Wednesday, January 10, 2018

In Mourning for The 2018 Golden Globes Red Carpet

[Added January 11, 2018:  I would respectfully ask that you read this post before reading the words below in order to avoid any misunderstandings.]

As everyone knows, the color palette at this year's Golden Globes was extremely limited.  I really don't want to get into the politics of this choice, but I will say that changing the way we dress or what colors we choose to wear in response to something can potentially give power to that something.  I have very mixed feelings about women muting their power of self expression, even if in support of a good cause.  And how long will this blackout continue?

But a single color across the board does create an interesting way to critique these garments - if color is removed from the equation, you really can get back to the basics of silhouette, texture, and fit without the distraction or like/dislike of a particular hue.  Then again, anyone who has attempted to photograph black knows it is challenging . . . so perhaps those details are lost, after all.  

I can't say that any one of these gowns stand out as my favorite (I'm sorry, but I missed the vibrant colors), but I do like this Ralph & Russo on Penelope Cruz.  It is getting dangerously close to Barbie territory with the contrasting train, but in this case, I think the black color saves it.  I do wish, however, that the underlay matched her skin tone better and was not blacked out at the hipline.  If you are going for the illusion of wearing nothing but a thin layer of lace, make sure the illusion is not broken.

Natalie Portman wore Dior, so no big surprise there.  What I really love is the neckline on this dress, and I also appreciate the choice of velvet to add a bit of dimension to basic black.  I just wish she did something more interesting with her hair, and I also would have loved to see more interesting jewelry - the dress is the perfect neutral backdrop for something incredibly dramatic, but all we get are diamond studs?!?  What the heck?  And the curse of the neutral lip makes her look like she just woke up after going to sleep with her makeup on the night before, but I have given up that particular fight since it seems to be a trend that will not die.

Boy oh boy, do I miss Viola Davis in color.  The Brandon Maxwell dress is exquisite, but she makes such interesting choices when it comes to color, and I would have loved to see her pick for this event without the restriction of a single acceptable color, or lack thereof.  The necklace is slightly distracting for me.  Is it a lariat that was put on incorrectly?  It just looks a bit sloppy to me.  And I am dying to know if she has learned to walk in heels yet . . .

Michelle Pfeiffer is wearing Dior.  I loved similar looks by Maria Grazia Chiuri that went down the runway for Spring 2017, and I love this.  The contrast of the tailored jacket with the delicate skirt is really lovely.  I just wish Michelle had chosen a white or cream jacket, or something with a bit of contrast as an updated version of the iconic Bar Jacket.  I don't love the informal hairstyle, but overall, I think she looks amazing.

Meryl Streep looks wonderful in this dress!  I love the glasses and the earrings as accessories, but not the clutch.  Almost perfect, Meryl!  Her red carpet choices are really hit and miss from year to year, but this is one of her best, in my opinion.  Off the shoulder is a really good silhouette for her, as is the color black.

I really like Elizabeth Moss’s dress - I would wear this to the office.  Not sure what it’s doing on the red carpet, though?  Okay, it's Dior Couture, and it's a perfect fit, and I am sure the construction is amazing, but what is this doing on the red carpet?

Angelina Jolie went for a 1960s look, but ends up looking like Big Bird fell into some black paint.  She gets completely lost in all that fabric - where the heck are her hands?  Did Versace not have time to do a fitting of any kind?  Maybe she really does need to expose her entire leg to be interesting.  Perhaps this would work on someone else in a brighter color, but other than the fact that she looks great in a jewel neckline (has she every been this covered up?!), I am calling this one a complete fail.

There were a lot of hostess gown looks on the red carpet this year.  Let's just say, some of them were more successful than others.  

