Cover Story

Oscar Preview: Goldberg's Variations

Vera Wang has designs on the newest Academy Awards host

Whoopi Goldberg decided to wear a Giorgio Armani creation as host of the Academy Awards — a prudent, elegant choice, to be sure. But EW asked Vera Wang, the New York designer who created Nancy Kerrigan's sleek Olympic costumes, how she would dress Whoopi for her big date with the world. Goldberg showed up for last year's ceremony in a poufy green-and-purple cutaway skirt and trousers. When she saw it, ''I went into shock,'' says the forthright Wang. ''She looked like Auntie Mame. It was so un-Whoopi, I thought maybe that was just meant to be a spoof...but evidently it was serious. I read that she was making an effort to really look glamorous.''

Wang, who transformed vixen Sharon Stone into a gracious Snow White at last year's Oscars and is designing Holly Hunter's dress for this year's, doesn't expect Armani to lead Goldberg astray — or onto the best-dressed list. ''He doesn't make his clients look original. Armani's good at making no faux pas,'' she says. ''My own aesthetic is in that line...but mine is a little younger and sexier.''

Memo to W.G.: There's still time.

Remaking Whoopi: ''When I think of Whoopi I think of movement.... I would play up that body gesture.... She's like a thousand moving parts,'' says Wang, who sketched a layered taupe ensemble with alternating opaque and transparent chiffon layers for an elongating, peekaboo effect. Another option is a chiffon Empire-style dress with semiattached sleeves. ''It kind of hides everything from your boobs down,'' says Wang, adding that the décolletage would draw attention away from Whoopi's belly, ''which, judging by [last year], is not a great part of her body.''

Originally posted Mar 18, 1994 Published in issue #214 Mar 18, 1994 Order article reprints