Oscars 2014: Viola Davis in Escada

Posted on March 03, 2014

Oh, Miss Viola. No, hon. It pains us to say it, but … no.



Viola Davis attends the 86th Oscars held at the Hollywood & Highland Center in Hollywood, California in an Escada dress paired with a Jimmy Choo clutch and Lorraine Schwartz jewelry.

Escada Fall 2014 Collection


First, the kindness: LOVING the 1930s hairstyle on her and this green is a stunning shade for her.

And now, the unkindness: That bodice is WAAAAAY too tricky for any mere mortal to wear. And considering the model’s not really pulling it off all that well, we’re inclined to think no one can really make that over-seamed satiny thing look good. Love the skirt, but it all goes wonky from the hips up – and it’s so distracting that it overwhelms everything else about the look.

Seriously, who wants a bunch of extra fabric twisted right around their stomach? How is THAT a good idea for anyone?





And if you’re loving our Oscars red carpet bitchery, you might consider checking out our new book, darling! “A hilarious critique of celebrity culture,” they called it! We’re proud. And shameless. 





[Photo Credit: Peter West/ACE/INFphoto.com, INFphoto.com, Andrew Evans/PRPhotos.com, style.com]

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  • imperfectlaura

    The fabric + the cut of the dress is not a great fashion equation. I think this fabric in this color could have created a stunning look for Viola, but this is not it.

  • Aidan B

    Sadly I must agree; poor fabric and poor fit/draping. Luckily the head, as always, is fabulous.

    • NYCGlamourpuss

      Girl, That Is Your Head.

  • I will never wear satin again thanks to this site.

    • sugarkane105

      But, but Sandra Bullock! It can work with the right construction.

      • KateShouldBeWorking

        Yeah… Stopped clocks and blind squirrels and all that…

    • IMNAngryLiberal

      Thanks to this site, whenever I buy fabric, I scrunch a piece up in my hand to see how badly it creases. If the wrinkles don’t pretty much shake out, I pass on by. I figure if stars in their limos get so wrinkled, me on the bus doesn’t stand a chance.

      • Exactly!

      • Except linen. I figure that linen *has* to look crushed otherwise no one knows it’s real linen.

        • 3boysful

          Ha! That’s what I am always saying.

    • Last time I tried was when I was 19. Never again.

  • Little_Olive

    The sharpie eyeliner is insulting.

  • Griffinqueen

    Is ” No satin, EVER” a good general rule?
    I’m asking because I so rarely see it look good. It’s always wrinkled and reminds me of secondhand prom/ pageant /bridesmaids dresses. It never looks chic and “BAM!”, know what I mean?

    • alyce1213

      Never say never. There’s satin that looks stiff and tacky, and there are other versions like silk charmeuse (can be unforgiving on an imperfect body), which is lighter and drapes well.

      • demidaemon

        It also depends on how much the designer deigns to torture it. This dress has been put on the rack.

  • golden_valley

    Her hairstyle is wonderful!

    • jspark

      I loved the hair and the dress. Am I the only one? I think the angular bodice goes well with her muscular physique.

  • sugarkane105

    Nope, this is bad and looked worse onstage. The only green that werqed last night was on June Squibb.

    • 3boysful

      So funny–I was just thinking the stills did not look nearly as bad as I remembered it looking on stage (thru my tv, of course).

  • marlie

    I’m not really loving any of this. I think her hair is too wiggy, her makeup is terrible – the foundation is too cakey, her eye mekeup looks slept-in, and I think that the non-color/skin-color lipstick trend may look even worse on darker-skinned women than others. And the dress doesn’t seem “designer” to me in the least. But hey – those cuffs are killa.

    • Introspective

      You covered all I was here to say. Everything feels like it started out as fab ideas that fell the fuck apart in execution. Which pains me given how much I love Viola!

    • MilaXX

      AMEN to all of this. Although if everything else was right I’d give the hair a pass.

      • Introspective

        yes to this too. i feel like the hair, if she’s gonna go with a wig, is a step in a good direction. but the whole look was too off to not classify as a mess. and so the hair gets thrown out with the rest of this cray cray bathwater.

    • Alloy Jane

      I’m not a fan of the hair, but it does not pain me the way her makeup does. The dress is a pretty color and that’s the nicest thing that can be said about it.

    • kimmeister

      Also, she may have gone overboard with the body shimmer again, because those arms are looking ashy.

