What can we expect from the biggest night of self-congratulation on the Hollywood calendar — the Oscars? I won't be watching — too dull for words, but I hope Manchester by the Sea gets something.
Looking back at old clips, it appears that the Oscars was always a terrible bore no matter how deserving the awards. You do, however, see that full evening dress (white tie and tails) was being worn right into the 1960s by actors who had developed their own sense of style, rather than wearing outfits decided on by a retinue of stylists, marketeers and agents.
Here we see Rex Harrison wearing the full rig in 1965 to receive a deserved Oscar for My Fair Lady (a more coherent and heartfelt musical film than the rather forgettable La La Land).
With those classic barathea tailcoats with grosgrain lapels you might even see a buttonhole being worn. The award for best buttonhole must go to David Niven (below) with his classic carnation. Host of three Academy Awards, David would imbue any ceremony with wit and elegance.
Rehearsed or otherwise, Cary Grant looks sincerely pleased to be holding an Oscar here:
Cary only ever received an honorary Oscar, so too Peter O' Toole. For shame!
Another thing you notice from the old clips is that actors were too respectful of the audience sitting at home to hijack the ceremony to air personal grievances and make the event even more tedious to sit through. In dress and attitude, the old Oscars stayed classy.
If we were tasked with peeling Ryan Gosling out of one of his tight, coloured dinner suits, white tie might be a bridge too far. He might, however, be persuaded into something like this 1938 burgundy shawl collar dinner jacket in navy blue doeskin wool for a huge hit of old-school elegance and utter charm. How could one launch a tirade wearing this? Impossible.
Recently held in custody amongst other vintage British classics by Savvy Row, and hopefully now in appreciative hands, this delightful jacket is still doing what it was put in the world to do after almost eighty years. If it had attended the 10th Oscars in 1938, it would have seen Spencer Tracy win Best Actor for Kipling's Captains Courageous.
Another Oscar winner and something that should put in an equally long service, when properly cared for and considering its classic styling, is the Black Silk Velvet Evening Jacket by Huntsman (below). Made in England, this very lovely jacket is cut from silk velvet with a corded grey silk notch lapel and buttons. If the jacket has the same longevity as the 1938 jacket, we might see it being worn at the 2096 Oscars. By that time singularity may well have been reached and a robot — programmed to appreciate timeless style — could be wearing the jacket to the awards. Best Android?