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

Royalty

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!

Screenshot_2018-10-30 Viola Davis in Bibhu Mohapatra - British Academy Britannia - 3.png

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!

Screenshot_2018-10-30 Isabella Blake-Thomas - British Academy Britannia - 9.png

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!

Screenshot_2018-10-30 Lady Victoria Hervey - British Academy Britannia - 11.png

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!

EmmyTiffanyHadish2.jpeg

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:

EmmyTiffanyHadish.jpeg

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

emmydeoncole.jpg

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!

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!

Discuss!

 

 

 

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.

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: Emmy Awards 2017

It's officially awards season and I'm officially swooning!  Thank you, good ladies of the Emmys, for giving us something to DISCUSS:

First bullet point - Zoe Kravits of Big Little Lies in Dior (above).  The degree of complexity on this dress is HIGH.  On the wrong girl this gown would read Fraggle Rock but on Zoe its transcendent.  An excerpt from a text I sent to my SISTER-girl, Venessa:

Girlfriend looked like a 2 year old cut her hair then slapped Vaseline in it and she's still a straight 10.   Standing O, Zoe!

 

THIS dress.  This DRESS.  THIS DRESS!! I would not have pegged this as a Calvin Klein but sometimes his genius prevails.  The rhinestone elements are making it necessary for me to breathe into a brown paper bag.  Not to be negative but I would say that Nicole's head has looked more perfect in other applications but obviously she is still killing it here.  Maybe it's just that her hair is a wee bit limp.  No matter: Standing O!

 

I rarely think that pants are as effective as a dress on the red carpet but this is the clear exception.  Claire Foye in those rhinestones and shoulder cape are winning on the red carpet and at life in general.  Standing O!

 

Yara Shahidi in Prada makes me long for my youth.  Her skin looks like the night stars are shining from within her.  The dress and belt are the things that dreams are made of.  Standing O!

 

One thousand points for Effective Use of Color.  Viola Davis wearing this orange Zac Posen is an image I will be holding on to when it is cold and dark and I need something to comfort me in a time of deep distress.  Standing O!

There were so many good looks but people I HAVE A DAY JOB and my clients are waiting.  Not to end on a sour note but wha-wha:

 

Remember that time of deep distress I mentioned moments ago?  Witness Ariel Winter.  Hell No!

Standing O or Hell No: The Tony Awards 2017

I can point to many times in my life when my tendency towards stream of consciousness has gotten me in trouble.  For instance in my Goldman Sachs days, while attending a productivity seminar, the presenter asked the group for our understanding of "posting." My hand shot up.  (It is important to pause and note that I had been riding motorcycles with my brothers the previous day.)  I blurted out that posting is when you are on your bike and go around a sharp turn and kind of drag your foot a little bit.  She looked at me with the pure disgust I clearly deserved considering my answer was solid proof I had been daydreaming for the whole first hour. I find myself in a similar predicament today as I try to conjure up something relevant to say about the Tony Awards because, confession: I don't pay attention to Broadway either.  I know that, to many, that is akin to admitting I don't like puppies or ice cream but it's true; And its reality is preventing me from both recognizing the attendees AND from writing anything that has to do with this particular awards show.  What it is NOT preventing me from is commenting on the outfits NOR from (stream of consciousness alert!!) singing every Tony! Toni! Toné! song I know (especially Feels Good) because they've all been running through my head on repeat ever since I realized the Tonys were showing last night.

I AM A LIVING NON-SEQUITUR.  Here I go again...

The primary thing that struck me about the Tony red carpet was the sheer number of patterns worn.  My heart was aflutter!  Ask any of my female clients my feelings on a patterned dress/gown and they will dutifully repeat two words: HIGH VALUE.  Such is the voluminous Zac Posen (above) worn by Liu Wen.  I feel that if Rebecca Taylor met Zac in a dark alley she'd find a way to punish him physically for coming up with this design first.  Standing O!

Fortunately for me I sometimes dabble in unsavory television programs like UnReal from which I recognize Denee Benton.  (Hot damn that show is GOOD.  The premise makes it sound like trash but the production value is high.  Trust me.  Or if you don't trust me, the proof is in its Peabody Award.)  The production value of this Oscar de la Renta is also high.  It's unusual and lovely and is super fun against that background.  Standing O!

 

Rachel Chavkin's marvelous dress in one word: MOOD.  Standing O!