  • The makeup is the biggest sin here. Whoever did the eyes should have given it a practice run and taken a few pictures first, and maybe done it with their dominant hand. This is not her, or anyone’s, makeup look, especially the eyes. Smoky! Make them smoky! That would have been gorgeous! But this is making raccoons worldwide shake their furry heads. And on my screen, it looks like a slightly navy shade of black, which is all kinds of wrong here.

    And the lip! Give her some color, even a sheer coral a la Lupita or a deep plum a la Kerry.

  • Grumpy Girl

    Her hair looks lovely. And her arms are in great shape, too. The dress . . . not so much. (But the color IS glorious.)

  • Blair Sylvester

    that dress is a for skeletons only dress. The model looks chunky in it and I am sure she is not

    • alyce1213

      I looked back at the model picture — could she be (what they consider to be) a plus size model? I mean, her arms are not scrawny.

      • Blair Sylvester

        Hmm that never even occurred to me. Looking more closely her head seems really small for her body or maybe its just an optical illusion

        • demidaemon

          I’m pretty sure this is a for no one ever but maybe in a n editorial from the right angle kind of dress.

  • butterflysunita

    I always feel like she looks more beautiful with her natural hair.
    None of this look is working for me. But she is still fabulous.

  • decormaven

    Love the color, love the cuffs, but that is a FMO dress. I’m not even sure if it’s FMO- the only reason it works in the model shot is because it’s shot at an angle. Straight on, that may well be nobody’s dress.

  • KT

    Oh yeah, I yelled at the tv at this one. That dress is awful. Noooooo no no. Also that makeup is really bad — big ol’ raccoon eyes. And enough with the body shimmer!!

  • theblondette

    This is too David’s Bridal bridesmaid.

  • alyce1213

    I love her so much, but this is a bad wig (very noticeable up close), awful dress, and way too much eye makeup. She really looks best with natural hair, closely cropped, and less makeup — to let her amazing face do the heavy lifting.

  • webslice33

    it’s too severe..with all her muscles, she needs a softer look…

  • BobStPaul

    She’s usually so impeccably put together but this just isn’t working for her. Too bad as she’s one of my red carpet faves.

  • snarkykitten

    Can we talk about the woman in the right-hand corner in the bottom shot? Whose suit jacket did she steal?

  • veronicafish

    I’m sorry, I really hate that hair hat she’s sporting. And satin? Ugh!

  • Anathema_Device

    Thank you, T Lo! That cut was terrible on her. And the makeup was awful, too. Such a beautiful woman laid low by a few bad choices.

  • shaziz

    She is fit and gorgeous and this makes her look like a shlumpy brides maid. Thumbs down sister. LOVE the hair and M/U though~ and she’s totally FIERCE- but the dress is no bueno.

  • schadenfreudelicious

    Once again proving that satin is the devil’s fabric..

    • sagecreek

      So true!

      One question… if we all know that, how do Hollywood stylists not know that?

      • demidaemon

        Because they obviously are not getting their training at TLo University.

        • sagecreek


          • demidaemon


  • ashtangajunkie

    I might have to hang a photo of Viola Davis’ arms in our home gym…next to Lupita’s abs. Satin is bad.

  • MilaXX

    I wanted to like this because the color and hair are really good on her. However that bodice is awful.

  • Jenna621

    I was disappointed in this. So much potential, so little achieved.

    Is there a reason her face is five shades lighter than the rest of her body?

  • largishbearishAtlish

    maybe if she leaned backwards on one foot, allllllmost tipping over like the model did? This dress does not do the tummy region any favors…sigh. love the color and hair tho.

  • Tatiana Luján

    I hate the makeup even more than the dress.

  • bitchybitchybitchy

    Love the color, but the bodice is not doing Viola justice. Her husband was adorable, though with her ont the runway.

  • Judy_S

    I saw her chatting on the red carpet and I thought she looked good. The seaming was indeed a bit wonky-looking but the goddess aspect really worked–you started looking at the seaming and ended up admiring her body.

  • Judy_J

    Hair and makeup is great. Too bad about the dress.

  • formerlyAnon

    Love her hair. Dress is so-so, why shiny satin, stars? WHY? I do not love her makeup. Her face looks “hard” to me, in a way it doesn’t usually. I’ll blame the makeup since I really don’t know why.

  • Jessica Freeman

    From the neck up is something she really needs to do more often. From the neck down, whoever’s idea this was, should be fired.

  • SierraDelta

    Oh, Viola. . .if you forget that I wore pajamas to the Oscars last night, I’ll forget that you wore this. We’ll pinky swear, and no one will ever have to know.

