The Best Red Carpet Looks from the 25th Annual Minnesota Oscar Experience

While people around the country tuned in to watch the 90th annual Academy Awards from the comfort of their home, a group of Minnesotans came together to watch the ceremony in style at the 25th annual Minnesota Oscar Experience, presented by the Aegis Foundation. The luxe Ivy Hotel in downtown Minneapolis provided an elegant backdrop for the officially sanctioned party, which took place in several spaces throughout the hotel. VIPs got to enjoy the festivities while nibbling on oysters and sip Moët & Chandon champagne from the 1,900-square-foot, two-story Penthouse, which features panoramic windows, a lofted ceiling, a full-service wet bar, and a private rooftop balcony that has a spectacular view of downtown.

In addition to the live telecast of the Oscars, the evening featured a red carpet, door prizes, predict-the-winner games, and silent and live auctions. Proceeds from ticket sales and the silent auction benefited both Aegis, which provides support for education and youth leadership, and nonprofit youth bakery, Cookie Cart.

With a dress code of “black-tie optional,” attendees brought a creative mix of looks to the red carpet for a celebration of personal style. We asked what they were wearing, what inspired their look for the night, and their favorite red carpet celebrities.

Cearah Hamilton, Oscar Experience co-host
What are you wearing? “A dress from Macy’s.”
What inspired your look? “Simple chic and a glowy bronze.”
Which celebrity has your favorite red carpet style? “Janelle Monáe.”

Maya Marchelle, songwriter & author of coloring book, Hey, Pretty  
What are you wearing? “A Topshop dress from Nordstrom.”
What inspired your look? “I was going for urban-trendy. I got inspired looking at cocktail dresses paired with sneakers.”
Which celebrity has your favorite red carpet style? “Tracee Ellis Ross and Gabrielle Union.”

William Panzarella, founder & executive director of Aegis Foundation and CEO of Max Martin footwear
What are you wearing? “A custom jacket that I wore to my wedding. It’s made from fabric designed by Iris Apfel. I came across the material from the textile brand she founded, Old World Designs, while looking for fabric for my woman’s shoe line. I ended up getting introduced to her afterward. I had the jacket made by Gidal Vodovoz, a Chicago-based master tailor who used to work at the Vatican for the Pope. He creates suits for athletes in Chicago. The shirt is by Eton and my pony-hair shoes are by my upcoming men’s footwear line for Max Martin, which launches this fall.”

Sandy Simmons, Aegis Foundation coordinator
What are you wearing? “A silk gown by KEZ NYC that I bought during a trunk show at (North Loop boutique) Queen Anna, worn backwards, with Stephanie Lake Design jewelry.”
What inspired your look? “Elegant but glam. This event is fun, because you can go riskier with your fashion than at a gala.”

Richard Anderson, stylist & interior decorator
What are you wearing? “I got the vintage smoking robe from in the ’80s from the original Gabriella’s, it’s from the ’40s. I paired it with a Stephanie Lake Design necklace, a peacock-feather necktie by a local brand called Bird Dog Designs from MartinPatrick3 (which I got as a gift), a Prince-inspired ruffle blouse, a vintage silk fringed scarf from the 1940s, velvet pants I bought in L.A., and Steve Madden bee shoes I bought in Las Vegas.”
What inspired your look? “High-low. I wanted an awesome old-school vintage Hollywood look— just classic, back when men dressed as beautiful as women. Everybody showed their inner peacock.”
Which celebrity has your favorite red carpet style? “I have to say my all-time favorite since I was 12 years old, Diane Keaton. That is the most amazingly dressed woman I’ve ever seen—menswear as women’s wear.”

Hollie Mae Schultz, fashion stylist, and William Lomax, enterprise sourcing
What are you wearing? On her: “A dress I wore at a white party that I had retailored by ASOS with vintage gloves and my grandmother’s purse.” On him: Saks Fifth Avenue suit, a bowtie from MartinPatrick3, shirt from Sak, and Hugo Boss shoes, plus bracelets from her travels.
What inspired your looks? “Grace Kelly and Gene Kelly.”
Which celebrity has your favorite red carpet style? Her: “Lupita Nyong’o.” Him: “Vintage Brad Pitt.”

Fariha Idrees, style blogger, and Humza Idrees, entrepreneur
What are you wearing? On her: “A dress by Mac Duggal from Nordstrom, Valentino shoes, and the purse I picked up while traveling.”

Victor Price, editor-in-chief of 10 X Life, stylist & image consultant
What are you wearing? “I’m wearing own creation that I styled, with vintage pieces, Italian pants, bee smoking slippers by Steve Madden, arm candy from Tiffany’s and David Yurman, and a Dior brooch.”
What inspired your look? “I was inspired by Black Panther costume designer Ikiré Jones.”

YaLonda “Lala” Lolar-Johnson, co-host of Keeping up with Coco & Lala, red carpet co-host
 What are you wearing? “A dress by Ralph Lauren.”