Tag Archives: fashion

Red Carpet Rundown: Screen Actors Guild Awards 2011, Part II

The Nays

Proof that my initial tweet about the 2011 SAG Awards (‘there’s a whole lotta ugly on the red carpet’) still stands. Incidentally, I don’t want to feature her because that’s exactly what she’d want but what the hell was Kim Kardashian doing there? Please remind me what work of hers was nominated for a Screen Actors Guild award??? I thought the SAGs were supposed to be the “serious” awards show. The day when Snooki shows up isn’t as far-off as I’d hoped.

Jennifer Lawrence in Oscar de la Renta – This is inexplicably making lots of people’s best-dressed lists. God knows why. I think this shade of bright pink looks cheap and tacky in general and this gown isn’t doing anything to disprove my opinion. Not cheap and tacky enough? Let’s match it with black! Still not looking as if Jane Norman/Reveal/Hypnotic/* insert tacky local clothes shop of your choice here * turned it down for being too tasteful? Let’s customise those shoulder straps so it looks like a low-rent Herve Leger knock-off! Add on a make-up artist’s first attempt at doing smoky eyes, a Croydon facelift pony-tail and ugly clompy shoes, and you have a look that no doubt cost thousands yet looks as if it was found in New Look’s sales section. If it wasn’t for that slit, I’d be convinced it was lycra.

Julie Bowen in Malandrino – The top half got lost on its way to the Cabaret auditions, the bottom half got lost on its way to a good tailors. Someone give Julie Harry Shum Jr’s number! You could take a swim in those pooling hems! Anything vaguely reminiscent of a jumpsuit makes me think of Tina Fey’s Great Jumpsuit Disaster of 2010, which then makes me want to cry. Diane Keaton, you have a lot to answer for.

Angie Harmon in Monique Lhuillier – Is there any pink fluff left in the world? It looks like Harmon covered herself in superglue then rolled around in the flamingo pens at the zoo. Rather than being overtly ugly or too avant-garde to understand, this just looks deeply silly. I’m happy that she looks so delighted with herself though.

Kate Mara in Herve Leger – What is this?!?! It can’t have started life as a dress. My bets are on coffee filter paper, an accordion or strapping that athletes wear on injured parts of the body. The top part was made during a basket-weaving course, the bottom half is a handy Ikea invention for you to store bottles or shoes in. It was so monstrous that I’ve only just clocked the headband. Ladies, Black Swan has already happened. It’s over, finished, in the can. Stop trying to throw in your last-ditch ballerina auditions, please.

Cara Buono in J. Mendel – What is this?!?! The longer I stare at it, the more I start to see gargoyle-esque faces in the weird tumour mushrooming from Cara’s hip. There is enough material here to make five dresses but, on the grounds of just this one, I’m not sure any would be nice. The whole thing is crumpled, pleated and scrunched to an inch of its life, so much so it’s reminding me of the bit in sanitary towel adverts where they show you how their revolutionary quilting technology makes it hold more water than a camel’s hump. I never want to think of sanitary towels when I see a dress. NEVER.

Christina Hendricks in L’Wren Scott – What is this?!?! Goth’s bath-robe? Ladies smoking jacket? Yet another gown that clearly doesn’t fit her? It makes her look an alien-shade of pale, which in turn makes her hair look a wig-shade of fake and adds stumpy, lumpy and bumpy into the bargain too. And when you’re using words that sound like names for the seven dwarves to describe a dress, you know you’re in trouble.

Nicole Kidman in Nina Ricci – The other day, my boyfriend and I saw Nicole Kidman on a massive billboard advertising watches. ‘She looks baaaaaaaad,’ pronounced the boyfriend (and we’re not cool enough to use ‘bad’ to mean ‘good’). If she’s looking bad even with a SWAT team of stylists, make-up artists, lighting crews and air-brushers, it’s doubtful that she’s ever gonna look truly great on the red carpet again. Given what we’ve seen so far, this isn’t even that offensive, but the inclusion of the busy necklace on top of the already busy neckline is just bizarre. And up-close, it really does look like it was put together using off-cuts from a haberdashery.

Winona Ryder in Alberta Ferretti – If you’re thinking, ‘This looks bridal’, you’d be right. This is bridal. As in, has come from a designer’s bridal collection. I don’t understand why any celebrity would do this to themselves unless they’re so deadly desperate to wear a wedding dress that they decide the red carpet is a decent enough substitute to actually getting hitched (hey, don’t knock it, I’d probably do it if I could). The dress is actually lovely but Winona has been wearing this same finger-in-socket/how did you know I’m hearing Rachel’s coconuts knocking against each other face ever since she started doing promo for Black Swan and it’s just deeply odd. Stop it.

Paz de la Huerta – Cripes, how many parts of her body did Paz dip in chocolate? Tight-fitting brown dress = chocolate body. Strange brown tips to her hair = more chocolate-dipping action. Brown-smeared lips = why’s Willy Wonka not sucked her up a pipe or drowned her in a vat of chocolate yet? Final thought – what’s shinier, the dress or Paz’s face?! Even the leopard-print lining can’t save you now.

Red Carpet Rundown: Screen Actors Guild Awards 2011, Part I

You know it’s not been a vintage red carpet when Tina Fey is amongst the best-dressed at 2011’s Screen Actors Guild Awards…

The Yays

Tina Fey in Oscar de la Renta – The days of the Great Jumpsuit Disaster of 2010, or the Great Southern Belle/Mary Poppins/Tiki Mask Boobs Disaster of 2010, are long gone. This can only mean she has a new stylist. With great taste. This intricate red lacy number is so stunning it would probably be a knock-out even on someone like Snooki, but thankfully the time when Snooki gets an invite to the SAGs hasn’t come (yet!) and Tina is knocking it out the park. The detail on this dress is A-MAZ-ING (yes, I just had a Craig Revel Horwood moment). She looks fab.

Lea Michele in Oscar de la Renta – Yes, she’s giving us diva face but with a dress like this, it’s totally deserved. A shimmering sheath of loveliness, classic but with a touch of modernity thanks to the thin gold belt. Her red carpet run since she shot to fame (have a quick perusal via the ever-fabulous Red Carpet Fashion Awards) shows she has good taste in gowns (if not always in make-up and hair styles) and this is one to file in the ‘mightily impressive’ section. Will she ever top last year’s turquoise Malandrino, though?!

