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Oscar preshow gets a fashion makeover

The Associated Press, Wednesday, February 20, 2013, 1:34pm (PST)

The Hollywood Reporter -- We've always wondered why there weren't more vintage costume and designer fashion elements in the Oscar preshow. Sure, there are plenty of amazing actresses in couture gowns sailing down the red carpet, but let's face it, no one -- not even your grandmother -- can get enough of Oscar fashion, its present and its glorious past.

Bing: More about the 2013 Oscars

Now get ready for a preshow and red carpet filled with more Oscar fashion and costume than you can shake a diamond stick at. After all, vintage Hollywood costumes -- and certainly recent ones, too -- are a huge inspiration for fashion designers in both New York and Europe. Every documentary about a designer -- Valentino, Marc Jacobs, Yves Saint Laurent, Karl Lagerfeld, Isaac Mizrahi -- has the designer talking about the movies they saw as a kid and how the costumes led them to becoming fashion designers.

Charlie Haykel and producing partner Juliane Hare tell The Hollywood Reporter that the red carpet is going to be dressed a little differently this year: On kiosks along the stretch of carpet where the giant statuettes once sat will be large-scale blowups of original costume sketches, about 26 of them -- including ones from such fashion-influencing movies as Bonnie and Clyde, Gone With the Wind and Roman Holiday -- so actresses in their Oscar gowns will be photographed against backgrounds of major Oscar costume sketches. It's designed to give viewers an idea of the changes in silhouettes of gowns and dresses over the years while adding a wonderful new visual element to the opening of the show.

"This was an idea that Oscar producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron had in our first meeting," Haykel tells THR. "They wanted to involve Oscar-winning costumes with the red carpet. They wanted to find a way in the production to tastefully integrate them and open the door to how costume design has influenced fashion."

Fashion also will work into ABC's Oscar preshow via video; Haykel tells Fash Track that short films will air throughout the preshow (which runs from 4-5:30 p.m. PT). Featured will be interviews with American fashion design names Vera Wang, Michael Kors and Diane von Furstenberg along with Georgina Chapman and Keren Craig of Marchesa, who are British but live in New York.

"They talk about the stars and movies and costumes that influenced their designs the most," Haykel says. "They definitely reference specific movies and moments, and it's great to have these iconic American designers paying homage to Hollywood influence."

One more new element in the preshow: a surprise. While host Kristin Chenoweth is interviewing stars at her stage, a piece of Hollywood and American history will be up there with her, hidden from view. It's the Oscar mystery of the night, and she'll be encouraging viewers to guess on Twitter (hashtag #OscarMystery) and asking the stars what they think it might be. Of course, there'll be a big reveal at the end. Will it be fashion related? We don't know, but given all the other fashion elements, we're hoping it might be.

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