red carpet derby

Why Is Everyone Wearing Big Pink Dresses at the Oscars?

Angela Bassett, Gemma Chan, Linda Cardellini. Photo: Getty Images

Anybody who is anybody at the 91st Academy Awards is wearing an oversize pink dress. Gemma Chan looks like a dream in magenta Valentino, while Linda Cardellini (in Christian Siriano) seems to be testing the bounds of how many ruffles you can fit on a dress. Kacey Musgraves is channeling a fancy French poodle in Giambattista Valli, and Sarah Paulson is balancing poofs with cutouts in Brandon Maxwell. All these dresses are unique, but they’re bonded inextricably by their attention-grabbing hues. Where did this inclination to wear shades of pink come from?

Pink, of course, has been big for several years, but in the form of the lighter millennial pink. These dresses, by contrast, are shocking pink. One writer theorized on Twitter that it was a feminist statement, while Times critic Vanessa Friedman proposed that Nancy Pelosi sparked the trend. But I think a great deal of credit is owed to Tracee Ellis Ross.

Tracee Ellis Ross and her stylist Karla Welch spawned the trend way back when at the 2018 Emmys in September. When Ross wore her Valentino variation to the Emmys, many publications wrote up the fresh new look. Other iterations include Jennifer Lopez’s at the Second Act premiere and Laura Harrier at the SAG awards.

There are two designers, too, who deserve credit here. London-based Molly Goddard is known for amorphous tulle gowns that float over the body; you might remember the pink one that Jodie Comer wore in a dramatic fashion moment in Killing Eve. And Pierpaolo Piccioli of Valentino also loves volume and bright pink. He designed both Ross’s and Chan’s dresses for different seasons.

A giant pink dress would never be described as practical, but it does have some practical benefits for a celebrity. The best thing you can do on an awards-show red carpet, if you would like media coverage, is wear something that will pop on a screen. Ellis Ross shared five separate in-feed Instagram posts of her getting-ready process — that’s how exciting it was.

Also, it’s just a fun risk to take, and that’s always a good thing on extremely corporate red carpets. Bring on the pink and bring on the tulle.

Why Is Everyone Wearing Big Pink Dresses at the Oscars?