January Jones in Carolina Herrera – When I first saw this, I was ready to dismiss it as another ‘Look at me! I’m not Betty Draper!’ choice, but it’s grown on me to the extent that this is actually my favourite outfit from the show. The lace-like print is unusual but beautiful, the black and gold colour combo is outstanding, the fit is flattering and feminine and Jones carries it off with an old-school grace and elegance. Joan, you just got pwned.

Heather Morris in Romona Keveza – Heather is just going from strength to strength red carpet-wise. Following her dazzling turn at this year’s Golden Globes, she continues to mine the neutral palette but with spectacular results. In the wrong hands, this could turn a bit Swan Princess wannabe, yet Morris pulls it off with charm to spare. She just looks so… pretty. Really pretty. Really REALLY pretty. I think I love her.

Julia Stiles in Monique Lhuillier – Julia turned up at the Golden Globes in an outfit that made her look like a dumpy saloon girl and looked almost as pissed about it as I was. The less than overjoyed expression is still with us yet the moonlighting as a Wild West extra is over, as this sweeping lavender cascade is just gorgeous.

Jayma Mays in Jenny Packham – Welcome back to the Jayma we all know and love, as opposed to the period-attired skeleton who showed for the Golden Globes. Gone is the spider’s snot make-up, replaced with a light fresh and peachy look, which just feels so much more right. I’m not quite sure how she’s making the red hair work with the burnt orange colour, but it looks all sorts of lovely floaty and yummy. Surely the L’Oreal contract courtesy of those lust-worthy locks is in the bad? Not sure why she’s only been allowed one angel’s wing as a sleeve though.

Kyra Sedgwick in vintage Thierry Mugler Couture – Mrs Kevin Bacon was unlucky to not be included in my Golden Globes write-up, as her mustard-coloured gown followed the time-honoured tradition of rather gorgeous mustard-coloured gowns, a code created by Michelle Williams and upheld by Diane Kruger. This dress is much less interesting but, in my opinion, even more effortlessly gorgeous. It oozes class, sass and sophistication, her figure is to die for and I want her hair. Another L’Oreal contract in the making.

Harry Shum Jr – A man! Again! Harry is included to show (yet again) how to be different and continue to get it so so right. I’m not sure many people could carry off a metallic suit, pink shirt and navy tie but he makes it look downright easy. The key? The cut is perfect (it’s amazing how many actors wander round treading on their hems, their tailors having used the height on their CVs rather than reality to measure things), the fit is perfect and the little details are all just so – the matching pocket square, the hint of shirt showing at the cuff. Good work, young sire.

Susan Sarandon in Nicole Miller – As some of you may know by now, I’m a sucker for purple (see Katy Perry, Sandra Bullock, many nail varnishes). This dress proves why. Again, it’s simple, sexy and sophisticated and there’s not much more to say than that.

In all honesty, this is a bit of a blah year, especially when you compare it with last year’s stellar showing. But just wait ‘til you see ‘The Nays’…

Red Carpet Rundown: Golden Globes 2011, Part IV

The final red carpet rundown from 2011’s Golden Globes (and let’s not dwell on how many times I’ve mistakenly typed Golden Gloves) is a collection snappily entitled: stuff I wanted to talk about but couldn’t fit anywhere else.

Emma Stone in Calvin Klein – As soon as I saw this dress, I knew it was Calvin Klen. Sleek, chic, minimalist – it’s basically Diane Kruger’s Met Ball dress in peach. It’s also from the same collection as Claire Danes’ Golden Globes dress but Danes is just a bit blah whereas Emma is obviously fun and sparkly and cool, meaning I’d rather dedicate 100 words to her instead. Plus, there is the whole blonde hair thing to discuss… Yes, it’s for a role and yes, her PRs can keep spinning the whole she’s a natural blonde thing but she was clearly meant to be a redhead. If it’s true that Judd Apatow was the one that made her do it for Superbad, then that’s easily the best thing he’s done since Knocked Up. Red makes her look fiery, sexy and unique; blonde makes her look like just another cookie-cutter dead-behind-the-eyes starlet (I’m looking at you, Kate Bosworth). However, the peach gown would definitely not have worked with red hair but with blonde, it looks deliciously cool, refreshing and somewhat edible, like a melon sorbet. It’s a more grown-up, refined look for Emma and she pretty much pulls it off. That gold clutch is rather yummy too.

Mandy Moore in Monique Lhullier – I’m glad Mandy Moore made the transition from pop star to actor, rather than being stuck in the post-Britney/Xtina hellhole that Jessica Simpson currently inhabits. Her rich chestnut brown hair is far more becoming than the bottle blonde of old and this ballgown is sweepingly sophisticated, in a knockout royal blue colour. The only thing I’m not keen on is the transparent asymmetrical yoke thing, which is just unnecessary and spoils the lines. Otherwise, it’s positively dreamy.

Megan Fox in custom-made Armani Prive – It’s nice to see Megan not going straight for the groin with this gown. We’re used to seeing her clad in vampy colours with dresses that stick to her like a second skin, so this delicate breath of romance was rather unexpected and much appreciated. I love the intricate lattice-like criss-crossing of the bodice and the soft palette of creamy shimmery pastel pinks but what’s up with Megan’s face? She looks as if she’s been embalmed and whoever did it lacked some serious skills. And as ever, that hideous Marilyn Monroe tattoo shows up to spoil the party once again.

Jane Fonda in Georges Hobeika – I really adore this dress. It’s black without being boring and Jane shows she still knows how to work it with the best of them. While it’s an inspired choice for the more mature woman offering that element of upper-arm coverage Mirren is always sporting, I think it would work just as well on someone younger and would be interested to see how that panned out. Either way, it’s classy, it’s sophisticated and just a little bit sexy too. Nice work, stylists!

Scarlett Johansson in Elie Saab – It’s a shimmering, romantic and oh so pretty dress beamed down direct from Cloud Nine. So, of course it’s by Elie Saab! It would be an astoundingly beautiful dress whether worn by fairy queen or evil troll so that’s not the issue… it’s Johansson’s bizarre Bride of Frankenstein hairdo. I’ll leave you to mull over this strange experiment in back-combing and toxic amounts of hairspray…

Oh, hello Robert Pattinson. I’m not sure how you got here… think of it as my treat to myself after 4000 words of Golden Globes coverage. See you at the Oscars.

Red Carpet Rundown: Golden Globes 2011, Part III

And now for the third section of my 2011 Golden Globes coverage entitled, ‘Ye God, My Eyes!’

