If Louis XIV has taught us anything, it is that lavish amounts of luscious silks, big dresses and red-soled shoes equal wealth and power. This is as true today as it was in the 17th-century French court: all three will be much in evidence on the red carpet at the forthcoming Oscars – and they will indeed represent wealth and power. But power structures have changed somewhat in the past 400 years: what they will not represent are the wardrobes of the actors wearing them.
Diversity was undoubtedly the theme of this year’s Academy Awards, despite – or, more likely, due to – the dearth of nominees of colour. Journalism drama Spotlight was named Best Picture, while The Revenant won three Oscars including a Best Actor gong for Leonardo DiCaprio. But last night’s ceremony at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles will be best remembered for its focus on race in Hollywood, and in particular for its host Chris Rock’s pointed opening monologue.