Tag Archives: red carpet

Red Carpet Rundown: I ♥ Jennifer Lawrence

Over the past month, I have come down with an overwhelming fever… HUNGER GAMES FEVER. You’ve seen my mani, you’ve listened to my ramblings and now you must tolerate my love for Jennifer Lawrence too.

She was at a lot of awards shows circa her Oscar nomination for Winter’s Bone. She was a truly annoying Mystique in X-Men: First Class. And she’s dating Tony from Skins. Honestly, I never felt much towards her other than indifference. But come her casting as Katniss Everdeen, The Girl On Fire, and suddenly she clicked… To the power hundred!

Lawrence is phenomenal in the films… driven, hard, urgent, grounded, strong but vulnerable compulsive watching… but I’m here to tell you about my raging girl crush instead. Katniss Everdeen was always going to be a winning character if she was played right, but what I love about J.Law (as probably no one is calling her) is how awesome it was to see a real woman on screen. A woman who didn’t look anorexic, didn’t look plastic, didn’t look like she spends every waking moment in the gym refusing carbs, but a curvy, gorgeous, young woman with a natural fresh beauty and a magnetic screen presence. And my, has she worked some gorgeous gowns during the Hunger Games promo tour. As The Girl On Fire rightly should!

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London Show Rooms HK: Spring Summer 2012

Regular readers may remember my Red Carpet Rundowns from awards ceremonies of yore, which generally consisted of me writing in the throes of passion to some stunningly beautiful designer dress. Well now, I’ve actually been and gone and seen and TOUCHED these dresses in person. And they are all SO MUCH MORE AMAZING in person!

But also, in a way, not that much more amazing too. At the end of the day, they are just body-part shaped bits of material, much the same as the body-part shaped bits of material you’d find at H&M, Primark or even the local wet market. Celebs, models and the beautiful people have a way of making you think their garments are some sort of magical mystical cloaks of wonder, elevating them to minor divinity status. But actually, having handled the very garments I’ve swooned at on a pixelated level, I can now tell you – it really is just a dress. No pixie dust, no ethereal glow, no heavens opening sound when you touch them… just a dress after all.

But still exceedingly pretty dresses after all!

Enough rambling and onto the point… I was lucky enough to be invited to the London Show Rooms, a British Council initiative to showcase the work of some of Britain’s hottest designers. Having pored over the recent pics from London Fashion Week, it was honestly like a dream come true!

I went with the lovely Hester from Sassy Hong Kong, and tried to keep my ridiculous squeeing in check in case she realised what a fashion fan-girl I am – especially for someone who generally looks such a state in person!

The event itself was a little weird – I saw someone toting a giant papiermâché hand, which just about says it all. Apart from the fact that no-one bothered to introduce themselves so I had no idea who worked there or who was just wafting around to cover the event like myself, the biggest downfall was that very few of the dresses were displayed on a body – either real or plastic. These dresses come alive shown on people, yet there were fewer than 10 models standing around the room, strutting their insolent stuff (and yes, I did totally feel like I was in an episode of Next Top Model!). A fashion show, or even a small presentation about the designers (or even just better lighting!), would have done more justice to these wonderful garments.

On the plus side, you were allowed to handle the garments to your heart’s desire. I’m far too intimated by snobby shop assistants to ever try and go into the retail shops myself (Pretty Woman syndrome!) so it was great to be able to enjoy a leisurely swoon and sigh, without feeling like my grubby mitts would be shoo-ed off at any moment!

My favourite – Mary Katrantzou. I loved these dresses in print, I loved these dresses in pixel and I LOVED these dresses in person!

Katrantzou’s calling card is colourful, mental, full-on floral prints – as you can see from her rail (banner photo), which is just a riot of rainbow! The dress on the model was just exquisite – the flow, the shape, the way it sat on her body, that gorgeous train and most importantly, the fabulous print itself. You can appreciate how precisely thought-out the colours and shapes are by the way each different print begins and ends so crisply and beautifully – the fact the model looks gift-wrapped is a Brucie bonus! – but this is a perfect example of why high street knock-offs will never quite cut it. There is no way you could get as complex and crazy a print that still looks expensive, flattering and elegant for el cheapo prices!

I also loved this tropical-coloured coral reef asymmetric dress from The Katrantzou (held by Hester!). What you can’t really see in this photo is the gorgeous stiff full skirt, which pouffed out uber-cutely, and it’s such a shame I didn’t get to see this on a model, where it really would have come alive. Again, this isn’t the kind of tailoring you can get for high street prices – and that’s coming from someone that has been looking for that proper pouffy structured full skirt for ages! (Or alternatively, tell me where and I’m there!)

My next favourite, somewhat surprisingly, was Marios Schwab. His pieces were SO much more beautiful in person; on the catwalk, they can look a little plain – especially compared with all the other crazy colours and vibrant prints that come out to play for Spring/Summer. What I’ve always loved about his designs is how they always perfectly combine the tough with the sensual, the sexy with the soft. Despite the corsetry and cut-out elements to many of his dresses, they’re the very antithesis of the tired old trollope standby, the bandage dress.

It’s an overtly sexy, tight-fitting silhouette, but muted with netting, overlays and veiling. It’s lattice-work that actually reveals very little at all. It’s tough shapes and colours, but then a sprinkling of Swarovski crystals. And what amazed me most was how soft these were to the touch. Many bandage dresses I’ve handled before felt hard, rigid and constricting – that’s how they suck you in all the right places – but these were meltingly fluid, like a buttery soft fluid leather. I really loved the pretty lilac and blush coloured ones, which often lose out on the red carpet stakes to the more obvious black, white or nude numbers.

