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Column: In a celebrity obsessed world is it any surprise we love the red carpet drama

With the glitz and glamour of the Oscars hitting our screens tonight, Kim Cadogan questions why we obsess over the clothing choices of the rich and famous.

Kim Cadogan

WITH THE 85TH annual Academy Awards taking place tonight it’s time for the fashion conscious and merely curious among us to fixate a critical eye on the red carpet as soon as it’s unfurled. The world’s biggest and most important catwalk show is about to begin and I, for one, am ready to immerse myself in the guilty pleasure of lust, greed and envy. Seven deadly sins aside, why do we mere mortals take such an interest in the clothing choices of the rich and famous?

As part of my research I delved into the celebrity obsessed realm of the internet with gusto. Most of us would admonish those dedicating such a wide breadth of their valuable time to outright stalking and other outlandish behaviour, but a quickly emerging disorder branded Celebrity Worship Syndrome (yes, it’s a real thing) and its symptoms may lead us to believe that we’re deeper in that we initially thought.

For severe cases, answering yes to “I would be upset if my favourite celebrity got married” puts you in the category of deep suffering. I know plenty of grown-up, seemingly well-adjusted ladies that would be most upset if Ryan Gosling was to make an honest woman out of a girl that was not them.

Best dressed

Mental issues aside and back to the dresses, nabbing a coveted spot on a high profile best dressed list is almost guaranteed to publicise a celebrity more than winning the Oscar itself. Watching the awards ceremony itself I find myself having little interest post fashion parade apart from the big prizes. In more niche areas, little attention is paid to the talented people who won the Oscar for best sound mixing unless said person is wearing something fabulous or vomit inducing (or falls coming on stage).

On the most part, a lot of us would have a better chance of recalling a dress worn by an A-lister than the plot of any of the movies shown at the Cannes film festival – if you’re in the latter category, congratulations you’re doing it right.

The official website for the Oscars features a section showing you how to host your own “fun and fabulous” Oscar Awards party – for which you won’t be escorted from the luxurious building by a hulk of a man with a suit and an earpiece for not being on the list because it’s at your house. The downsides include purchasing the refreshments yourself from Tesco, preparing them, cleaning up your living room after one of your rowdy friends hurls a glass of merlot at the television when the actor she had bet €20 on failed to receive the shiny statue, and not being able to exchange small talk with Naomi Watts on who she’s wearing (Valentino, darling).

Princess dreams and fantasy

However you get to indulge in the ultimate window shopping fantasy with a group of like-minded individuals. What better way to soothe your bitterness about not being super wealthy and talented than cattily compiling a list of those who have put on weight and being reassured that indeed, you would look better in that lilac Elie Saab dress by your nearest and dearest? Girls night in complete with princess dreams.

In the frenzy of tulle and lace, we may forget that the fashion industry is a well-calculated, lucrative business of the most eye-pleasing kind. Product placement and trend forecasting at an event of this scale is of major importance. It holds the unwavering interest of the media and public alike with blogs, newspapers and TV shows exploding with a collage of images of the best and worst dressed year after year so something must be working.

In 2002 when Kate Winslet wore the infamous one shouldered red dress to the Oscars, the creator Ben de Lisi proclaimed “I can’t possibly quantify how much publicity I got from that or how much money I made. And now, every time anyone writes about her they use the picture of her in the dress and so it just goes on and on.”

Setting trends

The extravagant haute couture may not be all that relevant to those of us working nine-to-fives in Ireland, but hair styles, make up and the stylish cut of a suit will have an influence on what we’ll be donning. With the recent surge in the popularity of nail art, channel E! has found an amusing method of showcasing the chosen nail wear of celebrities with a miniature box of the red carpet complete with camera – the Mani-Cam.

Hollywood has also beckoned one of our own to the couture-filled catwalk of the Oscars in the form of Laura-Jayne Halton. On the 24th the 28-year-old designer’s vision will adorn Kerry native, Fodhla Cronin O’Reilly who is nominated for her production Head Over Heels. There’s no avoiding the glamour of the Oscars now that Ireland has joined the highest tier of the fash pack!

Kim Cadogan is a journalism student at Rathmines College. Her fashion blog is Honey, This Mirror Isn’t Big Enough For The Two Of Us. For more articles written by Kim for TheJournal.ie click here.

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