  • sagecreek

    Yeah, the satin caught the light just wrong and made her look poochy. Which she is not. Too bad, because it’s a lovely color.

  • jw_ny

    All the seams and folds are bulky and puckery…just not the right fabric for that dress…as well the not the right style/shape dress for her. Her foundation makeup doesn’t match her skin tone at all, and the rest of the makeup is not flattering. Overall, not liking much except the color of the gown.

  • Anna

    That bodice and midsection are absolutely tragic. She looks lopsided in the bust area and the seaming is just making a mess of her lovely figure. You deserve better, Ms. Viola! Love your cuffs though.

  • E. D.

    Too lumpy and shiny. Hair and makeup looked great.

  • bertkeeter

    Someone at ESCADA owes her an apology! Oh… and us also!

  • bertkeeter

    Besides the horrible fit, what’s with that puny “dorsal Fin” neckline detail? Even if dress fit beautifully it would be a fail…that things a joke!

  • quiltrx

    “Those pleats will be flattering to your midsection”, said no one ever. It’s a shame, because the hair is perfection and that really is a great color.

  • barbarienne

    I completely disagree on the color. Maybe it’s my screen, but it’s doing her no favors. A warmer green with a touch more yellow in it would have been better.

    The hair is adorable, but what the hell did her makeup person do to her face?

    I like the jewelry. Are Wonder Woman cuffs (and variants such as these) becoming a thing? I hope so!

  • cwade1211

    The dress may have its issues, but it showcases Viola’s beautiful shoulders and arms.

  • Qitkat

    I can see this as a prom or bridesmaids dress instead of red carpet. On the plus side, the color is gorgeous on her, and her hair is to die, reminds me of favorite photos of my mom from that era. I like the cuffs too, but I’m not sure about identical on each wrist, I’m an asymmetrical kind of gal.

  • lillyvonschtupp

    The dress looked like a bad PR team project. But what really disappointed me was the hair. Why didn’t she sport it natural?

  • smh4748

    Ah, that hair. Easily my favorite hair of the night. So cool, and it works on her really well.

  • Calvin Philips

    I actually had this dress in my Top 3…

  • susu

    I’ll admit… I momentarily wondered if she was pregnant when I first saw her in this gown. Love the hair though.

  • I think if it wasn’t satin – shiny, ugly satin – it could have been a WERQ for me. I love the dress. I ‘m all about making the seam a visual detail. I love the hair. She looks good. It’s just that she could have looked better with a few tweaks to the dress – namely the fabric choice.

  • kmk05

    I don’t hate this as much as other BKs, but I just wish the dress wasn’t satin. The shape is actually pretty good, and I could even get behind the bodice detailing if it weren’t for that shiny fabric.

    I actually like her makeup, it’s a bit rock’n’roll and edgy. That may not be what one would like to go for at the Oscars, though.

  • BayTampaBay

    I must humbly disagree….I think she looks great due to the hair & color of the dress.

  • AnneElliot

    Not crazy about the color (though green is normally one of my favorites); and it’s overworked and just tragic around the waist and bodice. I agree with the other BKs, it’s like a PR group project gone wrong.

    The hair’s fun but the eye makeup is too heavy — is it 30s or 80s? They don’t go together. Sorry, Violet, it’s just not working for me.

  • Mars Tokyo

    When did she lose all the weight?

  • suzq

    Shiny fabrics + seams = too much recipe for disaster.

    When sewing shiny satin myself, I have to let the fabric hang after sewing each seam. If you don’t, it bunches funny no matter what you do. No amount of steaming and primping can save you. I bet some of these production houses skip that step in order to speed the garment out to their customers. It’s why, I think, you see so much puckering on the runway now. It used to take longer to make these dresses and the fashions didn’t change so quickly,

  • MartyBellerMask

    Bridesmaid dress from 1989.

  • NYCGlamourpuss

    I thought the exact same thing – love the color green on her, love the hair. Hate the fit, it’s just so off on her!

  • Cathy S

    Yeah, her hair and that color are all that are saving this right now. Love her hair like that.

  • MoHub

    Sorry. Can’t get past the eye makeup.

  • ckokopuff

    I think the dress would work a lot better if the bodice was the same as on the model. It had a diagonal piece that hung down slightly over the boob. Viola’s is all stitched up. It makes a huge difference, IMO.

  • Viola’s first full-out FAIL on the RC if I recall correctly.

  • peachy

    love her, hate the liberacebedspread dress.

  • Sally Spannagle

    Too much eye makeup on her.