Julianne Moore in Lanvin – A former favourite who has lost her way. Gone are the gorgeous jewel tones and classic elegance from pre-2009, instead replaced by an uncanny knack for choosing the worst gowns from various designers’ collections. This time, her obsession with Lanvin, its weird cuts and its bizarre sleeve policy rears its ugly head once more. The bubblegum pink isn’t terrible flattering for Julianne’s colouring, the creases have me itching to iron and the strange sleeve seems to have come from not just one different dress (possibly American quarterback-inspired?), but two! An unmitigated mess.

Halle Berry in Nina Ricci – Halle Berry is one of the most beautiful women in the world, blah blah blah, yadda yadda yadda. But over the past year, no-one has been more alert to this fact than Halle Berry herself. It’s been permanently tight, short and bangers o clock round Halle’s place. Here, she’s turned up in her (slightly bondage-esque) underwear complete with fetish cuffs, with a sarong tucked around as an after-thought by Berry’s disproving Dr. Jekyll side. As such, it’s oddly unsexy and makes her look a little desperate.

Michelle Williams in Valentino – Michelle Williams used to get it red carpet right all the time. Remember that mustard yellow Oscars gown, widely regarded as one of the best of all-time?! Sadly, she lost her red carpet mojo when she had her hair cropped and bleached for her role as Marilyn Monroe, but where the hairdresser was mistakenly given a picture of Pat from Eastenders instead. It’s made her look old, dowdy and frumpy and she has started to dress accordingly, wearing stuff that you imagine grannies picking out as misguided presents for their recalcitrant relatives. This empire-line dress with an unfortunate case of boob-squeeze has managed the quite incredible trick of making her look both bottom and top-heavy. The print was last seen in the reduced aisle of tablecloths and shower curtains.

Helena Bonham-Carter in Vivienne Westwood – Oh, that Helena Bonham-Carter, she’s so ker-azy, isn’t she? So wacky, a one-off, a true British eccentric… isn’t it cool that she doesn’t care what everyone else thinks?! However, this ensemble makes me think she cares very much indeed. Wearing mismatched shoes that are actually the same shoe in different colours that both happen to match the tones of the dress make it look like someone has put rather too much effort into looking ker-azy, hence turning the look from breath of fresh air to contrived drama-school project. I actually like certain aspects of the dress – the neckline’s classic uber-flattering Westwood, although it looks like someone slashed it to death on its way to becoming a halter-neck – and the colours and the print are pretty. But it’s so obviously Westwood that it’s very nearly a pastiche and then she had to go and wear sunglasses too… if it takes you this long to look this silly, why not try looking great instead?

Christina Aguilera in Zuhair Murad – Christina’s red carpet run for Burlesque has been pretty poor, where she’s generally looked old, plastic, washed-up and like she doesn’t know what dress size she is anymore. She continues in this vein here, with her wig-like hair, overdone make-up and oddly plump face, serving up a definition of ‘sexy’ so hackneyed and obvious that even Martians with no concept of the word would be telling her to put it away. It looks like the sort of a thing a blousy Mae West wore in her 70s, that Miss Piggy would wear in an attempt to seduce Kermit and even her own tacky perfume bottle. None of those looks is a good thing, by the way.

Christina Hendricks in Romona Keveza – Christina Hendricks is famous for her boobs. In case you hadn’t realised this, she’s taken to sticking something oversize and attention-grabbing in the vicinity just to make it that little bit more obvious. Big red hair, big red flower, big red boobs. At least it’s an improvement on the baby falcon she sported last time. I feel like we’ve seen this all before and would like to see Christina switch up her style before it’s too late.

Jennifer Lopez in Zuhair Murad and Marchesa – J. Lo specialises in playing the diva. There’s nothing too overblown for her – feathers, sequins, beading, animal print, bling, cleavage, bring it on! To be honest, tt feels like a role for show (I’d love it if she really sat at home in trackies eating ice-cream from the tub) and here are two of her latest incarnations at the ceremony itself and then for the after-party: most creative way to wear a wedding veil (as a poncho) and better-late-than-never audition for Black Swan. If she gave me an Amber Riley-sized grin, it would look like just bit a fun but she’s taking it all far too seriously for me to not think she just looks ridiculous.

Sandra Bullock in Jenny Packham – This dress is actually beautiful, a glimmering cobweb of loveliness that’s utterly delightful, uncontrived and perfectly-accessorised. The problems begin and end with Sandie’s facial area. The heavy blunt black fringe hangs over this feather-light confection like a black cloud of doom, Emily The Strange having an even worse day than usual. It’s one of those things women in their forties get told makes them look younger, when in fact all it does it make their face look the size of a postage stamp. Secondly, she looks so very sad. I understand why she might be feeling sad at how much has changed since last year’s Golden Globes, but no one wants to see Sandra Bullock sad, do they? It’s like kicking a kitten. It makes me feel sad and it probably makes the dress feel sad. Which is a shame as it really is a lovely dress.

Red Carpet Rundown: Golden Globes 2011, Part II

I didn’t actually watch the 2011 Golden Globes ceremony, but I wonder if there was ever a time that a Glee cast member wasn’t in shot during the red carpet coverage. The whole cast turned up for the ball, even down to Becki, the cheerleader with Downs’ (where art thou, Howard Bamboo?!) and they made a surprisingly strong showing style-wise.

Dianna Agron in J. Mendel – Dianna has been one of my favourite newcomers to the red carpet as she has an exquisite elegant Wasp-y style that I’ve really taken too. She manages to take classic shapes and structures but make them look fresh and young, with a ‘modern-day Grace Kelly’ feel about her (now just watch her crash and burn in 2011, like my previous darling Marion Cotillard did this year, for which I’m blaming the pregnancy hormones). This gown is no exception to her tried and tested formula – it’s a little safe but it’s so pretty and ethereal and suits her so well that I really don’t care. Her flawless old-school Hollywood hair and make-up lift it (even if she does like a porcelain doll you’d be scared of dropping) but then there’s the edgy grunge of the nail varnish. Divine.

Lea Michele in Oscar de la Renta – I’m glad Lea’s taken to smiling again on the red carpet, as there was a period where she went all J.Lo sexy-face on us. This pale pink confection has a romantic innocence about it and I love the cascade of ruffles and asymmetrical neckline. OK, it does look a bit like pink bed-sheets draped just so and the colour really does remind me of frilly old lady loo paper but it has a sort of sweet drama to it that is quite charming. And the choice of the contrasting turquoise ring is inspired.