I also adored the work of Peter Pilotto. Pilotto’s digital prints were really hot a couple of seasons ago, where everyone and their ice-cream man was seen in his colourful abstract numbers (or a high street knock off of them!) but I feel he’s since been overshadowed by the likes of Katranzou and Erdem. Well, this collection showed me that he’s definitely still alive and kicking… with a vengeance! These were ultra-colourful, but in much less whimsical way – I’m gonna call it future-tribal! These were also some of the more complex dress shapes on show with lots of intricate cutting and plenty of those full structured skirts I love. Here’s the red dress I was eyeing for my wardrobe!

I was expecting to be wow-ed by Roksanda Ilincic and Jonathan Saunders, two of my other favourites on the red carpet (especially the divine Ms Roksanda, as worn by my ultimate girl crush, Kate Middleton) yet I ended up being a little disappointed.

Ilnicic’s pieces for me have always been about stunning cutting, draping and folding and an effortlessly tactile structured but unstructured elegance that enlivens her essentially simple and classic shapes. On coat-hangers, this just wasn’t evident. The colour palette was gorgeous – vivid turquoise and fuchsia jewel tones playing off muted mustards and grey but I needed to see these on a person! I’m still lusting after her Debenhams collection though!

Saunder’s rail was pretty delicious from afar – a cool ice-cream coloured rack of spring sorbets, especially to the right of my picture where my favourite of his pieces sat. As worn by Samatha Cameron and another one with a Debenhams collaboration under his belt, I felt his outfits were a lot more mainstream than most of the other designers here, though would probably look lovely on (Thandie Newton is another fan and I always think she looks amazing), but unfortunately they didn’t do much for me on the hanger either. Some of his prints were surprisingly acid-y, Pucci-esque and Mystery Machine-worthy though – I guess we just don’t get to see those on the red carpet as much.

David Koma was another surprise – him of dressing Cheryl Cole on X Factor in dustbin lids fame. As expected, lots of chunky embellishments (see the 3D Persplex on what I believe was a miniskirt yet which was so short I wouldn’t even wear it as a scarf!) but I saw some more mature designs in there too.

I loved the model’s outfit, which was decorated with awesome iridescent panels of sequins, shimmering and gleaming like insects wings in the light, which just looked intensely flattering yet still different. Expect to see more of Koma on the red carpet – and with a Topshop collaboration on the way (as has Katranzou, by the way), his time is definitely now.

Holly Fulton is another ‘one to watch’, who apparently revels in bad taste. Not really my style but nice to see some unashamedly happy designs (she’s supposedly influenced by Versace and most of these would fit right in with their H&M partnership) – but I have to admit, the model does look amazing!

Finally, some shoe porn of the highest order from Nicholas Kirkwood. I could have spent half an hour playing with these alone. If ever there was a case for shoes as art work, here it be. I once called Kirkwood’s designs ‘pure joy on a hoof’ and after seeing them in person, I stand by that description!

Of course, they’re far too beautiful for me to ever actually want to wear, as opposed to bring out the closet to stroke lovingly in times of sadness – as if I’d ever be able to afford a pair anyway!

So there you have it… amazing designer dresses are amazing. Not that amazing. But still amazing enough.

Red Carpet Rundown: Met Gala 2011, Savage Beauty

So more people wore Stella McCartney than Alexander McQueen at the Met Gala 2011, despite the fact it was supposed to be held in McQueen’s honour. But plenty of other people fulfilled the theme of Savage Beauty instead, right? Errr… The scratching sound you hear is me desperately scraping the barrel for attendees that were doing anything just a teensy bit untamed. I think you’ll know how seriously said barrel has been scraped when I tell you that Taylor Swift has made this list…

Liv Tyler in Givenchy – Liv was another of my favourites of the night in this Givenchy gown, even if she didn’t pair it with the insane headpiece (which could have turned things literally savage if she poked some fashionista’s eye out with a rogue antler). I usually don’t understood the fuss about Liv but I have to admit, she looks properly ethereally gorgeous here. The dress is from the same collection as Florence Welch’s Grammys gown but in my opinion, this one is so much better. Why? Well, fluorescent yellow feathers of course! The feather detailing down the body is so intricate and ornate and beautiful, and the way it dovetails (hey, see what I did there?!) into the yellow ombre effect is subtle yet stunning. And I love how Liv has pulled that colour out with the pop of her neon yellow clutch. She just looks heaven-sent.

Christina Ricci in Zac PosenThis, my Stella McCartney clad friends, is how you do Savage Beauty. It’s dramatic. It’s overblown. It’s impossible not to notice. And as such, it’s a perfect tribute to McQueen. How appropriate too that it’s Wednesday Adams wearing this Gothic spectacle of a dress. It looks like it was fashioned from cobwebs, with Christina rising above them as the ultimate black widow of them all. It says something about her star presence that, given she’s about the size of an oompa-loompa in real life, she’s not overwhelmed by the huge train or the opulent theatricality of the gown. Instead, she just belongs. A deliciously dark delight.

Diane Kruger in Jason Wu – Diane Kruger was another of my favourites of the night. This might not be the style statement of Ricci but at least it’s trying to do something a little bit different, and it’s certainly enough of a departure from Wu’s typically beautiful but safe designs to merit attention. I love the old Hollywood glamour Diane is bringing to this look and there is something a little bit dangerous about that sexy thigh-high split. She looks sensational.

Jennifer Lopez in Gucci – The first time I saw this dress, I hated it. But as I watched the parade of uninspiring outfits filter by, I began to have a new-found appreciation for this one. Firstly, that striking power-punch of cerise is an amazing colour on J. Lo, and the way she’s matched it with that lipstick – well, I wouldn’t expect anything less! Secondly, the shape is interesting without being overpowering. Thirdly, the flower shrug… well, I love it. It gives the dress so much more drama whilst also being beautiful and romantic and quirky and wild. Jennifer wears it with a sense of ‘Flowers as a cardigan? Why, but I do it all the time! Marc personally plucked these from the garden before we came…’ that just makes me love it even more. With her hair scraped back, I expect her to break out into a passionate flamenco and finish off by throwing bits of her shrug to an appreciative audience. In short, I’m making up a whole story from just one dress. Either I’m mental (and exhausted by so many dresses) or this really is fine work from Mr Gucci. I’m hoping for the latter!

