Standing O, Hell No, or So-So: Oscars 2019

Putting the asset in Bassett

Putting the asset in Bassett

I thought I was being wholly original last night when I texted a friend to say I disliked the Oscar’s stage and that the wave overhead looked like a toupee to which she replied - like Trump’s hair! I giggled and couldn’t wait to add our observation to this post until I awoke to everyone in the universe having seen the same thing. Well, it bears repeating and so here you go with a visual.

The subliminals here are killing me.

The subliminals here are killing me.

Another point of discussion before I can give full attention to the dresses is that I continue to weep openly in the aftermath of the performance by Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga of Shallow. If they can conjure that much emotion onstage in three minutes God help me when I actually get around to watching the movie. I’ve decided I must see it completely solo save for an entire box of Kleenex. Look at this still from last night and tell me you didn’t cry:

I want to squeeze in between them on the piano bench and absorb this love.

I want to squeeze in between them on the piano bench and absorb this love.

Remaining on the topic of Bradley Cooper, it needs to be said that if orange is the new black then Bradley and Irina Shayk are the new edibles. Look at how delicious these two look together even with the addition of his mother:

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I’m feeling I can now give full attention to the outfits. Shall we begin with the pinks since that was declared the color of the evening? For me, Angela Bassett (my lead photo) took the rose colored cake. When she emerged in Reem Acra with her hair trailing down her back I gasped. For all that is good and holy she is 60 years old. Standing O!

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Witness Helen Mirren in Schiaparelli Haute Couture. This woman is a certifiable fashion icon. She is exquisite in every way and I want to channel her spirit daily. Standing O!

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This Giambattista Valli gown on Kacey Musgraves split me right down the middle. Initially it set my heart on fire when I saw it from overhead and then I cooled down when I took in the entire look. For me, the dramatic ruffles at the shoulder were a win as was the color and that divine belt/brooch; But when I assessed it as a whole, the additional tulle at the neck and in the layers of the skirt made it skew too sweet for me. Overall this look merits a So-So.

The reds are up next - red gowns on a red carpet never lose their luster for me. These two were done particularly well:

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Jennifer Hudson in house favorite, Elie Saab, is pure fire. She has so much presence and this dress carries her forward. Standing O!

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Marina de Tavira made her Oscar debut in scarlet J Mendel. Here is a perfect example of tiered tulle done with an exact hand. Standing O!

Shall we inspect the sparkly gowns?

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For a woman who has been nominated for exactly zero Academy Awards, J Lo has won her share of red carpets. Here she is absolutely slaying in glitzy Tom Ford. Standing O!

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I was very taken by this Miu Miu on Amandla Stenberg. The fit is extraordinary especially at the bodice. The color is exquisite against her flawless skin. This is a case of the right dress on the right girl. Standing O!

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Emma Stone’s charms must truly transcend the screen because somehow she always gets Louis Vuitton to create the most unique and fitting dresses for her. This copper column with flared sleeves is a visual delight and merits a Standing O!

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Glenn Close in Carolina Herrera breaks my heart a little. This is a woman who clearly dressed to win. Unfortunately for her, she didn’t take home the Oscar but she was living her best life in this dress last night. Standing O for all the gravity she brought to the carpet!

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This Elie Saab on Michelle Yeoh is the definition of elegance. It’s beyond stunning and she carries it so regally. This was one of my most favorite dresses of the night. Standing O!

Let’s forge ahead with the whites!

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The architecture of the top of this Versace is amazing on Amy Adams. The shape of her is off the charts here. She looks sexy and polished and perfect. Standing O!

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The house of Oscar de la Renta knows how to create a red carpet moment and Regina King elevated their design immeasurably with her beauty and grace. Top marks for restrained jewelry and pairing with white pumps. Standing O!

Let’s look at a few outlying colors that were none-the-less impactful on the carpet:

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I loved Constance Wu in this delicate yellow Versace. Her stylist, Micaela Erlanger, is genius in keeping her fresh ceremony after ceremony. The bodice is so original and the gown is fitted to perfection. Standing O!

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Oh to be as glamorous as Charlize Theron in Dior with, as a friend commented, “hands down thee best jewelry of the night” by Bulgari. This look felt wholly different from what everyone else was wearing and all the more important for that distinction. Standing O!

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Tina Fey doesn’t always hit her fashion mark but she nailed it in this royal blue Vera Wang. Standing O!

Let me not deprive you of the men. Most notably, Chris Evans in blue velvet:

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When Regina King’s hem caught on her heels on her way to accept her Oscar, Chris Evans leapt to his feet to guide her safely up the stairs to the stage. It melted my heart. It didn’t hurt that he looked as gallant as his actions. Standing O, handsome gentleman!

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This Dior on Nicholas Hoult represented an interesting and notable fashion moment. With designers blurring the lines between distinctly male and female creations, this one was a lovely melding. The extra pleating at the chest and the embellishment of a small train were unexpected and yet still appeared subdued and elegant in monochrome black. Standing O!

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As a fashion moment, Billy Porter in Christian Siriano refused to be ignored. But that’s the whole point. This over-the-top creation is very on-brand for him and he played his hand perfectly. He took a big risk here and because it suits him so well and he carried the look with such force, I give him a Standing O!

This was the year the Red Carpet got its groove back. We witnessed a lot of fun and dynamic fashion moments. Folks weren’t afraid to go big and make a statement. Also, we were allowed to discuss the fashion openly again and let’s be honest, that’s what we all tune in for. Overall I award the 2019 Oscars a Standing O!