Christina Hendricks is wearing Christian Siriano.  I am not all that familiar with Christian Siriano's work, but each and every one of his dresses that I see has at least one issue - perhaps he should stick with designing $29.99 shoes for Payless and stay off the red carpet.  And here we see one issue with making everyone wear black - it's a difficult color to wear for a lot of people, and I don't think it does Christina any favors.  If this was in a jewel tone, I might feel a bit differently about the ensemble, but there is something not right about this and I can't quite put my finger on it.  Maybe the overskirt should be slightly shorter in front and longer in back, or maybe the pants need to be an inch or two longer?  The draped neckline is a bit of a mess, as well.

Here is another hostess gown on Alison Brie, and this one (designed by Vassals Zoulias) is an even bigger mess than the Siriano.   If you have to pull the skirt apart to show that the pants exist underneath . . . the design is a fail.  Maybe on the runway this might look interesting, or if she had an oversized fan with her wherever she went to gently push the skirt back, but as it stands, this just doesn’t work.  Not to mention the bust that doesn't fit properly, and that necklace that doesn't work with the rest of it. 

And it just keeps getting worse . . . Was Maggie Gyllenhaal a little chilly when she got dressed in Monse?  Because I cannot account for the random pair of pants she threw on.  That, or she forgot to take them off before she stepped out for the evening?  I am so very confused.  No, I've got it - the front of the dress was shredded by Alison Brie's fan and so she had to throw on the pants so she wouldn't reveal too much with the missing chunk of dress.  The shoes work with the "look" if you want to call it that, but what on earth are those earrings about?  At least she can laugh at herself . . .

Oh Debra, what did I tell you about Christian Siriano?  He just doesn't get proportions.  This is not a flattering look.  Maybe with a more extreme shoulder pad and a different sleeve this could be passable, but as-is, this is terrible.  That hair color on her, however, is AMAZING!

Laurie Metcalfe is the final hostess of the night in Sachin & Babi.  1998 wants its shoes back, but with the right necklace, I think this outfit could work for her.  Someone just get that woman a pair of pointy toed pumps, for goodness sake.

I am not sure how petite Sally Hawkins actually is, but I feel that this Dior gown is overwhelming her frame.  The neckline, however, is gorgeous.  I wish this was a skirt/cigarette pants combo, or at the least, not a full length skirt.  I would have liked to see her in something tea length, or something a lot more fitted than this.  And what is going on with that belt?  You know they measured the heck out of everything on this woman's body in the Dior atelier, but they gave her a belt that is twenty sizes too big?  Also, not sure what is happening with the hair.  But that neckline is to die for!!!  

This jumpsuit with the trailing bits has been seen for a few years now in various incarnations, and while this is not my favorite version, I do like the fact that it is not solid black.  It does, however, look like the beaded scarf has not made it down the red carpet obstacle course without injury.  Either make something into an actual train that drags beautifully and dramatically, or hem the darn thing at the proper length so that strings of beads do not become victims of stiletto shoes.

Claire Foy once again goes for pants, this time in Stella McCartney.  The jacket is perfection . . . the pants are not.  I don't like the hem length, and the trousers are neither fitted nor loose which is a bit distracting.  What were they supposed to look like?  The minimal jewelry and that severe hair looks great with the bold lip, though.  Too bad about those pants . . .

I have a really hard time with Chanel.  Up close, the couture is a work of art, but I just do not like Karl Lagerfeld's aesthetic.  How do you make a former model like Caitriona Balfe look short and almost dumpy?  Wear Chanel, I guess.  The proportions on this are not doing her any favors.

This Chanel silhouette on Alessandra Mastronardi is at least an improvement , but what is with the shoe choice? And the sheer fabric and belt look cheap - I know they're not, but they sure do look it.

Some ladies decided to go a little crazy with texture and throw a little bit of everything at the dress.  While we did not have Helena Bonham Carter or Janelle Monae around to spice things up, we have Sarah Jessica Parker in Dolce and Gahanna with a rather whimsical approach.  The dress is a little all over the place and would probably be a bit of a mess on anyone else, but it works for her.  There is definitely a bit of Carrie Bradshaw in this outfit!