Crystal Renn in Zac Posen – It seems that of all the designers who custom-made gowns for this event, it was only Zac Posen who actually bothered to read the invite. He brings the drama again with this number, which has a Victorian villainess feel to it. In fact, I expect Crystal to be robbing carriages or stealing crystal lockets at balls. How exhausting it must be to be a model and keep up this level of high drama and fierce pouting all night, although I have to say, I did prefer Crystal in her curvier days. I hope she managed to master an evil cackle for the night as well.

Shalom Harlow in Marchesa – What’s this, a Marchesa dress that doesn’t look like a wedding gown?! This dress is more a feat of engineering than anything else, it’s so insanely structural and yet still soft and swirly, which makes for an interesting contrast. That black detail looks so organic, like it just flowed right onto the gown from an ink well, and reminds me of those butterflies you see made out of craft paper on homemade greetings cards; I’m stunned and charmed that Shalom managed to find the one hair grip in the city that exactly matched that effect.

Ciara in Prabal Gurung – You may remember Ciara tweeting that her dress was reminiscent of McQueen and me being annoyed that she didn’t just, you know, wear McQueen. At this rate however, anything is better than nothing and this dress follows the feather theme of the other Sarah Burton dresses we saw that evening, even it’s a little less flamboyant. Then again, how much less flamboyant can feathers be?! This dress is a fairly standard shape but the ombre effect is rather dreamy and I am absolutely obsessed with Ciara’s cuff. I want one myself so I can pretend to be She-Ra round the house again.

Karolina Kukova in Jean Paul Gaultier – Another divinely theatrical look being worked by another divinely fierce model. From some angles, this dress was like a Magic Eye picture where you had to spot the leggings; how amazingly mind-bogglingly bonkers an idea to fashion them out of the same lace as the lining of the skirt. Karolina carries this off with such an effortless poise and majestic sense of ownership, as if she walks around all the time fanning out her underskirts for all to see. It’s a startlingly clever dress but it also just looks uniquely magnificent. You can’t get much better than that.

Bar Refaeli in Reem Acra – Opulence personified. Do gowns get more spendidly exotically decadent than this? Bar is totally channelling Cleopatra in this gown and it’s so richly detailed AND GOLDEN AND SHINY that I can’t help but fall for it a little, even if it isn’t doing her figure any major favours. I love the small turquoise elements that are brought out further by her earrings and handbag – I’m a sucker for turquoise and these fashion folk seem to be great at making accent colours pop for the better. Meanwhile, all Bar has to do is be reincarnated as a mannequin in a department store and capture an 80s Brat Packer’s heart and I’ll be one very happy bunny. [This is a long-winded reference to one of my favourite films of all time and ultimate guilty pleasure, Mannequin, starring a young Kim Cattrall, a Golden Girl, a bombastic  Starship power ballad and one of the most preposterous plots of all time. I don’t get to chuck Mannequin references in very often, so please humour me.]

Beyonce in Emilio Pucci – Here’s a gown that really was savage, as Beyonce could hardly breathe/pose/move in it and eventually had to hauled up the stairs by various minions after she almost fell down them. I’m all for suffering for fashion but at least make it fashion that’s actually nice to look at?! This reminds me of another of the ugliest dresses in recent memory, coincidentally also worn by Beyonce at 2009’s Oscars. That was designed by her own line, House of Dereon, and I thought this was too… but in fact, it’s by Pucci! It’s so tacky and vulgar looking, like the kind of cheap imitation Baroque fireplace that’s the first thing people have ripped out of their new home on property shows. Her head looks like it’s ready to pop off due to how long she’s been holding her breath, whilst she actually appears to be listing like the Leaning Tower of Pisa except much more precarious, like she’s ready to keel over. And the glory hole for her boobs? Seriously? At the Met Gala?! I have to leave the final words to Fashion Critic at the Red Carpet Fashion Awards: ‘This might be a custom Pucci design, but it has Tina Knowles written all over it’. Trust me, insults in the fashion world don’t come much greater!

Leighton Meester in Louis Vuitton – Well, the theme was Savage Beauty and this outfit is positively vicious all-round! Every element seemed to have been sourced from some sort of fetish bondage shop and it all just looks a little hard and uncomfortable. Normally Leighton manages to sell her look, however ridiculous (remember that time you could see her entire bare ass in a lace jumpsuit?), but here she looks rather tame and unconvinced herself – more heavy-duty black eyeliner required, methinks! Honestly, it’s a bit of a relief as I’ve always liked Leighton and prefer to think of her without any sado-masochistic undertones.

Saoirse Ronan in Rodarte – This has clearly been cobbled together from charity shop finds. The bottom half is a vintage sequinned ballgown that you’re not quite sure about but hey, it’s so cheap and SJP always makes these things work, so why the hell not? (Said before it languishes in your wardrobe for years on end). The top half is an 80s power-suit, possibly worn by a tv anchorwoman, maybe even Ann Diamond. And the shoes? Well, no-one knows what Saoirse was thinking with the shoes. I’m really happy that Saoirse isn’t going down the typical teen ingénue route with her style choices (hello, Dakota Fanning) but this isn’t Rodarte’s finest effort. Interesting? Yes. Attractive? Hellz no. (That being said, perhaps some model in strong directional make-up and constant Crystal Renn glare might have made it work.)

