Trends: Six Benicia Women Make Their Own Splash At The Oscars



Six Benicia women make a splash at the 2017 Oscars

Photos courtesy of the author

The 89th Academy Awards will go down in history for its controversial Best Picture envelope mix up. For six women, it will be remembered as a life-altering experience on the red carpet.

Scott was able to bid with Marriott points on two VIP Oscars Red Carpet packages that included seating in the fan bleachers along the Academy Awards red carpet, followed by an Oscar viewing party at the El Capitan Theatre across from the Awards Show. We won both packages, equaling six tickets. Calls went out to friends with the invitation to join me for 48 hours in LALA Land. And the winners were: Patti Baron, Patty Gavin, Donna Ernst and Penny Stell, all from Benicia, and my sister Anne Willis from North Carolina. We went through extensive security checks, made travel arrangements and most importantly, decided on what to wear.

Our excitement was hard to contain. We were in constant communication about the itinerary and other details. We flew into Burbank, lunched at The Ivy, toured Rodeo Drive and had dinner at Nobu, hoping to capture the LA scene and celebrity sightings. The  big day finally arrived and there we were, being chauffeured to the Oscars in true Hollywood style. Although comfortable attire was recommended, we opted for casual with a fashionable edge. I chose a red, French designed jacket with a silver sequined scarf, Patti Baron wore lots of gold, Anne donned a white jacket with rhinestone embellished collar and matching sunglasses. Donna wore hot pink, Penny, an off-the-shoulder black top with silver bling and Patty Gavin wore a jacket with a midnight blue sheen. I supplied red gloves for each of us, in order to be seen cheering and waving to celebrities.

Our front row seats were across from the foreign press and Jimmy Kimmel's sidekick Guillermo, who attracted lots of attention from celebrities. In most of his coverage, you can see us waving those red gloves for the cameras. We were interviewed by Bay Area Channel 7 ABC News, the BBC, a Dubai Network, and reporters from the Netherlands and Telemundo. Friends as far away as Australia saw the Red Glove Girls.

Christina Strawbridge and friends make their mark at the 2017 Oscars

Courtesy of the author

Christina Strawbridge & Friends

Christina Strawbridge and friends make their mark at the 2017 Oscars

Courtesy of the author

Christina Strawbridge & Friends

It was exciting to see celebrities interact with each other. A touching moment came when Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban met mathematician Katherine Johnson, who at 98, is confined to a wheelchair, and whose character was portrayed in the nominated Best Picture, Hidden Figures. Another standout moment was when little Sunny Pawar, who played the young Saroo Brierley in the Best Picture nominee Lion, enthusiastically responded to the crowd cheering his name. He stole my heart all over again.

The fashion was outstanding this year with sequins, velvet, embroidery and neutral tones. My favorites were Emma Stone in Givenchy Haute Couture and Nicole Kidman in Armani Prive. Both gowns had incredible detail and looked gorgeous against the pale skin of the women. Halle Berry wowed the crowd in a glamorous Atelier Versace dress with matching curly wig. Michelle Williams looked demur in a black halter and white sequin Louis Vuitton number, with her signature pixie haircut.

The men on the red carpet made fashion news with sequins, gold and for Ryan Gosling, a ruffled shirt. The last star to make his way down the carpet was Denzel Washington, whose handlers were trying to move him past the press. He broke through the stanchions and came right over to the Red Gloves, giving the six of us a high five. Did that just happen?

The remainder of the evening was spent watching the show from our seats at the El Capitan Theater, eating popcorn and rooting for the nominees we had just seen up close and personal. The Red Carpet Experience will always be one of those unforgettable moments, especially for this Hollywood and fashion groupie, and a lasting bond between the six of us was solidified. Here's to Hollywood and the Red Glove Girls!

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