The Fashions

Behind the Seams

UBIQUITOUS ACCESSORY Intended as a ''silent statement of opposition'' to the war, peace pins were handed out by Artists United to Win Without War to attendees, including nominees and presenters such as Salma Hayek, Rob Marshall, Pedro Almodovar, Richard Gere, and Michael Moore. Guess he didn't catch the whole ''silent'' part.

JEWEL OF DENIAL The typical Mr. T-subtlety of Oscar necklines was taken down a notch. ''I didn't really think big diamonds were appropriate, so I chose to wear my own jewelry tonight,'' says Anjelica Huston, who rebuffed borrowed baubles and left her neck bare. Other efforts at low-key translated into Jennifer Lopez, Kate Hudson, Nicole Kidman, and several other attendees sporting shoulder-dusting diamond chandelier earrings that looked surprisingly discreet.

SHOW US SOME RUMPELSTILTSKIN Hudson's sparkly Versace dress wasn't something Donatella's minions just whipped up: The gown is the result of about 400 hours of labor and contains threads made of actual gold.

BUNS OF STEEL After several years of tousled looks reminiscent of Raggedy Ann, hairstyles went severe. Kidman, Zeta-Jones, and others chose constructed coifs that were parted and pulled back into smooth, sculpted knots.

UNTIED WE STAND Foreign imports Gael Garcia Bernal and Bono were unapologetically anti-necktie. Sean ''Puffy'' Connery took the statement one step further, donning a ruffled bib of a blouse.

KIDS MAKE THE DARNEDEST PURSES Meryl Streep, Kidman, and Mario Van Peebles were each escorted by their daughters, who proved much cuter than a beaded clutch, and if needed, big enough to hold a gold statuette.

TANNED GOODS Best Actor Adrien Brody more than made up for those arduous months making The Pianist. After indulging in a massage and sports pedicure, Brody received an airbrushed tanning treatment from the Estee Lauder Oscar Spa at the Four Seasons. ''He nibbled on some fruits while he was drying,'' says Layla Fayyad, who applied the fake bronze. Later, of course, he took home the gold.

HOOP DREAMS Hard to believe, but rumpled musician Luis Resto -- who accepted the Best Original Song award for his collaboration with Eminem -- decided to dis a professional stylist and instead gave props to his favorite b-ball team. ''I'm wearing a Detroit Pistons jersey with a Ringo Starr shirt,'' he smirked.

HAIR FLUB FOR MEN Nominees Christopher Walken and Stephen Daldry, Oscar winner Elliot Goldenthal, and presenter Harrison Ford all had wind-tunnel 'dos that looked more engineered than Jennifer Garner's Mickey Mouse moment.

UNEVEN NOTE There was no Tarzan movie in the running this year, but his one-shouldered look got plenty of chest-thumping hollers for Harden, Berry, and Kidman.

Originally posted Apr 04, 2003 Published in issue #703 Apr 04, 2003 Order article reprints