Oscar® Countdown: Despite the Recession, Hollywood Glamour Will Go On

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Pictured: A mock-up of the stage for the 81st Academy Awards

In New York the buzz is all around Fashion Week. But here on the “left” coast, the buzz is all around the Oscars®. And Recession or not, the show must go on. Just as they did during the Great Depression, the movies provide a welcome escape for everyone from troubling news in the world. For a few hours, you sit in the dark looking at the big screen and you are transported to another time, another place and a whole different situation than your own unique present. It’s truly magical. And the Oscar ceremony is an extension of that magic and escape. I’ve seen so many “movie stars’ out and about in Los Angeles running errands, at the gym, even at the grocery store. In their day-to-day garb, they are much like us. But all that changes on Oscar day. That’s because each star is typically working with a stylist, trainer, make-up artist and designer to look at fabulous as possible. That’s because the eyes of the world are watching. No pressure 🙂

So will it be a Recessionista like Oscars? I think not. Even in the Great Depression, despite bread lines and soup kitchens, there was great fashion at the Oscars. Check out this beautiful dress and think Jean Harlow.

Pictured: Great Depression Oscar worthy style from the Johnson Museum of Art at Cornell University

Pictured: Helen Hayes with her Oscar in 1932, Photo from the Oscar website

Above is a great picture of Helen Hayes from the Oscars in a timelessly elegant black dress for her win in 1932. This dress could be worn today, without the corsage of course :), and still look contemporary.

So here’s the Oscar buzz around town. Reem Acra is one of several important designers in town this week working out of a hotel suite with her beautiful gowns to offer potential clients. I hope we see alot of her tasteful designs on the red carpet.

Pictured: A Reem Acra Evening Gown from her 2009 collection, photo from: Reem Acra.com

I loved the dress she did for Jill Bidden for the Inauguration. Designers like Randolph Duke, Dior, Carolina Herrera, Atelier Versace, Chanel and Giorgio Armani will certainly be represented.
Most of the well know designers have already sent their creations to the star’s stylists for consideration. Rachael Zoe is probably working around the clock this week.

Pictured: One of my past favorites, Helen Mirren from 2008 in Georges Chakra Photo from the Oscar website

Even in this economy, style will still shine forth at the Oscars. That’s the business of Hollywood. What the Recession will most effect will be the surrounding ceremonies. There will be fewer parties this year, and sources report that even the Vanity Fair party will have fewer invitees and attendees. The round of screenings and advertisements financed by studios to market films to academy voters has been sharply curtailed. It’s certainly not tragic to hear that the gift bags will also be cut back. Many retailers just don’t want to contribute free high-end items anymore. The catering will also be affected by the economy. I was shocked to read that the menu at the Governor’s Ball won’t feature the usual exotic gourmet fare. Instead, the menu will include more comfort foods like Chicken Pot Pie. Seems like everyone should just run over to Musso and Frank’s restaurant on Hollywood Boulevard. Their menu hasn’t changed much since 1919 and they were around for the very first Academy Awards dinner held at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel.

Hollywood Jeweler to the stars Neil Lane notes, that despite the Recession, he believes viewers “want a moment of respite and happiness and joy. They want to go `Wow!’ and have their eyes open. They want to dream.” (Source: Despite economy, the show must go on in Hollywood , By Christy Lemire )
I know I do. I can’t wait to see the Red Carpet fashions this year.

Of course, there could be a few Recessionistas on the Red Carpet. Remember gorgeous Sharon Stone in her Gap mock turtleneck and Armani skirt from 1996? Just in case you forgot, here’s a pic from the Recessionista Historical Society.

Pictured: Oscar’s Recessionista Moment , Sharon Stone in a Black Shirt from the Gap

To shop Nicole Miller sunglasses today for less join Haute Look as our guest. Click here to check out fashions from this designer whose clothes have graced the Red Carpet. Another star favorite is designer brand Alice + Oliva on sale today at RueLaLa. Click here to shop that sale as our guest.

And if you just love the movies, and not necessarily the fashions, check out Amazon’s Academy Award winning films on sale for 50% off.


Since 2008, Mary Hall has been the author of The Recessionista Blog, which is read by thousands of regular readers in over 160 countries. An internationally recognized expert on the art of the living the good life for less, she has been a commentator on local, national, and international radio and TV shows. Her advice has been featured in over 2,000 media outlets, including The New York Times, Reuters, Life & Style magazine, ABC News, NBC News and now The Huffington Post, among many others.