Standing O or Hell No: SAG Awards 2019

Shangela in Christian Siriano

Shangela in Christian Siriano

The SAG awards are the espresso shot we all need mid-awards season. Our collective attention admittedly begins to wane after back to back red/silver/blue carpets but SAG is a big enough deal to pull our eyes front and center again. I woke right up when Shangela emerged onto the carpet in Christian Siriano. That is the volume and drama I wait for and those ombre ruffles were captivating. I wasn’t in love with the hair/make-up styling as I wished it was softer but overall this gown gave me the WOW factor I desired. Standing O!

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First of all: POLKA DOTS! Timothee Chalamet nailed it in this look by Celine. He managed to look elevated and appropriate while also edgey, cool, and young. Standing O!

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I adored this delicate accordion pleat dress on Lyric Ross. If I could tweak anything, I’d add a deep-red lip but it remains a Standing O!

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Again I’d lobby for a strong red lip but Rachel Weisz comes off completely regal and modern here. I fully support the interplay of colors and textures present and that belt is acting as its best self. Standing O!

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The majesty of this gown worn by Elizabeth McLaughlin is making me light-headed. The color and the fit and the subtle sparkle and the drape: Standing O! I can’t find the designer credit which is agitating me but let’s admire it in action:

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I love that Gaga chose this Dior and did nothing to make it look intentionally weird. Her jewelry is exquisite and modern and very on-brand for her and the whole look amounts to a Standing O!

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I wasn’t completely sold on the Dior worn by Rachel Brosnahan but her head looks so impeccable that I had to highlight this achievement. Her hair and make-up are sublime and the way the dress matches her eyes is major and most importantly THOSE EARRINGS: Standing O for the styling of her upper self. The dress was very pretty but something about the fit of the top portion got stuck in my craw.

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Just as Gretchen needs to stop trying to make fetch happen, Louis Vuitton needs to stop trying to make harnesses happen. Michael B Jorden is exceedingly handsome but this overlay is harshing his vibe and also my vibe. Hell No!

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Nailing it all season long is Patricia Clarkson in Zuhair Murad. Standing O! And a special shout to her stylist, Victor Blanco, for the superior work he has put in carpet after carpet.

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Initially I wasn’t on board with the wings atop this Michael Kors but I’ve since become enamored with the overall effect. I like that Emily Blunt is owning it and that she chose to do something different here with the color and the drama of the top. It paid off in WOW factor in large part to how well she sold it. Standing O!

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I like this anti-gown moment by Emma Stone in Louis Vuitton. The intricacy of the top keeps her looking polished and appropriate and the fact that she wore two pieces goes a long way in making this look a distinct moment on the carpet. Standing O!

Standing O or Hell No: Golden Globes 2019

Patricia Clarkson in Georges Chakra

Patricia Clarkson in Georges Chakra

Miriam Maisel and I have been leading parallel lives - in our unwavering dedication to fashion and in our active attempts to keep our side-hustles on the down low. By now everyone knows not only that she is a comedian but (thanks to Rolling Stone, Forbes, and the LA Times!!) that I’ve been spending oodles of time launching Rogue Paq, my luxury vape case. And so I will accept your forgiveness for my lack of blog posts. I am keenly aware, however, that your tolerance does not extend to major award shows and so let’s get down to the business of evaluating this fashion, shall we?

Patricia Clarkson (above) wore one of my favorite Golden Globes 2019 gowns. This Georges Chakra is exquisite - from the ombre color to the sheer cape to the impeccable fit. Standing O!

Regina King in Alberta Ferretti

Regina King in Alberta Ferretti

Metallics always please me on the red carpet and this Alberta Ferretti is no exception. Regina King is breathtaking in this hue and the fit is perfection. She looks every bit the winner which, of course, she is. Standing O!

Felicity Huffman

Felicity Huffman

Felicity Huffman is like Benjamin Button of Hollywood. The years pass and somehow she keeps looking younger and sexier. Whatever miracle CBD potion she is guzzling, I want in. For some reason, I cannot find a designer credit for this sparkly sensation but alas she looks tremendous and deserves a Standing O!

Saorise Ronan in Gucci

Saorise Ronan in Gucci

This Gucci is a silver dream on Saorise Ronan. It manages to be sexy and regal and perfect. Extra points for that strong lip and those luscious earrings. Standing O!

Gemma Chan

Gemma Chan

Wearing shorts ala Demi Moore circa 1989 to the Golden Globes continues to be a risk - but one that paid off for Gemma Chan. I like how, in this application, the shorts are just a punctuation to the incredible volume of the skirt. The color is outstanding and her lip color is top form. Standing O!

Dakota Fanning in Armani Prive

Dakota Fanning in Armani Prive

Dakota Fanning in white Armani Prive is a testament to the splendor afforded by perfect fit. The dress is pretty enough but the weight and impact of her look comes from how it appears to be molded on her form. Standing O!

Nicole Kidman in Michael Kors

Nicole Kidman in Michael Kors

Nicole Kidman in this liquid burgundy Michael Kors is tremendous! How she manages to maintain her sleek figure is beyond all logic and reason but I will chalk it up to sorcery as occasion dictates. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, this dress lends a lot of its power to perfect fit. Standing O!

Julia Roberts in Stella McCartney

Julia Roberts in Stella McCartney

This is the best Julia Roberts has looked at an awards show in a long time. This anti-dress by Stella McCartney suits her perfectly and I’d be remiss not to give credit where credit is due: to her amazing stylist, Elizabeth Stewart. Standing O, Team Julia!