 

Badgley Mischka gets top marks for this splendid black and white print worn by Laura Osnes.  My only edit to this look would be to trade up for a bright red lip.  Otherwise she is perfection.  Standing O!

 

While not technically a pattern, Chrissy Tiegen in Pamela Roland is supreme.  She's had so many successes on the red carpet this year and can count on me to keep cheering her on!  Standing O!

 

And one more for the non-patterned but severely stunning category: Cynthia Erivo in custom CG Studio.  Standing O!

 

It would be criminal - CRIMINAL - to rob you of your chance to ogle a handsome and perfectly turned out gentleman like David Oyelowo.  Enjoy.  Standing O!

Oh what the hell - we have time for two!

Standing O, Orlando Bloom!  Always.

 

Standing O, Hell No, or So-So: Cannes 2017

Apologies for interrupting a show already in progress: The Cannes Film Festival.  But I continue to receive a multitude of texts to the tune of:

"Cannes you please stop everything and blog some dresses?"

Faithful readers know I am incapable of ignoring a pun and so I will jump in late with a mini-review...

A few years ago I ran into an old friend I hadn't seen in 20 years and her belly was protruding; So confident was I in my assumptions that I sang out "BABY!!!" and rubbed her stomach only to part ways and later discover she was NOT pregnant.  I had a similar overwhelming confidence when I viewed Nicole Kidman's silver frock above.  I would've sworn it was a Gucci then learned it's a Rodarte.  I need to quit being so cocky.  As I'm working on that, let's call this So-So and move on to this:

Like Glenn Close in Basic Instinct, this Michael Cinco dress WILL NOT BE IGNORED.  Rightfully, it should not be ignored, for it is a wondrous thing. Witness Aishwarya Rai from this vantage point:

Standing O.

Speaking of vantage points...

When I was a child I remember being told that Satan takes on many forms. That frightened me.  Clearly I had no idea what true terror lurked out there because this Alexandre Vauthier hadn't yet been designed.  It seems a fitting time to evoke Hell as in Hell No.

 

If Versace needed to update its resume, my suggestion would be to simply insert this photo of Uma Thurman. The technical fashion term "amaze-balls" comes to mind here.  What also comes to mind is Naomi Campbell wearing another version of this dress to the Golden Globes and also killing it.   Standing O.

Standing O, So-So, or Hell No: MTV Movie/TV Awards

It's a universal truth that if you attend an MTV event it is mandatory that you select your outfit from the following categories:

  1. See-through
  2. Micro mini
  3. Replete with sequins and/or gems
  4. Metallic
  5. Skin tight
  6. Confusing

Apparently Cara Delevingne (above) was coerced by Saint Laurent to submit to each and every grouping. However, while I don't typically recommend shaving your head and also matching your lipstick to your boots, somehow her top quarter still looks stunning.  And that, in a nut-shell, is why she is a model.  Overall though: So-So.

Onto my personal favorite: Zendaya

If this Zuhair Murad dress was not entirely see-through then I would have to argue that it was too demure for an MTV event.  However, since her entire body is on full view like a menu in a restaurant window, it indeed satisfies categories #1 and #3 and is therefore acceptable fare.  Standing O!

 

Yara Shadidi's face is absolute perfection.  (Doesn't she resemble Chilli from TLC?!)  She is a glorious beauty but whereas I covet all of the pieces of her Gucci outfit separately, I'm unconvinced that they should all be playing on the same team.  I'm going to say So-So since each component has extreme independent merit and since this ensemble addresses categories #3, #4, and #6 and since I'd abandon all of my morals and good sense to have 1/10 of her natural beauty.

Another entry for "all of the above" :

Ok, ok, the entire outfit isn't skin tight but the pants are.  Don't argue with me.  This insane Balmain concoction is a straight up Hell No.

 

Listen, I LOVE Taraji P and the energy that she always brings to the red (black) carpet.  But even though she has pulled out another A++ hairstyle, I'm afraid her overall look is just a few accessories shy of this:

But still she remains TARAJI-Flipping-P and cannot merit a Hell No.  Instead I will impart a So So.

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: Oscars 2017

Emma Stone may be the only La La Land cast member still smiling after that Best Picture blunder. Lent begins Wednesday which is disconcerting to me on many levels (but perhaps not as disconcerting as being told you won Best Picture and then NO! There's a mix up and you, well, LOST and have to slink back to your seat after having already thanked the Academy, the world, and your first grade teacher.)  Back to Lent.

