An actress never wants to wake up the morning after the Oscars and see words like “bizarre” and “catastrophe” next to her red carpet photos. The Academy Awards aren’t the VMAs or the Grammys, meaning that if you choose to get experimental with your outfit, you’ll stick out like a sore thumb. In 1989, Demi Moore took that road less traveled on Hollywood’s biggest night. With then-husband Bruce Willis on her arm, she stepped out in a hybrid dress/bodysuit that she actually fashioned herself out of spandex bike shorts, a corset, and a metallic floral-print fabric. Naturally, the press reamed out Moore for wearing her own cut-and-sew creation at the time and now, one Google search of “Demi Moore 1989 Oscars” will show that image in a slew of worst-dressed galleries published over the last two decades.
Looking back, however, as we are prone to do in fashion, Moore’s ensemble is enticing in many ways. In fact, her derided, DIY look is wildly in step with some of the biggest trends of the moment, whether it’s the bike short, the Renaissance-style corset, or the bodysuit. On top of that, the fashion industry and its many millennial followers are still obsessed with anything and everything ugly-chic, which includes clothing made to look as though it was touched by an unsteady human hand.
The 1980s are having a major comeback moment on the runways, too, as we’ve seen the excess and glamour of the decade on the Fall runways of designers like Tom Ford, Marc Jacobs, and Saint Laurent, among many others. Perhaps Moore’s “bizarre” Oscars garment has actually come full circle—it would kind of look amazing on someone like Cardi B or Kim Kardashian West, wouldn’t it? As our appetite for nostalgia continues to be insatiable, let Moore’s ’80s throwback serve as an example of the so-bad-it’s-good style. And cheers to G.I. Jane for fighting the Oscars red carpet establishment and taking her own fashion risk back in the day. Like many of the old trends, styles, fabrics, and cuts of yore, what was once a catastrophe is now cool.