Penelope Cruz in Ralph and Russo

Penelope Cruz in Ralph and Russo

Penelope Cruz is a perpetual favorite for me not only because of her timeless beauty but because she always has a perfect sense of occasion as demonstrated by this voluminous Ralph and Russo gown. The iridescent black, the bustier top, the bow, the décolletage: Standing O!

Sandra Oh in Versace

Sandra Oh in Versace

Undeniably it was a big night for Sandra Oh and she nailed the red carpet in this draped Versace. It goes without saying: Standing OH!

Judy Greet in Alberta Ferretti

Judy Greet in Alberta Ferretti

If you recall from such times as two minutes ago, Regina King also wore Alberta Ferretti and yet she is flawless. This tux on Judy Greer is so mis-managed I can barely form words other than these: WHAT IN THE HELL IS GOING ON HERE AND WHO IS RESPONSIBLE?!?!?? I’ll wait.

Hell No!

Standing O, Hell No, or So-So: BAFTA Brittannia Awards


We all know that speech sounds better with a British accent but the real question is do outfits sound better with a British accent? Let’s judge this by reviewing the recent BAFTA Brittania Awards.

Cate Blanchett and Joan Collins support our theory that outfits looks better ummmm…British. Normally I’d deduct points for Joan’s flesh colored hose but she gets a pass because her shoes are sexy and evocative of Dynasty, she is wearing an Alexis Bittar necklace, and, well, just BRITISH. Cate is forever and always perfection and I forgive her dress being a few inches too long for reasons stated above. Standing O for both glorious gals!

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Viola Davis is stunning in Bibhu Mohapatra. A tip of our hat to her for leaning on the winter-white trend which is ubiquitous right now. And also thank you, Viola, for not wearing a hat because that hair is a halo of beauty. Question: how does she get her skin to glow like that? My suspicion is that she is not fully human and somehow aliens are lighting her from within. She is American and not wearing a British designer but she is IN in Britain so aliens or not, she is afforded extra points. Standing O!

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Isabella Blake-Thomas is a mere sixteen years old and she looks absolutely enchanting in this multi colored floral gown for which I cannot locate a design credit. My only request would be a stronger lip and perhaps some lashes so that her eyes get the credit that they duly deserve. Also - she’s British so Standing O!

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Don’t get me wrong, dear readers, I’m in no way promoting this dress worn by Lady Victoria Hervey. However, she IS the woman who typically shows up mostly naked and forces me to make jokes like: Victoria seemingly has very few secrets. From that perspective, let’s agree this is an upgrade and call it a So-So since undergarments nor nether regions are actively being revealed. If BRITISH can save LVH then our theory has been tested and proven.

Standing O or Hell No: Emmys 2018

Marsai Martin

Marsai Martin

Growing up in a house with ten children, you can imagine that our family gatherings were enormous. Needless to say, my parents hosted every holiday because no one else could accommodate. But we kids had a system for overwhelming events such as these. As the first few visitors would arrive, we would send the youngest downstairs in order to “warm up the crowd” as we’d call it. This way by the time the elders of us appeared, the relatives were already satiated with the cuteness of the littles and we were mostly left alone to chat among ourselves.

The outfits at last night’s Emmys reminded me a little of our warming-up-the-crowd party strategy except in this application, I felt the attendees’ outfits were doing the warming. To translate, it seemed to me that the red carpet was filled with very pretty looks but nothing that caused me to faint. It’s my view that people are saving up their fire looks for the upcoming (and more gravitational) award ceremonies. Let’s review.

One of my favorite looks of the evening was Marsai Martin in Viktor & Rolf above. She looks lovely and fun and elegant and at the same time age appropriate. Standing O!

Trevor Noah in Christian Louboutin Shoes

Trevor Noah in Christian Louboutin Shoes

Trevor Noah also came correct: the shawl collar, the velvet trim that speaks to the velvet shoes, THOSE DIMPLES. Standing O!

Dakota Fanning

Dakota Fanning

Dakota Fanning in Dior Haute Couture is pretty and diaphonous. My favorite element, as I suspect it might be yours, is this particular shade of green. I wish she hadn’t gone matchy- matchy with her jewelry but overall her look is successful. Standing O!


Tiffany Haddish is the darling of pretty much everyone at the moment and I think this Prabal Gurung gown-of-joyous-colors underscores that. She said its hues were inspired by the colors of the Eritrean flag which is a nod to her late father’s heritage. The sentiment, as well as the way she is wearing the dress (with gusto and zeal) is delightful. I also deeply respect that she took a risk (to me that risk is in resembling a hot air balloon) but somehow her beauty and effervescence allows her to pull this off despite the high degree of difficulty in execution. Standing O! Let’s witness a twirl:


And one that didn’t work out so well despite everyone’s best efforts:


I cannot get behind this Gucci tux on Deon Cole. Nor can I get in front of it or to the side of it. Hell No!

NY Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2019: BOSS

                                            Me in an Alexander McQueen cape dress

                                            Me in an Alexander McQueen cape dress

New York Fashion Week is never not fun; Even when it is deluged by rain and when every attendee is pitted against one another steel-cage-match-style for available Ubers. In my view, that sort of healthy competition takes the weak out of fashion week.

