Created by Matt Zoller Seitz
Directed by Judith Carter
“If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.”
The ultimate red carpet companion, Beyond the Best Dressed is an illustrated, personality-filled romp through more than 90 years of Oscar fashion, from the elegant to the absurd. From the show-stoppingly elegant (Halle Berry winning the award for Monster’s Ball in a breathtaking Elie Saab) to the decidedly kooky (Adam Rippon in a formal harness), the Academy Awards Telecast is one of the few nights of the year devoted entirely to glamor (in all its forms). Even in the age of streaming, millions upon millions of people sit down at the same time, turn on their televisions, and watch celebrities strut down the red carpet (and, sure, win some awards). Now fans can relive the glamor, drama, and lasting legacy of some of the most influential outfits from more than ninety years of the Oscar in Beyond the Best Dressed: A Cultural History of the Most Glamorous, Radical, and Scandalous Oscar Fashion. In twenty-five essays, culture writer Esther Zuckerman romps through the iconic fashion choices that made history on the most elegant stage of all, and analyzes the cultural impact of wardrobe decisions both absurd and wonderful. Beginning with Hattie McDaniel’s historic and trendsetting turquoise gown in 1940 (worn at a table segregated from her white agent), Zuckerman goes beyond the “best of” lists to shine a deserved spotlight on the truly unforgettable outfits–and deciphers what those outfits represented.Beyond the Best Dressed is a first-of-its-kind commemoration of Oscar fashion that perfectly captures the glitz and the glamor for anyone who has ever been to an Oscar watch party (or texted their friends while they watched alone). Fully illustrated with whimsical interpretations of the outfits–including Michelle Williams' golden Versace, Sharon Stone's iconic Gap t-shirt, and Rita Moreno's groundbreaking dress worn in both 1962 and 2018–this book is a joyful and vivid odyssey that doesn’t stop at the hem of the dress, delving deeper into the cultural effect of these fashion flash points with research and original reporting.
Montana Forbes is an Illustrator whose work has been commissioned and published by The BBC, Capital Records, Harrods, Elle, and Penguin Random House, among others. Montana is based in London and Copenhagen.
MZS.Press is the online arts bookstore founded by author, critic, and filmmaker Matt Zoller Seitz and directed by Judith Carter. It offers new, used, signed, collectible, and rare books on film, TV, music, photography, and the visual arts. The store was launched in 2019 on a different platform and has expanded to incorporate arts books published by MZSPress's private imprint: titles currently include Seitz's The Deadwood Bible: A Lie Agreed Upon and Dreams of Deadwood, about the HBO Western, and Walter Chaw's A Walter Hill Film.
Our deepest wish is to promote, encourage, and distribute work by small presses, academic presses, and individuals. Extraordinary work tends to get swallowed up on giant platforms like Amazon and Barnes & Noble. The store's inventory of nearly 1000 volumes is currently in the process of being reconstructed after its relocation from Cincinnati, Ohio, to Dallas, Texas. The titles featured here are personally selected by a group of curators and advisors, including Seitz, Carter, and an array of critics, artists, journalists, educators, publishers, and arts mavens who are known for their ability to suss out what Seitz's jazz musician dad liked to call "the good sh*t."
“Please. Have mercy. I’ve been wearing the same underwear since Tuesday.”
Matt Zoller Seitz
Critic, Author, Filmmaker, MZS Press Creator
Matt Zoller Seitz is the Editor at Large and film critic of RogerEbert.com; a staff writer for New York Magazine and Vulture.com, and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in criticism. His writing on film and TV has appeared in Sight and Sound, The New York Times, Salon.com, The New Republic and Rolling Stone. Seitz is the founder and original editor of the influential film blog The House Next Door, now a part of Slant Magazine.
Seitz has written, narrated, edited or produced over a hundred hours’ worth of video essays about cinema history and style for The Museum of the Moving Image, Salon.com and Vulture, among other outlets. His five-part 2009 video essay Wes Anderson: The Substance of Style was spun off into the hardcover book The Wes Anderson Collection. This book and its follow-up, The Wes Anderson Collection: Grand Budapest Hotel were New York Times bestsellers.
Other Seitz books include the New York Times bestellers The Sopranos Sessions and Mad Men Carousel; TV (The Book), The Deadwood Bible: A Lie Agreed Upon, and the forthcoming The Wes Anderson Collection: The French Dispatch. He is also an interviewer, moderator, and film programmer who has curated and hosted film and TV presentations for the Museum of the Moving Image, IFC Center, San Francisco's Roxie Cinema, and other venues. He is currently working on a memoir about his marriages and a feature-length documentary about his father, jazz musician and composer Dave Zoller.
His hobbies include exotic dancing, moonwalking, and affixing masking tape labels to every food item in the refrigerator, including eggs. He has the attention span of a gnat.