Aside from Melissa Leo dropping the f-bomb in the most endearing of ways and James Franco’s questionable state of sobriety, the most discussed topic of the 83rd Academy Awards is, by far, that of Mila Kunis’s wardrobe choice. The Black Swan actress was one of the first women on the red carpet Sunday evening, and immediately following her arrival, the fashion world was abuzz with praise for the lavender lace Elie Saab creation she donned. Most people were charmed by the gown–a poll at the Huffington Post website reveals that an overwhelming 81% of those who voted said that they loved the dress. I, however, was one of the 19% that was less than thrilled.

Elie Saab's lavender and lace gown on Mila Kunis at the 83rd Academy Awards, left, and on the runway at his Spring 2011 Couture show, right.

After feasting my eyes on the sleek, futuristic Calvin Klein masterpiece worn by Gwyneth Paltrow and the strapless red Vera Wang seen on Sandra Bullock (which I preferred to the similar Valentino dress worn by Anne Hathaway), I was underwhelmed when I saw Mila Kunis. Maybe I’m a sucker for simplicity, or maybe I’m just a naysayer. But, from the waist down, my feelings for the Elie Saab she wore are lukewarm, at best. And that’s coming from a staunch Saab fan. I think my lack of enthusiasm might be a result of this deep love I have for Saab, and the fact that I had already chosen favorites from his Spring 2011 Couture collection when Kunis showed up on the red carpet.
Initially, upon seeing the dress, I didn’t recognize it at all. Looking at it more closely, I recognized the fabric at the bodice, having swooned over the same type of draping seen in a knee-length red dress from Saab’s Spring 2011 Couture collection. When I realized it was an Elie Saab, my immediate reaction was, “That one? She chose that one?”

Gowns from Elie Saab's Spring 2011 Couture show


I know, I know. I’m biased. Like I said before, there was already a special place in my heart for specific dresses from that collection. But it wasn’t just that the dress Mila wore was not my favorite; it was that the two lavender dresses from that collection were my least favorites. I didn’t like the colors when I saw them on the runway; all I could think was that they looked dusty. Not the sweet kind of dusty seen in the floral dresses from the same collection, but the old kind of dusty that made me wonder whether or not the fabric Saab had chosen to make the pieces had been sitting in his attic for a while. The amount of draping and overlapping of fabrics in the dress Mila wore was a bit overwhelming even for Karmen Pedaru, the 5-foot-9 amazon woman who showcased the dress on the runway. So Mila, who stands six inches shorter than Karmen, looked even more lost in the sea of lace and silk organza. Granted, a floor-length dress is always a struggle to pull off for us shorties (I, like Mila, am vertically challenged). But there are ways to wear longer hemlines, despite shorter heights. A dress with a more structured hemline, made out of fabric with less movement, would have served her much better (something along the lines of the shimmery peach dress from Saab’s CS2011 collection).
Had I been in Mila Kunis’s position, and been invited to the Academy Awards, given the opportunity to wear any dress that my heart desired, I would have chosen a gown from the same exact collection she did. Just not that one. But, as my roommate kept patiently reminding me as I bemoaned the situation for days after the award show had ended, I am not Mila Kunis. She and I do not share taste. Simple as that. So I’ve moved onto seeing her wearing the dress as a positive: at least Mila, who is in the center of the limelight, wore a Saab at all, and his work is getting some well-deserved attention.


Emily Anderson – Member