In the spirit of only the strong will survive, yesterday Boss hosted their fashion show in Basketball City and displayed zero compunction about dragging us to the EAST side piers. Many arrived grumbling but were instantly and irrevocably charmed when we found these on our seats:

Mute my heinous voice please

That LED pin was all it took to reduce us to giddy 5 year olds. I will cherish mine forever more. That is, if my kids every give it back.

As an aside: HOT FASHION SHOW TIP...always but ALWAYS ask to use the restrooms upon arriving. If necessary, make it appear urgent. Following this protocol yesterday my sister and I were immediately shown BACK STAGE as these were the only restrooms available. Needless to say we pranced all around, intermingled with the models, reviewed the beauty tables, had the door held for us by Tim Hardaway Jr, and then almost walked directly out onto the stage before a women in a headset warned us if we went out that particular door we'd be making our runway debut. We came out of our reverie just in time to make it back to our seats to view the collection.

As for the was pretty if not transportive. There were a few pieces (namely a color-blocked tote and a gray men's duffel) that I eyed longingly but in the end my conclusion is that I already miss Jason Wu. If only the strongest survive, I fear for the fate of this new artistic director. But I will never ever fear for the fate of fashion week. Look how happy we are:

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The Reason For Another Season

                                                 I dare you to find fault with these.

                                                 I dare you to find fault with these.

Admittedly, in the summertime, it takes a hell of a lot to get me to look up from my Tanqueray and Tonic. Kids are screaming, doors are flying open and closed and open and closed, ice pops are being demanded, and I mostly am trying to transcend the craziness with a cocktail and a beloved book. Today, however, my IG feed came to a screeching halt (and the world may have stopped turning on its axis) when my eyes landed upon these square-toed hybrid boots from the Alexander McQueen Autumn/Winter 2018 collection. They are so perfectly pretty and modern and badass that I'm almost willing to bid the summer adieu just to have a reason to wear these beauties. If we can agree collectively that I may don these every single day, then this might be the first year of my life when I do not attempt to cling to summer, like a 3 year old on the first day of preschool, by stubbornly continuing to wear open-toed shoes well  into October. Discuss among yourselves then please, dear readers, make this allowance for me.

Who Should Rock It: Fall Couture Week 2018-19

One of the hallmarks of a good friendship is that no matter how long you've been out of touch, you can spark up a conversation and it will feel as if no time has passed.  On that note, HELLO GOOD FRIENDS, it's Friday and it's raining and it's Fall Couture Week so let's play a quick game of Who Should Rock It. First up this lemony dream above by Ralph and Russo.  I nominate Zendaya.  

Ralph and Russo's entire collection was extremely strong (as usual); And whereas I think this garnet beauty would wrinkle the second you looked at it, I still adore it and feel Saoirse Ronan would be resplendent in it.


This sparkler (a third Ralph and Russo) looks very Naomi Watts to me. This is what Cinderella would wear if she was conceived of in 2018.


Last Ralph and Russo, I promise. I'd like to drop the cape from this one and toss it on Margot Robbie.


Zuhair Murad seemed to derive a lot of inspiration from the Heavenly Bodies Met Gala theme. I'd LOVE to drape this upon Jessica Chastain. For my money, I'll always take a red-head in peacock blue.


This second Zuhair Murad is both elegant and odd and it would work perfectly on Cate Blanchett.

Speaking of odd and elegant, let's look at a few from Iris Van Herpen...


It's like a spider being electrocuted and I am enamored. Obviously, though, it requires a lot of chutzpah to wear. Thandie Newton could own it.

One more for good luck.  Let's do a wild card - again from Iris Van Herpen...


If I were permitted, I'd style Nicole Kidman's hair in long loose waves and put her in this bizarrely beautiful gown.  She's terrific in green and it would be refreshing to see her in something so modern and playful.


Kate Spade Dies at Age 55

By now you've surely read that Kate Spade died yesterday in NY at her Park Avenue home - and that apparently it was  a suicide. I think many of us, myself included, were stunned as everything we've ever intuited about her through her brand, Kate Spade, has been sunny and cheerful and, in one word: Perfect. Hers is one of the best NY success stories ever - a handbag line she began in her apartment with her soon-to-be-husband became a multi-billion dollar brand through her creativity and care.

The first thought that struck me when I read the news was: but WHY? It seemed inconceivable to me. And therein lies the one good thing that might come out of this situation: the chance to talk openly about mental health and the forms it takes and how no amount of success creates an escape when severe illness is left untreated or treated insufficiently. I'm so incredibly saddened by this news - for the fear and loneliness she must have been feeling, for the aftermath her family must endure - especially her 13 year old daughter, and for all of those suffering silently as she did. May she be at rest, may those who are restless and struggling be granted the strength to reach out and secure the help they need, and may the lot of us through education and openness become more keen observers and helpful hands any time we sense someone needs us.

The Royal Wedding: Never Too Much Commentary

In all of the vast coverage of the royal wedding my favorite observation was someone celebrating that the world has been given an opportunity to unite over LOVE.  Among the many reasons this stunning couple have to be proud, for me, this is foremost and I consider it a great gift.  Thank you, Royals, for elevating the human condition if even for a brief time.

Now for a few other observations beginning, obviously, with THE dress.  My money was down hard on Roland Mouret as the designer (British, an obvious front runner) and was shocked she chose Givenchy - until it donned on me that the (female!!) creative head, Clare Waight Keller, is British.  Stellar choice given the outcome.

