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!

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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:

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

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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!

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!

Discuss!

 

 

 

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.

 

 

Standing O, So-So, or Hell No: Met Gala 2017

Throwing a costume ball is always a huge risk considering that the success of the party hinges partially on the creativity of the attendees and their ability to interpret the theme.  Even though Anna Wintour rules the Met Gala guest list with an iron fist (in all likelihood that fist is chain mail), there will always be four classes of people: those who explore the theme and nail it, those who explore the theme and fail it, those who go rogue and do whatever they please, and those who just want to look naked at every event they attend.  (For the last group, my hubs suggested I create a new category: Standing O, Hell No, So-So or Ho.)

This year's theme was Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between. We could talk about this theme exhaustively (please let us!) but I suspect you want to see photos so I'll keep this short.  Rei Kawakubo is first and foremost an artist, clothing happens to be her medium.  She balks at things like conventionality, boundaries, and often beauty and functionality and tends to design interstitial-ly.  This to say that little of her clothing is worn literally (i.e. straight off the runway) however, so much of what we have adopted into our fashion playbooks can be credited to her avant-garde vision.  For instance: black as a fashion color (NY, you should be on your knees), asymmetry, relying heavily on red in design, and wearing oversized garments. Even though you think you might not have ever seen anyone wearing Comme des Garçons, you have.  Any time you see this cute logo, know that is what you are looking at:

OK, back to the Met Gala and the four classes of attendees.  First up, those who explored the theme and nailed it.  Exhibit A: Ri Ri

Not only is Rihanna from the first class of attendees, I think we can universally agree that she won the Met Gala overall.  If you've not already guessed this dress is Comme des Garçons and is actually IN THE EXHIBIT.  Sure it has a huge flower saddle bag hanging off her left side but that, folks, IS quintessential Rei Kawakubo à la her lumps and bumps theme.  Remind yourself, dear readers, this is a costume ball.  Standing O!!

Also nailing it in Comme des Garçons:

This is so on-brand for Helen Lasichanh.  Note: only 8 party goers, including Helen, were brave enough to wear Comme des Garçons.  Standing O!

On to the second class - those who explored the theme and failed:

I'm not going to get too rough here, Katy Perry at least explored the theme in this Maison Margiela look.  She went BIG, she went RED, she went avant-garde, and unfortunately she also went a bit overboard.  I still respect her attempt so I'm going to assign her a So-So.

Ditto Celine Dion in Atelier Versace.  She tried.  Hard.  This is decidedly avant-garde but she is treading in the waters of Hell No.

Gigi Hadid's Tommy Hilfiger is aiming for the "in-between" (gown and suit, masculine and feminine) but reads like a futuristic call girl.  The thigh-high fishnets throw it even further off course.  Hell No.

Third class citizens: those who went rogue.  I will only offer a few examples since this category holds the vast majority of last evening's guests.

Indeed this is a costume but for a completely different party.  This gown should be going to an event that features an abundance of martinis, cigarettes, and fondue.  J Lo's Valentino is lovely and she looks great but even though Valentino is an underwriter of the event, she only gets a So-So for ignoring the theme.

 

What does Selena Gomez's '90's-esque Coach gown have to do with the in-between or avant-garde or art as fashion?  This is not a trick question.  The answer, of course, is NOTHING.  At least if you set out to be a non-conformist, my suggestion would be to wear something undeniably pretty or at the very least interesting.  Hell No.

 

It's true that Miranda Kerr's Oscar de la Renta also has nothing to do with the night's theme but it is achingly pretty and I long to make it mine!!  Standing O for the dress and So-So to Miranda for not adhering to the theme other than to bring a red element into her look.

Last, and in this case also least, are those who attend every event looking naked.  They deserve no more air time and so I will give them a group Hell No and let you decide for yourselves:

Standing O or Hell No: Kendall + Hailey at Coachella

Sometimes I feel sorry for things in my wardrobe because I've neglected to wear them in awhile.  I've come to understand that it's times like these when I am most susceptible to a sartorial misstep.  My fashion empathy (and my tendency towards personification) get the better of me and I lose my ability to edit.  In these instances, whatever the object of my bleeding heart comes along with me and gets tossed into the mix.  Rarely does said object add value and inevitably I'm forced to confront the day regretting my decision. (Side note:  I think I may have displayed this exact shortcoming while dating in my 20s.)  Could this possibly explain why Kendall Jenner and Hailey Baldwin presented themselves this way? I imagine each started with a sparkly bralette, as one does when preparing for Coachella, and then the outfit-build spiraled out of control when random pieces began tugging on their heart strings.  Or maybe they just ingested mushrooms before getting dressed.