Taylor Swift in J Mendel – Yes, Taylor Swift managed to make a list with the word ‘Savage’ in it. Sweet, pretty, innocent Taylor, with her long curly hair and guitar and songs about love and butterflies and John Meyer being a douche. But this is a pleasant departure from her usual spangles o’ clock setting and in fact, she looks genuinely classically beautiful whilst the stronger make-up is a sophisticated more grown-up touch than we’re used to getting from Taylor. The gown is yet another in the nude brigade but there’s darker forces at work too. I love how that black detail cascades up one shoulder and how, if you look closely, the same detail is continued in the main fabric of the dress too. The frayed edges, the aged beige colour (that you got by swishing about a used tea-bag in art), the way that black pattern feels like a vine slowly climbing over and covering the dress like a rambling old mansion or a strangely beautiful type of mould – yes, there I go creating a story again but there’s an intriguing sense of decay about this gorgeous gown that makes it so much more than stereotype pretty.

Doutzen Kroes in Giambattista Valli – Uh-oh, someone got out-Giselled! Under normal circumstance, this might have been a show-stopping dress but once you’ve got Giselle throwing shapes the other side of the room in an even more show-stopping dress, this striking red number becomes almost ordinary in comparison. What I do like is the juxtaposition between the very clean, almost harsh lines of the top half, compared with the pouffy volume of the bottom. Pretty… but just not Giselle.

Keri Hilson in Atelier Versace – More juxtaposition (yay as it’s one of my favourite words) with this gown, where there’s some overtly sexy form-fitting knitwear up-top contrasted with some princess-gown tulle clouds floating around the bottom. I love the dusty periwinkle colour but I’m not so in love with what Keri’s bringing to the gown. The tacky yellow rootsy hair? (Whose natural hair colour is that; it sure as hell isn’t hers!) The overdose of eyeshadow? The vast array of bling? The boobs clinging on to that neckline for their life? What on the model looks like an interesting neckline, Keri makes look like visible bra straps. Which just about says it all.

Blake Lively in Chanel – Well, I had to put Blake in here didn’t I? Love her or hate her, at least she’s never boring with her style choices. I’m really not sure about the new strawberry blonde hair though – I loved it on her debut redhead look but here, I think something needs to give, either the tan or the dye, as they’re just jostling around too close for comfort colour-wise. I’m not crazy about the dress either; half toga party, half raunchy figure skater. And however much Blake tries to sell it to me with her trademark attitude and orgasm-face, it’s still kinda tacky. Even if it’s Chanel. (Don’t tell Karl).

Pictures: Just Jared, Style.com, Look.co.uk, Socialite Life, Huffington Post Style

Red Carpet Rundown: Met Gala 2011, Wedding Fever

It seems even A-Listers weren’t immune from Royal Wedding fever, as several turned up at the Met Gala 2011 in gowns fit for a princess bride. And if it wasn’t fit for the bride, then it was fit for a bridesmaid (£1 wiggly worm optional), a guest (nut job headpiece included) or just a princess in general…

Chanel Iman in Dolce & Gabanna – Chanel was one of my favourites at this event, I just adore this dress. Who says white lace can’t be classy? It’s so pretty and lady-like but Chanel, despite the prim and proper chignon, is giving it so much oomph that it’s pretty damn sexy too. I can’t believe this is the same chick who rocked a gold lamé jumpsuit at last year’s Met Ball – talk about a style chameleon! This is a dress that would look fresh as a daisy all night long, whatever the decade. LOVE.

Miranda Kerr in Marchesa – Marchesa dresses always run the fine line between being amazingly beautiful red carpet gowns and amazingly beautiful bridal-wear; here’s yet another example. Admittedly, this is more funky bride working a ballerina/Tinkerbell vibe (helloooo awesome Nicholas Kirkwood shoes!) but Miranda’s got the youth, beauty and husband handsome enough to make it look cute and exuberant rather than sad and desperate. I imagine someone trod on her shoe or put out a cigarette on her skirt as there’s just too much prettiness going on here!

Jessica Alba in Ralph Lauren – Just like Kate Hudson before her, this also has the whiff of ‘pregnant lady getting married’. However, whereas Hudson’s at least seemed to have the various component parts of a whole dress, Alba’s just looks like a giant wedding veil.

Jennifer Hudson in Vera Wang – Jennifer’s devoted a significant amount of time recently to showing off her new bod, meaning lots of tight short form-fitting dresses, so it’s nice to see a more floaty princess look. And if you’re looking for floaty princess looks, you can’t really go wrong with Vera Wang! This is basically a wedding dress with a light grey overlay; alternatively, it’s basically Mila Kunis’ gown from last year’s Met Gala but with all the crazy embellishments ripped off. Either way, it’s still very pretty and Jennifer looks lovely.

Fergie in Marchesa – I chose this picture because Fergie just looks so cute and happy! However, this is just WAY too bridal. I wouldn’t be surprised if Fergie struck a deal with some paps so she could take home some snaps, as she’s gone off the ones from her real wedding. An abundance of froth and lace, a big train, a man in a suit AND a headdress?! Too much, Fergie Ferg, too much.

Lily Donaldson in Erdem – She’s here mainly because her dress is lace and yes, it’s blue lace and it has a Peter Pan collar and it’s actually kind of see-through so it would never work as a wedding dress at all, apart from for those fashion-y types who are too cool for school and would probably wear Gaga’s meat dress for their big day given the chance. I admit to a bit of a style blind spot as far as Erdem is concerned because I tend to just blindly love all his designs because ooooh… aren’t they just so pretty?! And yes, this one is see-through and a bit Grandma’s tablecloth and I can see Lily’s sports bra but ooooh… isn’t it just so pretty?!