If I had three words to describe Meghan they'd be: dignified, modern, and refined.  These attributes were brought to form in her gown.  Her style always puts her beauty at the very center and this design followed suit.  Meghan, the woman, shined most brightly.  But that tiara - GASP! We have all dreamed of that very tiara sitting atop our heads.

An overhead view perhaps?

Something else worth pointing out is that Kate Middleton paved the way for this paired-back look.  While her Alexander McQueen was definitely more embellished, it was still very spare compared to royal wedding looks of the past.  At the time I was on the fence about it because somehow I wanted MORE; but I think what Kate did was introduce us to the modern bride and how restraint can be so refined.  That being said, Meghan made her own mark as she so clearly is her own woman.  She is an amazing ambassador for the monarchy.

Look at the LIGHT on her in this photo:

And her after-ceremony Stella McCartney!!!:

Those shoulders!! This dress is exquisite and, again, very on brand for her. I'd be remiss not to mention that Harry looks like Bond here.  He's a beautiful man.

It's a damn shame I don't have the time to discuss this ALL DAY LONG but alas, my kids don't seem to be watching themselves.  Quickly, though, I need to shout out props to the Clooneys as they added to the beauty of the day:

Amal is absolute perfection.  I am sweating every detail of this outfit including her arm candy. These two didn't hurt the landscape either:

And last but not least, Meghan's super dignified mother, Doria Ragland, in Oscar de la Renta. She is gorgeous and glowing. A tip of the hat to her for dropping her daughter off onto the royal grounds, walking in alone, with pride, and quietly, quietly, letting her daughter shine:

Cannes You Believe I Haven't Posted Yet

Tons can be said about the Cannes film festival but I would like to say, first and foremost, that it really does bring out the pun-ster in all of us. In my opinion, it benefits everyone if we get full mileage out of the Cannes/can (Also Can-can!) homonym situation. Secondly, this particular festival also seems to bring out the extreme glamour in all of us. It is such a romantic and fabled setting that women attending have historically been moved to don some of the most extraordinary gowns. This year's representation has not disappointed thus far.  Shall we?

Cate Blanchett, AKA Madame President, has been turning up the fashion volume as evidenced by her Mary Katrantzou gown in the above photo - the print, the color, the asymmetry are all exquisite! Another favorite was her rainbow Givenchy:


What a glorious confection! Cate is clearly allergic to boring. More evidence in Iris Van Herpen:


Lest you think only Cate Blanchett is allowed to attend the festival, let's review a few other stunning looks of which there were many.

Aishwarya Rai's Michael Cinco butterfly gown is quite simply a masterpiece.  I read that it required 3,000 hours to make.  I feel this was time well spent. Let's peek at the back:

Cannes also seems to inspire bold color choices which never fail to delight me!

This mossy green on Winnie Harlow is so stunning. And those strappy gold sandals are the perfect complement.

Polka dots anyone?

Bruna Marquezine looks lovely in this Philosophy Di Lorenzo Serafini gown. Polka dots are the salve for all that ails me.

One last look.  This from my fashion muse, Diane Kruger:

She appears so regal in this Armani and the color is ethereal and charming.  The fit is also sensational!

Can Cannes con someone into raging on for another week?? (I'm sorry but I'm sure you can see the necessity.)


Standing O or Hell No: Met Gala 2018

Last night was the Met Gala which everyone in the fashion community pretty much dies over and everyone outside the fashion community pretty much doesn't give a hoot about. There are no awards. No one is even allowed to document what happens inside. But it is always one RAGER of a costume ball and even though I detest costumes, if Versace and Galliano are making them, I am here for it.

This year's theme was Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination. Whoever came up with this theme not only delighted Madonna beyond but was also brilliant because Catholic iconography has so much from which to draw. The church has always relied upon strong imagery to convey messages and to unite its constituents and this was all fodder for costume creation. I won't lie, I feared some fairly blasphemous stuff but all in all I thought the interpretations were pretty tame. Speaking of Madonna, let's review:


If there WERE awards and one was for Lifetime Achievement, Madonna clearly would've been exalted. This woman has been appropriating the imagery of Catholicism for her entire career.  Her Galliano is just another permutation of what she has always done and I feel it's a success.  It is a nod to the nun's habit and incorporates enough crosses to adorn every attendee.  Standing O.

In my opinion, Blake Lively (above) did a stellar job of embracing the theme and still looking gorgeous (vs overly costumey, ala Rhianna).  She drew on important symbolism in Catholicism - red (blood, tongues of fire), gold (Byzantium, feast colors), gilding (the Church and the Baroque), gems (often applied to holy vestments), and the crown (evocative of a halo and also the crown of Mary). Standing O.  Let's get a side view:

I have two bones which require picking in regards to last night's showing:

1) No one wore the thing I designed in my mind (how rude!) which was a white gown with train of enormous volume and proportion upon which a gorgeous Michelangelo fresco was painted.  Versace, I was counting on you!

2) The crown/halo idea was the crutch of the event.  Many attendees leaned on it and felt that it alone propped them up to meet the theme's requirements. Kinda like when you work in a Business Casual environment and people feel anything goes as long as they do not wear denim or sneakers.  In both instances, this might be the letter of the law but not the spirit of the law.  The crown parade, to me, just looked like Coachella on speed (ok ok, Coachella is always on speed but you get what I mean) and it just wasn't enough.  This group collectively receives a Hell No.

So, let's review a few more folks who tried to do THE MOST.


Diane Kruger brought it as she always does: blue (the color for Mary), gilding, ethereal crown.  Standing O!


