Oscars 2014: Best Dressed List

The 2014 Academy Awards red carpet was littered with stunning style choices. Among the sea of perfectly attired ladies, were a few best-dressed standouts. Angelina Jolie sparkled in a floor-skimming Elie Saab Haute Couture gown. The soft, feminine design was quite a departure from the dark, sultry frocks she has sported in years past. It was refreshing to see one of Hollywood’s most beautiful leading ladies don something pretty, rather than edgy for a change.

Jolie was not the only star that opted for the princess-inspired look. In fact, if there was one common theme on the carpet last night, it was light-colored gowns embellished with diamonds. White was the most popular hue, followed by soft, pastel pink, purple, and blue. The red carpet was the epitome of what the Academy Awards is best known for: Cinderella moments.

One star in particular arrived looking like Cinderella herself. Newcomer Lupita Nyong’o donned a powder blue princess gown accented with Fred Leighton jewelry and the modern day version of the tiara: The headband. Her style was on point: Nyong’o has emerged as Hollywood’s modern day Cinderella. In just one short year, the one-time unknown actress has skyrocketed into stardom and has earned a place as one of Tinseltown’s most talked about fashionistas.

It seems as if almost every best-dressed starlet that hit the carpet took a cue from Nyong’o. Kate Hudson, Cate Blanchett, Naomi Watts, Penelope Cruz, Kerry Washington, Maria Menounos, and Giuliana Rancic all rocked the fairy princess look. Stars that dared to diverge from the trend were limited – especially on our best-dressed list. Some of the hot non-pastel cloaked babes include Jennifer Lawrence, who sported a fire engine red Dior number, and Olivia Wilde, who kept it classic in black.

All in all, the Academy Awards red carpet was a wonderful wrap-up to a fashion-packed awards season. What better way to commence a season packed with so much fashion diversity, than to bring it back to where awards season style began: Dressing like a princess. Before the red carpet became a high-fashion runway that designers use to showcase the latest trends, the Oscars was known for allowing Hollywood’s leading ladies to be Cinderella for the evening. The princess-style fashion on this year’s carpet is an homage to early awards ceremonies. Style reflected the theme of the ceremony: Living a dream. Before the infamous Angelina Jolie thigh-high slit, were old Hollywood movie stars who epitomized glamour, elegance, and fantasy. It is refreshing to see awards show style finally return to where it began.

Geography Trips to Spectacular South Africa

Geography trips to South Africa take students to one of the most bio-diverse regions in the world, in a setting of stunning rock formations, such as Table Mountain and Blyde River Canyon. South Africa is home to some of the world’s most unique wild animals and stunning flora, which students will be able to witness in Kruger National Park and Kirstenbosch (one of eight National Botanical Gardens). Going on geography trips
to South Africa is both enriching and unforgettable for young learners.

Kirstenbosch

Kirstenbosch was founded in 1913 to preserve the unique flora of South Africa, and with a few minor exceptions, it only cultivates indigenous species. Its outdoor area is mainly dedicated to flora native to the Cape region, including a collection of the famous protea family. In a large conservatory it grows plants from other South African biomes, including savannah, fynbos and karoo. Kirstenbosch gives students on geography trips a valuable opportunity to study the remarkable diversity of South African flora up-close. The gardens are located on the eastern slopes of Table Mountain, with several walking trails leading from the gardens up the sides of the mountain.

Table Mountain

The iconic flat-topped Table Mountain overlooking the city of Cape Town is familiar to many people. Its smooth top is Ordovician quartzitic sandstone (commonly known as Table Mountain Sandstone), a form of rock that is highly resistant to erosion. Its shape encourages the formation of orographic clouds on its top that resemble a tablecloth. Bio-diversity on Table Mountain is remarkably high, with an estimated 2,200 flora species confined to the mountain. Many of these are threatened. The mountain is also notable for being the only terrestrial feature to give its name to a constellation: Mensa (‘The Table’) below Orion in the southern hemisphere. The unique landscape of Table Mountain is an excellent case study on geography trips to South Africa, as well as a stunning sight that will awe every student.

Blyde River Canyon

Another striking natural feature of South Africa is Blyde River Canyon. Carved into predominantly red sandstone, it is one of the largest canyons in the world, and may be the largest ‘green canyon’ due to the subtropical forest covering its slopes. It supports a diverse array of mammal, bird, fish and plant life. It makes another top destination for geography trips, demonstrating the breadth and beauty of biomes in South Africa.

Kruger National Park

One of the largest game reserves on the continent, Kruger National Park is an opportunity for students to see some of Africa’s most famous wildlife in a vast natural habitat. In addition to sighting the ‘Big Five’, students can see the different regions of plant life within the park: thorn trees and red bush-willow veld, knob-thorn and marula veld, red bush-willow and mopane veld, and shrub mopane veld.