Award show season is upon us, which means, for those of us that make a blood sport of fashion, that Red Carpet season has begun in earnest. Last night marked the commencement of the “playoffs” (someone might need to check my American sport terminology here)–the Golden Globes red carpet– which will culminate in the Super Bowl that is the Oscar Red Carpet.
Frankly, there was little to sing the Hallelujah Chorus about last night. Still, as it is my obligation to the art of couch pontification, I griped about the oh-no-she-didn’t looks and extolled the Yaaas-mama ensembles via Twitter and Facebook last night. And now, I bring my prattle to you via the blog. Here are, in my opinion, the salient sartorial stars that shone (for better or for worse) in the rather insipid galaxy that was last night’s defilé.
Flashes of Ecstasy
Emma Stone in Lanvin:
Chicissme! It’s clean, it’s simple, it’s a dash daring with the shimmery bodice and the cummerbund cum train with side bow elevates the look from cocktail chic to red carpet regal. Coupled with her fiery, tussled bob and feline winged eyeliner, this look is the perfect marriage of feminine and masculine, understated and opulent, and sexy and serious, in a manner that only Alber could dream up and few other than Ms. Stone could pull off. Who does not love an exercise in paradox?
Naomi Watts in Gucci:
We have recently come to expected this sort of understated elegance from Gucci (Margot Robbie at last year’s Golden Globe is exhibit A), have we not? Watts’s canary-coloured column gown tempers a boldness of hue with a simplicity of line and just the right amount of adornment for a touch of sophistication.
Jessica Chastain in Atelier Versace:
Is she even real? Chastain is an unsung hero when it comes Red Carpet acumen. Here again she is perfect from head to toe, looking quite like a statue herself. She is every bit Aphrodite. (She also needs to, in the words of the immortal Uncles Tom and Lorenzo, give her makeup gay a raise, because he/she came to play! )
Jenna Dewan-Tatum in Carolina Herrera:
Yellow was ubiquitous on the red carpet last night (Leslie Mann also sparkled in lemony, bone-hugging, sleeveless gown with green accessories). I am not sure who Ms. Dewan-Tatum is but she caught my eye last night. She’s quite perfect, from hair to hem. The cascade of corn-coloured fabric from the bodice to the hem of her dress enriches the minimalist look.
Anna Kendrick in Monique Lhuillier:
Princess porn. It’s just quite delightful.
Julianne Moore in Givenchy Couture:
The world’s sultriest ombre oil spill: and I mean that as highest praise. Sequins and plummage can quickly career into drag territory. But, this metallic look serves only unalloyed sass and glamour .
Diane Kruger in Emilia Wickstead:
Sex appeal with every inch covered (J Lo, get your notepad out!). The entire statuesque look oozes confidence and poise.
The Austrian singer/drag queen slayed in this velvet moss-coloured suit-dress. The only “well-placed belt of the night” award goes, unequivocally, to her. While the exposed nude bra would have been a faux pas for anyone else, this is drag, where restrained exaggeration wins you the crown. And ladies, tell me you don’t want that body…I’ll wait.
Sienna Miller in Miu Miu
She’s a vision. This is text-book Miu Miu: playful embellishments in the form of beading, embroidery, and jewel detail (un peu Carrie Mulligan in Prada at the 2010 Oscars) . Yet, Ms. Miller looks anything but ordinary here. The plunging neckline does not detract from everything else that is going on with the dress because the skirt lies loosly, but is still flirty given its slightly raised front hemline. It’s not easy to balance all the features of this frock; somehow Sienna shows that she is up there with Cate and Tilda in dress-wearing power.
Salma Hayek in Alexander McQueen
It is quite a beautiful textured gown, I must admit. It’s a shame about that very pedestrian belt and the uninspiring hair.
Kate Hudson in Atelier Versace:
Yet another plunging neckline from last night’s panolply of plunging necklines. As one with a predilection for structure, I love the true-to-versace architecturality (-ness?) of the dress. Mais, the exposed chest and bare shoulder and side-ribbing converge into a little too much dress for my eye. Do away with even one of those elements and she would have been on my best-dressed list.