Serena Williams in Oscar de la Renta – Here’s where things veer into bridezilla territory. Was Serena sat at home, weeping copiously whilst watching Prince William saying his vows, screaming ‘It should have been me!!!’?! This feather explosion looks as if she said ‘Screw it, I’m just gonna wear the wedding dress I secretly hid at the back of my wardrobe years ago before the moths get to it’; the hideous fascinator says ‘Where the hell was my invite? I still could have changed his mind!’ Jokes aside, this kind of twee pretty stuff just doesn’t work for Serena; she needs to bring the fierce and I’m not sure anyone can ever do that whilst wearing a fascinator. Ever.

Demi Moore in Prabal Gurung – Another disappointed would-be Royal Wedding guest – just because you dyed it black doesn’t mean we don’t know your game, Demi! Black, white, purple with green spots… I honestly doubt there’s a colour that exists yet that would make this dress look good. Not only is it moulting down below, but there’s a parasitic sea anemone sprouting from her breast; meanwhile, the fascinator was rescued from a long-defunct cabaret show. It’s like Demi has been holding in this insanity for so long with all her tasteful flattering dresses all year and has just had a complete meltdown. Which makes it sort of amazing. That’s the Met Ball for you!

Rumer Willis in Badgley Mischka – Meanwhile, Demi’s daughter did an even better job at hiding her Royal Wedding guest-list aspirations. Seeing how ridiculous Mummy and Serena looked, she hastily pinned her fascinator onto one side of her dress instead! I actually think this dress is rather awesome, the detailing all over the gown looks like pieces of stained glass or a not very well fitted together mosaic, but in a good way. On any other night, this dress would be a show-stealer but sadly, because it’s boring black and she’s only Rumer Willis, it got lost in a fug of outrageous fashion statements, huge trains and crazy people wearing fascinators.

Dakota Fanning in Valentino –I don’t know if this dress could get any prettier unless fairies floated around it at all times. Can you imagine how cute this would be shrunk to miniature for little bridesmaids or flower-girls?! Adorable! However, I’m not impressed with Dakota’s make-up, which is so barely-there that it’s not at all. I do think neutral was the right way to go but it hasn’t been executed well; she looks pale and shiny rather than dewy and glowing. Her hair also has no style to it whatsoever – how about romantic waves or a classy up-do? At least we’re reminded that Dakota is still actually in her teens, as she looked scarily adult all dolled-up in The Runaways, but I find myself swooning over the dress and regarding her face as an afterthought.

Jessica Stam in Tommy Hilfiger – This pretty blush number would also be simple enough to look sweet on a bridesmaid, although it’s stunning enough to work as the main number too. Although there were far too many beige gowns going on at this event, this is just a winsomely gorgeous dress, being sold beautifully by Stam. Note the flawless makeup and the lovely half-up half-down hair, Dakota!

Ashley Greene in Donna Karan – And so we continue our tour round Switzerland i.e. the neutral zone. This is a big pouffy princess number, designed for waltzing round in Disney castles, and there’s no doubt that Ashley looks exquisite – I love how the earrings bring out the silver detailing and how a simple up-do stops it all from being overkill. But every time I look at it, I’m reminded of Anne Hathaway and Jennifer Lopez doing the same look last year and absolutely slaying it in their respective princess and diva ways. As yet, Ashley just doesn’t have the star quality to make this any more than an absolutely breath-taking dress on legs.

Renee Zellweger in Carolina Herrera – Yes, this is a picture of Renee’s back. That’s because it was a whole lot more interesting than the front, which honestly could have been mistaken for slightly cobwebby looking skin. I just love the shape here – the plunging back, the sprinkle of silver fairy dust, the trailing train. Or perhaps I’m just won over by the composition of the photo – a moment of stillness and serenity amidst a scrum of screaming paparazzi. Even so, what does this say about Renee’s face that I’d rather stare at picture’s of her back?! [Incidentally, I read some amazing guff that the plunging back was inspired by McQueen’s low-slung, butt-grazing jeans. Well, OK Carolina, if you say so…]

Maggie Q in Tadashi Shoji – I frigging love Maggie Q and her kickass ways. My enjoyment of Nikita is entirely based around her being her badass self, breaking things, beating people up and blowing stuff up, all with just one swish of that glossy mane of hair. So this dreamy romantic concoction is a change of scene from her usual slinky sexy ways. The dress is gorgeous, a tumbling cascade of roses, and bar a little heavy-handedness with the eye make-up, Maggie’s pretty gorgeous herself. (Please click for an enlargement, Maggie will shoot you if you don’t look at her pretty up-close)

Emma Stone in Lanvin – Finally we come to the wedding guest section i.e. an excuse for me to shoehorn florals into this post. Since Emma’s dress looks neither like a tablecloth, curtains nor wallpaper, we can conclude that it is a reasonable successful take on a floral dress. I absolutely love how big and bold the print is, while the monochrome palette prevents it from looking too big and bold and the cut is doing all sorts of sexy things to Emma’s figure. Yes, the hair is still blonde and seems to be getting even blonder out of spite to all us non-believers but that pop of pink lipstick is an inspired touch.

Sofia Vergara in Carolina Herrera – You all know I’ve been critical of Sofia ‘va va voom’ Vergara in the past and what do you know, she looks reassuringly lushly gorgeous once she puts the armoury away, back to the chest area where they belong as opposed to somewhere near her eyeline. This is a simple silhouette that works entirely because of the floral embroidery (even if it appears to have had pieces of sticky tape placed on it at random) and she just looks lovely. A stand-out for all the right reasons, this is probably the best she’s ever looked.

