The Awards Season in Hollywood begins with the Hollywood Foreign Press Association holding its annual dinner party turned celebrity love-a-thon, the Golden Globes. A favorite of the Media, this is also known as “The One Where They Drink During The Ceremony”. It is known to be a more relaxed show for that reason as well as the underlying notion that this one “doesn’t really count” like the Oscars or carry the prestige of the SAG awards, for example. Its good fun. On the tab of the HFPA. And we all know how crazy those Foreign Press folks are. Well, ok, maybe we don’t really even know who or what the HFPA IS, but it sounds cool.
The relaxed atmosphere, dinner party format, and tiny venue (Beverly Hills Hotel vs. the Shrine Auditorium) make for some varied fashion choices by the stars. You begin to see where the publicists and stylists and perhaps even the stars themselves see their chances of winning real gold (of the Oscar variety) next go ’round. A “serious” dress on the Red Carpet means you take this and your performances seriously. However, a risky, devil-may-care approach is communicated through wacky hemlines, modern styling, and edgy hair. In general I think this was a pretty serious year at the Globes, I felt many of the dresses were over the top in formality and grandeur. They were Oscar dresses, in short. Time will tell how the celebrities will top their looks from last night.
The show was co-hosted this year by comediennes Tiny Fey and Amy Poehler. Their wardrobe changes throughout the night were uneventful and rather forgettable. On the Red Carpet, however, they both managed to look slightly off. Tina Fey has been my pick for best dressed over the years, but every now and then there’s a clunker in the bunch. Her tea length lace L’Wren Scott dress didn’t work for me at all. That length is always odd, especially in a straight dress. If it were a full skirt and tea length, it carries a Vintage, Mad Men vibe well. This looked too short. Or too long. Neither here nor there. The lace and satin trim felt very Betty Boop Collection for Fredericks of Hollywood. Amy Poehler, on the other hand, has NEVER gotten it right to my eye. She’s experimental, I will give her that, but I have yet to see her find a dress or ensemble that mitigates what is terrifyingly known in Hollywood as a Normal Woman’s Body. She wore a Stella McCartney tuxedo that was pulling at her thighs, with a cropped length highlighting her unfortunate shoe choice and cankles. How elegant this would have looked with a floor grazing trouser. And her side bun looked like half of a Princess Lea skit from Saturday Night Live. It was too round, too stiff, too low, too, too, too.
SNL alum Kristen Wiig is another Funny Lady who runs hot and cold for me on the Red Carpet, but last night I felt she was hot, hot, hot. I adored her simple, geometric Michael Kors dress with cutouts. I felt it suited her tiny frame, made her look modern, and complimented her tousled hair. I love that the cutouts weren’t revealing over the top cleavage or curves. This was elegant, interesting, and fun. It introduces a trend of the evening, the down to there neckline for the Small Girls. There were eye-popping feats of fashion tape happening all night, but for the most part, the girls without enormous Girls were sporting these looks, and doing so well. Ms. Poehler, Eva Longoria, Katherine McPhee, Jessica Chastain, and on and on were wearing this to the waist neckline or as a cut out. Some better than others. I loved Katherine McPhee in Theory, as it was also architectural and modern. I felt like Jessica Chastain in Calvin Klein was great in concept, but had way too much fabric draping in the chest and belly. She looked pregnant when she turned to the side, never mind the color choice evoked a boys nursery.
My absolute favorite in the cut out deep neckline category was Kate Hudson. She wore an Alexander McQueen stunner in black with gold details. This was made for her body, her sensibility, and I adored it. Helen Mirren wore a covered up version of this look in a Badgley Mischka dress that I never would have guessed was by the typically ethereal design team. I thought Helen Mirren looked FANTASTIC in this studded black dress. Her sassy short hair and modern styling was perfection.
There were a slew of “grand” dresses on women who had no business wearing them. Taylor Swift was in a matronly oxblood Donna Karan dress that was a yawn. I typically love how she is the epitome of youthful freshness wherever she goes, but this was dower. Also in fishtail grand satin gowns were Jessica Alba in a STUNNING coral dress by Dior. Her necklace was jaw droppingly beautiful, and let’s face it. No one does grand like Dior. Also in Dior was Jennifer Lawrence. Her version of this strapless look was a bit grander, with a modern belt and architectural pleating at the bustline. A slightly deeper red than Ms. Alba was beautiful on her skin tone.
