They all made the grand effort to make a splash on Oscar night -- the legends and legends-in-waiting. After nervous negotiations with designers, dressmakers, jewelers and hair benders, they were on their own as they arrived for the ceremonies in the glare of cameras and L.A sunshine. The smart dressers covered up.
Perhaps we've become numb to wundercleavage, but it wasn't the sexpots who made the grand entrances. It was the ladies who know how to handle a ball gown or train who stood out in the crowd.
Sharon Stone, who in the past has proved she can fill out a tube dress, swept into the hall in a trailing bouffant satin ball gown by Vera Wang that was topped with a fitted jacket. As a presenter, she slipped off the jacket to reveal a strapless lace bodice. Wow! Glamour without jiggle.
Diane Wiest, in a velvet top with long and flowing rustle of silk by Donna Karan, dominated the stage like the veteran she is. Oprah Winfrey also chose to sweep, in a portrait-collared jacket and yards of tulle caught up in a bustle by Gianfranco Ferre.
Sigourney Weaver did the star thing in strapless silvery lace trailing a bow behind her in a confection by Christian Lacroix.
These dresses were not made to sit but to dominate the stage and impress.
Let's not sniff at the shapely bosoms and bottoms, however; they were pretty impressive. Rene Russo's black Armani sheath was so perfectly molded that it was difficult to tell where nature stopped and couture started. Ellen Barkin's black Chanel hugged and wrapped her shoulders in illusion chiffon. Holly Hunter was in a column of transparent white with a good-girl white sequined bra shining though.
We were glad. With a few notable exceptions, Oscar fashion over the last decade had gone the way of flesh or grunge, depending on gender or that month's political persuasion.
The old studio star system had disintegrated and a whole new generation of star kids was left to invent its own image.
The brat pack responded with in-your- face fashion. Tuxes and T-shirts, jeans and droopy frocks. The hair, heaven help us, looked like it had just been dragged through the casting couch. That famous-for-a-minute Beverly Hills poolboy Kato Kaelin still aspires to that look and we see how sorry that plays.
The brat pack has grown up, however, and Oscar night '95 was in a dressy mood. The rising legends have matured enough to take lessons from the geezers, the very same oldsters who invented the Hollywood glamour look.
High fashion and Hollywood have been married for about two years -- just about par for showbiz unions -- and the sparks are still there.
The shimmery and sexy evening slinks we associate with old studio portraits of Marlene, Rita, Greta, Bette and Myrna showed up last night.
The idea of a grand entrance was not lost on last night's slip set. While the old screen divas dragged their sables and chinchillas, the new Hollywood has become sensitive to fluff. Fluff has been replaced by yards of fabric. The stole seems to be the gala star accessory of the moment. It was everywhere.
Lizzy Gardiner, who took an Oscar for costume design for "Priscilla, Queen of the Desert," wrapped herself in a gold one to match her armored shift made of gold American Express cards. Uma Thurman draped a diaphanous one over a pale blue float by Prada. Sarah Jessica Parker, big-haired and reed-thin, wrapped a stole around a black strapless Calvin Klein to give her some bulk and attitude.
But it wasn't just the glamorous '40s. Remember when we sneered at Ivana in the '80s?
The Ivana upswept pouf is alive and well again with its teased and pinned and heightened and trailing ringlets.
The men of the Academy are perking up, too. Keanu Reeves sported the new choked-up nerd silhouette, which is creeping into men's fashion. Tim Robbins was in a shiny blue by tailor-of-the-moment Richard Tyler. And John Travolta showed up in a dapper striped vest and loosely knotted poet tie. He's come a long way since those disco shirts.
To hear highlights from the Oscar ceremony, call Sundial, The Sun's telephone information service, at (410) 783-1800. In Anne Arundel County, call 268-7736; in Harford County, 836-5028; in Carroll County, 848-0338. Using a touch-tone phone, punch in the code 6100 after you hear the greeting.