Celebrities and moguls from all over the entertainment industry rose to the occasion in Beverly Hills to kick off the awards season at the Golden Globe awards on Sunday.
On the red carpet, we saw a major red trend, with plenty of Oscar de la Renta, Versace, and Dior, but not all were dressed in color, as rich dark black was the second go-to shade for the evening. Some fashion choices were absolutely on the mark, while others left much to be desired.
Let’s begin with my review from a designer’s point of view.
Jessica Chastain wore Calvin Klein Collection (the brand’s highest-end line). For a gal with rich red hair, the color choice was a hit. The sea foam contrasted perfectly with Jessica’s skin and hair color, but that is where the fabulous appeared to end. The cut itself left a lot to be desired, with the baggy halter look coming across as untailored and ill-fitted. On top of that, there were moments I truly believed the screen would have to be censored to prevent any FCC violations, if you know what I mean.
#page# On to another risk taker, who went in a totally different direction. Halle Berry chose Versace as her dress for the evening. A disclaimer: I am a huge fan of Versace and credit his creations with inspiring me to become a designer myself. So I love the dress for what it is, but question its appropriateness for this particular event. In my humble opinion, the Golden Globes and Academy Awards call for a very elegant and sophisticated fashion selection, and this dress misses the mark if those are the criteria to follow. Prints in general tend to dress down a look, and introduce a “love it or hate it” element. Personally, I like this print, which reads as fresh and modern and new to the industry. Still, a print on the red carpet is a dangerous risk to take, and coupled with major cutouts, the dress begins to look more suited to be worn to the beach over a bikini.
#page#Emily Blunt had a striking profile during her walk down the red carpet in her off-the-rack Michael Kors Resort 2013 lace dress. The dress itself is lovely, but the pea-green hue does very little to contrast with her skin-tone. Up close, you can see that there are studs placed on the lace to “new it up,” but, from afar, it isn’t very exciting. The dress flaunted just a bit of edginess with its side cutouts. If the objective was to wow the crowd beyond any doubt, she misses this goal.
#page#Lucy Liu selected Carolina Herrera as her atelier for the evening, and I am hearing from both sides of the fashion-opinion aisle on whether this was a nice piece or not. The nays remark that the fabric looks like an old window curtain that would be stripped out immediately by an interior designer as part of a home renovation. Those on the more positive side say that it’s an elegant number that nicely marries a ball gown with a placement print. I am somewhere in between but erring on the side of positive here. First off, this is a whole lotta dress. Lucy has a very skinny, small frame, and she borders on the classic Cinderella style here, but I don’t think she jumps off the “fashion cliff” in it. Yes, it’s very voluminous, but I would not call this a misstep. I personally like the print, which is obviously a floral, but rather than being an “all-over print” it’s a strategically placed panel print. The tight, well-fit bodice is kept more solid in color, and the powder-blue/grey tone of the dress is just saturated enough to balance her pale skin-tone. I think it works well. Some would say a dress with this much presence should be one solid color, or else it becomes overwhelming, but I really would not give this dress anything less than a B+, and the actress works it well.
#page#Jennifer Lawrence — the winner of her own Golden Globe, with a less-than-award-winning thank-you speech — is definitely a beautiful girl. She would have done better to leave out “I beat Meryl” from her notes, but putting that aside, let’s have a look at her dress by Dior. I imagine it looked gorgeous on the hanger, but there’s something not quite right about it on her figure. The red gown, with its classic strapless neckline and full skirt, gave off a glamorously retro vibe, but the hips are definitely too tight, as you can see by the pulling in the seams. Remember folks, in couture, it must fit perfectly, or it is a total disaster. Indeed, Lawrence is stunning in red, but the shapes of the bodice and bust area leave me wondering whether there were last-minute alterations done, as they appear rushed and not as sophisticated as the rest of the dress. Also, call me crazy, but this dress appears to need an hour of hot steaming. Fabrics of this quality and price point should have held up with normal wear before succumbing to the inevitable wrinkling. On a side note, I am not surprised Lawrence selected Dior Haute Couture as her choice, given Lawrence is the new official face of the brand.
#page#Zooey Deschanel looked stunning in her red Oscar de la Renta dress, with the pearl necklace adding a very simple touch. Her hair pulled back into a simple ponytail made her face more noticeable than some of the other starlets who wore their hair down and looking unfinished. I wish I saw more tailoring though. Perhaps a last-minute fitting should have been scheduled. Look at where the bust and waist shaping is executed: Don’t you feel you would take it in a bit to further accentuate the volume that begins in the hips and heads to the floor? It kind of puckers a bit where the volume flairs begin. I would also have raised the bust area slightly to make it a bit more sophisticated. A dress of this color and shape is plenty; there is no need to take it to the next level of edginess by allowing that much cleavage to show. Perhaps I am too conservative of a designer.
