Channeling My Mother and Grandmother: Three favorites of Oscar Jewelry 2016
This article is the 4th in our coverage of the defining moments in jewelry at the Oscars. We will be featuring stories throughout the week including the shining stars that will appear on the red carpet at the 89th Academy Awards.
Last year while live tweeting under my handle @bethbjeweled and Instagraming under the same handle, all while downloading photos from celebrity photo agencies and writing my Oscar story for Indesign.jewelry, my youngest brother called (read: youngest who has a teenage son and a daughter in her second year in college) …anyway…
I picked up the phone with my usual charm when I am stressed. Without even saying “hi,” I launched into “I can’t talk now. Too much going on—computer, iPad, iPhone all going at once—and I am trying to keep up.”
“But it’s only 6:30PM. The show hasn’t even started yet,” he commented.
To which I tried to explain about red carpet arrivals and then ended with a quick, “love you: gotta go. Call you tomorrow.”
He tugged at my heartstrings before he let me off the phone, with “remember when we all used to watch the show together with Mom and Grandma Ida.” How could I forget? It was one of my favorite times—rating the jewels and the gowns, jumping off the couch and yelling at the TV when someone we thought should win, didn’t—basically acting, well, like my two brothers during the Super Bowl.
But isn’t that what the Oscars are —the Super Bowl of actresses bringing on their A-game to the red carpet. My mom (a vice president of a sportswear company, who before marriage and kids was studying to be an actress and my grandmother –with very strong opinions and taste in jewels) loved dishing with me about who was wearing what or what was wearing who. We also would decide what we’d wear should we be receiving an award. I think my mom had her speech planned since she was seventeen. But , I stray. We all cried when Diane Keaton won for Annie Hall and then asked for years after she won, why Diane channeled Annie for many future red carpet arrivals. We rooted for Barbra Streisand and her antique jewels. “Fred Leighton?” my mother would guess, which she would have basically had to do even now—since Ryan Seacrest still isn’t of any use, unless you want to know about someone’s gown or shoes.
In the late seventies and eighties, most of the gowns looked like they just stepped out of Studio 54, belonged on Las Vegas showgirl or took inspiration from punk.
My mom passed away suddenly in the early ’90s just as old Hollywood glamour was starting to make a comeback. A cross between Elizabeth Taylor and Audrey Hepburn with a bod like Natalie Wood—she was straight out of her era and she would have rocked the red carpet.
My grandmother lived until 2010, just a month shy of 97 and we still watched together. She still formed extremely strong opinions and could be as sarcastic though not as snarky as some of the live tweets of jewelry insiders.
After hanging up on with my brother, I began thinking about what their picks would be for 2016’s Oscars best looks in jewels and gowns and began hearing their voices, humor and the way we all interacted. And, so here’s a look at a few of ‘our’ choices and what the woman who inspired me might have said:
Me: “Loving Charlize Theron—she’s got old Hollywood glamour down with a bit of hip thrown in. And, that necklace. What I wouldn’t do for long sautoir style necklace like that.”
Mom: “The length of the sautoir is just right for the plunging neckline of the dress. Can’t remember if it’s actually called a ‘neckline’ when the gown actually dips that low. Anyway, you do have a necklace like that. You are antique jewelry addict and you should be saving for your retirement. Perfect time to sell the similar necklace—it will be on trend and appreciate in value every time another writer like you waxes poetic about it in an online articles. tweets, posts on Instagram. Is that the correct terminology?”
Grandmother: “Hmmm. All we saw are diamonds. What happened to the emeralds? Speaking of which, do these young starlets even know tha Carol Channing was in the play Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, dripping in diamonds and sang the original Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend, before Marilyn, Madonna and Nicole Kidman in Moulin Rouge. But I stray, (seems to be a family trait) I’m no prude—but maybe Ms. Theron should of worn a dress that dipped down the back. That would have worked. The necklace reminds me of when I was young and used to go out dancing. Oh and don’t listen to your mother about selling the necklace—I taught you to chose your jewelry well.”
Me: “Another one who never disappoints. Emily has this cool classicism that evokes a nonchalant elegance. I love the gown with the earrings. It just flows perfectly together.”
Mom: “ Stop talking like your are writing copy. For once I need to agree with your grandmother about the benefits of pink, although I thought that would be a cold day in hell—can I say this? But this is the perfect shade of pink for a gown—subtle and beautiful and she is wearing just the right amount of jewelry. She might be my favorite this year.”
Grandmother: “Pretty in pink. See I know what I am talking about. A woman should always wear happy, feminine colors. Thankfully we are seeing way less black. Do you hear that my girls? And earrings! The earrings make all of the difference. A woman should never leave the house without them. I know all of the jewelry aficionados were asking why no one was wearing a necklace for a few awards seasons and I agree –it was a time when actress on the red carpet went too bare around the shoulders, neck and décolletage. But earrings light up a woman’s face like no other piece of jewelry. They also detract from your flaws. Although the only flaw I am seeing tonight is that many of these actresses faces no longer move.”
Another favorites of the evening:
My mother likes that she is a more mature actress who is stunningly beautiful, knows her own style and plays it to the hilt. My grandmother also appreciates this. Personally, I love that she isn’t wearing green gems to this award show. Although no one looks as good in emeralds as she does, not even Angelina Jolie.
My grandmother chimes in, “Angelina Jolie Pffff .” And that was all she said
For my mother’s and grandmother’s takes on the 2017 Oscars, tune in after the February 26th presentation.
As for me I will always be able to channel their thoughts and voices, which live on –always –although I do miss having them sitting on either side of me.