Fashion was the feature at the 2nd annual Academy Museum Gala

From classic Hollywood glam to edgy elegance, the evening was a style-forward forecast of awards season fashion.

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Call it a red carpet warmup lap for awards season; on Saturday, Oct. 15, some of the film industry’s brightest stars turned up for the 2nd Annual Academy Museum Gala at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in Los Angeles. The evening was a celebration of film, but fashion clearly was the main attraction, as a veritable A-list of gala attendees reminded us what Hollywood glamour is all about.

Thuso Mbedu in Giambattista Valli at the 2nd Annual Academy Museum Gala at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in Los Angeles, Calif. on October 15, 2022.
(Photo: Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images)

Fittingly, much of the night’s celebrity style evoked classic Hollywood—specifically, the black-and-white era. In fact, visually, the majority of the night’s Black contingent was a study in contrasts, with several riffs on tuxedo dressing as well as some distinctly 1920s and ’30s silhouettes in the mix.

Row 1: Jonathan Majors; Jurnee Smollett; Colman Domingo; Whitney Peak; Jay Ellis
Row 2: Steve McQueen; Precious Lee; Tonya Lewis Lee and Spike Lee; Nnamdi Asomugha; film scholar Jacqueline Stewart
Row: Stephen Galloway; Ashton Sanders; (L-R) Evan Ross, Chudney Ross, and Ross Naess; Van Jones; Cleo Wade and Simon Kinberg
(Photos: Getty Images)

Of course, there were some standouts—like Ava DuVernay, whose classic black Louis Vuitton gown was elevated by an asymmetrical drape accented by a trio of gold-rimmed buttons at one of its strong shoulders.

Ava DuVernay
(Photos: Frazer Harrison)

Both Regina Hall and Laura Harrier kept their styles light for the evening, both sporting bobs to show off their shoulders in strapless ivory dresses and strappy metallic heels. Harrier wore the Olsen twin-founded line The Row, while Hall’s high-slitted David Koma dress heavily leaned into one of the evening’s biggest fashion trends: feathers.

Regina Hall Laura Harrier
Regina Hall (left) and Laura Harrier
(Photos: Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images)

Also trimmed in feathers was Jodie Turner-Smith, styled in Gucci by Wayman + Micah (who also dressed our headline star, Thuso Mbedu in Giambattista Valli). Always thinking outside the box, Keke Palmer put her own twist on the trend in a tulle-embellished pantsuit by Act No.1

Jodie Turner-Smith (left) and Keke Palmer
(Photos: Frazer Harrison (Jodie Turner-Smith); Jon Kopaloff (Keke Palmer)/Getty Images)

Always the perfect pair, Ryan Michelle Bathé and Sterling K. Brown once again mastered couples’ couture on what Bathé called a “magical” night. Brown served bespoke elegance in a double-breasted evening suit by Nemer Saade while Bathé was luminous in a one-shouldered ombré rose gown by Pamella Roland.

Ryan Michelle Bathé Sterling K. Brown fashion
Ryan Michelle Bathé and Sterling K. Brown
(Photos: Jon Kopaloff; Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

However, the gala was not without a bit of edge. Rising style star Taylor Russell was skin-baring in a halter-necked leather-look Alexander McQueen gown with a daringly low-cut back, pairing the look with matching opera gloves. Kerry Washington similarly accessorized her low-cut and sheer chiffon gown by Prabal Gurung, both actresses giving us a subtle taste of dominatrix chic.

Taylor Russell Kerry Washington
Taylor Russell (left) and director Luca Guadagnino; Kerry Washington
(Photos: Frazer Harrison; Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images)

With Fashion Month behind us and awards season still a few months away, it may be too soon to tell if this is a tease of the red-carpet style we can expect in the new year. But trust: theGrio will be watching—so continue to watch this space.

Maiysha Kai is theGrio’s lifestyle editor, covering all things Black and beautiful. Her work is informed by two decades’ experience in fashion and entertainment, great books and aesthetics, and the brilliance of Black culture. She is also the editor-author of Body (Words of Change series).

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