Katy Perry revealed a little too much at the Golden Globes. Courtesy HFPA.
Jennifer Lawrence showed plenty of style at the Golden Globes. Courtesy HFPA.
Going into awards season, there are the typical stars who inevitably land on every best dressed list — Jennifer Lawrence, Cate Blanchett, etc … Indeed, Sunday night’s Golden Globe red carpet was no exception. The safe-bet best dressed didn’t necessarily disappoint, but I can’t help feeling a bit let down by the fashion overall, as the range of looks was decidedly dull.
There were no memorable style moments, and instead, most looks fell on the “meh” side of the spectrum. This could have something to do with my usual favorites (Emma Watson, Claire Danes and January Jones) not being in attendance.
The whole event seemed a lesson in two things: having bad taste, or, what may be worse, having no taste. Either the celebrities tried to stand out, and did so in all the wrong ways, or tried to achieve some form of understated elegance, leaving things flat and uninspired.
Perhaps this is a result of the process. This is, after all, the age of the stylist. Celebrities are carefully dressed, either wearing what their stylist or PR team think will land the right amount of press, or what will create the perfect, dare I say, brand image. There is the other option, in which the celebrity is dressed head-to-toe by a fashion house, for which they are a spokesperson.
Case in point: Lawrence, longtime face of Dior, who looked flawless in red. To the uneducated eye? Beautiful. For the fashion insider, though, she is but a walking Dior ad.
One of the few exceptions was Bryce Dallas Howard, who made headlines for (gasp!) buying her own Jenny Packham dress off the rack from Neiman Marcus. Wouldn’t it be interesting, I wonder, if stars were made to dress themselves? I yearn for a time when personal style really meant something. It was personal, as in celebrities made their own wardrobe choices. And style really meant that a person had their own point of view, one that was finely tuned and indicative of how they would like themselves perceived.
That said, the red carpet happened, and instead of offering a roster of best and worst dressed, I felt what we saw at the Golden Globes offered up a few lessons:
1). Sequins, sparkle, and wild embellishments should be left to those whose poise allows them to truly appear the wearer of the dress — not the other way around. It is age-old fashion wisdom: The dress should never wear you. In this case, Kate Bosworth in Dolce & Gabbana and Julianne Moore in Tom Ford were the only examples of sparkle success. Their confident grace allowed them to pull off dresses that would otherwise swallow a meeker type. It is also worth mentioning that sparkle can quickly fall from looking ravishing to looking cheap.
Olivia Wilde and Kate Hudson, both in glitzy Michael Kors numbers, screamed a look-at-me kind of glam that recalls a certain pre-prom motherly wisdom: You do not want people looking at you for all the wrong reasons. Sure, they were sexy. But style? None found here. Brie Larson’s Calvin Klein was another example of sexy-gone-overboard: I wish she had opted for no cleavage peek-a-boo and no midriff cutouts, and that the dress been kept to a fitted sheath. This dress wore her, literally appearing to weigh her down. She should have taken a lesson from Portia Doubleday. The Naeem Khan she wore didn’t appear too heavy or too gaudy. Like Bosworth and Moore, it was yet another example of effortlessness being the key to pulling off an otherwise loud garment.
2). Let’s pray: Capes, though fun for a red-carpet moment, should never make mainstream trends. I can see it now: A few daredevil fashionistas in society will try to make a cape work at Dallas’ Art Ball this spring. They will not succeed. The civilian should not try a cape on for size. Leave it for the red carpet and for superheroes. That said, Saiorse Ronan in Yves Saint Laurent couture, Lily James in Marchesa, and Taraji P. Henson in Stella McCartney all pulled it off.
Perhaps it is because they wore white — a color that always wins on the red carpet, no matter your skin tone. I also love the idea of a sleek cape replacing the dated train. A train of any kind should be strictly reserved for the bride walking down the aisle or a debutante making her societal bow.
3). The days of the cupcake-style ballgown are over. They simply look dated. (See above re: debutantes. For this is the only acceptable wearer of a princess gown.) The idea that, under there, the poor celeb is dealing with a full petticoat and lots of tulle makes me sad. Ditch the Cinderella fantasy. (That goes for everyone.) If Kate Middleton, a real-life princess, opts for more modern gowns, you can, too.
Jamie Alexander in Genny is about as close to a formal ballgown as I think anyone should tread. Here, the fabric weight and pleating adds structure, without the fullness of the skirt feeling campy. I can’t say the same for Gina Rodriguez in Zac Posen. The color is perfect for her, but how much more sophisticated would the structured bodice look had the skirt been a column, not a distracting pouf.
4). Diamonds were a major thing. Helen Mirren in Harry Winston. Jennifer Lawrence in Chopard. Lady Gaga in 200-plus carats of Neil Lane. Even J. Lo (though I don’t love her mustard frock) rocked 200 carats of Harry Winston. Where the fashion was a bit of a snooze, the diamonds woke everything up.
All in all, there were three looks that felt worthy of the most praise:
Laverne Cox in Elizabeth Kennedy. This dress was perfect for her age, her body type, and for the event itself. She was regal without appearing as if she tried too hard. The key to dressing up is to make it look like you didn’t even try.
Alicia Vikander in Louis Vuitton proved that effortless femininity is alive and well — and that apron-style dresses with pleats aren’t just for young girls. Amen. As both details have the ability to be flattering, youthful, and sophisticated.
Jennifer Lawrence in Dior. This is the only acceptable way to do cutouts. It’s not vulgar, nor does this dress require the body of a sample-size runway model. This look is a lesson in fit — a great dress does not have to hug your curves (sorry, Katy Perry) or over-sparkle to make a statement. It simply has to fit well.