In the “just fine” category I will put Jodie Foster in Armani. She has been loyal to Mr. Armani for her lengthy career, this neither thrilled me or upset me. I would’ve liked a softer hairstyle. Jennifer Garner was adequate in Vivienne Westwood, and there were no surprises from Adele, who looked fabulous post baby in a black Burberry dress that was lovely. People are already swooning over Anne Hathaway in Chanel and Julia Louis Dreyfuss in Vera Wang. I liked both of these looks, but was not gasping for breath in delight. There’s something about Ms. Hathaway all pale and thin with the short hair and HUGE features that is too much for me. Her face appears magnified all the time somehow. The pale color of the dress accentuated this for me. Zooey Deschanel in Oscar de la Renta was pretty enough. I didn’t care for the giant Wilma Flintstone pearl necklace, though.
Lena Dunham wore a Zac Posen oxblood (trend alert) satin gown that was in a word, a lot. I didn’t hate the dress per se, but it didn’t look right on her. The bustline kept moving around on her, but I did really like the color. My real issue with the talented Ms. Dunham is her shoes. Whatever they were, she was utterly incapable of walking in them. Like, couldn’t walk. At all. She hobbled around awkwardly to the stage (twice!) whilst carrying her acceptance speech and yards and yards of her dress and I felt as though her stylist could have put her in ballet flats and no one would have known. High Heel Classes, stat. Also looking like they were playing dress up was Claire Danes. She is a very linear girl, physically. Almost a swimmers physique, I tend to like her in modern clean dresses. She had flippy hair extensions in, and a flowy, sexy long red Versace dress that was beautiful in and of itself, but I thought the entire look had a “I just had a baby and want to remember what it’s like to feel sexy” vibe. Trying to hard.
There were a fair amount of really awful things going on the Red Carpet last night, more than I’ve seen in years. Perhaps all the media coverage of these affairs has pushed folks to experiment which is a good thing, it certainly gives us folks something to squawk about. I didn’t love Jennifer Lopez in an illusion/lace dress from Zuhair Murad. It felt very Dancing with the Stars on Ice to me. I thought Eva Longoria looked really odd in a BIG HEAVY Pucci dress with a cut out at the neck, a short skirt with lace overlay, a high slit, long sleeves, sequins and jeweled collar. Woah, nellie. You’re 4 feet tall and 80 pounds soaking wet. Ease up. I think I screamed, “my eyes!” when I saw Juliane Hough in her Monique Lhullier confection. Again, petite girls need to tone down the volume. I loved the top of Rachel Weisz’ Louis Vuitton polka dot dress, but the long over short bottom looked cheap. And it was about 3 inches too long. Debra Messing looked like she was wearing the Austrian Balloon Shades one finds in the windows of Funeral Homes. Lucy Liu was in a Tablecloth. A really, really big Tablecloth. With Pockets.
I can’t stand Nicole Kidman, in theory or in reality, I thought her Alexander McQueen dress was cool. But eh. She’s too stiff. I felt like Catherine Zeta Jones was in a nightie, and Marion Cotillard was in a toga. Neither worked for me.
Kudos to Kerry Washington and Sienna Miller for trying to be edgy, but I thought Sienna’s Erdem dress was heavy and stiff on her and Kerry in Miu Miu was interesting, but again a weird length and seemed to flatten her out. This is one that I will see in print in the weeks to come and perhaps grow to adore.
When it comes to worst dressed, I have two folks I’d like to mention. Guiliana Rancic wore a Celia Kritharioti dress that looked like it was re-styled from the Dowager Countess (aka Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey). It was busy and old and strange and awful. I cannot give her the title of worst dressed though, because who the HECK is Guiliana Rancic and why do we care? So, I move on to Halle Berry. She confounds me. If there were ever a woman one would think of as having an easy time getting dressed (or keeping a mate, for that matter), it would be the exquisitely beautiful Ms. Berry. She never doesnt’ appear to be TRYING. I hated this Versace for its wild pattern, change in textures, lopsided boob action, and crazy high slit. Her hair looked like Nick Nolte’s mug shot, and all that for a girl who could throw on a t-shirt and look sexy.
When it comes to best dressed I will give it to Kate Hudson in Alexander McQueen. She nudged out Kristen Wiig in my eyes by a sliver of a neckline.