Of course, I have my favorites to win the Academy Awards, but I’ll be honest – the part I watch for is the red carpet. I’ll never grow tired of my “little girl dressing up fantasy,” because I need my fashion fix as surely as I need air to survive, and the Oscars are the epitome of Cinderella going to the ball.  I’ll be honest – I never had

Julie Anne red carpet ready

Julie Anne Rhodes from catwalk to red carpet ready

all the hoopla these stars get to day. The months of training and starving (although that part I did do), body treatments, waxing from head to toe, fake tans, mani’s and pedi’s, and wildly indulgent facials – some involving 24 carrot gold and diamonds. I did however, walk many a catwalk, and thanks to the generous designers I worked for, I was dressed in plenty of drop-dead gorgeous gowns for the fabulous events I attended.

Jewels from catwalk to red carpet in Maria Gracgvogel

Forever insistent on dressing up for the ball, even if it is in my imagination, I checked out the Fall 2012 collections from Mercedes Benz fashion week in New York last week, and here are my top picks for the

Oscars. Starting with the one exception, a to-die-for gorgeous gold lame Marchessa gown that’s actually from the spring 2012 collection. It screams Oscar, and it is so very me. Definitely my first pick to wear on Sunday, although I suppose I’d let Michelle Williams arm wrestle me for it, since it is so modern day Marilyn.

Monique Lhuillier is another huge favorite of mine. I expect we will see a lot of this bold color on the red carpet this season, and I love the juxtaposition of femininity meets powerful woman in a Girl with the Dragon Tattoo bondage sort of way. Will Rooney Mara stay true to character or go for a more soft and demure look?

Who might dare to challenge the long gown status quo with this stunning sequined jumpsuit peeking from a dramatic full length satin coat by Chado Ralph Rucci? Nick once bought me an ensemble similar in theory by Jean Paul Gaulteir in Paris. It was a favorite statement making piece that certainly got tongues wagging.

As much as I don’t gravitate to twenties style often, Ralph Lauren nailed the shimmering updated version so well this season I would gladly add these to my wardrobe. They just beg for Fred Leighton jewels, don’t they?

Caftans are back in a big way this season, but can easily go from glam to frump if your not extremely careful. I especially liked the the way this sequined Egyptian queen version hangs with a glimpse of the beautiful figure underneath as she moves, just enough to tease. Leaving more to the imagination can be sexier than the overt.

This Jenny Packahm is such a deliciously fresh, feminine and loosely skimming to flatter dress. The perfect balance of color and texture that still allows the woman wearing it to shine, rather than the dress wearing the woman. The delicate rose aplique reminded me of my rack of lamb in pomegrante-mint sauce which would be a well recieved jeweled entree at any Oscar dinner (especially after months of starving to fit into those gowns).

Rack of Lamb in Pomegranate-Mint Sauce

Oscar worthy Rack of Lamb in Pomegranate-Mint Sauce

Taking you with my from my VIP entrances in Versace to service entrances in my apron, I made this our recipe of the week for you all to enjoy. Click “EAT” on the home page, and please do upgrade to our premium membership for scads more scintilating recipes, weekly menu plans, and a lively forum for support. Eat more efficiently, save time and money, while eating healthier all year round. Weekly menu plans may also be purchased seperately. Dinners made simple each week no matter how you approach it. Affording you the luxury of time.

So who do you think might wear each of these elaborate looks on Sunday, and which would be your personal pick if you suddenly received an invitation to the event? What accessories would you pair which each one?

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  • February 22, 2012
    4:21 pm

    I don’t even know where to start… The gold lame is beyond to die for! The draping is jaw droppingly beautiful and just … wow… The red is beautifully fitted, flowing, sophisticated and LUX! The Chado Ralph Rucci reminds me of sophisticated Jackie Kennedy dinner parties with a hugely modern finish… the 20s inspired – BEAUTIFUL… the caftan late 60s and gorgeous and the final Jenny Packham… perfect match for the pomegranate dish! Drooling here! After this post, the nominees should be coming to you for their style advice for Sunday!

    • February 23, 2012
      11:30 am

      I’d be happy to make them dinner.

  • February 22, 2012
    4:48 pm

    I look at these dresses and dream of wearing them. Oops, dream punctured, reality sets in. I haven’t got a place to wear such finery. But, if my magic fairy could pull an invite to such an event, I would have to choose between the caftan and the very feminine white dress with the red accents. The silver caftan would require minimal jewelry – a few bangles on each wrist, black lacquered ones and highly polished silver ones. As for the white dress, a substantial, but still delicate necklace would be in order. I would opt for multiple strands of pearls with a large pendant piece made entirely of red garnets. No doubt my idea of jewelry is off base, but I’ve never worn anything amazing in my life. I was a bridesmaid once and wore a long green dress that went to the back of my closet and was given to a charity shop years ago. Dressing up is so different now. I would never consider wearing the suits that middle aged women often wear, and I wouldn’t feel comfortable in anything fitted, slinky or showing skin. In a way, I wish I had something other than doctor’s appointments in my day planner. I never go anywhere and my wardrobe shows that. Oh well, if I can dream up wonderful clothes to wear, I’ll just have to work on dreaming up a place to wear them to. While I’m at it, maybe I can dream up a date to be with, or and this is more likely, make myself into a business woman, owning and running a very successful company. LOL There’s our giggles for the evening.