Lupita N’yongo in Giambattista Valli
Of all the glorious glorious gowns team Erlanger could have pulled out of Giambattista’s marvelous 2014 Couture magic hat, I am a bit bemused that they picked this one. It’s such a difficult, even if beautiful dress. What makes it work even less is the hair which, frankly, is a source of complete confusion for me. Her more severe cut may have contradicted the nymph-like nature of this dress and, like an oxymoron, have completed the look. I am not sure what it is, but this is not the queen at her best.
Kerry Washington in Mary Katrantzou
I happen to think Katrantzou is a visionary of our time, especially after having seen her costumes for New York City Ballet’s Belles Lettres. All I would have liked from this dress was the hemline to be raised just so, to reveal a flash of ankle. Et voila, different (and more magnificent) dress!
Amy Adams in Atelier Versace
How does one mange to make Versace look so…the word escapes me…I’ll go with “tame”. It’s all very nice, a little demure even: the powder blue speaks in ladylike hushed tones. Her red mane is a brilliant contrast to the colour of the dress. Yet, somehow, “there are no comets seen/ the heavens [do not] blaze forth”, even in this goddess gown.
Rosamund Pike in Vera Wang
She just had a baby! Incredible! She was indeed the fairest of the Grecian fairies last night. Resplendent!
Torrents of Torment:
Tina Fey in Antonia Berardi
I feel as though Tina Fey, grandmaster of comedia, yelled at Antonio’s people: “I said tea length, not tea cup!”. But alas, it was too late.
Claire Danes in Valentino:
So much of me wants to love this dress. It’s against the grain, it’s art, it’s Frieda! Design duo Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli can commit no sin, as far as I am concerned, in light of that celestial show of alabaster recently held at the former Whitney Museum of Art. But.this.dress.is. just.not.flattering. Danes usually does the scarlet carpet justice in her streamlined Calvin Klein numbers. While I respect the injection of variety into her style, methinks the medicine doth harm here rather than heal what was not an ailment to begin with. Still, the colours are quite mesmerizing and something tells me that to the naked eye, the texture and richness of the feathers may have made amends for the matronly shape of the dress.
Melissa McCarthy in “Pieces from [her] Closet”:
And it shows, girl! Forget Mayback Music, this is Mayflower Dressing at its sparkliest. The very talented humourist unfortunately had a joke played on her by her very own closet. For what it is worth, she is rescued by her hair and makeup, a radiant highlight in this pilgrim’s plight.
Jennifer Lopez in Zuhair Murad:
Of Course! Again, to borrow parlance from Tom and Lorenzo, “of course!”. Leg, cleavage, cape, bejeweling, big hair, bigger earrings…this beauty needs to hit the edit button!
Kiera Knightly in Chanel
Oh come on! It’s a glorified “torchon”. It might be Chanel but it is a Chanel torchon, up there with the plushest of tea towels.
I have often proclaimed, “Muiccia can do no wrong!” Apparently she can, and she did. Yet another instance of the belt-botchery that was rampant last night. I am not even sure that one can call that oversized anatopism of a ceinture “nude”; whatever colour it is, it has no place next to the vermilion vest-dress. But, even those ruffles of fabric are suffering in existential angst so let’s not take it out on the belt, who really did not ask to be here.
Lena Dunham in Zac Posen:
Too many seams spoil the frock. It is an ungainly gown, done no favours by her dark eye-makeup and Madeline hair.
Amal Alamuddin-Clooney in Christian Dior:
Oh it’s not all that bad, I agree. But we all know Amal is capable of so much more. I respect that she went for quiet elegance over pomp and paegentry given that the evening’s honour belonged to her husband. Still, the high-powered attorney’s look fell short of all that it could have been in redolence to the graces of a bygone era. Had her hair been pulled away from her face, her gloves a little tighter and perhaps as long as mid-upper arm, she may have pulled together a more concinnuous/ less bifurcated look. As it stands, the gloves strike me as a random addition, rather than a deliberate counterpoint to the stygian dress: a little play with the proportions of colour may have been just the ticket. As for the dirge of dress itself, it’s pas mal du tout, if even a mite David’s Bridal.
So there you you have it! My layman’s analysis of the earth-shattering phenomenon that is the annual Golden Globe Red Carpet. Do you agree with my picks? Did I miss any one? Has your life been changed?