And then others decided to throw everything but the kitchen sink in their look.  There is just way too much going on here.  Nicole Kidman wore a caped gown by McQueen to the Met Ball and looked spectacular, so it's not the cape I object to.  But this Prada is a hot mess on Diane Kruger.  She looks like a little girl playing dress up with her goth older sister's wardrobe.  I normally like her out of the box choices when it comes to fashion, but not this time.  And what on earth does that clutch have to do with anything?  I think she must have picked up someone else's purse.

Some people decided to add a splash of color to their basic black.  Unfortunately, this Armani Privé ends up looking like a really expensive baby bib on Allison Williams, or half of an archery target.  It also appears to be off center on her body . . . but that could just be the angle.  And the diamonds do not go at all.  Too bad, because the silhouette really works for her.

I like this use of color a little more, but Mandy Moore's choice of  Rosie Assoulin begins to look slightly prom-esque upon further inspection.  And what is up with the fit on that sash?  Not so sure black is a great color on her, either, or maybe it's the lipstick color that is making her look slightly sallow. 

And here we have another case of "I found my dress on Macy's clearance rack in the prom section."  The back view improves slightly, but whatever were Dakota Johnson and Gucci thinking with the front of the dress and the glitter tulle from JoAnn Fabrics as a finishing touch?  And don't get me started on the hair.

I really wish Kerry Washington's stylist would stop putting her in looks like this Hrabal Gurung that she simply cannot pull off.  Some women would rock this outfit, she does not.  Stop trying so hard, Kerry!  If you want to wear the shoes, go for it, but not with those earrings and that dress. 

And then there is the downright tacky.  The Zuhair Murad monstrosity on Halle Berry makes her look like a try hard teenager who went shopping at bebe for her high school dance.  I was not sure anything could look tacky on this lady, but I have been proven wrong.  This is just not good, and the shoes make it even worse.

On the other hand, Catherine Zeta Jones looks stunning in Zuhair Murad.  Now, it's not my favorite dress because I really am over these naked embroidered pieces, but she looks incredible.  The plunging neckline with the long sleeves really works for her.  Love her in emeralds, and here is a woman who can wear black. 

Octavia Spencer often chooses Tadashi Tadashi Shoji as a designer, so I would hope that they know how to flatter her figure.  This neckline and sleeve combo does just the opposite.  The v-neck needed to be wider, or maybe the sleeves slightly shorter.  But I do like the shorter skirt length on her.  The accessories, however, do not work with this dress.

Of course, there were one or two ladies who ignored the all black dress code and we got a tiny bit of color.  I actually think that the feathered train is a massive mistake and it looks like Scarlet O'Hara/Barbara Meier got to the curtains again, but at least there was a tiny burst of color in a sea of black. 

I am not sure how long this blackout will last, but a somber mood was achieved for Golden Globe red carpet fashion . . . I'm just not sure who wins when everyone wears a uniform of black.

[Click on image for source]


  1. I always enjoy your comments on red carpet events. I always wonder why, with unlimited resources, some people can look so poorly put together. I appreciate the political statement of wearing black, and believe that it's execution could have been so much better on so many of the people wearing it.

  2. Goodness, you are bitter and catty.

    1. No, not bitter. Perhaps a little jealous that I don't get to examine the insides of a couture gown and see how everything is put together, but not bitter at all.

      The post was meant in humor. And really, I have nice things to say about almost every ensemble, just not about the whole as it has been put together.

      I think perhaps the message of the evening has overshadowed what I meant - I am not commenting on women joining together in solidarity, just the clothes. And if we can't express our feelings about pieces of cloth and bits of beads and sequins, it is a sad day.

