No one could have guessed that the 2022 Academy Awards would be the sartorial reset we needed. And, it didn't come from the veteran red carpet participants, but rather a bevy of rising stars. A dearth of live events over the last two years had us ready for anything during Hollywood's biggest night, and Young Hollywood did not disappoint. Gone are the days of metallic embellishments and strapless mermaid cuts dominating best-dressed lists. Today's youth refuse to play it safe, wearing Y2K-inspired cutouts, crop tops, pastel sheens, oodles of tulle, oversized silhouettes, and silk-and-fringe combos. Consider the vibe shift ushered in.
Leading the pack is, of course, Zendaya, whose blockbuster acting career was buttressed by her striking red carpet and street style back when she was still on the Disney Channel. While her on-screen career has exploded since her first Academy Awards appearance in 2015, she hasn't stopped putting in the work on the red carpet. The actor wore a silver sequin maxi skirt and silk collared crop top from Valentino, a look that harkened back to the sheeny days of the early 2000s.
She wasn't the only one reminiscing on the early aughts. H.E.R. paired her neon yellow Carolina Herrera dress with a pair of square, blue-tinted sunglasses, while sisters Halle Bailey opted for a turquoise Roberto Cavalli cutout gown that looked plucked from the archives of Christina Aguilera.
Even Kristen Stewart seemed to be thinking about the past. After a long press tour of very little Chanel, Stewart went back to her roots with the label in an open blazer and shorts. The only thing telling us this wasn't the mid-2010s were the pointed stilettos in lieu of a pair of sneakers.
Then there were the glam girlies. Billie Eilish, who seemed to have melded her classic L.A. gamer girl and Old Hollywood aesthetics with a billowing black Gucci puff gown (you can pry the Gucci from her cold, dead hands); Meghan Thee Stallion, who presumably had to crank jaws off the floor in her high-slit Gurav Gupta gown; and Encanto's Diane Guerrero, who had some extra fun with her retro hair and the opera glove trend in a polka-dot Caroline Herrera gown, pairing it with one black glove and one white.
This is the part where I must give special attention to Tatiana Gabrielle, who took her first Oscars appearance to show the power of perfect silk draping in a fringe-hemmed Hellessy look. Not every red carpet standout needs sequins or a train that takes up three spots on the step-and-repeat. And in true Gen-Z fashion, the silk is actually biodegradable Tencel, a soft fabric made from wood.
"Well, first my stylist [Jean Chung] and I got together and said, 'OK, what's the vibe that we're going for?' and she was like 'I want to do goddess' and I thought yes, let's do it," she told Elle U.K. "And so it's this beautiful, off-the-shoulder caped gown, which has this fringing on it. It gives very old Hollywood vibes."
Now we must hear it for the boys. Wearing an all-black tux was most likely never an option for Timothée Chalamet. The added flair in his case is a custom look from Louis Vuitton featuring black trousers and an open sequined jacket—and nothing else. I hope everyone on Twitter is doing okay. The Power of the Dog's Kodi Smit-McPhee gave Timmy a run for his money, though, in a powder blue Bottega Veneta suit and diamond Cartier necklace, singlehandedly reviving the blue suit from its untimely passing in 1994's Dumb & Dumber.
Below, see the vibe shift in action from young Hollywood at the 2022 Oscars.