Last night the Hollywood Foreign Press Association gathered the stars of Silver and Small Screen at the 73rd annual Golden Globe Awards. As the inaugural show of award season, The Globes has also been crowned as the heralding trumpet of Red Carpet season, a bloodsport which will reach a frenzied peak at the Academy Awards next month.
Cinematic doyennes paraded in their stylist’s best finds and collaborations with magicians of couture and the world watched with opinions to share and to spare, me in my 2009 striped pajamas from the illustrious house of Hennes and Mauritz (or as the kids say, H&M).
The trend this year seemed to be white bread – which is to say, the spectacle was severly lacking in spectacle – with myriad white gowns that did little to inspire flashes of heavenly ecstasy, as well as the usual sprinkling of sparkle and blah. Perhaps the most exciting thing to happen last night was Leonardo DiCaprio’s priceless reaction to Lady Gaga unceremoniously bumping into him as she walked up to receive her award for American Horror Story, or Quentin Tarantino’s unintelligible marring of maestro Ennio Morricone’s win for best score. Yet, we came for the fashion, and so, though it did not move us to speaking in tongues, to the fashion we shall proceed:
Flashes of Ecstasy:
Jennifer Lopez in Giambattista ValliWho knew? Who knew it was possible to our JLo to leave home fully clothed? It is refreshing to see her abjure the translucent plunging-neckline trope for (yes, another cliché) the cape as reimagined by an artist such as Giamba. Her loose hair and minimal jewellery are an apt contrast to the multi-directional, figure-hugging gown. In a look where she is sheathed in head-to-toe mustard, her signature thigh-high slit is not only excusable, but in fact necessary to bring breath to a gown that might otherwise have suffocated the diva. Oh the places you will go, JLo, when you step into the box that is, you know, actual clothing.
Kirsten Dunst in ValentinoAs is often the case, Pierpaolo Piccioli and Maria Grazia Chiuri knock it out of the park. Sure, its a reimagined curtain, but the most sublime of things come from the quotidien “sweetened into a phrase of such delight”. To my mind, style is a game of balance and Ms. Dunst dons here a paragon of sucessful interplay between gravitas in inky velvet and sultry playfulness in that plummeting neckline. This is no standard-issue Grecian garment.
Jennifer Lawrence in DiorMs. Lawrence looked statuesque last night, as though the scarlet column was sculpted onto her frame (rather than her entire personhood squeezed into it, ehem, Kate H. and K. Perry). In a true feat of concinnity, the clean contouring of the look continues from the neck-up into her unfussy and immaculately-sculpted hair. Topping it all off with a belt of clavical jewels and eschewing earrings was a styling decision par excellence.
Yes, I am storied Cate Blanchett apologist, and I make no apologies for loving this fringed fantasy on the goddess of couture. It is not loyalty that screws me to to this ensemble, but the gestalt of dressing up exemplified by the star of Carol. On lesser celestial bodies, the Givenchy frock might read as, to use a very technical term, “too much”. A cascade of fringe, varying in length, punctuated by lace cut-outs? Could there be a more obvious recipe for Beyoncé-grade tackiness? But! The hair is pitch perfect – demure, yet inventive –, the makeup is subdued, her earrings are delightful homage to flurry of fringe. So, with no competition between the rest of her and the dress, one’s focus is drawn solely to whether the dress is itself a riotous battle between disparate styles, or a perspicacious combination of light and weight; of the linear and filigree. You know my bent: I’ll call it a show of gravity and grace, and stand firm as my fashion friends accuse me of bad taste and biased eyes.
Rosie Huntington-Whitley in VersaceThere was certainly a fair share of the gilded last night. Out of all the gold dust emerged Ms. Huntington-Whitley in this slinky number accentuated by a simple cinched waist and concluded by a waterfall of chiffon. She is as a golden breeze, effortless, yet striking.
If you have yet to see Ms. Vikander’s turn in The Danish Girl, do yourself a favour and go, if only the for the blue velvet cape she sports that will crush your heart with its beauty. Last night, she was the anti-red-carpet in this pinafore cum apron dress designed by master of structure, Nicholas Ghesquière. It is striped; it is matte; it is neither voluminous nor sausage-casing tight; it has belt (and beltholes!): it is every bromide of red carpetry turned on its head. And yet, she looks every bit the part of the Hollywood ingenue that she is. The ruffle trim of the straps and neckline soften the armour-like bodice into a coquettish confection. The no-nonsense belt, perfect in proportion (I’m looking at you, Olivier Roustaing) temper the sweetness of the frills. And then she moved! She moved and the simple accordion pleats played in tones both opaque and diaphonous, swishing in unision with the liquidity of iron fillings exposed to a moving magnet. Sometimes avant-garde doesn’t mean futuristic shoulder shapes and 3-D prints; sometimes fashion-forward is a simple as making elements at home where they would otherwise be pariahs.
