Three Toronto stylists discuss the Oscars’ best looks

Last night’s best Oscar ensembles ranged from classic and subdued (Emma Stone, Brie Larson) to sparkly and over-the-top (Jessica Biel, Janelle Monáe). We consulted three of the city’s top experts in beauty, style and hair to weigh in on the buzziest red carpet looks.

Meet the panel:

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Grace Lee is the lead makeup artist for Maybelline New York and Canada. She’s painted the faces of celebs like Taylor Schilling and models like Jourdan Dunn.

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Alexis Honce is a Toronto-based celeb stylist whose clients include Tatiana Maslany and Ryan Gosling. She also runs private shopping tours around the city.

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Tony Pham is the founder of Yorkville salon Lac and Co. His clients include Toronto socialites like Krystal Kooper and Jenna Bitove.

Jessica Biel

Lee: “Her skin looked phenomenal. But I didn’t love the thickness of her eyeliner. She has smaller eyelids and filling that space with all black didn’t do her eyes any justice.”

Honce: “She wouldn’t be on my best-dressed list. The sequins looked like they were unravelling. In person, it was probably gorgeous, but it didn’t translate to camera. I would have loved the necklace on its own, but I think it pushed the look even more over the top. The look would have been better if it was simpler.”

Pham: “She looked gorgeous. I know the hairdresser who did her hair, and they went for kind of a geisha meets Western look. At the back he did this cool twist—it’s almost like a chignon but very structured. I loved it.”

Janelle Monáe

Lee: “I loved her gorgeous full eyebrows, and she had just the right amount of contouring and highlights on her skin. She looked beautiful, and her nude lips made the look modern and fresh.”

Honce: “I love that she takes risks on the carpet. And it’s not just once a season: she goes for it every time. She looks confident and amazing. I love the upper portion, especially the neck embellishment and the headband. More is definitely more when it comes to her, but I would have lost the bustle. I’m also glad she chose a gown instead of a suit. I was getting a little bored of the suits, and I think she was too.”

Pham: “Oh my God, I love her. I absolutely think her pixie cut was the way to go. It was chic and playful but still had a bit of an edge. And the headband went really well with whole look.”

Emma Stone

Lee: “Emma can do no wrong, in my opinion. Her rusty reddish lipstick picked up the tones of her hair, which looked stunning. Some red lipsticks on redheads can clash, but this one complemented her skin tone and hair.”

Honce: “Um, this was perfection. I love her, and I love the dress. She’s one who normally keeps it safe, but she always manages to stand out. What made it gorgeous was that it wasn’t your typical metallic colour—it was a softer mix of bronze, cream and gold. And I loved the crystal fringe. It had a flapper vibe but was totally modern.”

Pham: “You can’t escape the Hollywood waves! A lot of stars had a similar wave and side part. Her colour looked great and her hair was super-shiny. With that dress she could have done more of a slicked-back look—maybe a bit straighter with more extensions. The dress has a lot going on but the open top could have handled it.”

Ruth Negga

Lee: “From a distance, her makeup looked very 1920s to me. Maybe it was the shape of her shadowing around her eyes. I would have liked to see either her eyes or her lips played up, but not both. It was too much.”

Honce: “Ruth’s dress was gorgeous. What I really liked about it is that it looked super-vintage and effortless, like she just threw it on at the last minute.Red is her favourite colour and it looks gorgeous on her. I also think it was classy to accessorize with the blue ACLU ribbon.”

Pham: “I did not like this look. She wore a red dress, red lipstick and red earrings. It was too many shades of red on one person. Her hair should have been slicked back and wavy, to let the outfit breathe. It’s a beautiful dress and earrings, but the headband just doesn’t go with it.”

Brie Larson

Lee: “She had that perfect Hollywood-classic blend of lashes, liner and red lipstick. The red also had an orange tone which made it look younger and fresh.”

Honce: “I just can’t get behind Brie Larson. I love the look from the waist up, especially the accessories and the sharp bustier neckline. But it lost me on the waist down. It was oversized, there were too many ruffles and the train was too long. She almost gets it. I remember last year I also liked half her dress. She needs to go simpler next time.”

Pham: “I didn’t love this look either. I know what they were trying to do, with the textured waves, but it was too messy. You can see the hairspray and her hair looks sticky. It’s not smooth or shiny. With that dress she needed something sleeker and more glam.”


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