    • February 24, 2012
      10:36 am

      I’m Piscean Ruthee, I live in a fantasy world most of the time. You have to dream it to create the reality.

  • February 23, 2012
    12:36 am

    LOVE the Marchessa!

    • February 24, 2012
      10:36 am

      Longing for it…

  • February 23, 2012
    11:58 am

    I just generally don’t like Marchesa. Too…fussy, usually, for me. I LOVE the Jenny Packham though.

    • February 24, 2012
      10:37 am

      The Jenny Packham is sheer elegance.

  • February 24, 2012
    12:50 am

    Hello Jules, you look stunning in those photos, has anybody ever told you that you look a lot like the young Ava Gardner? A couple of days ago I saw a picture of her in her late twenties in amag and I thought you really look like her, same eyes, same gaze..anyway I do love that caftan and the necklace is absolutely beautiful! The marchessa gown is well tailored but the fabric makes me thing of chocolate paper wrap and although I do love the twenties fashion, this year’s Ralph Lauren is too shimmery and the fabric he used makes me think of luxury night gowns..

  • February 24, 2012
    10:39 am

    You and photographer Peter Beard. He did a series of photos of me he called the Ava Gardner pics, and later introduced me to a producer in Paris that wanted to make a film about her life. I have no idea if that film ever got made?

  • February 26, 2012
    5:36 pm

    Jewels… Stacy Keibler wore your dress! How did you let that happen?? I think you would have done it much more justice!

  • February 27, 2012
    10:11 am

    Jessica Chastain in Alexander McQueen… not what *I* would wear but the dress is absolutely stunning in detail… plus I am biased due to my love of McQ

    Gwyneth Paltrow in Tom Ford … Simple, elegant, structured but soft… that dress had it all and different at the same time.

    Natalie Portman in Christian Dior 1954 Vintage!! Love vintage and this woman can wear ANYTHING and look beautiful.

    Emma Stone in Giambattista Valli Couture … colour, drape, flow … SO eye catching but not confusing

    Octavia Spencer in Tadashi Shoji … She was the whole package… perfect dress in fit, style and colour. Her make up, hair and accessories were spot on perfection. She looked the most comfortable and elegant of all

    Honourable mention
    Esperanza Spalding in the baby blue gown. Perfect fit bodice and the skirt was wild and just so cool. LOVE her natural too.

    I loved Stacey Keiblers gown… it was beautiful and fit perfectly but I thought someone with darker hair would suit it

  • February 27, 2012
    9:43 am

    Stacey looked gorgeous on it, and I was so excited to see my number one pick there.

    Okay here are my top five from the actual event:

    Milla Jovovich – that gown said Hollywood siren and fashion forward all at once. Exquisite, but not so overpowering it detracted from her immense beauty.

    Octavia Spencer – was total perfection! The color against her skin, the ruching and crystals in all the right places to accentuate her curves, the jewelry and the hair – she was a winner BEFORE she picked up that statue.

    Gwenyth Paltrow – loved the strong clean unfussy white against her skin without screaming wedding gown, the strong lines, and the moderness.

    Angelina Jolie – va va va voom, and she knew it. You could tell she loved wearing that dress.

    Stacey Keibler – because she has exquisite taste (mine).

  • February 27, 2012
    9:45 am

    What are your top 5 from the award show, and why?

  • February 27, 2012
    10:15 am

    My Top Five Fashion Pics:

    Milla Jovovich – stunning, head to toe

    Gwyneth Paltrow – adored the cape, ingenious. and she was so well put together, with just the right amount of jewelry

    Rooney Mara – loved the change-up she gave with a pale, romantic dress instead of the customary rather severe look she’s been wearing since GWDT, though it could have had a better fit on top. But either way the kid’s got style

    Octavia Spencer – looked amazing, glowing, dress was to die for and suited her perfectly

    And for me, Glenn Close – the color was amazing on her, she looked fresh and confident! She rocked the jacket over the gown, which so many others simply wouldn’t be able to pull off, it gave her an edge

    Do we want to do top 5 least favorite also?? I promise not to be catty, but was certainly disappointed in a few instances where I had hoped for more. J

    • February 27, 2012
      10:35 am

      Sure – go for it Jenny.

      I think we should have honorable mentions too. I’d add Emma Stone here (see my comment on another reply), and did anyone notice Max Von Sydow’s wife? I thought she looked stunning in that dress. It was age appropriate, elegant, fashionable, and she could hold her own with any of the young beauties on the red carpet. A+ for the older crowd.

      Jennifer Lopez makes my thumbs down list again, and I’ll tell you why. The dress was gorgeous (although the sheer fabric in the arm cutouts made her arm look wrinkled when she moved), but the dress wore her. She always goes for those “OTT look at me” dresses, and she often comes across as self-conscious in them. She tries too hard, and comes across as desperate to be noticed. It’s okay to take a back seat when you are not a nominee – I wish she would show up in something that shows she feel elegant and beautiful – confident enough in her own true beauty that would really make HER shine.

  • February 27, 2012
    10:20 am

    I’m so glad you mentioned Emma Stone – she would have been next on my list – LOVED the color, and she knew how to work the whole look.

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    2:46 pm

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