As un-supportive as I am of Hailey's outfit, it's Kendall I can't stop staring at.  I'm trying to make sense of it all, like the morning after a rager, and yet I can't find the relationship between any two pieces she has on.  The larger looming question is why she would have any one of these pieces in her wardrobe to begin with.  Each item independently is arrant nonsense and as a team downright egregious.  Hell No.

Standing O or Hell No: The Grammys 2017

If awards season is a marathon and the Golden Globes is fashion responding to the starting pistol, then the Grammys is fashion at mile 19 clutching its heart and wondering where all the oxygen went.  Except for a few ladies, most choices seemed to be the product of extreme hypoxia to the brain.

Adele looked exceptional in a green Givenchy (above) nailing fit and color simultaneously.  Also nailing the Big Win.  Standing O!

I rarely like this kind of a thing because it often reads as unnecessarily complicated, but Chrissy Teigen owned this tie up/cut out/sheer/printed gown with fringe on the bottom and feather accents on top.  Ok, I could do without the fringe on the bottom but somehow this is a successful look and I'm not even sure how.  Sheer hotness and force of will?  Standing O!

 

I will admit that there is a slight whiff of Ice Capades around the fabric of this Zuhair Murad gown but overall Celine harnessed her exceptional poise and appeared polished and regal and pretty.  Standing O!

 

It's concerning to me that Tom Ford would callously sacrifice so many Fraggles to make this dress.  It is unconscionable: Hell No!

If you are Rihanna and this is your NIGHT, would you be so torn about what to wear that you'd dress your bottom half for a cotillion and your top half (okay maybe top quarter) for the gym?  No, no you would not.  And Hell No, Ri Ri.

Standing O or Hell No: Golden Globes 2017

74th Golden Globe Awards - Arrivals I can't wait until I actually achieve something significant because what I learned on Golden Globes Sunday is that you are a terrifically supportive group!  All day I received messages to this general tune: CONGRATULATIONS! AWARD SEASON IS IN FULL SWING!  It was the functional equivalent of the time my son brought home a life-sized soccer trophy and when I high-fived him for the obviously extraordinary effort he was being commended for, he told me that everyone received one. That being said, even though I cannot take credit for the entirety of the Golden Globes PER SE, in spirit I was inside every dressing room cheering on the attendees.  And so, for that, I will accept your fine congratulations.  Merci!  (Note: I suspect some of your pleasantries were slightly self-serving as many came with an ancillary message suggesting I not "dawdle" in the interest of putting out a timely post.) Without further ado...

Emma Stone in Valentino (above) should be made into an emoji to express the way I feel when I am shot directly into fashion heaven.  I love a pale girl in a pale color, especially a red-head in pink.  She looks incredibly dreamy without playing the princess card.  The stars add to the ethereal feel of this gown and also lend modernity.  And it goes without saying the fit is perfection.  STANDING O!

 

poses in the press room during the 74th Annual Golden Globe Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 8, 2017 in Beverly Hills, California.

Dear trainer of Viola Davis, do you have a spiritual connection with Michelangelo?  Because that is the only way to account for arms this perfect.  This image inspires me to so much, chiefly looking this magnificent in evening wear.  Her beauty is immeasurable and this simple yet bold Michael Kors showcases perfectly her flawlessness.  (Only the merest ding for the dress being ever-so-slightly too long.)  Standing O, Viola!!

 

naomi-campbell-golden-globes-2017

What can Naomi Campbell possibly have left to sell to Satan in order to look this way? There is simply no earthly barter system strong enough to support this level of beauty.  Often I feel Versace skews a little costume-y on the red carpet but it is certainly not the case for this magnificent creation.  It is complicated in all the best ways because never once does it falter in execution.  This is also a case of the exact right dress being worn by the exact right woman: both over-the-top glamorous.  Standing O, Naomi (assist by Beelzbub)!