Jayma Mays in Alberta Ferretti – I absolutely get the intentions behind this Art Deco-style dress and applaud them wholeheartedly. Yet, for me, it just doesn’t work. Firstly, Jayma is so perfect as the cardigan-wearing, colour-popping Emma Pilsbury and she seems so damn perky in real-life too that my mind can’t quite process this sudden drastic change in style. It’s not that it’s smouldering, it’s not that it’s black, it’s not even that it looks like it could have come out of Granny’s attic – all looks I feel that Jayma could have pulled off individually (and has done in the past) – it’s that it’s all happening at once and has been laid on thicker than a copy of The Yellow Pages. Too much, too soon, and that’s before we’ve covered the spider’s sneeze of eye make-up. However, I want that fan clutch bag very badly indeed.

Amber Riley in Oliver Tolentino – This is just fabulous. Silver is a great colour for Amber (I daresay this is the best she’s looked on the red carpet… ever) and it feels like proper, expensive, heavy silver rather than cheap spangly tat from Primark. The belt is a nice twist that makes the whole look more interesting, the one shoulder works surprisingly well (I’d feared major spillage and squeezage the other side) and most importantly, she looks super confident and genuinely happy. No Zoolander-pouting here and when you see how wonderfully a real smile sets off an outfit, you wonder why A-listers got so addicted to the Blue Steel in the first place.

Jane Lynch in Ali Rahimi – The top half is near perfection, a lovely unusual shape that’s supremely flattering. It loses its way towards the voluminous bin bag bottom, with random nipple tassles scattered about with abandon, but it’s neither tracksuit nor trouser suit and is therefore, a stroke of brilliance.

Jenna Ushkowitz in Rebecca Taylor – Another role reversal. This time, the bottom half is a rather lovely fluttering of tulle ruffles, the top half slightly cheap-looking diamante-encrusted satin. But the cornflower blue is a lush colour, all too rarely seen on the red carpet, and works a treat on Jenna.

Heather Morris in Lorena Sarbu – Another confident grin works wonders with what could have potentially been a one-note outfit. It’s relatively simple, letting the sparkles do most of the talking, but they’re facing competition from just how naturally sparkly Heather seems to be in person. Her body’s absolutely smoking too. Those short butterfly sleeves are just immensely flattering.

Harry Shum Jnr in Kill City suit and Anto shirt – What’s this, a man?! Men don’t really have much choice when it comes to the red carpet – it’s either conform to black tie or be mocked forever after. You can’t really go wrong with a plain black suit and they do often act as an instant elixir to a male’s attractiveness, so normally I’d advocate the sheep mentality. Here, however, Harry shows how to do it different but get it so so right. By keeping to the black-and-white palette, he doesn’t look too weird and wacky, and by bow tie-ing it up, he’s still the right side of formal. But the checked shirt is a masterstroke and the smallest detail (the black line detail behind the buttons) saves it from the clutches of the Topman masses. Effortlessly cool, just the right amount of quirky but still utterly swoonsome. Nicely played my twinkle-toed friend, nicely played indeed.

Naya Rivera in Douglas Hannant – It must be hard to be as intrinsically sexy as Naya. She’d probably make a nun’s habit look shaggable. January Jones was probably put out when she saw that someone else was showing almost as much boob as she was, but the sweetness of the blush colour and floral detail very nearly offset the banger effect. And then the figure-hugging va-va-voom nature of the dress kicks in and it’s a bit of a lost battle. But it was nice while it lasted. And she still looks very lovely.

More men! Have I lost my mind?!

Well, here we see where else trying to be different can land you. Darren Criss negates all the class of an expensive Armani suit by wearing cheapo stag night comedy glasses. I imagine he thinks it adds character, but only if the character you were aiming for is ‘twat’.

Kevin McHale very nearly gets different right, with this spotted suit jacket. However, it just veers a little too close to bad lounge singer, the type bashing away at a piano although no-one’s listening, with slicked-back hair, cheesy grin, a permanently sweaty brow and car salesman patter (I may have put too much thought into this image). Close but not quite (I liked it the first few views), I applaud the effort. * Insert obvious where’s the wheelchair joke here *

Justin Bieber – Brownie points for spotting the non-Glee cast member. Further brownie points for spotting the cardinal sin committed here, aside from having a face like a smacked arse. If sneakers aren’t good enough for a tacky nightclub in Newcastle, why would they be good enough for the Golden Globes?!

Red Carpet Rundown: Golden Globes 2011, Part I

You know awards show season is starting to hot up when there isn’t a Kardashian in sight.

The Golden Globes is usually one of my favourite red carpets of the year because of the intriguing intermingle between movie stars and TV actors. The former still have more prestigious ceremonies to come, often opting for more unusual, less safe outfits this time round but for the latter, it’s the glitziest and most glamorous awards show of their year and probably the pinnacle of their red carpet season. They tend to grab their moment in the international spotlight with big ballgowns, statement dresses and demeanour set to dazzle, especially given the unpredictable nature of American television networks, which means they might not be around to enjoy it the year after.

Having said that, I was a little disappointed with 2011’s Golden Globes. There was a little too much beige and blah happening, some of my usual favourites have seemingly lost their red carpet marbles and finding nine unmitigated favourites to write for this first post was tricky. Here goes anyway…

Green Goddesses

The most noteworthy trend for this red carpet was green, a bright bold choice for stars who definitely didn’t want to go under the radar. Thank God.

Angelina Jolie in Atelier Versace – I was beginning to wonder if the world’s most famous vampire found wearing colour as scary as wooden stakes and garlic. Had Angie’s clothes all gone in the wash with a rogue black sock of Brad’s? Thankfully, this stunning emerald green number proved this wasn’t the case. It’s sparkly, it’s flattering, it’s elegant and it takes absolutely years off her. A simple (even dowdy) shape made stunning through a bold colour choice. Angelina looks positively invigorated and this is the best she’s looked in ages. Can you guess that I approve?

Catherine Zeta-Jones in Monique Lhullier – This sweeping ballgown has had a Marmite effect across the Interwebz but I love it. I love the classic shape, the kind of dress CZJ was surely born to wear. I love the colour, a deep forest green that complements CZJ’s porcelain skin and dark hair perfectly. And I love the attitude, the big ostentatious chandelier earrings, which just totally work with this big ostentatious dress, which just totally works with CZJ’s diva persona. The brocade-style texture is a bit much – making the dress sit somewhere between a roll of turf and Scarlett O Hara’s curtains – but I’m willing to let it slide for the overall effect. She looks like the star she’s never quite lived up to being.

