The universe seemed to conspire against my being able to watch the Golden Globes last night. Cable at the house in East Hampton was busted and driving back we got waylaid at a painter friend's studio where we spent close to 2 hours of primetime Red Carpet viewing looking at his most recent work. Reading in the NY Times a couple of days ago about the new breed of super stylists in Hollywood and their scientific methods for "branding", "positioning" and "monetizing" their clients by way of a dress on the red carpet was almost enough to put me off the whole awards season. Memories of my brushes with Hollywood and the stylists who warehoused, dirtied and stole clothes in the name of servicing their clients gave my already unsettled stomach a twinge. I was luckier than most with an amazing PR firm out there, LA Film Fashion run by a super pro, Susan Ashbrook, but nevertheless some unfortunate things happened that were beyond even her capable staff's control. It was tough enough then having to compete with the likes of Valentino, Gucci, Chanel and Versace, not to mention Vera Wang, Randolph Duke, Badgley Mischka, and Oscar de la Renta. Now you have to get past the gatekeepers of the stylists. Everybody's a reality star. Rache, the Bradster, and a herd of others are much worse than the Philip Blochs, Debra Waknins, and Jessica Pasters, who by the way were not always easy but always professional. Now a designer has to kiss so many asses there's little energy left to get the job done...and it showed last night BIG TIME .
You know its a slow night when the girl on stage who directs traffic has a better dress than just about everyone else. Like I ranted a year or so ago, it's all about the train wreck. Every gown with the exception of the girl who directs traffic had a train that dragged, got mangled, soiled or caused pile-ups going up to the stage. It reminded me of codpieces in Elizabethan England: who's packing the biggest, heaviest, most awesome load? The ladies seemed to be competing to see who could take up the most space. Skinny, inked and shrivelled arms (Angelina and Madonna) with constricted and miniscule torsos (Angelina again, Nicole, Reese, Salma and Kate Beckinsale), some exaggerated and curious hip action ( Natalie Portman, Sophia Vergara and Charlize) and then the endless sweep of interminably voluminous trains (Sophia Vergara, Tina Fey, Charlize, Madonna, Jessica Biel,etc).
Even maverick Tilda Swinton seemed caught up in the madness of the moment with her charmless Haider Ackerman that looked more like Escada. Methinks the renegade doth protest too much. She looked like a caricature of herself in someone else's dress in a screwy color to boot. Jessica Biel was unusually depressing in that lace and beaded Elie Saab shroud. It looked like a Ralph Lauren wagon train wedding dress after a particularly arduous westward crossing.
Why is it Tadashi Shoji is the go-to guy for large size black actresses who are nominated and win the big prizes? I say good for him, but what about the actresses? Why don't they get the great dress? Octavia Spencer won for best supporting actress for The Help and looked like the one girl in the room that no one bet on. She more than deserved the win and her humble gown made so many others look that much more vulgar. Speaking of actresses of color, Viola Davis in her Pucci gown was a vision of loveliness. Glenn Close looked killer in her subdued and severe black velvet and satin ensemble. Jane Fonda rocked too. Charlize Theron has that high wattage star power glamour that not even a silly dress (Dior) can dim. Same goes for Kate Beckinsale. She looks like the real deal in Cavalli, or at least last night she did. Piper Perabo in Theory looked fetching. Ingenues who dress like ingenues always work in my book. Julianne Moore in Chanel looked great, too.
Michelle Williams is a very pretty girl who should choose her dresses with extra care. In Chanel at last year's Oscars she hammered the competition but last night in Jason Wu(who?) she was like a guest at a wedding on Long Island. The headband couldn't lift that look. Reem Acra (Madonna) and Marc Jacobs (Amanda Peet) should sit out the dance for a while. It's just not working. The same can be said for Zac Posen (Reese Witherspoon and Elle Macpherson). It's no fun when they see you sweat...Givenchy Couture got some penalty points for the confection worn by Jessica Chastain. Sleeveless, beaded, turtle-necked gowns in white conjure images of retired figure skaters at testimonial dinners. She looked to be channeling Tanya Harding, who by the way was a much better skater than Nancy Kerrigan, with or without the metal pipe.
So there you have it. With the Screen Actors Guild Awards coming, the Blockbusters, if they still exist and the granddaddy of them all, the Oscars, there are a few opportunities left for these girls to get it right. I'll have the cable guy come and fix the problem and start hoarding popcorn in the meanwhile. Tomorrow is another day to be great!
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