 

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JANUARY 08: 74th ANNUAL GOLDEN GLOBE AWARDS -- Pictured: Actress Mandy Moore arrives to the 74th Annual Golden Globe Awards held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 8, 2017. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/NBCUniversal/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

A sheer cape and a plunging neckline?  You have my attention. If that's the train, I'm climbing aboard!  I'm so in favor of  the direction this look took from the exquisitely draped Naeem Khan gown to the drop earrings to the fresh and lovely make-up and chic hair.  Standing O!

 

Nothing Negga-tive here. (Sorry.)

The topography of Ruth Negga's face is such that I could stare at her all day.  She epitomizes modern beauty to me while still retaining a hint of flapper.  I fully support her choice to wear this modern Louis Vuitton column dress that made her look, very appropriately, statuesque.  Standing O!

 

drew-barrymore-globes-09jan17-05

For me, this Monique Lhuillier dress is a gentle nod to the swan Givenchy that Florence (and The Machines) wore to the Grammys a few years back - which I adored.  Drew Barrymore gives homage to that moment but one-ups it by looking resplendent in this adaptation.  She is luminous in silver.  Also, the styling is perfect - her black nails and multiple sparkly cocktail rings were the absolute correct move as was her tousled hair and smoky eye make up.  This is Drew at her best.  Standing O!

 

lily-collins

Lily Collins in Zuhair Murad was transcendent.  This dress is obviously a work of art but what brought this look to extraordinary heights is the make up and hair.  Congratulations, L'Oreal for making yourself a boat-load of cash based on this gothic pink/red look.  (Here are the products genius make up artist Fiona Stiles used.)  Let's get a closer look because this is truly brilliant:

lily-make-up

 

tiziana-rocca

Since everyone else is picking on Anna Chlumsky and Sarah Jessica Parker, I figure Tiziana Rocca is fair game.  To put this into corporate speak, there are many competing interests here.  It's as if the design team was in a massive argument but agreed to disagree by simply throwing all of their ideas into one dress.  If I had twenty minutes and an excellent seamstress, I'd instruct her to feverishly cut the top of the dress and leave the sweatheart neckline then move onto setting the waist in the right place and cutting out the excess fabric.  I'd rip off her jewelry, add some sparkly rings and a sparkly waist belt and pray that the media only photographed her from the knees up.  Hell No!

Standing O or Hell No: Janelle Monae

janelle-monae-palm-spings-ms-010217The Palm Springs Film Festival happened last night.  Sadly, though, I was in an eggnog-and-holiday-cookie-induced-coma (of sorts) and could not revive in time to pay proper attention. Today I've finally sifted through all the white noise related to Mariah Carey and her NYE debacle and have found the festival's red carpet arrivals! I think I've also found the first great dress of 2017 courtesy or Jenny Packham worn by Janelle Monae (above).  As you are all well aware, Janelle wears black and white exclusively and yet never ever looks boring.  What I'm trying to figure out is if this achievement is a greater testament to her personal style or to the timelessness and widespread appeal of a black and white combination.  In either case, this gown is stunning and she is owning this look.  I'm hoping that this is some kind of omen for 2017 letting us know that better things are to come starting with this dress.  Standing O!

Standing O or Hell No: Elise Neil

2016 Soul Train Music Awards - Red Carpet I have a lot of anxiety about tomorrow's elections because, well, I am going to be horrified regardless of who wins.  And so I am going to lash out the only way I know how: through fashion via this unsuspecting victim, Elise Neil.  This is a classic case of wrong place, wrong time.

I get that this is the Soul Train awards but I'm fairly certain that no one meant for the Train part to be literal.  And to double down on that notion seems incredibly uncalled for.  What in the flying freak is happening here?  It's like some sort of reverse platypus.  Even Elvis knew not to go this far and he isn't typically thought of as a man full of restraint.  Is there a tiny maid of honor hiding somewhere to hold these trains for her when she walks?  Maybe that tiny maid of honor could also play a tiny violin for her when she gets thrown on every worst-dressed list known to man.

The Wardrobe Whisperer is not typically this negative but I had to expel some of my inner fear and stress.  Thank you, dear readers, for this therapeutic session.  Unlike the election, at this point there is little question which way this post is going to swing: Hell No, Elise.  You are so much better than this.