    2. But you *are* commenting on the protest, You're trivialising the cause by focusing on the aesthetics and how they displease your sensibilities, without adequate acknowledgement of the women striving to make conditions better for all women. You're not *actually* living in the 1950s you know - we're living in a more enlightened world where equal consideration and respect for women is something the majority of us feel entitled to, for ourselves, our sisters, daughters, etc. Your tone deafness and refusal to take on board the opinions put forward by your commenters is a real turn off, and for that reason, I'm unfollowing your blog after being an avid reader for some time. Perhaps you wouldn't be sticking so stubbornly to your "humourous" tone if you personally knew the damage caused by predatory and misogynistic behaviour. Life's not all about flowery frocks you know.

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  4. I usually really enjoy reading your blog, but I don't really understand the point of trashing some people's outfits for no apparent reason. At least they were wearing black to try and achieve something positive - this is just unnecessarily cruel and negative

    1. Beth,

      I love to critique award show gowns and I have done so for years. I think perhaps this particular post was read without the humorous tone it was meant in because of the message some women were trying to convey for the evening. If the fact that I was putting that aside was missed in my opening remarks, and I would be sticking to my normal post about what I liked and what I thought could be improved, perhaps it seemed a bit negative.

      But I refuse to change my writing style, or my sense of humor, or not say what I feel because what a group of disgusting men in power have been doing for years has suddenly come to light. If we alter our behavior to suit theirs, doesn't that mean that they win?

    2. You can’t just dismiss the context of this year’s event just because you have always done something in the same way for years.Those disgusting men you are referring to are no longer going to get away with it either. I am another one who usually loves your blog but I can’t believe your tone deaf response in this instance. Those women wore black to express solidarity, to show women supporting each other, to get this conversation out into the open and to stand together against harassment. Instead you have chosen to tear them down for a bit of a giggle. I really don’t understand.

    3. Hariluna,

      I am not tearing them down "for a bit of a giggle" - I blog about clothing, and I am critiquing the clothes. This is exactly what I didn't want to happen and I stated right up front that this was not about the politics, but the style choices made.

      And if you think wearing black for a single evening is going to keep men from getting away with distasteful behavior, I believe you are sorely mistaken. But you are welcome to your opinion, as I am welcome to mine.

      No one is forcing you to read this post.

    4. Nobody had said that this one act is going to prevent men from behaving in violating harmful illegal ways ( I do not view rape and sexual harassment as merely distasteful). The big change has been that this conversation has finally come out in the open, that it is no longer just whispered about. By doing so it has also brought up pain for many individuals and the hope is that the silent shame many of us have borne can be released. As you mentioned below you also have had your #metoo moments and I do not know of a single woman who has not. But I really do hope we are on the path of ensuring the next generation do not view this as ‘normal’.

      I do not know why you feel this way Laura Mae, why you are dismissing this as unimportant, and of course this is your blog and you will, and should, continue to post whatever you like. Nobody has forced me to read this post, I do not always like everything I read and I usually scroll on by or unfollow that which does not resonate. In this instance I wanted to try and initiate a dialogue in an attempt to reconcile the grace usually prevalent in your posts with this one.

  5. Love your blog and I usually really enjoy what you write and of course all the lovely things you make. This post is mean. I certainly don't mind a good critique but especially in light of the reason black was worn, your critique comes across mean spirited.

    1. Oh come on, as if all those rich celebrities wearing black does anything for the victims. Laura Mae can say what she wishes, it is not mean unless you are one of the incredibly sensitive progressives.

  6. It may be fun for you to 'critique' these efforts, but it's certainly not fun to read. Maybe if you try a little humor, it would be more TLO and less Mean Girls. I find myself judging you and not the clothes in this post.

    1. If you missed my humorous tone, I suppose this post might be seen as a bit "Mean Girls." That was not how it was meant. And you are certainly welcome to judge what little you know of me. I am not, however, judging these women - just their clothes and how someone else put them together for the evening.