Mila Kunis in Vera Wang – After watching Kunis in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, I was all ready to elevate her to coveted ‘girl crush’ status, alongside my all-time fave, Rachel Bilson. Unfortunately, unlike Bilson, who looks absolutely adorable both on and off red carpets, Kunis has racked up appearance after appearance of screen-smashing mediocrity for her promo tour of Black Swan. Seems someone had read one too many Angie vs Jen style showdowns, as she was either clad in boring blacks or even more boring beiges (see here for exhaustive evidence). Thankfully, just as Jolie woke up to the world of Technicolour, so did Kunis – alas, the pair of them picking the exact same shade of the rainbow. Jolie steals Kunis’ thunder but there’s still plenty to recommend this dress. There’s something a little crepe paper-esque about the texture but it gives the whole thing a lovely fluidity and the emerald green complements Kunis’ colouring perfectly. More of the same please, Mila!

Other Loves

Anne Hathaway in Armani Prive – Just when you thought there wasn’t a princess dress Annie would turn down, she does a style 180 on us all. A modern shape (well, if by modern, we mean Dynasty rather than Regency inspired), an edgy colour (bronze rather than gold) and even a little bit of sex (unlike Jolie’s similar style, this had a cutout back, albeit with severely unsexy nude material covering the back). She looks stunning – from the front anyway.

Olivia Wilde in Marchesa – Wilde is still scrambling up the tv to film transitional wall, which I think explains her all-out double-or-nothing bling-tastic ballgown, in a year where these big pouffs of romanticism were mostly left on the stylists’ racks. She looks like a princess. I genuinely wouldn’t be surprised if someone told me the gown was magical – it’s the kind of dress that makes you believe. It’s like someone draped the night sky (you know, when it still had stars in it) over Wilde’s body, fluffed it up, then sprinkled some additional fairy dust for good measure. And let’s just have a moment for her bewitching Louboutins, presented in all their gold glittering glory below.

* Dramatic pause, longing sigh * OK, on we go…

Jennifer Lawrence in Louis Vuitton – The first time I saw this dress, I loved it a lot more than I do now. It’s flamenco flouncy, it’s romantic ruffly and it has those wide straps that I loved so much from that whole 50s-inspired Vuitton collection (see Rachel Bilson and Maggie Gyllenhaal). However, it is essentially pretty papier-mâché and as such, reminds me of this dress on Veronica Mars, whilst also looking like something Dolly Parton might have worn in The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas. Oh well, we’ll always have my love at first sight to remember, Jennifer…

Some Slightly Half-Hearted Love

January Jones in Versace – This is doing the reverse Jennifer Lawrence on me. I’m sure that at least half of the population aren’t even aware she’s wearing a dress at all but I think this is one of those times that January’s edgy ‘I’m not Betty really!’ style has really worked. The fascinating cut-out details of the top makes it look like someone turned a superhero outfit into a red carpet dress, the fringing of the bottom suggests it was at the height of the 1920s that they decided to do so and the scintillating vermillion suggests they were going for the pure sex jugular in the process. We’ve seen January channel her inner bizarre superhero before with disastrous results but this a super-sexy superhero I could get on board with. Hell, it’s more convincing than her look in the new X-Men movie. Her classic hair and make-up, meanwhile, is flawless.

Amy Adams in Marchesa – That this gown was a Marchesa was a no-brainer. Interesting structure, highly romantic, hugely flattering – all the typical trademarks of the best Marchesa gowns. Alas, it’s all a bit Marchesa by numbers, meaning I feel like I’ve seen it all before even if I haven’t. I do still like the gown, certainly wouldn’t kick it out my wardrobe given the chance and there’s no doubt that these rich jewel tones complement Amy’s colouring nicely (they match her eyes perfectly!) but it’s just lacking a bit of spark and dynamism. Which is how I feel about Amy Adams in general recently. She needs a trip back to Andalasia stat. Here’s hoping the Muppets fix her red carpet mojo.

Leighton Meester in Burberry Prorsum – This is growing on me, in the manner of some murky fungus rather than a pretty flower. I feel that filming Country Strong may have infected B’s mind, as this does have a hint of country pilgrim feel to it. Like she should be in Big Love. That being said, it’s striking just because it’s so different from everything else that night and she’s still blinging it up via sandals, earrings and gold inkpot-looking bag. The beautiful hair, soft make-up and Leighton’s dreamy expression also make the whole look feel fresh and rather lovely, as opposed to Mormon and dowdy. Queen B’s selling it and I’m just about buying.

Red Carpet Rundown: People’s Choice Awards 2011, Part III

The final part of my rundown of People’s Choice Awards 2011 fashions and finally… people I’ve heard of! Is it coincidence that they’re generally better-dressed? It is also coincidence that so few walked the red carpet, complete with the ‘People’s Choice’ shower curtains in the background?

Leighton Meester in Vionnet – My best-dressed at this event was Leighton Meester. But a few short months ago, Leighton would have been on the second list, a name that I saw continually cropping up on the fashion pages alongside Blake Lively but without me having a clue who she was. But I finally started watching Gossip Girl and Leighton is clearly the best thing about the show… and her dress sense ain’t too shabby either. Her style is generally a bit more interesting than Lively’s, a bit girlier and a lot more unpredictable. This dress is so unassumingly pretty, with a naïve handmade feel that made me tumble head over heels for it. I love the flattering ruched neckline, I love the gauzy quality of the grey over the subtle flash of the yellow, I love the appliquéd flowers, I love those peachy drop earring and I love Leighton’s stunning natural make-up, especially those smoky eyes. In short, total swoon.
Boyfriend says: Leighton has come straight from playgroup. Looks like there are food stains on that too too. [Suddenly, I don't like this feature anymore...]

Kristen Stewart in Reem Acra – How awesome is this photo of Kristen Stewart? She looks like some blissed-out goddess, with nary a trace of the awkward teenager in sight. This gold sequin mini was an obvious choice for Stewart (can’t remember the last time she didn’t bring out the pins) but also, a more unusual choice as she tends to favour darker colours. It’s a total winner though – so glittery and gorgeous that it’s a real shame she denied it its red carpet moment. I love the subtlety of the nude satin back, which turns it from High Street to high fashion. It makes her look like the total star she is – and about time too. Embrace it, K. Stew!
Boyfriend says: A bit tranny-ish.

Taylor Swift in J. Mendel – Actually, the gold spangly number is more of a Taylor Swift thing. The former magpie of the red carpet (she could never resist anything shiny), Swift is finally branching out and discovering that amazing things happen when she does. After Minka and Leighton, this was my next favourite look from the awards. As the amazing Red Carpet Fashion Awards pointed out, there’s something very Rodarte inspired about this dainty blush gown – I’m gonna stick my head out and say it’s the slightly deconstructed nature to the delicate fabric. It fits in perfectly with the Black Swan ballerina fever (or should I call it bird flu?!) going round at the moment; Taylor’s even got a bit of a dancer’s pose going on too! But this is a signature look for her – sweet, innocent, demure – and she looks stunning.
Boyfriend says: I agree with the ballerina theme.