#page#Adele an extremely talented singer, chose a British designer, Burberry, in a nod to her homeland. I too am a fan of Burberry, but I wish she had chosen a different style. I understand she just had a baby, but the front of the dress just looks way too casual. I’ve seen people wear these “babydoll” style dresses to the grocery store, minus the jeweled neckline of course. It looks like a jersey material too, which is not an elegant fabric. While the overall look had a boring almost Morticia Addams appearance, it recovered with the help of her bold personality, and was pumped up with sparkling Cartier jewels and sizzling red, talon-shaped nails.
#page#Anne Hathaway, a superbly talented actress, and a face of fashion ever since her monster hit The Devil Wears Prada, continued to shine here in her Chanel Haute Couture, which was brilliantly cut, and a perfect length. The quote by Coco Chanel still rings true today: “Fashion fades, only style remains the same.”As we have seen from the annual awards shows, Hathaway exudes a style unmatched by most, with her long, lean figure on which couture designers love to show off their masterful creations. I will gently remind my readers that Hathaway’s choice of Chanel Haute Couture is a pricey one. “Average” Chanel Couture dresses start at $25,000, with wedding and evening gowns hitting the quarter-million mark. I’d normally not mention price in my reviews — a clear fashion faux pas — but I felt the need to note the extravagance of this selection by someone who proudly labels herself a socialist and spent many a day down at Occupy Wall Street to advertise her solidarity with the “99 percent.”
#page#Lena Dunham definitely makes my list of worst dressed of the evening. The dress by Zac Posen was not the right color for her, or the right shape, or the right fit for that matter. The burgundy color was too brown and depressing, and while that structure from bodice to skirt is ubiquitous on the red carpet and in fashion magazines, it just does not work for Lena’s frame. The fabric’s construction made the whole dress look heavy and stiff and uncomfortable for her to wear. You could see she kept tugging at the neckline and shoulder line to adjust it, something that should never happen at an awards ceremony or with this costly a dress. It also appeared to be a size too big. The off-the-shoulder neckline was a nice thought, but ended up coming across as very boxy. I am also not a fan of tattoos on a lady. Dunham might want to consider a more covered-up look for the upcoming Academy Awards.
#page#Debra Messing was one of the very first celebrities to hit the red carpet. I really am not sure why Debra wore this number; she usually is a knockout. The bodice pleating makes her look twice her size, which is very hard to do on such a thin, well-put-together, lovely lady. The basic black dress features heavy textured detail with a ruched bust and voluminous skirt. The skirt itself looks like it is coming apart, and when comparing it with the original Donna Karan photo shoot of this dress, I have to say, Debra should have put this one back on the hanger and moved on. It makes her look very top heavy, and the absence of a necklace only adds to this.
#page#Ariel Winter selected an off-the-rack Valentino Resort 2013 dress. The Modern Family actress looks overly youthful, the dress doesn’t fit her well, and it is way too simplistic for an event of this magnitude. It really is a day-into-cocktail-hour dress, not an evening gown. A fitted dress to show off her silhouette in a solid color would have been a better choice. Some are calling her “cute as a cupcake,” which I agree with, but she should have exchanged the cupcake style for an elegant sit-down-dinner look. Perhaps though, it was done to speak more directly to her fan base, which typically is more youthful than those who are watching Lincoln or The Newsroom. So, while the garment isn’t quite as dressy as the Globes generally demands, the multi-colored floral jacquard fabric shows a dose of Ariel’s quirky personality and may appeal to her fan base.
This Golden Globes season presented a wide variety of shapes, colors, textures, and styles, but overall, it was a much less impressive display of really classically beautiful garments than in the past. It may have to do with the teetering economy, or the celebrities not wanting to come across as too overwhelmingly luxurious, but part of what these seasons are meant to do is to create a dream, a fantasy untouched by economic factors. Remember, even after 9/11, the showmanship of high-end fashion still remained on display at the awards seasons in 2002. This year’s selections were not all misses of course, but, as a whole, it was definitely less than what I expected, and I hope the designers and celebrity stylists will up the ante at the Oscars and bring back the old Hollywood glamour these events demand.
— Bradley Scott is a winner of the Fashion Group International Rising Star Award and a New York native.