Kathleen Turner. "A star, very blue and very Lauren Bacall."
* Rebecca De Mornay. "Another star. . .in her side-draped, pearl-pink dress, but her hair was a mess."
* Angela Lansbury. "A Hollywood star and she looked it in her wonderful red, 1950s, off-the-shoulder, big dress."
* Mercedes Ruehl. "Black halter, nice armpits.
* Sally Field. "Beautiful."
* Annette Bening. "Had on her PTA dress."
* Susan Sarandon. "Rhinestones just where you need them -- on the butt."
* Belle. "Disney should get with it. Cinderella wore the same dress as the one in 'Beauty and the Beast.' "