Lily Collins's make-up game is always so strong. I love that she used the tear to evoke the Sacred Heart which weeps blood. Standing O.


Dear Versace, this was clearly YOUR EVENT fashion-wise. I know you dressed a ton of folks but in my fashion heart what I really wanted was more, bigger, and bolder of what you did here for The Migos who, by the way, get a Standing O.  For me, Donatella, you disappointed simply because you had a literal treasure trove of Catholic iconography at your fingertips and this is what you chose:


You should've OWNED this gala with your personal selection.  This was a missed opportunity and therefore a Hell No.


No one but no one can claim that Chadwick Boseman did not commit to the theme.  Standing O.

Excluding Zendaya as Saint Joan of Arc in Versace was an egregious oversight on my part.  I'm not sure how I missed this look on the first go-around (I honestly did not see it!) but due to an impassioned plea from my bestie, you may all behold this lovely image.  Standing O!





Brooks Brothers Brings It (Sort of)

Many moons ago I worked for Brooks Brothers at their flagship store on Madison Avenue. During my tenure I took it upon myself to seek and gain permission to throw a huge party (complete with a fashion show) in honor of the area concierges who we courted for referrals.  It was an enormous success in the end but hours before the event I:

1) passed out twice due to low blood sugar AND

2) was forced to forgo wearing the elegant Saint Laurent dress I had selected in lieu of something in the BB collection

While this request from headquarters was not unreasonable, I must remind you, dear reader, that these were days prior to Zac Posen grabbing the creative reins of Brooks Brothers Women's collection.  Suffice it to say, there was nothing as crisp and tidy as the Carolina Herrera-inspired ensemble that Yara Shahidi is wearing in the above photo for the Brooks Brothers Bicentennial Party.  I ended up in a black gown that I was fairly certain I'd seen on Blanche from the Golden Girls.  Let's put it this way - it looked better on Blanche since my physique resembles that of a 12 year old boy.

Years later I am pleased to see that the BB Bicentennial Party had a modicum of gravitas which I credit wholly to Zac Posen and his lady posse (Possen?!). Let's look at how he dressed his pals.

While I'm not completely wow-ed by this dress, neither is it terrible nor sitting in Blanche's closet:

We are still dealing with a very classic and conservative brand so I should be thankful for the small things, such as this splash of red:

Ladies and gentleman, all this to say that these gowns feel current and reflect well on the two hundred year old brand.  May they never again match their styles to the age of their brand.

Hey Look Everyone: SHOES!


Dear God,

I need to be honest with you.  This weather isn't doing much for your reputation.  I've been hearing your name a lot lately, but in unfriendly, and often aggressive, contexts.  Perhaps a few more degrees will increase your approval rating?  In the meantime, because I like you, I'll attempt to distract them with images of pretty shoes.  In my experience, this technique rarely fails.  Feel free to use it when necessary.  Here goes...

Hey look everyone - SHOES!!!







Standing O or Hell No: Oscars 2018

Due to the fact that I was traveling I did not watch the Academy Awards red carpet last night.  Of course I was monitoring every arrival and refreshing the feed with such urgency that my phone felt like a burning ember; But still, to me, this was like waking up on December 26th and realizing that OOOOOPS I missed Christmas. I am less sad, however, about missing the actual show.  As Drew Magary hilariously points out in his Hater's Guide to the Oscars, "...if you go by the analytics, sleeping through the Oscars is always the correct decision.  The data is ironclad."  He observes that there was no way the Academy would allow anything akin to the amazing and amusing Best Picture snafu of last year and so it was far better to just hedge and snooze instead.  To his point, I was already caught up by 12:01 am.

An unintended yet joyful consequence of the all-black Golden Globes and BAFTAs is the collective feeling of Oh Yay The Color Hunger Strike is Over!  Let's review what happened last night and let's start with Zendaya (above) in her creamy brown Giambattista Valli. This look was a feast for my hungry eyes.  Brown is pretty unexpected for the red carpet (and reminds me of chocolate which is a bonus) and her execution was utterly flawless.  I have stared at her for far longer than I feel comfortable admitting.  Standing O!

I fainted when I saw Zendaya and then was revived and fainted again when I saw Nicole:

This entire look is: How To Dress for the Red Carpet When You Are a Movie Star.  I might not have selected that specific black shoe but as for the dress, Armani is displaying its best here. I love that this was styled simply with diamond chandelier earrings and Nicole's lovliness was the center piece.  Standing O!

The banquet of beauty did not end there.  To mix metaphors, let's march through the Standing O Hit Parade:





(Sounds of clapping and shouts of STANDING O fade out.)  It never delights me to ding those who missed their fashion mark but these posts require a Hell No portion or I will have to re-title them.





Standing O or Hell No: Grammy Red Carpet 2018

With my actual Grammy (A National Treasure) in the hospital with the flu AND pneumonia, I found it very difficult to concentrate on the Grammy Awards hosted in NY last night.  I'm unashamed to admit I didn't view them live and opted instead to catch up online.  So let's just get right down to the nitty-gritty of who pleased us and who did not.

Common (above) is now and will always be in the WHO PLEASED category.  I found his red-velvet look last night exceptionally dashing.  Standing O!

As a duo and independently, Chrissy Tiegen and John Legend can be counted upon to give the viewer her money's worth.  I would never accuse them of phoning it in.  Look at the drama and the coordination of these two superlative outfits!  Complimentary and one does not outshine the other. It seems their marriage follows this exact formula.  Standing O!