Katy Perry in Betsy Johnson – Imagine you asked your six year-old self what she would wear to the Oscars. You have this dress. Honestly, this shade of purple seems to do weird things to me where I lose all objectivity to any gown that features it (remember Sandra Bullock’s beloved Quality Street moment?) but this is sooooo pretty and girlie and just… gush… love. It’s all big flouncy skirt, lilac ruffles, veins of electric blue and Perry just looks like she loves wearing it. What’s more, the fuchsia peeptoes are amazing, as is the slash of bubblegum pink lipstick, as is the second pose. If Taylor Swift was butter-wouldn’t melt ballerina, then Perry is the ballerina butter-wouldn’t melt ballerina really wanted to be. My inner six year-old just did an excited hand-clappy dance.
Boyfriend says: Too much.

Jennifer Aniston in Dolce & Gabanna – Yes, most of us have been dying for Jennifer Aniston to step out of her style rut. But is this the look we were dreaming of? I highly doubt it. Women working menswear is meant to be an edgy cool look so I’m not entirely sure how Aniston has managed to make this look so safe, drab and 90s – the waistcoat looks like it was stolen from Chandler’s wardrobe on early Friends (or indeed, Penn Badgley and his never-ending parade of old man clothes on Gossip Girl). I don’t think it’s flattering, I don’t think it’s exciting and compared to every outfit I’ve featured (yes, even Tiffany Hines!), it’s just downright dull. That’s why I needed two pictures of Katy Perry – to plug the energy vortex Aniston had created! I’m sure Jen has a few more tricks up her sleeve, but this just ain’t it. Oh well. At least she looks better than she did in The Switch.
Boyfriend says: Just no.

Red Carpet Rundown: People’s Choice Awards 2011, Part II

For the second part of my coverage on the People’s Choice Awards 2011, the second tier of American starlets – those who I know of yet have little vested interest in. So rather than glorified clothes hangers… I’ll upgrade them to glorified clothes horses instead : )

Aly Michalka – I first knew of Aly from her Aly & AJ days, where their Potential Break-Up Song scaled the giddy heights of my Top 11 Singles Of 2007 but I was too consumed with the song’s greatness to pay much attention to the band behind it. Aly has since made the transition to acting and I’ve accidentally seen most of her CV, where she’s been entirely watchable in the likes of the underrated Bandslam, Easy A and now Hellcats. Contrary to what the producers of the latter show seem to think, I’m more concerned by the height of Michalka’s cartwheels than her ability to fight crime by producing a guitar. But onto this ensemble… true, it’s got the touch of the ho-bag about it and I don’t think it could scream sex more overtly if she was standing on a street corner. But it’s so sexy I think I kinda wanna bang her. It’s all about that Cindy Crawford beauty spot.
Boyfriend says: Michalka looks bangable, I agree.

Ashley Tisdale in Farah Angsana – I’m bunging the Tisdale in here as she’s yet another Disney alumni and is currently starring alongside Michalka in Hellcats. And yes, I did just address her using the definite article. For being so freakin’ fabulous as Sharpay in High School Musical, I will always have Tisdale’s back. But it sure is hard when she looks like this. Perhaps I could forgive the outrageous amounts of fake tan if she’d gone totally Sharpay with the rest of the look – spangly fluroscent pink mini etc – but instead, she’s gone floaty boho. Floaty boho just does not marry well with Ross from Friends tanning accident. As it is, floaty boho would barely have worked for a more normal-coloured Tisdale, as she’s too probably too short for a maxi and this one has some strange elephant tusks emerging around her middle. But she’ll always be The Tisdale to me.
Boyfriend says: Man, Tisdale looks rough.

Raven Symone – Like Michalka, Raven Symone is another former Disney star trying to find her way in the big bad world (the Tisdale, joy of joys, has a Sharpay movie coming out later this year!). On this evidence, the journey isn’t going too well. It looks like something Meatloaf would have worn in his wackier days. Although, dear God, I hope without a bra showing. Why on earth does she look so damn pleased with herself?
Boyfriend says: Raven is gross.

Kate Walsh in David Meister – I’m pretty sure I quite like Kate Walsh… well, I liked her character on Grey’s Anatomy, which is as good as, right? I also like that she’s unafraid to show up in public places without any make-up on and look bizarrely happy about the situation. And I also quite like this dress. Although it’s got a bit of the 80s puffball prom dress about it, you gotta love royal blue on a redhead. Good on you Addison… errr… Kate, I mean.
Boyfriend says: You know Kate Walsh has her own show, right? [Yes]

Tiffany Hines in Falguni & Shane – From royal blue done good to royal blue done bad. Hines is currently appearing as the major irritant on Nikita, a show I watch mainly to see Maggie Q kick some serious ass. Hines’ best moment on the show has been having Maggie Q kick her ass in what has been their only scene together thus far, which tells you exactly how dispensable Hines’ character is to me. Perhaps she’s aware quite how much the fans are desperate to plot her downfall as everything about this outfit screams ‘Notice me, please!’ Sadly, for all the wrong reasons. Looking like a puppet from Fraggle Rock got lost in the rhinestone and fringing section of a store that sells outfits for dated country music performers. Hideous.
Boyfriend says: I dunno who Tiffany Hines is, but I will avoid her from now on.

Red Carpet Rundown: People’s Choice Awards 2011, Part I

Believe it or not, we’re already well on our way to 2011’s Oscars… meaning only one thing – red carpet dresses galore! One of my favourite things about the lesser tier of American awards shows is that I have absolutely no idea as to the identity of half of the pretty people in attendance. This means I don’t have to worry about whether I liked them in their last film, whether I rate their acting abilities or if their outfit fits (my impression of) their personality or red carpet style. Instead, I can appreciate them as glorified clothes hangers and feel all the better for it. So here’s a rundown of my favourite (and not so favourite looks) from 2011’s Peoples Choice Awards.

Minka Kelly in Vivienne Westwood – My (joint) favourite look from this year’s awards was Minka Kelly. Name like a Russian Bond girl, face like Leighton Meester’s older sister. As soon as I saw the flattering drapes of the neckline and the unusual rippled print, I knew it was a Vivienne Westwood. It’s a little more restrained than some of her designs, yet it’s totally gorgeous, fluttery feminine look. Minka (whoever she be) is working the tan and bronze palette with all the flirty confidence of a total pro. Scrumptious.

