NEW YORK -- You'd think that designers would know way ahead of time if a movie star were planning to wear their designs to the Oscars. Not true. They find out the same way we do -- watching the red carpet arrivals on TV. With fingers crossed.
Georgina Chapman, of the designing duo behind Marchesa, a label extremely popular on the red carpet, says she usually watches the arrivals on an iPad in the car on the way to the Oscars. Her husband is film mogul Harvey Weinstein, which is why she's always there.
"It always goes in and out," she said of the reception on the iPad, "and always cuts out at the (big) moment and I'm like, 'There! No, can't see!'"
Her co-designer, Keren Craig, watches at home. "Sometimes I'll have some friends over and we watch it together, but I sort of like to focus on the red carpet. I don't want too many people around because I'm really glued to that television," she said.
Hollywood's fondness for Marchesa's sumptuous gowns was evidenced on Wednesday by the stars in attendance at their runway show: Actresses Katie Holmes, Anna Kendrick, and Sarah Paulson, and supermodel Tyra Banks.
On the runway, Chapman and Craig presented a whimsical collection based on the theme of the Scottish Highlands. Not that there were bagpipes, or anything that looked like your typical kilt.
It was a more abstract connection. Chapman said the two considered "the idea of those misty, foggy fields." Craig added that the duo was thinking of fire. "We have a lot of bonfires so we were looking at the fire and the smoke and we took a lot of the colors from the bonfires."
Fire was evoked in deep oranges, saffron and copper. Smoke was illustrated in grays and teals. The designers also had fun "deconstructing Scotland," in their words, by playing with tartan and the pleating in kilts.
Gowns in so-called tartan lace, in shades of gold and copper, shimmered on the runway and seemed perfect for awards season. One gown with a bright orange ostrich feather skirt looked quite literally like fire, perhaps too much. A black and white feather embroidered tulle gown did not seem to overtly reference fire or Scotland, but was one of the prettiest designs in the show.
A number of the dresses had a Victorian feel, with a lacy buttoned-up back, for example, or even a bustle, in draped silk.