Red carpet-worthy gowns give life to the Academy's annual ball (and match SAG Awards)

If this keeps up, the fashion world is going to start confusing the City of Brotherly Love with Tinseltown.

The Academy of Music’s annual concert and ball Saturday evening was, as usual, red carpet worthy.  And just like this year’s Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Awards, many of the gowns veered from traditional ballgown and mermaid styles to include  frocks that boasted interesting shapes (shirtwaist dresses) and textures (embroidered flowers), and teemed with personality (fabulousness). 

“It seems like the dresses have become fun again,” said Alisa Frederico, personal stylist and creative director for local image making company Dressing Jane.  Frederico partnered with public relations firm Cashman & Associates to host the Academy Ball’s red carpet event this year.

“There was lots of really good drama. But the overall biggest trend was texture. There was so much velvet, lace sequins, nice pleats, winter florals and other embellishments.” 

And when it came to hues, “People were on their Pantone Color of the Year game,” said Frederico, referring to the number of green gowns waltzing through the Academy. We are talking emerald, kelly, mint, hunter, and yes, the Pantone shade Greenery.

Other fashion trends represented on Philadelphia’s most glitzy night of the year: Drop earrings -- especially heirloom, although they are at their coolest if they are your own grandmothers -- are particularly of the moment.

When it came to hair, updos were among the chicest of options (after all, these styles show off the drop earrings), and  soft, shoulder-length waves were also special-occasion elegant.

Interestingly, a big style story from this year’s ball were the many gowns that were holdovers from 2016. Last year, thanks to a whopping 22.4-inch blizzard, organizers canceled the ball -- and in to the back of the closet went all the dresses. 

“When my gentleman friend asked me to the ball last year, I picked out this dress. It was beautiful, it was green. It fit me,”  said Anne Scheuren in her Irish brogue of the woodland-princesslike Teri Jon dress she was wearing. “This year when he asked me again, I tried it on. And I was so excited that it fit.” 

Now that’s real fashion talk. 

See how Saturday night's Academy Ball-goers were right with the trends next to celebrities from Sunday's SAG Awards:

Yes, nude champagnes and bold reds were popular this weekend, but, many women chose to be seen in green. 

Camera icon Mark boster / Los Angeles Times/TNS  Charles Fox / Staff Photographer (Academy Ball photos)
Left to right: Nicole Kidman in Gucci at the Screen Actors Guild Awards; Anne Callahan in Giambattista Valli; Anne Scheuren in Teri Jon; and Kathryn Eyre in Monique Lhuillier; Joanne Michael in Oscar de la Renta; at The Academy of Music's concert and ball. 


Black evening gowns? Nothing new here.  What was exciting about Saturday night’s noir numbers was the texture involved — we are talking lace, sheer tulles, and soft velvets.  You just wanted to touch them all. 

Camera icon mark boster / Los Angeles Times/TNS  CHARLES FOX/Staff Photographer (Academy Ball photos)
Left to right: Janelle Monae in Chanel at the Screen Actors Guild Awards; Gazal Modhera in Tadashi Shoji; Diane Welsh in Oscar de la Renta; Flo Celender in Juan Carlos Pinera; and Virginia Funk in Carolina Herrera at The Academy of Music's concert and ball.

Graphic images and embroidered flowers with navy, black or emerald backgrounds dominated fall’s ready-to-wear prints, and now they’re bringing life to eveningwear. So fresh. What better way to inject a bit of spring into a cold winter night. 

Camera icon  MARK BOSTER / Los Angeles Times/TNS  CHARLES FOX/ Staff photographer (Academy Ball photos)
Left to right: Julia Louis-Dreyfus in Lela Rose at the Screen Actors Guild Awards; Francesca Nicoletti in Monique Lhuillier; Joanna McNeil Lewis in Donald Deal; Ellie Lewis in Milly; and Losenge Imasogie in Alex Teith at The Academy of Music's concert and ball. 

Saturday night’s one-shouldered gowns weren’t of the thin-halter strap variety. These belles chose wide-width bands, perfect for a statuesque look.

Camera icon jordan strauss / Invision/AP  CHARLES FOX/Staff Photographer (Academy Ball photos)
Left to right: Salma Hayek in Gucci at the Screen Actors Guild Awards; Marybeth Alvin in Pamella Roland; Josie Burri in Slate & Willow; Dr. Pamela Doray in Talbot Runhof; and Jenn Barton in Ralph Lauren at The Academy of Music's concert and ball.