Randomer in Erdem – Yes, I know nothing of fashion. Tyra would be screeching at me and throwing me out of the model house after I gaped vacantly in one of her challenges after she asked me to pose like *insert obscure model’s name here*. But I had to put this in because this dress is soooo gorgeous. The very best illustration of how florals can look elegant and effortless, with not a hint of tablecloth, curtain or wallpaper in sight. I absolutely love how it works with Randomer’s milkmaid braid – such a pretty romantic look all-round. Good work, Randomer, whoever you are.

Kirsten Dunst in Chanel – Oh Snaggletooth, what happened? You used to be so cool and hip and now you look like a soccer mom. I dislike the dress (it looks like the kind of floral design people paint onto canal boats) but I dislike what Kiki is doing to it even more. Blowsy hair, puffy face, frumpy feel. This is Chanel?!?! Seriously?!

Pictures: Just Jared, Style.com, Look.co.uk, Socialite Life, Huffington Post Style

Red Carpet Rundown: Met Gala 2011, Stella’s Stars

The Met Gala 2011 was supposed to be in honour of Alexander McQueen… so of course, the greatest number of people chose to wear Stella McCartney. Stella was co-chairing the event… then again, so was Colin Firth… and even though I love a lot of these gowns, I don’t think any of them fit the theme of Savage Beauty. Do you?

Can you believe this is the same woman who was last seen out-slutting her teenage daughter by showing off her bare ass at a post-Oscars party? This is the best Madonna has looked in ages – classy, sophisticated yet far from being contrived or boring. This steely blue colour looks brilliant on her, especially combined with those perfectly-coiffed golden waves, and I love the silver stars that trail their way down her back and onto her train.

Iman looks a bit like Ru Paul. And if you aren’t a fan of high campery and heavy trashtastic-ness, then bling-covered jumpsuits probably aren’t for you. Then again, you’re no shrinking violet if you managed to snag Ziggy Stardust as a hubbie and you can’t deny she is working the hell out of it and looking fiercely Amazonian anyway. And what’s the perfect accessory to gold sequins, a blaze of golden hair and glowing golden skin? A gold belt buckle, of course. Duh.

I’ve long been a fan of Maggie Gyllenhaal’s red carpet style – she has an easy grown-up grace about her that doesn’t seem too try-hard – and this is another winner in my book. I adore the oceanic blue glitter and the unusual neckline, although I’m slightly concerned by the lack of bra and consequently, the nipple standing to attention that seems to follow my gaze. I know I applauded her lack of try-hardiness but there are limits…

This is such a standard Gwyneth Paltrow gown that it bores me to boring beige tears. A simple nude sheath dress, there’s no doubt it’s super-flattering and suits her but seriously, the carpet is more savage than anything in this look.

Eva Mendes is one of those people that just doesn’t excite me on the red carpet and this isn’t really any exception. This royal blue one-sleeved number has that whole 70s boho aesthetic that McCartney was channelling last season and I love the sense of movement and volume Mendes is bringing for photos, but it feels a bit too carefree and casual for *the* fashion event of the year. If what you really need to set your outfit off is a big floppy sun-hat, you know it probably just isn’t cutting it.

Another super-pretty dress, another complete lack of savageness. I’m gonna stop harping on about it now. I do love the ethereal fairy dust aspect of Naomi Watts’ gown but I feel like I saw it all before with Mandy Moore at this year’s Oscars.

When did Kate Hudson get this pregnant?! Last time I looked, it was a mere bump in the road but now it looks like she’s smuggling watermelons Phoebe-style. The long wavy hair, the embellished bodice and the fishtail train are saying one thing to me – mermaid. That and the sea-shell she stuck on top of her head. I guess there are worse things you can look like than a heavily pregnant mermaid on her wedding day and she’s doing her usual Goldie Hawn-inherited Kate Hudson thing by looking glowy and pretty regardless. At least it looks vaguely comfortable and easy to sit down and pee in, which were probably greater concerns for Kate than say… Daphne Guinness.

Thandie Newton is one of my serial style crushes and as ever, she’s giving me flawless face. I love the top half of this dress, with the deep V-neck with scalloped edging, but I’m not sure about the bottom half. I know it isn’t really her underwear I can see, but I still feel it’s improper of me to look.

I find Rihanna’s dress oddly unflattering, like a jumpsuit that someone has opened up the legs of – and you haven’t even seen the tacky see-through slit down the side yet, which proved lots of fun for the photographers when she bent down to fiddle with her train. Well, I say see-through, it looked more like support tights… Yet that isn’t my main issue. Even from here, through a photograph comprised of pixels on a computer screen, that braid boasts more synthetic material than a Primark sale. I’ve loved Rihanna’s flaming red tresses with some of her more colourful outrageous looks, but it just looks fake and cheap here. Pippi Longstocking would not be impressed.

The problem with everyone wearing the same designer is that things start to get a bit repetitive. So that intricate swirling lace pattern that’s providing interest on Kate Winslet’s gown entirely take over Hailee Steinfeld’s, albeit in a different colour (seen on Amber Valetta’s dress too). Meanwhile, the black lace aspect of Winslet’s gown is also reminiscent of Thandie’s and Rihanna’s outfits too.

Kate Winslet’s dress is elegant, classy and sophisticated but it must be the hundredth time she’s rocked this whole ‘simple black gown with random areas of interest’ look and I miss the Winslet who used to wear bright red Ben de Lisi or mint green Alice Temperley or electric blue Narsico Rodriguez. Guess the colour-loving part of her got airbrushed away with that last magazine cover.

Hailee Steinfeld swept everyone away with her sweet fresh style this awards season but this may be her first serious misstep. I think it would be pretty cute sans train but, overall, it just feels too heavy for her.

So it looks like Stella McCartney saved the most savage of her gowns for herself. Sadly, it’s just a bizarre Project Runway challenge – to make a dress out of a penguin costume. Seems there’s a reason I’ve never seen a neckline shaped like that before. I happily await the gif where someone superimposes a nun’s face over her legs.