Standing O or Hell No: Emmys 2016

I believe I can fly... My friend, Jenny, and I were talking about how Awards Season for a fashion addict is pretty much the same thing as an escalating binge for a drug addict.  It starts out mellow and calm with the lead-in film festivals.  Everyone is content and feeling/looking great. (POT!)  Next up are the Emmys.  People are euphoric, everyone is overwhelmingly happy and there are yet no grudges.  The party has just begun!  (MOLLY!)  Advance a few weeks to the SAG Awards.  People have waited a full month for another event and they are jonesing for their rush.  (HEROINE!)  Of course by the time the Golden Globes air in January they are in a frenzy. (COKE!)  And when the Oscars finally arrive folks are brittle and foaming at the mouth. (CRACK!)  Then, of course, everyone goes into rehab to gather enough strength for the next year.

Thank goodness we are still in a euphoric state (i.e last night's Emmys).  The ladies turned it OUT.  Allow me to submit my HIGHlight reel (awful pun intended):

If the Emmys are Molly then Priyanka Chopra (above) in Jason Wu is the embodiment of bliss.  Her delight with her dress was joyfully evident - she swung the layers to and fro so we could all appreciate the gown's many dimensions.  Standing O!

 

68th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards - ArrivalsSarah Paulson's Prada gown had a hint of J Lo's famous Versace but is updated in a chic and elegant way.  The beading is so intricate and the color is beautiful - Standing O!

 

For a funny lady, this look is no joke.

Kate McKinnon's red dress reminded me of Jennifer Lawrence's break out Oscars moment in that now famous red Calvin Klein.  Hey, if it's good enough for Jennifer Lawrence...Standing O!

 

kristen-bell

I cannot ignore a printed gown, especially one this exquisite.  My favorite element is the flower cascade on her right "strap."  So artful! Kristen Bell and Zuhair Murad, Standing O!

 

When I was 12 I was pegging my jeans and layering my socks.

Millie Bobby Brown (far right) in Valentino is officially the most sophisticated 12 year old I have ever laid eyes on.  The dress is darling, fun, and age-appropriate and the clutch with "Millie" on it agrees with the young/fresh vibe she has established.  Standing O!

I had a hard morning and can't muster the energy to be negative.  Let's look at one particularly bad ensemble and call it a day:

anna-chumleyI hope Dante isn't busy today because he is going to have to create a new circle in hell for this Christian Siriano.  The way this dress looks is what detox must feel like.  Speaking of hell, Hell No!

Standing O or Hell No: The VMAs

This is Stella getting her groove back. Except this is Hailee. It seems to me that the MTV Video Music Awards pose a similar problem for the music world as casual Fridays pose for the corporate world:  No one is sure exactly what is appropriate to wear.  Do you dress up (it IS an awards ceremony),  or pull a stunt (people like crazy, right?), or act like you're above it all and dress down (this is Rock n Roll for Pete's sake).  Let's look at a few of these different approaches and determine which failed and which prevailed.

For me, Hailee Steinfeld (above) presented most on-theme for the evening.  She wore Balmain which, by nature, is edgy yet sophisticated - two perfect notes to hit for an event celebrating contemporary music.  Also the choice to wear color was brilliant and on point.  Much of Balmain is muted and metallic and often doesn't translate in photos as well as it does in person.  This dress sings loudly, albeit in a very lovely French accent.   Standing O!

 

2016 MTV Video Music Awards - Arrivals

Nikki Minaj also opted to dress up, though more formally than Hailee, and to do it with edge.  Let's examine why this works (because sooooo much could've gone wrong here).  Clearly proportion-wise long sleeves do not make up for the fact that most of the top/sides are missing from this Bao Tranchi gown; and yet she manages to look refined.  You may argue this is because, in contrast to what she normally wears, this is relatively conservative.  However, I feel this look has independent merit - the color is glorious, the hair, make-up, and jewelry are perfectly understated and, above all, the fit is extraordinary.  Undoubtedly she presents like a music boss.  Standing O!

 

Proof that some people DO love the crazy.

A sample from Baddie Winkle's Instagram bio: "Stealing your man since 1928."  Hilarious and courageous but let's face it, I'm never going to sign off on a nude bedazzled jumpsuit even if it is just a stunt - not for Kim Kardashian, not for Baddie Winkle, and not for anyone.  Hell No.

 

Alessia clearly doesn't Cara.

If the MTV logos were not so prominently displayed in the background, I would assume this was Alessia Cara's first-day-of-school photo except that it's not even cute enough for the first day of school.  This looks like she's a senior in high school, 8 months in, and has officially checked out until college begins.  Baddie Winkle might look like she's off her rocker (metaphorically AND literally) but at least she has a sense of occasion.  No effort was expended here and that I cannot forgive.  Hell No.