      I like to critique red carpet ensembles because these women have almost unlimited access to any dress, pair of shoes, and jewels they want, along with spending thousands of dollars on a hairstylist who puts their hair in a messy bun and calls it a day. I am fascinated that with all of that, and an entire team of people prepping them, things still don't look put together most of the time. The whole red carpet thing is rather ridiculous, but I love it.

      I do these posts all the time, and none has ever been taken in this manner. I was trying to make it clear that I was focusing solely on the outfits as I always do. Evidently, that part of my post was lost.

      I have had my share of #metoo moments in my life and if a group of women wish to stand together by wearing a common color, that is great. But I do question how much of an impact a group of wealthy women wearing black for a single evening will make, and it took the joy and the rainbow of color away from us - maybe that was the point, but I am not going to let it stop me from finding the humor in some of these (sometimes ridiculous) outfits.

    2. I've read your past red carpet critiques and felt similiarly put off by the excessive negativity then, as well. I suppose it's because I just don't agree with most of your conclusions- I think most of these ladies look quite lovely.

      One of the reasons I read your blog is that we have very different tastes and sewing styles, and I find it very informative and interesting. I respect your sense of detail and skill level but somehow find it undermining for you to be so harsh regarding other's work. Do you really think you could do a better job? That's the question I came away with after reading this post. As a fairly new sewist with a lifelong fashion interest, I've found it easier to see positives in other's creations where I wouldn't have before and really try to foster positivity towards things I wouldn't normally like in order to undersand them more. This seems to be a fundamental difference between our views, and is ultimately on which I was judging you.

      Don't really care about the politics, I tune that shit out because it's stressful, and I didn't associate your negativity with denigration of the theme of solidarity- more that it reflected a viewpoint I couldn't understand at all towards aesthetics and fashion. I expect that to a point because again, we have very different taste, but the bitterness left me uncomfortable and I wanted to share why, in hopes that maybe you'd take a step back and think about how your words affect others.

  7. I liked your post. I don't bother with award shows, but do like fashion.

    Only commenting because of the amount of negativity. You don't deserve it.

  8. I was actually rather late to the party and didn’t pick up on the fact that everyone was wearing black until about the middle of the show. (I missed the pre-show and was more listening to it than watching.) Yes, I felt a bit of a dunce. But when the lightbulb went off I was more impressed that someone managed to convince the leading ladies of Hollywood to put aside their own personal need to stand out in the crowd, to be named to some “best dressed” list, to do something as a sign of unity and a show of defiance to the men in Hollywood that have put them into uncomfortable positions, sexually harassed them, have undercut their careers, and have undercut their pay rate. You ask what impact a group of wealthy women wearing a single color can make. I believe the message is that the men of Hollywood can no longer isolate one of them, to make her feel like she is alone, or that she would not be believed by others. That the leading women of Hollywood, the women with name recognition, the women that are the ones nominated for performances, that are the ones that get people into theater seats have had enough, are done being “polite”, are more moved to support each other and send a message than wearing a “pretty color” had to be pretty sobering. The lesson women learned in 2017 and being executed in 2018 is that women presenting a united block is a thing that can get a man, even a powerful rich man, fired for sexual misbehavior and perhaps might be able to shame a studio for underpaying their female lead especially when it is the female that carries the film. I believe you to be a kind person who would never wish to cause harm and might have intended this all in fun but, we are at a watershed moment here and even as much as I adore clothes in general and red carpet looks particularly know there are just some times when something is more important than being pretty. And finally, if the outfits didn’t live up to delight of years past perhaps some of that is the result so many stylists suddenly having to ditch their original choices to find a suitable black garment in a short amount of time.

  9. I enjoyed this post. You clearly said you did not want to be political just critique the fashions. I guess some people missed this point.

    1. Thank you for reading the post in the tone it was meant -
      it is much appreciated.

      I love clothes, and I love examining and inspecting them with an eye towards fashion and with a love of sewing. I also enjoy sharing my thoughts on what catches my eye and what does not, in my opinion, work. And I love when others do the same.