Pictures: Just Jared, Style.com, Look.co.uk, Socialite Life, Huffington Post Style

Red Carpet Rundown: Met Gala 2011, All Hail McQueen!

The Met Ball is usually my favourite red carpet event of the year. It’s all about the fashion, daaahling, which usually means everyone forgets about playing safe and instead sets upon the dress-up box with all the unrestrained glee of a five year old child. The scene was set for the Met Gala 2011 to be the most craziest amazingest one of all, as it was held in honour of fashion maverick Alexander McQueen, with a theme of Savage Beauty. So what did the A-Listers do? Decide to play it safe, of course!

Given that style slideshows for the Met Ball usually number in the hundreds rather than the tens, is it not disappointing that only about a dozen of the attendees bothered to wear the designer they were supposed to be paying tribute to? Ciara (in Prabal Gurung) actually tweeted something about being excited that her dress was ‘very reminiscent of Alexander McQueen’ – why don’t you just wear McQueen then, you eejit?! At least she did better than most with a feathery gown that was just about dramatic enough to be reminiscent of McQueen – I’m yet to discover how boring beige or pretty princess dresses could be connected.

So it seems only fitting to kick off my red carpet rundown with the folk who bothered to wear the designer. Yes, on any other night, they may have looked like whacked-out mentalists yet here, they were just about the only ones who looked like they could read an invitation. And some even offer a telling reminder that McQueen wasn’t all about whacked-out mentalists in the first place. The most fitting tribute of all?

And chief amongst them, Gisele. She not only totally OWNED the event, she made everyone else wonder why? Why they’d bothered to make an effort, why they’d turned up at all, why they weren’t as beautiful as Gisele, why the hell they hadn’t worn McQueen, … all the above and much much more. There are no more words to describe what is basically perfection.

And how awesome is this photo of Gisele and Naomi Campbell?! ‘TA-DA!!!’ From one end of the McQueen spectrum, dramatic yet simple breath-taking beauty, to the other – ornate embroidery, avante-garde embellishments, this is haute couture that simply isn’t intended for mere mortals. Campbell shows it might not even work for models but I applaud her for trying. And if anyone else was going to try and pull off wearing a coat of arms on their boobs and streams of loo paper everywhere else, I’m sure as hell glad it’s batshit-crazy Naomi. She even manages to look almost regal.

Anna Dello Russo shows how to make mentalist work; admittedly, it helps if you’re renowned in the fashion community for making mentalist your uniform. So she’s wearing an egg on her head, a matador’s outfit on her body, the most beautiful pair of gold booties on her feet and her sleeves are detaching themselves from the shoulders – and she looks smokin’. If she got any cooler, Wintour would have to kill her. Maybe.

It was mostly left up to fashion folk to pay tribute so here’s Liu Wen (who?) and Constance Jablonski (who???) in McQueen designs. I love Wen’s sexy number, which is all about the striking neckline and immaculate cut. The smoky eyes, strong lips and fierce cuffs totally work as well, like some classy exceedingly well-dressed dominatrix. I’m less certain about Jablonski’s ensemble – the powdery mottled grey print is soft and lovely, she looks ridiculously long and lean and the metallic belt stops it all from becoming a drippy watercolour. But the elephant in the room is the ruff, which does make it look like Constance’s lovely face is being served up on a platter or has been Photoshopped on afterwards. Then again, she’s a model and ends up looking pretty great anyway.

I lurve Karen Elson’s gold gown with a tarnished antique effect that makes it look like it’s decaying – but in such style! Together with that gorgeous red hair teased over one eye and that flawless porcelain skin, she looks like she could give those 1950s screen sirens a run for their money. Though she’d need to grow some boobs first, obviously.

I also love love love Hilary Rhoda’s Victoriana-esque coat dress. It’s not the kind of thing I usually love and I’m dying to give her a top hat and whip but I just think it looks stunning. It’s something about that crisp white colour and the brilliance of the design and tailoring that makes what is essential a gentleman’s riding jacket… and not even one from this century… look exquisitely feminine, high-fashion and would never have ended up as anything else. And we’ve not even mentioned her Union Jack clutch yet, which is just so many shades of awesome it outshone most of the other red carpet walkers.

Daphne Guinness, Raquel Zimmerman and Coco Rocha all wore looks from McQueen’s most recent collection, designed by (obligatory Royal Wedding mention) Sarah Burton. As you can see, feathers may have been a prominent theme. Coco’s is obviously the most understated and I love the tribal feel of the gold embellishments. Raquel’s is next in the swan evolution line and although that’s a hell of a lot of dress, you gotta love the dramz; it truly is evil black swan princess territory. Finally, we have dear old Daphne, rocking two types of feather and only a few tweets away from sprouting wings – let’s not think how many birds are wandering around bald thanks to this collection – who looks some kind of fabulous. It’s totally outrageous, ridiculously flamboyant and yet it works. It’s more likely that she could lay an egg in it than sit down, but as far as fashion statements go, it’s so gloriously deliciously overblown that I can’t resist. We need more Daphnes on the red carpet – for the lolz if for nothing else.

Trust Sarah Jessica Parker to show everyone how it’s done. To all that thought McQueen was all tartan, spikes and outrageousness, here she showcases classy elegant shimmering sophistication. It’s little unexpected touches like the cowl neck and three-quarter length sleeves that make this even more stunning than your average glittery gown, whilst the ice blue shoes are just so so right. And I get the feeling you don’t often get to say that about ice blue shoes so let’s all wallow in that.

Salma Hayek is a brand ambassador for McQueen so it’s no surprise she turned up wearing the label, even if I’ve never been convinced of the match-up. McQueen often seems too edgy for Hayek and the elaborate designs a little too busy for her short curvy body but this gown is lovely. It’s soft, romantic, flowing and languorous, the draping just so. The colour is a little too close to her skin-tone to make it an unqualified success but the dress itself is beautiful.