Virginia Williams in Oday Shakar – I’ve seen so many of these demure from the front, vixen from the back dresses (all-time winner: Kate Hudson) that you’d think I’d be bored of them by now. Yet Virginia’s ensemble proves otherwise. This frosty pink mini is just divine in a sexy but simple way and looks really sophisticated with her blonde high ponytail. It reminds me of a fresh fizzy flute of pink champage which, in my books, can only be a good thing.

Cassie Scerbo in Nicole Miller – This is just a Pucci print scarf wrapped several times round her body, right? Having re-watched Toy Story 3 last night, this looks just the sort of ensemble Ken would have tucked away in his wardrobe, as part of a set entitled ‘Let’s Get Groovy with Ken!’ (exclamation mark obligatory)… but in its proper place as an ascot/beach towel obviously. It’s just too short and too straight up-and-down shapeless to really have started life as a dress, though I bear Cassie Scerbo no ill will whatsoever. Her messy ponytail is a thing of delight and her surname looks like it might in handy for Scrabble one day.

AnnaLynne McCord in YSL – I do know that McCord is on 90210 but, of more importance, I know that the Fug Girls continually call her Drunkface. Hilarious as this is, I’m not even looking at her (at least tipsy-looking) face. I just adore the aquamarine blast of this sheath. Another super sexy but simple look.

Ashley Benson – Another American starlet from another teen show (Pretty Little Liars), alas without a Drunkface moniker to make her more easily identifiable. I really like the structure of this cocktail dress and I quite like the idea behind it – almost a Project Runway-style task to create an outfit from old business suits (I’ve never watched Project Runway so I’ll be disappointed if that’s not the sort of activity that ensues). In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised to discover that, Apprentice Season 6 style, this frock was entirely fashioned from recycled ties. It reminds me of this Kristen Stewart ensemble, except Benson is obviously selling it with a lot more confidence and – major brownie points – a contrasting pop of scarlet lipstick and nail polish. And you all know how much I love nail polish…

The Evergreen Classic: Transformation of the Qipao @ HK Museum of History review

Warning: picture-heavy post!

So eager was I to see Hong Kong Museum of History’s exhibition about the qipao (also known as cheongsam), my boyfriend and I showed up a month early and trotted along to the special exhibition hall on the ground floor – only to discover a display about some ancient Chinese tribe instead. Yawn. Whilst my history geek boyfriend was delighted that we got to spend a lazy day in the regular exhibition (The Hong Kong Story – review of that some other time), it gave us a chance to scope out the space that the qipao would be shown in – and we weren’t impressed. It seemed small, cramped and my boyfriend predicted that we’d be in and out within an hour. How wrong he was!

Having managed to turn up in the right month, The Evergreen Classic: The Transformation of the Qipao proved to be a stunning surprise. I had worried that it would pale in comparison with the wonderful couture exhibition (loaned from The V&A) at The Heritage Museum last year; in some ways, it managed to be better. Some 280 qipao, of all shapes, sizes, colours and textures were displayed (apparently, some with waists so tiny that custom-made mannequins had to be ordered in!), with the exhibition flowing along nicely as it detailed the evolution of the qipao from its origins in the 17th century to the modern designs we’re now more familiar with – and, despite the amount of dresses, as well as information boards, 400 pictures and videos, it didn’t feel cluttered, cramped or messy. The best part – you could really get up close to the dresses (only the oldest were displayed behind glass), marvel at the exquisite detailing and take lots and lots and lots of photos! All things you couldn’t do at the couture exhibition, in case you’re wondering.

Look but don’t touch!

So what did we learn? The qipao originated amongst the Manchu nobility of the Qing Dynasty in China, where they were long, wide and loose. Looking oddly unisex in appearance, with only fingers and the tips of the toes visible, it wasn’t exactly flattering to the female form! Even so, the detailing, embroidery and vivid colours and patterns are beautiful today, hundreds of years later.

Gradually, the form moved with the times – the dress became shorter, the fit became tighter, the famous Mandarin-style collars got higher, short bell sleeves became popular and slits were introduced to make walking easier (and show off some skin!).

Between the 1920s and 1960s, various elements came and went according to fashion – long or short skirts, plain or patterned, revealing slits, one or two pieces (like a tailored suit), being worn with Western-style fur capes or cardigans – all these trends came and went depending on whatever was “in” at the time. As with everything great and good in the world, the Chinese communists attempted to ban it – it’s figure-hugging form doubtlessly decreed too sexy for their austere tastes.

As women entered the workforce and discovered the need for more practical clothing, the tight-fitting qipao fell out of favour, making way for comfortable outfits from the West, although it survived as everyday dress in Hong Kong for a little longer, until the 1970s. Nowadays, the cheongsam is mostly famous as a national dress, worn by Asian beauty contestants, waitresses in Chinese restaurants, students at old-fashioned schools and Oriental stereotypes in movies. However, elements of design still live on in many modern garments and contemporary designers constantly play about with the form to create new, inventive takes on the qipao – with the Museum of History commissioning Hong Kong Polytechnic’s Institute of Textiles and Clothing to create some pieces for the show.

As you can see, I have dealt with the history of the qipao in a few short paragraphs and although the information boards provide a running commentary, the dresses practically speak for themselves. Because there is such little relevant information, reading these boards quickly becomes repetitive and boring, especially towards the end where there’s only so much you can write about a waitress’ uniform or a Miss Hong Kong costume. But skip these at your peril – they often include fascinating photographs, whether of the strange Manchu people with their hair piled high in some precursor to Princess Leia or more contemporary images, showing glamorous Chinese women in qipao with film-starlet hair and art-deco styling.

I was also disappointed that the exhibition failed to make much of the qipao’s strong showing in films. In the 1960s, The World of Suzie Wong and its qipao-clad star Nancy Kwan made a strong cultural impact, making the cheongsam fashionable amongst Westerners – the name Suzie Wong is still a cultural checkpoint today. More recently, in Wong Kar-Wai’s multi award-winning In The Mood For Love, Maggie Cheung wears a different custom-made cheongsam in each scene (46 in total). It’s not just for beauty’s sake either – the outfits deliberately play into Kar-Wai’s sensual evocation of mood and time, whilst the constricting nature of the cheongsam is symbolic of the theme of the moral and social restrictions placed upon the characters. It would have been nice if The Evergreen Classic had acknowledged the impact of these films on the qipao and its place in the Western mindset, with stills and video clips even if they couldn’t get hold of the costumes themselves.

