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Back in the day, award show attendees got ready for the big event once. Then there was a shift.
Quite possibly, it all began at the Academy Awards in 2010 with Cameron Diaz swapping her Oscar de la Renta ballgown for a snappy, knee-grazing Victoria Beckham number at the Vanity Fair afterparty. In subsequent years, stars continued sampling the style swap and now, in 2019, two looks are de rigueur.
So why the change? Firstly, there’s the issue of comfort, because who doesn’t love taking off their work clothes for sweats at the end of the day? Partying in a cocktail dress is much easier than cutting a rug in a ball gown. After hosting the Golden Globes this year, Sandra Oh traded her myriad of gowns for a cozy jumpsuit and sneakers to hit the party circuit.
Then there’s the issue of dress preservation. Because many of the designer gowns — that reach into the six figures — are loaned for the event, the lenders don’t want Moet splashed all over them while Louboutin after Louboutin stiletto grinds into the beadwork that took an army many hours to hand sew. To comply with insurance, some pieces of jewelry must also be taken off after the actual event, as policies often only cover million-dollar gems for the red carpet and the award ceremony, not the parties.
By the end of the ceremony, a general retouch is also usually in order anyway, says Lupita Nyong’o’s makeup artist, Nick Barose: “The makeup and hair has been done for hours, so it needs to be freshened up before the parties.” Barose says Nyong’o’s glam team will take less than 30 minutes to revamp her on Sunday. Hairstylist Matthew Collins, who works with Cindy Crawford, Gigi Hadid and Karlie Kloss as well as newcomer Thomasin Mckenzie, adds that most attendees “jet home really quickly” for a revamp. “And thank goodness it’s a Sunday, so traffic can be much better.” The outfit, hair and makeup transformations may also take place en route in the back of the limo, as many an Instagram snap has shown.
The Academy Awards also tends to be more classic and conservative when it comes to fashion, hair and makeup. “For the afterparties, the look can be more daring and bolder,” says Barose. “I never want it too flashy for the actual Oscars, but the afterparty makeup can be more funky and experimental.” Lady Gaga ditched her silver Celine at the Grammys for party-ready fishnets and lingerie and we can expect the men to follow suit in future award seasons, by ditching their tuxes for more casual party-wear.
For others, the change presents the opportunity to wear something outside of what they are contractually obliged to wear. Take for example Jennifer Lawrence, who wore Dior to the Oscars in 2014 and 2016 (she was reportedly under a three-year, $15-million contract that demanded that she wear Dior exclusively for major red carpet events), but switched into Tom Ford and Alexander Wang, respectively, for the afterparties.
Finally, because most everyone involved — from the designers to glam squad to the celebrities — wants to go viral the night of the award show, there’s twice the chance of that with two looks. “Double the looks equals double the options for landing on a best-dressed list,” says Collins.
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