In which we're coming out of the kitchen, and wearing it instead.

Printed 11/03/10.

If there are any massive, clanging mistakes in this column (or even little, tinkling mistakes, like the mistake equivalent of a souvenir windchime), please excuse me and put a hold on the irate letter-writing. I have been awake for 24 hours. I am not in the sharpest of mind frames.  In fact you’re lucky there are words on this page at all, and not just a doodle of a spaceship with donuts for windows.

I was up all night, and this is exciting because I was up all night for a reason I have never been up all night for before (I’m sorry, it’s the caffeine talking). Until this point in my life, there were only really three possible reasons for my being up all night: one was going out, in some sort of club-based scenario. The second was staying in, in some sort of violently-ill-based scenario. And the third was one of those communal sleepovers where everyone lies awake in the dark talking complete tripe about the state of the universe and trying not to come into contact with each other’s feet.

But yesterday, I stayed up all night because I was working. Working, that is, reporting on the Oscars for a style blog – something I feel guilty describing as work while there are people who go down mineshafts and put their hands up cattle. After 12 hours, two cans of Relentless, a sizeable packet of Oreos and the partial contraction of repetitive strain injury, I have concluded thus of the Academy Awards 2010: it was a good year for women.

It is pertinent, you can’t help but feel, that the first female recipient of the Best Director Oscar received it on the eve of International Women’s Day. Or maybe I’m the only one who can’t help but feel it, because having gone to an all-girls school, International Women’s Day is embedded in my consciousness as a guilty occasional on which to try to do something sisterly and consider giving up eyeliner. But even those untouched by the feminist resonance of Kathryn Bigelow’s victory can still enjoy the game of “how narked must James Cameron be feeling this morning?” It’s fun for all the family.

There was another female hero to come out of the night though, and one who has pushed the boundaries for women in a different direction. More specifically, she has pushed the boundaries of clothing to incorporate cooking utensils. Let us all applaud Carey Mulligan, the girl who had the courage to look at a conventional evening dress, stand up and say, “No. I think it should have miniature cutlery and scissors hanging off it.”

For what else do women really crave in this day and age, but the right to shun cumbersome handbags and wear everything we might need for a midweek camping trip hanging off the front of our ballgowns? An emblem of independence, Carey knows that it is not enough to rest on the laurels of one’s BAFTA-winning acting performance and expect the little people to take care of you. No, the thinking woman’s movie star is like an exceptionally well-dressed boy scout, prepared for every eventuality by becoming the Prada realisation of a swiss army knife. 

So here’s to the girls who made Oscar history. To Kathryn, for being the first woman to win Best Director and to Carey for being the first woman to wear a Sylvanian dinner set as an accessory. Oh, and both of them looked hot. But we all know that’s irrelevant.