And then there’s Chloe Sevigny. I don’t get Chloe’s signature much-feted style and frankly, I’ve given up trying. This is exactly the sort of unflattering frumpy outfit I’d expect her to turn up in, McQueen or not. Her boobs couldn’t get more saggy-looking if you hung weights on them. The iddy-biddy tie is an unnecessary afterthought from a designer staring despondently at the image of Colonel Sanders on his KFC bucket. The hair is just… there. Flatly malevolent. Much like the whole ensemble. Sorry but no.

Pictures: Just Jared, Style.com, Look.co.uk, Socialite Life, Huffington Post Style

Red Carpet Rundown: 2011 Oscar Parties, Part III

Looks like you made it through the sea of bad taste, the Muppets outbreak and the ocean of yawn through to my final red carpet rundown from the 2011 Oscar Parties. Your reward? A dozen or so more dresses to cast judgement on, of course.

Lea Michele in Roberto Cavalli – There’s something slightly schizophrenic about this dress, like it was designed by a Mormon who raved it up in Studio 54 when his parents weren’t watching. For me, the uber-high neckline and long sleeves just don’t work with a dress that’s had Taylor Swift’s entire wardrobe of sequins flung at it. The pattern looks like it’s desperate to become a Union Jack but hasn’t quite made it, and although there is a slight 70s diva charm to it, my overriding feeling is one of ‘ugh’.

Taylor Swift in Zuhair Murad – Taylor’s here to reclaim her sequins. ‘They’re mine, all MINE! …Even the blue ones!’ ‘Wouldn’t it be nice if someone else wore us… just once’ begged Baby Sequin to Poppa Sequin. Pretty enough but even the sequins are starting to look bored of Taylor’s signature look.

Selena Gomez in Dolce & Gabanna – This is also standard for Selena, namely wearing dresses that are more grown-up than she is. I think this red gown is gorgeous (particularly the double straps) but I think I’d love it even more on someone taller, older and who isn’t dating Justin Bieber. How about giving it to me?

Kate Beckinsale in Julien Macdonald – If this was America’s Next Top Model, Kate would be receiving first call-out for this picture. Girlfriend is working it! Putting away my inner Tyra for a minute, this is a smouldering number that takes the basic shape of Lea Michele’s misfire and remembers to add some sex to the equation. Add Kate, who exudes a sense of stardom strong enough to make you forget she’s never really been in any good movies, and you have a winner.

Anna Kendrick in Marchesa – They say that ‘Life is like a box of chocolates’, so Anna came dressed as one. Specifically, a Valentines gift box. Needless to say, what works for a Thorntons shelf doesn’t necessarily translate to the red carpet.

Emma Stone in Chanel Couture – I don’t think I even need to mention the hair anymore so let’s head straight to the outfit. A top with a print that looks like it was made with 90s Clipart pictures of fireworks, a lace skirt that’s sprouted a ponytail and all in dark colours that seem at odds with Emma’s typically sunny disposition (and sitcom hair). And yet… perhaps I’ve been writing too long, perhaps I’m just willing to forgive the lovely Emma anything (including hair made of straw) but colour me crazy, I think it works.

Zoe Saldana in Prabal Gurung – I never thought pink and red were a great match yet Zoe carries it off with such aplomb that I almost wasn’t reminded of a Hallmark display. However, the ruff?! There’s a reason no one but clowns have worn these since Tudor times. I do applaud the candle holder/ornamental Turkish Delight box as a handbag though. In fact, I’m not sure it’s even supposed to be a handbag… just Zoe trying to extract some sort of use from the pretty frippery you find scattered in aspirational lifestyle stores and find yourself buying even though they have no other ostensible purpose than to sit and look pretty. Much like Jessica Biel. Ornamental Turkish Delight box may even have had more charisma in The A-Team too.

Emma Roberts and Ashley Tisdale in Jenny Packham – I really love Jenny Packham dresses. They don’t involve models wearing gimp masks down the catwalk, they don’t require “directional” (e.g. freaky scary) make-up to look their best and they don’t try and hit so many trends that they look like a fashion editor’s mood board just vomited itself onto an unsuspecting passer-by. They’re unashamedly pretty, feminine, feature liberal use of sparkle and are all the better for it. Emma Roberts’ dress is probably my favourite of all the Oscar party outfits (and indeed, edges out most of the gowns from the main event); I just love the way the sleeves sit and how it seems that a star is exploding from the gown’s middle. Shame it’s on Emma, who excites me about as much as a film starring Jessica Biel, Elizabeth Banks, Kate Bosworth AND Jessica Alba (in case you’re new here, that’s marginally less than staring at a blank screen). I like Ashley Tisdale a whole lot more but like her dress a little bit less – but it’s still a gorgeous shimmering champagne colour and I love that twisted shoulder detail.

Kerry Washington in Escada – Having sported thick heavy bangs (or as it was known then, a fringe) for most of my youth, whenever I see this hairdo, I immediately start having traumatic flashbacks to the pain and months of impaired vision that growing it out entailed. So, I’m not usually a fan (see Sandra Bullock at this year’s Golden Globes). But I actually like the blunt bangs on Kerry and it plays in well with the metallic line details on her glittering diva gown. I’d say it was sassy if I didn’t hate the word.

Paz Vega in Giambattista Valli – This is just lovely, soft and unexpected. It feels a little more suited to a charity lunch or a day at the races but it’s still a stand-out amongst all the sequins and vampy colours. Pretty yet directional thanks to the strong but squishy shape, the romantic ruffly skirt makes me thinks of pillows, clouds, marshmallows and meadows of spring flowers. All good connotations, let me assure you.