Initially, I wasn’t going to write about 2011’s Bafta Awards, which were a bit low on star wattage compared to previous years. But then I found I needed a distraction from the slag-heap of ugly and tacky that was this year’s Grammys and Brits, so here we are.
Thandie Newton in Monique Lhuillier – Thandie, as she so very often is, was my best-dressed at this event. Not only is Ms Newton blessed with exquisite good looks but she seems to have exquisite taste too, as I can’t remember the last time I saw her put a foot wrong on the red carpet. It’s a dramatic gown in a dramatic colour, yet Thandie carries it off with effortless elegance. A dream.
Emma Stone in Lanvin – I’m still not sold on Emma as a blonde but this is an outfit she probably could have never worked as a redhead and she looks fabulous. Blake Lively wore a gown from the same collection and looked like she was auditioning to be some Valkyrie-inspired superhero; Emma looks like a gilded Grecian goddess. I love the warm colour palette that’s tying everything together, right down to her gold clutch and hoop earrings. That smile is just adorable. I just want to caterwaul ‘I’ve got a pocketful, pocketful of sunshine!’ every time I look at her.
Rosamund Pike in Alexander McQueen – I’ve loved Rosamund Pike’s style for years as she can make youthful edgy outfits feel classy and lady-like. This mustard McQueen is carefree boho grown up and done to red carpet standards (something I felt Mila Kunis didn’t quite pull off at the SAGs). Could her hair be any more perfect?
Amy Adams in Elie Saab – Yes! Amy Adams is back! Gone are the done-to-death jewel tones and instead we have a look that is just outrageously pretty. No one brings the pretty quite like Elie Saab and Adams positively glows. I never expected coral to work with red hair but Amy delightfully proves me wrong. This couldn’t get more springy and refreshing unless those shimmers came from a sprinkling of morning dew and a fluffy bunny bounded across the picture.
Julianne Moore in Tom Ford – I wanted Amy to step away from the jewel tones; I frankly couldn’t wait for Julianne to get back to them. After a really terrible run of late, which has seen Moore mired in a series of shapeless fits, unwarranted sleeves, unflattering colours and even a pair of knock-off Ugg boots, this marked a return to her red carpet best – old-school Hollywood glamour. The deep sapphire velvet gown, smouldering smoky eyes, bright red lips and tumbling Titian hair are just a perfect combo – and that’s before we’ve even mentioned the Tom Ford-shaped arm candy she sported for most of the night!
Gemma Arterton in YSL – My boundless love for Gemma (she was the sole reason I sat through St Trinians 2) is the main reason she’s here as I’m still undecided over whether the bed-head hair and gift-wrap bow work. What I am sure of is that she is working the hell out of it and that she should wear scarlet lipstick ALL the time. This isn’t a red carpet picture but it was the only one I could find where it’s obvious that her handbag is a fish, which is obviously all kinds of amazing. Marriage proposal’s in the post, Gemma.
Jameela Jamil in Dolce & Gabanna – There were lots of randomers on this red carpet, although thankfully, the Kardashians have yet to spread their tentacles across the Atlantic. Quite what Rachel Stevens, Sarah Harding or even Tracey Emin were doing there has yet to be explained and Jamil (a T4 presenter?) gets another shrug of the shoulders from me. She’s here purely on the merits of her dress, which is just gorgeous. However many tacky Anne Summers lingerie sets get produced, red and black will always be one of my favourite colour combinations and this dress is just so flirty and feminine – lace! ribbon! flowers! Another hit for red lippie too.
Bonnie Wright in Clements Ribeiro – Another victory for redheads, another victory for print and another victory for red hot lipstick. I like the dress a lot, even if there’s something a bit ‘charity lunch/day at the races’ about it, and the floral print is another deliciously light spring touch. Yet given how rarely I give two hoots about bags on the red carpet (unless they’re shaped like a fish obviously), that this drab black clutch sticks out quite so badly means it must be really awful.
Annette Bening in Marchesa – This dress makes me think of a snowflake. In a good way. I’m not sure I can get much more coherent than that.
Noomi Rapace in Givenchy Couture – Some are saying Vegas showgirl; I’m saying ghetto frigging fabulous! Ultimately, glitter appeals to our baser instincts (the kind that meant all your kindergarten artwork would invariably be covered in sequins given the chance) and in the same way that Marion Cotillard used to pep up proceedings with sequin-covered dresses that made her look like a mermaid or an angel, so it falls to another European actress to inject some vitality into the night. Sporting more gold bling than a rapper with a point to prove, Noomi looks sensational.
Jessica Alba in Atelier Versace – Alba is walking away with many people’s best-dressed of the night and whilst there’s no denying that this electrifying blast of cobalt is stunning on its own right, Jessica just never does it for me. She sits alongside Jessica Biel and Kate Bosworth as perennial red carpet bores, partly because they seem to have about as much personality as a tin of paint and partly because said tin of paint could probably out-act them too (I’d include Camilla Belle in this group yet I’ve never actually seen her act, or attempt to anyway). They could probably pull a Gaga or Bjork on the red carpet and merely elicit a yawn. Back to the outfit, which made her look pregnant – and she’s just announced that she is so pats on the back all-round – and yet another winning blast of crimson lips. Unlike many, I actually like the milkmaid plaits as well
Jennifer Lawrence in Stella McCartney – Lawrence continues to mine her saloon girl dress-up box with this dress, which might have been pretty had someone hoiked it up and superglued it about three inches higher. The cheap-looking choker makes her look like a heroine from the front cover of a Mills & Boon romance – from the 80s – but mostly, you just feel sorry for her boobs.
Emma Watson in Valentino – Let’s end things with everyone’s favourite. I’m going to come out and say it – I just do not like that hair. It has killed every one of Emma’s outfits of late for me, even the pretty ones, but I don’t particularly think this is one of those either. Whether it’s the washed-out colour, frill overload and mumsy print that makes her look frumpy, or whether it’s the frumpy hair that makes the dress look mumsy, I’m not sure. Either way, I can’t wait for her hair to grow back.
The more I’ve written about this red carpet, the more I’ve decided I liked it after all; it’s nice to see some people other than the usual Hollywood roll-call of likely suspects. Unusual prints, interesting colours and red lipstick worked to within an inch of its life – not a bad showing after all.