Likewise Janelle Monae will always exhibit something interesting for the crowd.  While I'm never a fan of trousers eating feet, nor am I a fan of things that look unpressed, this suit still manages to be both interesting and on point for the Grammy Awards (a show that practically begs its attendees to be a Hell No).  I am a sucker for embroidery and this Dolce & Gabbana employs it artfully.  Standing O!


Hailee Steinfeld's Alexander Vauthier was the talk of the red carpet and, I concur, it was slamming; but I'm not 100% on board with those specific boots.  Yes to the purple but they leaned a little plastic-y for my eye. I am still giving a Standing O because it is the Grammys and she provided intrigue without being ridiculous.


Zayn Malik in a pink Richard James suit and Ralph Lauren shoes and patterned socks.  There's not much else to add except Standing O!


Everyone was fainting down to the floor over Gaga's dress.  Ok.  It's pretty and dramatic and not meat! For that I give a tip of the hat to Gaga!  And, also, the dress converts to this:

This has an ACTUAL hat and no dress.  It's a pretty good look overall for the Grammys even if the lace bodysuit skews a little Ice Capades for my liking.  Standing O!

If nitty-gritty is what we are going for then here it is:

I trust you have eyes.  Hell No, Pink!


Standing O or Hell No: SAG Red Carpet 2018

The SAG red carpet last night made me feel as if the women had been forced to eat gruel for weeks on end and then out of nowhere someone offered them a huge bowl of ice cream.  Things felt happy, light, and easy as conveyed by the impressive amount of COLOR present; And chief among the colors was PINK.  The Globe's all-black theme was important but definitely cast a dour mood on awards season which was balanced out by the levity of color last night.  Let's take a closer peek.

One of my favorite looks of the night was Uzo Aduba (above).  She was transformed in her light pink Christian Riiano gown and Rita Hayworth hair.  Jaw-dropping: Standing O!

Tying Uzo in the light pink category was her Orange is the New Black cast-mate and Handmaid's Tale star, Madeline Brewer, in Reem Acra:

I want to cut her head off this photo and insert my own.  My heart is pitter-pattering over this dress which possesses all of the elements I adore - it is PINK, it is uber feminine, it has a bustier top, it is flared, it is embellished, and it is exceedingly lovely.  (Confession: I wore this dress's sister to a black tie wedding two weeks ago.)  The piece de resistance here, obviously, are those red Casadei shoes that reference her hair and lipstick.  Standing O!!!

Let's inspect some other leading ladies who also opted to wear THEE color-of-the-night:



Then the spin-offs of the light pink trend.  Here's Vanessa Kirby in an embellished pink Valentino:

And Kristen Bell in a darker hue of pink:


Standing O to the Pinks above.  And then we are abruptly confronted with this ill-advised interpretation of a pink gown:

Note that I tried to soften the blow of Kate's dress by providing a place to avert your eyes (Goldie).  Confoundingly this dress is Valentino. I would've said Moschino maybe but never would I dare soil the House of Valentino by suggesting they created this. Perhaps the designers at Maison Valentino were replete with food poisoning the day this was brought into existence?  In any case, I respect Kate for deviating from her usual body-baring formula but this was a (GIGANTIC) step too far in the wrong direction.  I don't think even Stevie Nicks, she of the high-necked maxi dress with lace, could've pulled this off.  Hell No, Kate.

Speaking of dresses that were devastatingly wrong:

I can't find a fashion credit (here's me using "credit" loosely) for Kate Nash's milk maiden gown. Perhaps it's for the best that whoever created this lay low for awhile.  (Things are not bound to get better for you anytime soon, Sir or Madam.)  In a heart rending moment I witnessed an interview with Kate where she spoke of the triumphant instant at which she knew this was the right gown for her because it so accurately represented her personality.  In hindsight, that was maybe the wrong message to send to Hollywood.  Hell No.

I was startled and surprised to find that two of my favorite looks were a la The Globes all-black theme.  Felicity Huffman was a vision in Monsoori:

And Yara Shahidi in Ralph Lauren channeling Diana Ross was everything:

I'm not sure why the pants of this jumpsuit seem to be gobbling up her feet but Yara Shahidi was arguably the prettiest woman on the carpet last night.  Her outfit was nice and refreshing but I wish the pants were more tailored and shorter.  That aside, her hair was GLORIOUS and I will now and forever be present for that face.  It is perfection.  Standing O to both women in all black!


I remain confounded by whatever it is that has taken shape on Nicole's shoulder - a serpent? A flower? Smeagol from The Lord of the Rings? I'm willing to get comfortable with whatever it is simply because the rest of her is flawless.  She reportedly has the flu and somehow brought this look to LIFE.  Her hair was especially good and often it is the element that diminishes.  The fit and color of this Armani are exquisite.  And her face is glowing which may be from Scarlet Fever but no matter!! Standing O!


Danielle Brooks in Marc Bouwer DELIVERED! Ombre! Sequins! Perfect decolletage! Standing O!