Standing O or Hell No: Margot Robbie

"Suicide Squad" - European Premiere - Red Carpet ArrivalsI toyed with naming this post "ferocious animals and whimsical botanicals" (which I'm also considering for the name of my first solo album). It's a delightful concept for this Gucci gown in that it uses juxtaposition to great effect.  I've been staring at this piece for the better part of an hour and I have few answers for how the combination of feline, flowers, and fireflies is not TOO much embroidered together on one gown (and topped with sequins).  It's exquisite and modern and FUN and anything but redundant.  I should also note that the fit is 100% perfect plus Margot Robbie is one of possibly only two women in Hollywood perfectly mated to this piece (the other being Diane Kruger).  Standing O, Margot, enchanté.  

Standing O? Hell YES!

nicole_mcqueen I'm not even going to toy with your emotions and pretend I debated over this look - because I'm already standing for the O.  I am mesmerized.

Thank heavens for ZOOM because I've spent endless amounts of time on every quadrant of this stunning Alexander McQueen dress.  It is supremely interesting, exquisitely fashioned, and completely WOWing me.  As a result, I'm falling in love with Nicole Kidman again.  As is her husband.  Witness:

Nicole and keith

Seeing N.K. in this dress makes me think of a conversation that I regularly have with my clients who are actors.  And it goes something like this- It is incumbent upon you, through your clothes, to put ideas in the heads of casting agents and directors.  In other words, if you want to be a leading man/woman, then DRESS like one.  And I feel like Nicole had that notion in mind when she chose this dress.  She was out to remind folks that indeed she's always commanded leading roles and that she'd be a superlative choice for some more.  Let's face it, she's not had a huge movie since the early oughts (The Hours and Moulin Rouge) and it is time for a come back!

Side note: if IMDB is to be believed, she's turning 50 this year.  I would gladly drink a potion composed of eye of newt, salamander toes, and the pulverized bones of small deceased animals to look like this at 50.  Readers, please pin any such recipes you see.

Apologies but Keith and I need to get back to ogling Nicole now.  Thanks.

Standing O, So-So or Hell No: The Obamas in Cuba

Obamas-Cuba-JR-032116 Little known fact: one of my best friends and I sneaked into Cuba a number of years ago.  We didn't even attempt clearances because we knew we had no grounds on which to obtain them.  We simply left from the Bahamas, didn't get our passports stamped, and then prayed to our merciful Lord all would be well when we tried to re-enter our country.  Somehow on the greatest stroke of luck ever, we came back to the US on a day when hordes of spring break college kids were returning from their various debaucherous trips.  They were so rowdy and feral that the customs agents never paid us a lick of attention and barely peeked at our passports prior to stamping them.  In retrospect I should've played the lottery that day because, indeed, it was true luck that a $10K fine and imprisonment was avoided.  Orange jump suits and limited showers would not have been a good look for me.

And now Cuba is receiving slightly more distinguished guests - the Obamas!  My guess is that they have the proper paperwork.  But I digress - let's cut to the chase and talk about the most important aspect of the trip: the fashion of the Obama ladies.  I feel Michelle made a wise choice with her easy-breezy Carolina Herrera shift.  It's weather appropriate, white based, and the flowers work well in this setting.  Malia looks fine to me -I value that she looks age appropriate and I like that she also chose color and flowers but overall her look reads a little to "Target-designer-collab" for me.  Mostly, though, I take issue with Sasha's Shoshanna shift.  I am whole-heartedly against wearing near solid black in Cuba considering it is a country of such vibrant colors.  You don't see black on many folks there and it's because it simply doesn't fit.  The occasion and the country both call for color and patterns!  And so, as usual, I will call it as I see it:

Michelle = Standing O

Malia = So-So

Sasha = Hell No

Here's another view so you can decide for yourself.  Wardrobe Whisperer encourages freedom of thought:

obamas cuba 2

Standing O or Hell No: 88th Annual Academy Awards

cate oscar 2016 As a girl who grew up in rural PA with 7 brothers I am (perhaps overly) familiar with such things as shooting skeet, riding dirt bikes, and quoting The Who.  Regarding the latter, this lyric from Eminence Front was on a loop in my head last night:

Won't you come and join the party

Dress to Kill.