  10. It's clear right at the beginning of the post that the focus is only on the clothes and not the statement intended by wearing black.

    It's surprising that in the midst of conversation regarding the past silencing of women, that many of the comments are telling the writer what she should or shouldn't do, or implying that her silence would have been preferable. Here on her own blog. At least one of them includes snarky comments aimed at the writer herself. It's disheartening.


  11. I really love your blogposts, and particularly those on Galas and Red Carpet. I don't always share your views on the outfits but your comments always make me smile. Please keep on!

  12. I have always loved your awards posts and this one was no exception! If they really wanted to make a point, maybe show up with jeans a plain white tee shirt, and no makeup, right?

  13. Thank you for another great post. I always read and enjoy your fashion critique posts. And this one reads just like the rest, you critiqued the fashions and the ensembles.

  14. As a female in a male dominated field (medicine/science), I applaud these women for banding together and making a statement. Tom and Lorenzo's blog did a great job discussing the gowns while being cognizant of the bigger message-the activists accompanying many of the actors, the fact that the conversation was trained away from the gowns and clothes but focused on the rampant harassment and abuses in the entertainment industry. TLo's blog also made a great point that with the confinements of 'black', these incredible and powerful women showed up looking like movie stars. It could have fallen flat, but it didn't.

    You missed the mark with your post, and I generally enjoy your posts about fashion. I get that you're talking about sewing and fashion, but this time, the clothing was inexorably intertwined with politics and issues. You have the right to abstain from political discussions, but it's disingenuous to say "I'm only here to talk about the clothes", and open with a complaint about those women not wearing fluffy enough fantasy clothes for you. Either just talk about the clothes, or talk about the politics, but attempt to backhand complain about the message that those women were sending and expect people to support you. I can be a supporter of women and minorities and also enjoy sewing and clothing construction-but I also don't dare tell women what they should wear to make a 'real point' or 'protest'. Don't you think women have been told what to wear and how to behave enough?

    1. I have NEVER told a woman what to wear. And I was not at all put out or the tiniest bit disappointed that a celebrity did not wear “fluffy fantasy” clothes for my benefit, and I have no idea how you ever got the impression that I was.

      And I would like to remind you that I am a woman, and it appears from the last line of your post that you don’t appreciate when we are told how to behave, and yet you are doing that to me.

  15. I love this post, I like your commentary, and even when I don't agree with your opinion on the gown, I think that this is the nature of fashion critique, to discuss and debate clothing and it's fit and essence. You could have looked at each garment through a political lens, not just in the context of the #metoo movement but through the context of each designer, American vs. European, female vs. male designers, Eastern vs. Western sensibilities, any of those would be lenses through which to view fashion. Your decision to view it through your lens as a maker is interesting and engaging for me as a reader, and I don't think you've missed the point, you aren't critiquing the protest, you are saying you like color and now let's talk about shade, fit, and style choice. Fashion is art, art invites critique, and yours is a craft based commentary, more than anything else, to my mind, which I enjoy and appreciate. Thanks for posting, and I look forward to your fashion commentary in the future.

    1. "Fashion is art, art invites critique" - Couldn't agree more!

  16. Funny review of the clothing. Considering how much time these women put into their dress decisions, it is surprising how bad many of the dresses look. Maybe the black was a last minute thing? Maybe they fell for the idea that black doesn’t show problems?

  17. I love reading your blog and especially enjoy your Gala and Red Carpet reviews. I love learning about fashion and historical fashion and garment construction, so your posts are always a delight to me!

    Few things bring me more entertainment than snarky dress or costume commentary. Keep up your great blogging!

  18. I grate at all the "anonymous" trashing of what was meant to be a tongue in cheek fashion critique. I appreciate you post. I thought the protests missed the point but then I'm over the whole Hollywood makes a statement thing....