Standing O or Hell No: Golden Globes 2018

Roger that, Hollywood!  We hear you loud and clear.  What surprised me the most about last night's Golden Globes was not the overwhelming adherence to the all-black dress code or the fact that the show lasted 3.5 hours but, instead, that Hollywood remained UNSWERVINGLY on topic all evening.  The awards were an after-thought and sadly the fashion was a thought even after that.  Listen, I support this message because I honestly (and sadly) do not know a single woman (and many men) who cannot say #MeToo (whether she voices it publicly or lives with it inwardly).  Everyone's story varies in degree and severity, of course, but in my experience every woman has some story.  That, to me, is a heart-wrenching reality and deserves the focus it is currently being given.  But let us be clear, this banding together is not a condemnation of all men by any measure.  It's easy for that to become the take-away; However, that would lead to a dismissal of a worthy cause which would be a mistake.  There are so many bright and shining examples of male strength and humility and support out there and they should be celebrated and emulated; And yet still there remains a need to shake the bad apples from the tree.  (Can someone help me down from my soap box now?? These stilettos are kinda high.)

All that to say that as much as I support the out-ing of these flagrant monsters, I must also stand in solidarity to protect the fashion.  For me, a pin or a ribbon would've carried the same message and the fashion would not have also stood victim.  Admittedly there were many pretty dresses but overall I was underwhelmed.  Personally I derive levity and buoyancy from fashion and color and so the all-black turn out, despite doing what it intended to do, was just too somber for me.  Which, of course, was the point.

Let's take a closer look at those who executed best on the all black theme.  One of my overall favorites of the night was Catherine Zeta Jones (above).  ROYALTY.  This women is approaching 50:

She took my breath away in this Zuhair Murad. I typically would not be enthusiastic about a sheer-bottomed gown but CZJ owned this look.  Her body is exquisite as is her skin and HER HAIR!  Perfectly feline.  Standing O!!  (Also, note the use of emerald jewels which was a pervasive theme on last night's carpet.)

Here's another well-executed variation on the sheer theme:

Before last night I would've said there was no universe in which I'd nominate a sheer-bottomed dress, with boy shorts beneath, as a best-dressed contender.  And yet.  Kate Hudson is radiant in Valentino.  In my perfect world the bottom would not be see-through but from waist-up she looks so divine I have to give her a Standing O.


When rumors began to circulate of an all-black dress code, it was predicted we'd see many women in trousers and tuxedo-like outfits, which we did.  And yet Alexis Bledel's Chanel leaf-topped pantsuit was a happy surprise for me.  She looks elegant and lovely and completely on point.  Standing O!

Allow me to highlight one of those bright and shining examples of strong, humble, supportive (and GORGEOUS) men:

The fact that I can't find a full-length photo of Common is a crime.  He looked magnificent as usual and I adore that he wore a dragon fly on his lapel, which symbolizes change - specifically change in perspective.  Bravo, Common, Standing O!


I love that Zoe Kravits used this all-black moment to wear a simple and tailored gown in order to highlight the stunning architecture of her perfect face.  (Note the appearance of emerald earrings again - these providing her a perfect frame.)  Keep in mind this post is not order specific - Zoe was one of my most favorites last night.  She is lovely to a heart-stopping degree.  I cannot peel my eyes away.  Standing O!


Sartorially, I typically feel most aligned with Diane Kruger.  I love that her intrinsic fashion sense is classic yet she is always modern and never afraid to take risks while always being overtly feminine.  In short, she resides near the top of my girl-crush list and the way she looks in this Prada bolsters her standing.  Speaking of standing: Standing O!

And speaking of girl crushes, I can simply never ignore this woman.  She is one of my true loves:

Penelope Cruz's Ralph and Russo is pretty if derivative of a thousand other red carpet gowns.  But Penelope the woman is a remarkable beauty.  Standing O for transcending this dour color and looking luminous as ever!


This photo is priceless because it's a two-in-one.  Both Octavia Spencer and Jessica Chastain look stunning individually and as a team are even more effervescent.  Standing O!


Gal Gadot in this simple but perfectly tailored Tom Ford was the portrait of sophistication.  Her classic red-lip and updo were exactly what this outfit called for.  She looks sublime.  Standing O!

As a bestie of mine rightly pointed out, I need to pay homage to the over 50 crowd because they were killing it last night.  As the finest representative of that set, let's collectively admire an absolutely electric Helen Mirren:

Standing O!

And finally, while this is not my favorite dress (wish it was long and didn't have bell sleeves) who among us would not want to stand up in front of a room full of our peers looking like this:

Halle Berry defies age and apparently gravity.  One more view so we can adequately admire her timeless body.  I mean beauty:

If I had those legs I'd also don a mini-dress.  Every.  Single.  Day.



Christmas Shopping: The Untold Story

A few days before Christmas my husband took the kids out to a few stores so they could do some shopping of their own.  They were heavy into the Christmas spirit this year and really wanted to GIVE (At last!!  A glimmer of hope that that they will turn into thoughtful people someday!)  To prepare, they thought long and hard about each person they were buying for and became determined to nail their selections.  Apparently my 5 year old was feeling a little indecisive about what to get me.  She cycled through a few ideas but wasn't satisfied.  Lip gloss? Nah.  Headbands? Good but not perfect.  Until they stopped at Barnes and Nobles and, as it was reported to me, the decision made itself.  Apparently her eyes alighted on a book cover (featured above) at which point she swiped it off the shelf, handed it to her father with full confidence stating, "Here daddy.  THIS is PERFECT for mommy."

I'm hoping she felt this way because, in her eyes, I'm as glamorous as Beyonce and not because she feels I'd like to wear a sequins body suit with hip extenders sewn into it.  Either way I love it and can't wait to tear into it.  I'll be sure to report back on any and all pearls (diamonds?) of wisdom.  There's no doubt they will be boundless.  Sorta like the platforms on those heels she's sporting.