02/19/2015 01:18 EST | Updated 04/21/2015 05:59 EDT

Style experts hope for colourful dresses, edgy accessories on Oscar red carpet

TORONTO - The most high-wattage red carpet of the year will be unfurled on Sunday as Hollywood's elite take centre stage at the Academy Awards.

Style experts weigh in on notable trends observed during awards season, and fashions they anticipate seeing on Oscar night.


"What's surprised me is the amount of white," said Lisa Tant, vice-president of exclusive services at Holt Renfrew.

"White is so often considered bridal, but we saw a lot of it," she added, noting that Kate Hudson looked "absolutely spectacular" in her form-fitting white Versace gown at the Golden Globes.

Fashion stylist Alexis Honce said everyone has been "really playing it safe" both with dress styles and more muted colour selections.

"I think white and metallics on both the (Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild Awards) carpets were big trends — and they're classics," said Honce, who is styling "Orphan Black" star Tatiana Maslany for the Canadian Screen Awards.

Celebrity stylist Annie Jagger said she's also observed considerably less colour than she'd normally like to see, with black and white styles and designs with plunging necklines prominent.

Jagger said she's noticed a lot of interesting jewelry such as chokers and earrings that deviate from classic dangling styles.

"I've been seeing ear cuffs and just bigger, rounded statement earrings that are closer to the ear ... they're a little bit more modern," said Jagger, whose star-studded client list includes Oscar winner Matthew McConaughey and best actor nominee Bradley Cooper.

"I've definitely seen that as a big trend on the red carpet and I think you'll continue to see that at the Oscars."


Jagger anticipates seeing bolder hues on Oscar night, noting that stars typically save their best dresses for the event.

"I do think you're going to see more flamboyant colours and probably still seeing the white and the neutrals in that romantic sense. But as far as colours (go), I think you're going to see more at the Oscars," said Jagger, owner of Toronto boutique Gilding the Lily.

Honce said the recent Marchesa runway was full of red carpet contenders, selecting two designs — one feathered, the other fringed — among her favourites. And while she hopes to see a lot of embroidery and embellishments, she predicts most stars will play it safe.

"It's still going to be nice typical mermaid gowns or column gowns for most of the celebrities."

Honce said she'd like to see "surprising colours" like orange and pink and a bit more edge overall.

"If they go for a safe dress, maybe the accessories (can) be a little more fashion forward," she said, pointing to chokers and ear cuffs as styles she'd like to see.

Honce said she loved the pink Balenciaga dress Felicity Jones wore to the Screen Actors Guild Awards and said the best actress nominee is her "No. 1 to watch" at the Oscars.

"Her choices are insane. They're just gorgeous, very fashion forward. She's not playing it safe because she's picking interesting cuts and interesting shapes with her garments."

Tant said ornate halter dress styles from the recent Oscar de la Renta show — the first by successor Peter Copping since the designer's death — could be the type of designs she could envision Jones or fellow nominee Emma Stone wearing.

"We saw a lot of white on the runways for this spring season, so I think you're going to continue seeing that," said Tant. "It's available. It makes a big statement against a red carpet — you really notice somebody wearing white. But I do think this is where we'll see a whole other class of fashion.

"I think we'll see more couture on the red carpet, whether it's Chanel couture or any of those truly exclusive pieces that really stand out."

Tant said she always enjoys when stars take a chance or wear unexpected styles, like Bjork's infamous swan dress or Lupita Nyong'o's printed Elie Saab gown at the SAGs. She said she hopes Oscar attendees will try to stand out.

"This is your chance to shine. You are an actress. You're a chameleon. Play a role. Make it fun."

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