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Why Kerry Washington, Jessica Chastain and More Are Shivering Their Way Through Oscar Season

Kerry Washington, Django, Berlin Sean Gallup/Getty Images for Sony Pictures

I keep seeing A-list actresses on Fashion Police dressed in spring and summer clothes in the middle of winter. Why?
—Confused Person, Melville, NY, via Twitter

Don't be shocked if you read at least one case of celebrity pneumonia from the Oscar bait crowd in coming weeks, because, you're right: Kerry Washington, Jessica Chastain, Isla Fisher, the Fanning sisters—we're talking a lot of stars in very little clothing, or, sometimes, just very thin clothing, and in chilly places like Seoul, New York and London. Walking around on red carpets. Outside. In freezing temperatures. For no immediately discernible reason.

But as weird as Hollywood can be, there is a method to this particular madness. And I just found out what it is.

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Apparently, there are some fashion rules so important, so hallowed, that actresses would rather risk hypothermia than violate them. And that rule?

Never, ever get caught in someone else's seconds. And if you're wearing something from a designer's spring 2013 collection, you're pretty much shielded for that potential shame.

"For a celebrity to wear something fresh off the runway, they can be certain that no one else has worn the dress," celebrity bridal and red carpet designer Leila Hafzi says.  

You read that right: Around here, it's more important to wear a totally fresh dress than to, say, lose a finger to frostbite.

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"I am sure it is often very cold for them, but the carpets only take a bit of time to do and their handlers are always waiting for them with their coat," Hafzi says.

Oh, one other thing you should know: Stylists prefer spring-summer looks for dressing their clients anyway.

"I find that spring-summer collections are usually a bit more delicate than fall-winter collections and come in an array of complementary colors, whereas those latter collections often seem more subdued and are made of heavier fabrics," Hafzi tells me.

In other words: You're more likely to stand on a red carpet in a springy outfit, and celebrities and their glam squads know it.

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Speaking of spring...

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