Honestly, whenever I set eyes on Rooney Mara, some techno version of Gluck’s Dance of the Blessed Spirit starts to play in my soul. She’s just so other worldly in her beauty. I’ve stared at this dress for a while, unable to decide it evokes Neruda’s whimsical mermaid, emerging from sea like Venus and thrust into a land of mundane mortals destined to misunderstand her, or if her ugly step sisters just had a go at her dress before the ball. The semi-elliptic button detailing is gorgeous and the shreds of lace so deliberate that I have to go with former. I imagine the sheer romance of this dress reads more clearly in person. And, I adore here severely pulled-back mane so much that I am willing to overlook the exposed hair-tie, a shard that could rend the very fabric of propriety and human existence.
Brie Larson in Calvin Klein by Francisco Costa A tinsel swimsuit? To borrow sarcasm from the Prada-clad devil herself: “Groundbreaking!” What happened, Francisco? Last year you gave us Lupita is yards of pearls that had the herald hosts a-signing. This year’s study in sequins is laudable in intention– characteristic Costan clean lines realized in razzmatazz fabric – but regrettablly mawkish in the concatenation of beachwear neckline, bathing suit peephole and Forever-21 cutouts. As impressive as Ms. Larson’s obliques are, it appears the road to hell is paved with gold sequins.
Jaime Alexander in GennyThe art deco dress is eye-catching. Emerald and black remains a delicious pairing. Her hair is utterly perplexing in the way of Hades’ is in Disney’s Hercules.
Kate Winslet in Ralph LaurenLast night, I felt Kate was coming on a little too strong to my husband, Michael Fassbender during her acceptance speech. So perhaps this my fussing is really just leftover venom in my veins, but is it just me or does Ms. Winslet somehow imbue every gown she wears with all of the enchatment of office-wear? There is absolutely nothing wrong with this look. In fact, the silk charmeuse insert in complementary navy is molten elegnace. So, why does it all leave me so cold?
Amy Schumer in Prabal GurungIf you went to school in Ghana, you won’t be able to unsee it after you see it. Oscar-winning Costume designer Antonella Cannarozzi (I Am Love) once told me that the most important thing when mixing black and white is proportion. The court enters this into evidence as her case in point.
Jane Fonda in Saint-LaurentWell here s a
cake cape for a different crusade and caper if I ever did see one! With just three tiers of icing, grande dame Fonda makes Vivacious look like Audrey Hepburn on her way to church. She’s a stunner in a every other respect so why should I quibble if she chooses to carry a cake on her shoulders? If I looked this snatched at 78, I too would declare, “let them wear cake”. Live your life, Marie Antoinette!
Torrents of Torment:
Regina King in Krikor JabotianThose are some big-ass paillettes, in one busy-ass orientation. That is one anatopism of a chiffon cape, both in colour and texture. Those are some garrish shoes, clamouring for what little attention we have left to give. That is some…Oh I think you get the point: there is a whole galaxy at war in this one look. Oh but don’t we wish we had arms like those.
Melissa McCarthy in her own designFrom the neck up, she looks like a million bucks: fresh and lively. But like Missy Elliot of yore, it appears she can’t stand the rain, and let the good folks of Glad supply her with the fabric for what would otherwise have been an innocuous dress. Unfortunate.
Kate Hudson in Michael Kors A friend remarked that Ms. Hudson’s Barbie-inspired look is “a dress for Zendaya at the Teen Choice Awards”, to which I said, “This is a dress for nobody nowhere”. Even if she were parading under the Tropezian sun, your clothes are expected to fit, no? Her matching choker is an affront to the decade in which we are living. Brittany spears called from the early 2000s and she is not happy about this genre of identity theft.
Maggie Gyllenhaall in Marc JacobsEvery year, there is that one look that people will try to convince you don’t get because you are not sophisticated enough. Don’t let them lie to you. They will tell you this is a marriage of texture and pattern in a way that harkens back to Jeanne Lanvin herself, and that may be true. But how will they account for the geriatric cut and the sodden misery with which the carpet hangs from her shoulders? I love Maggie Gyllenhaal. I make excuses for Maggie Gyllenhaal. All.The.Time. Why? Well because she is my former sister-in-law, and because I find her calibre of ennui beguiling. But I make no excuses for this Dowager Countess on the carpet. I am dismayed.
Thanks for sharing a these moments of feckless chatter with me. If you want to share in my prattle on in real time during the award shows to come, follow me on Facebook and Twitter. That’s all until the next seismic carpet disaster, my friends.