But these are minor quibbles – seeing the qipao up close, in all their glorious intricate detail, is just breathtaking. You can see the fragility of the fabrics, how the striking embroidered buttons often mirror an element of the pattern, the individual stitches on the sleeves. Amazing stuff. I guess the average person, owing to their exposure to the cheongsam in its more traditional forms, views the qipao as a timeless classic yet it’s fun to see how it adopted the fads and trends of the time – especially in the 60s and 70s, where some of the garish patterns are just as headachingly horrid as they are on Western clothes!

I also loved the modern constructions near the end (like the one shown earlier being fingered by a visitor), although some of these felt like advertorials for their designers.  The ones above were some of those designed by PolyU – the one on the left reminds me of something Vivienne Westwood would design (cutesy gingham print combined with the rock edge given by the back detail) whilst the ones on the right, entitled ‘Deconstruction of the Qipao’, look fit for Xena: Warrior Princess! I love how the designer has taken elements of the qipao, like the collar or the typical floral embroidery, and transformed into something totally new and modern. It would be amazing to see these kind of dresses on the red carpet, whether on Chinese or Western stars, or as stage outfits for some of the more outlandish performers out there (need I mention Gaga?!) – the quality, workmanship and sheer show-stopping quality of these outfits had needs to be seen to be believed.

Only one question remains – why oh why hasn’t a catalogue been produced? And, since it ends on 13 September, why oh why haven’t you been there yet?! [Although a lot of the pieces are on loan from real people, I’m hoping a more permanent form of this exhibition eventually makes it to The Heritage Museum – you’d best be reading LCSD!] For just $10 (and that includes the main exhibition as well), it’s a must for anyone who basically appreciates nice stuff. My boyfriend’s not into fashion at all (as his wardrobe attests, ho ho) but even he seemed to enjoy it. Go forth and qipao! And if it’s too late… here’s a few dozen of my best photos to make up for it (click for enlargements).

P.S. My favourites were from the 1950s and 60s, so there may be a slight bias. Apologies, fans of ye olde qipao.

Collar detail on some of the older qipao

Love how glam these Shangainese girls look – traditional clothes but hair and make-up that would make any 1930s Hollywood starlet proud. And check out those cheeky side-slits!

Both red (it’s our lucky colour after all) but look at the contrast between old and new – from loose to fitted,via tailored business suit and seemingly Art-Deco print.

These were my favourite qipao of the exhibition; they belonged to 1950s’ HK film star, Lin Dai. The photo does not do the black cheongsam in the first picture justice – up close, you can see the lace embroidery overlay and its a subtly elegantly sexy effect. The design and prints of these are so clean and simple that they still look amazing today.

Put your sunglasses on! As I mentioned, some of the prints are very ‘of their time’ i.e. hideous now (ok, the blue florals aren’t too bad – they just look like china and give me a bit of a headache). But the detail is still gorgeous up-close.

No such prints on the school uniforms! Apparently, a lot of students who have these uniforms complain vociferously about it – and once you’ve had a tight Mandarin collar round your neck in a typical HK summer, you’ll understand why!

Close-ups of the button clasps used at the collar.

I love these photos. They ‘capture a moment’ – a time when the cheongsam was everyday wear in HK.

I guess these are the simpler kind of qipao you could imagine for everyday wear – but even then, the lace embroidery is still so beautiful and complex up close. I’d be constantly worried about damaging them at work!

I’m a big fan of fashion sketches and found these fascinating – they’ve been drawn in that typical 50s’ style and show how the Chinese woman could Western up her outfit with a cardigan, fur wrap or jacket. It’s really unusual to see obviously Asian women being drawn in fashion sketches as well, rather than just a generic silhouette.

From just looking at these, you’d say 1970s right?! The frilly sleeves on the left are a new detail and the one on the right reminds of the classic Missoni print and colours, matched with the green contour lines, which are reminiscent of the whole Christopher Kane body-con thing that is happening now.

I imagine the ones on the left are more for evening wear – the midnight blue one with the sprig of glittery embellishment just looks so sleek and modern, it’s unbelievable it was made decades ago! I liked the one on the right just because the print was so subtle (squint hard to see it!) yet really lovely, fresh and youthful.

I’m also a fan of these retro drawings of stylish qipao-clad ladies that were often used in advertising in the 1930s (famous now for featuring on the Two Girls line of toiletries and cosmetics products). It’s something that the HK Museum of History has capitalised on with this very clever series of adverts, showing these traditional drawings alongside modern qipao, which look very like the ones in the pictures, that are part of the exhibit.

The dress on the left was worn by Michelle Yeoh at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival – a beautiful, fluid, elegant take on the qipao (love how the lines of colours emphasise the shape of the body). The middle one was worn by HK film star Josephine Siao in the 1970s – the traditional embroidered borders were taken from her mother’s collection from the 1930s! And I just liked the watercolour-style print of the one on the right, ok?!

Occasion-wear qipao! The one on the right was worn by hostesses at the 2008 Beijing Olympics Opening Ceremony (red and gold, classic combination!). I believe the one on the left was Siao’s wedding dress – it’s interesting that the typical qipao details are not on the dress itself but on the cape thing over it – and the cute flower appliques on the (bridesmaid’s?) dress are so pretty!

The qipao worn by Miss Hong Kong 1977, Loletta Chu. Beautiful unusual colour and floral design – definitely a stand-out at the exhibition.

This is where it gets fun, as modern designers try and put contemporary twists on the qipao whilst remaining true to the design. I think these were stage costumes for one of HK pop queen, Anita Mui’s, concerts. That cape design on the far left is so gorgeous and wintry feeling, the floral design of the second one is composed of thousands of beads (probably pain-stakingly sewn on by hand!) and the leaf detail on the other one is actually rather risque – it’s see-through! The one on the far right, again with some transparent details, is designed by Blanc de Chine and the rest may well be too but I can’t remember.

More modern qipaos, with some close-ups of the stunning details (far right is of the train of one of the dresses). I think these would make amazing wedding dresses.

And after all those photos, I hope your brower’s still working!

The Evergreen Classic: The Transformation of the Qipao is on at the Special Exhibition Gallery (on the ground floor), Hong Kong Museum of History, 23 June-13 September, 2010, $10 per person. 100 Chatham Road South, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, 2724 9402.

Exhibition pamphlet available here.

All photos taken by me or from the museum’s website.

After the exhibition has finished, you may be able to find some of the qipao either in the museum’s regular exhibition or at The Heritage Museum in Shatin.