Cate killed (clearly) in Armani Prive.  As did the rest of these lovelies in their glorious dresses all of whom receive a Standing O:

Naomi oscar 2016Naomi Watts in ombre Armani (I am still catching my breath)

Saoirse oscars 2016Saoirse Ronan in custom Calvin Klein (Turning it OUT for Ireland)

alicia oscars 2016Alicia Vikander in custom Louis Vuitton (Hush up, haters, she looks divine!)

charlize oscars 2016Charlize Theron in Dior (Retain your wardrobe stylist, fire your hair stylist)

gaga oscars 2016Lady Gaga in Brandon Maxwell (Somehow pulling off pants AND a dress and making it look chic)

Time for yet another Who lyric: The drinks flow and people forget.  Please let that be the case as it relates to this atrocity:

 heidi oscars 2016Let us not forget, however, that the viewing public used to allow this woman to host a FASHION show on actual television.  Perhaps what comes around really does go around and this is some kind of negative karmic reciprocity for her smug condescension on Project Runway.  If so, WOW, the universe really knows how to get even.  I'm sorry, universe, for any wrongs that I have committed.  And Heidi, Hell No.

It's Monday and I don't really feel like dwelling on the negative so let me leave you with this thought:.  I don't feel I am alone in my secret wish that this will somehow still happen:

leo and kate oscars 2016If there was a game like Fantasy Football but for relationships, these two would be my top choice.

Standing O or Hell No: Grammys 2016

grammy 1Somehow in a wonderful twist of fate my favorite Grammy look and my least favorite Grammy look conspired to become dates!!  Selena Gomez in Calvin Klein was gorgeous, appropriately edgy (as the night demands), yet on point and styled beautifully - hair, make-up, and earrings all score an A+.  Witness her solo: selena grammy

Knock-Out!! Standing O, Selena!  And then there's Taylor Swift who's sweet and charming and lovely.  In her underpants:

taylor grammyOr an elaborate cover up for her new bikini.  Also, and I know this is nit-picking, but her big toe is hanging off the platform of that shoe like it's trying to escape from this whole ensemble. It has the right idea. Hell No, Taylor.

 

zendaya grammyI understand that this was Zendaya's salute to David Bowie.  And I respect that because who among us does not love David Bowie?  But, to me, this was beauty wasted.  Zendaya is an extraordinarily gorgeous woman and this was well, dreadful.  Hell No, Z, please bring sexy back.

 

Florence GrammyThis particular Gucci collection with the sparkly waist bow is being trotted out ALL over town.  Dakota Johnson donned a short version to see Fallon and Nicole Kidman sported another to the SAG Awards but this rendition on Florence Welch seemed like the right gown on the right girl for the right event.  It is VERY indicative of her style.  Plus, red heads in pink always delight me.  So even though her hair is a bit unpolished and she hasn't enough lipstick on, I still love this on her.  Standing O!

Standing O or Hell No: The Critics Choice Awards

regina kingLast night I was watching an old episode of The Americans. Two of the female leads were commiserating on their relationships and the Kerri Russel character, Elizabeth, sighs and says, "Marriage is complicated."  Indeed.  Her husband is a KGB operative who just cheated on her with an old love. Her friend, Sandra, has an FBI agent for a husband and he is having an ongoing affair with a Russian spy.  I nodded in agreement that, yes, marriage IS complicated.  My husband built an actual ice skating rink in our back yard and decided to fill it with our hose which burned out our well pump and left us without water for the last two days.  This situation was further complicated by the fact that I not only have the flu but also strep throat and a scratched cornea.  And two small children who I will list along with my ailments.  I bemoaned my fate along side the ladies of The Americans because the struggle truly IS real. Later I tried to suppress my emotions by drowning myself in the dresses from the Critics Choice Awards.  However, many of the dresses, including Regina King's, (above) were just as complicated as marriage.   To that I say Hell No, Regina.

OK- let's try to breathe some LIFE into this post.  For me and last night's awards all of the oxygen was here:

Rachel McAdamsRachel McAdams slayed it in Elie Saab.  As did Helen Miran below:

helen miranThis Dolce and Gabbana printed gown is stunning on her.

Alicia Vikander CriticsAnd finally we have life via Alicia Vikander in Mary Katrantzou.  Standing O to these three lovelies.  If it wasn't for you, I might've drowned my husband in the slushy end of the ice skating rink.