Hits and misses

Updated: 2013-03-03 08:06

By Xu Junqian (China Daily)

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We all know that Ang Lee stole the thunder at the Oscars as the Best Director. But online, fashion police in China have their own Oscar winners. Xu Junqian reports.

If there was a Chinese celebrity who was grabbing as much attention as Ang Lee - the Best Director winner at the recent Oscars - it must be Fan Bingbing. The 31-year-old Chinese actress has established international recognition more for her stunning red carpet looks rather than her silver screen achievements.

Fan was present at the Dolby Theater in California on Feb 24 for the 85th Academy Awards, and another two events. Her Oscar debut made her the most-searched figure other than the Life of Pi director on Chinese social networks.

But Fan, dubbed "red carpet star" and who surprised the world with a bright yellow dragon robe for the 63rd Cannes Film Festival in 2010, harvested less wows this time for her attire.

Famed for her gowns with strong Oriental elements, Fan wore a rose-colored Marchesa gown designed by Georgina Chapman, a high bun-like updo and a black Roger Vivier clutch bag.

The dress was reported to be a last minute decision, delivered by a private plane two hours before the ceremony to the hotel where the Chinese actress stayed, after Chapman, who was in Paris, learned that Fan was going to wear her latest design.

The gown made its debut at the 2013 Fall runway of New York Fashion Week.

Fan's two other gowns, an Elie Saab peachy gown for the Elton John AIDS Foundation Oscar Party and an Oscar de la Renta stripes for the Vanity Fair Oscar Party, did not win much applause either.

The three dresses, especially the two strapless ones, have been widely criticized for making her look too bulky. Sina Weibo's most popular fashion critic Gogoboi described her as "like a magnificent mountain moving on the red carpet".

But in defense, Chris Bu Kewen, the stylist who has been dressing Fan Bingbing since the Cannes thunder-stealing moment, has his own comments.

He says in an exclusive interview with NetEase News, a popular Web portal in China, that "being slender is not the only criteria for Fan's look".

Fan's team had only 10 minutes or so to change between each look, which means they did not have much time to redo the makeup or hairstyle to suit the different dresses.

The other Chinese actress who graced the ceremony is Li Bingbing, who dressed in a lake blue Gucci dress with large frills. But aside from having a photograph taken with Fan Bingbing that was later posted on Fan's weibo, the actress received little publicity.

Among the foreign celebrities, Jennifer Lawrence - the latest Oscar best actress winner - attracted eyeballs, thanks not only to her elegant looks but her fall as she walked on stage to receive her award.

It was described as an all-time-great-Oscar-moment fall.

The Silver Linings Playbook star was voted the best-dressed actress on Sina Weibo, with 41.5 percent votes by Wednesday, two days after the event.

In a white voluminous but "malfunctioning" Dior Haute Couture and a dainty Chopard necklace down her back, the young winner impressed Chinese audiences who described her as "a fairy princess riding on a cloud" and "she walks in beauty", borrowing from Lord Byron's poem.

Charlize Theron, also in Dior and white, but a much simpler piece, won second place mainly because of her buzz-cut hairstyle that stood out among crowds of updos and long free falls.

"Who needs hair when you have that face," as Joyce Salton once wrote about the South-African-born blonde on SheKnows.com, a popular website targeting women in the United States.

The third best-dressed actress, for Chinese audiences, was Amanda Seyfried in Alexander McQueen.

Pastel makeup, lilac organza halter gown, delicate Lorraine Schwartz earrings and textured updo were perfect as a classic red carpet look for the Les Misrables actress. It was stunning, but not surprising.

Contact the writer at xujunqian@chinadaily.com.cn.

 Hits and misses

Above: Fan Bingbing appears on the red carpet at the Dolby Theater in California for the 85th Academy Awards, wearing a rose-colored Marchesa gown. Below: Li Bingbing attends the Vanity Fair Oscar Party in a lake blue Gucci dress with large frills. Sina Weibo's top three best-dressed actresses at the latest Oscar ceremony are best actress winner Jennifer Lawrence in Dior Haute Couture, Charlize Theron who is also in Dior but simpler, and Amanda Seyfried in Alexander McQueen. Provided to China Daily