As many of you are aware, during Lent it's customary to either give something up for 40 days or do something extra.  Given the current political climate, I've decided to give up negativity.  However, now that I've imposed a giant looming stop watch onto my fashion critiquing, allow me to purge my negativity while there's still time.   In the spirit of saving the best for last, it seems fitting to begin with this atrocity:

When Dakota Johnson emerged onto the carpet in this Gucci number I emitted a high-pitch squeal that only dogs and ghosts could hear.  Somehow this photo is forgiving her a few sins but note that despite its pretty and appropriate color, this dress was too long, too wrinkled, and most egregiously sported that ridiculous bow.  Toss in the un-glamorous and unflattering hair and the drab make up and you know what you get?  A HELL NO!

Bows should have gotten an Oscar for Leading Nemesis last night.  First Dakota and then this:

I love Leslie Mann.  Love.  She is adorable and funny.  And so I feel agitated that this dress was im-Posened on her.  (See what I did there?  The dress is by Zac Posen and he, well, okay, you get it.)  I don't know if Zac was inspired by the upcoming feature film Beauty in the Beast but this appears to be some weird wrinkled version of Belle's dress.  Hell No.

 

Even the background and carpet are in overt agreement that she should win.

As Lent would dictate, let's turn the other cheek and begin to appreciate all that was good on the carpet last night.  Despite the overall absence of color and heavy reliance on metallics several women still stunned.  But to be honest, I wasn't calling for smelling salts over any one of the dresses.  Instead, my favorite looks were the sum of all parts.  My most favorite (and a perfect example of the equation I reference) was Emma Stone.  She brought so much gravity to her big moment with her flawless hair and make up.  Her Givenchy dress was quite pretty but, for me, it was more about how every element came together. To steal a word from her acceptance speech she was a confluence of old Hollywood glamour, modern beauty, and charisma.  Standing O for her overall look and for her big win!

Speaking of Emma and flawless hair and make up...

Proving that it doesn't hurt to have Julia Roberts in your gene pool.

I wasn't a fan of Emma Roberts's Armani Prive gown and so I won't bother to feature it (and her chest-thong), but her head was perfection and I'd be remiss not to comment on it.  Standing O for her stupendous hair and make-up (and natural beauty of course).

 

Sheer elegance.

Hailee Steinfeld wore an extremely sheer Ralph and Russo dress that was very pretty but would not have bowled me over had her make up and hair not agreed with it so perfectly.  Overall, though, she was luminous and abounded with modern elegance.  Standing O!

 

Don't get me wrong, this black Dior is classic and lovely but it is not earth shattering; And it would not have catapulted Kirsten Dunst onto my best dressed list had she not supplied the incredible body, gorgeous make up and hair, and understated but completely on point necklace.  Standing O for taking a simple look and elevating it to greatness!

 

Who me??

There is something very Alexis Colby about Taraji P Henson in this Alberta Ferretti.  Taraji looks like she could just as easily toss a glass of champagne in someone's face as she could accept an Oscar.  Her gown is elegant but the success of this look is a testament to the attitude which she is bringing to that slit and that neckline.  Bonus points for her new shorter hair - tousled, modern, and gorgeous!  Standing O!

I wasn't a fan of Ryan Gosling's ruffled tux shirt last night yet I cannot callously omit him from my post like the Academy did from the Best Leading Actor win.  So here's a shot from La La Land where his sartorial game soared:

I will take refuge in this photo when mid-Lent my resolve starts to waiver and I feel the urge to dissect a look ungenerously.  With great looks, Ryan, comes great responsibility and you will need to help see me through.

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: The SAG Awards

When Los Angeles secedes, they should make this dress into their flag. It is representative on so many levels. Judging from the barrage of texts/emails I received between last night and today, many of you are seeing red.  And I am not talking about the color of the SAG carpet.  The consensus seems to be that you are largely underwhelmed by the looks that were trotted out for last night's SAG awards.  Even the heavy-hitters disappointed (EMMA STONE - AHEM!).  I agree by-and-large but still feel there were a few truly stand-out looks that justified the 2.5 hour tv binge it took to glean them.  Case and point: my absolute favorite of the evening was Yara Shahidi.  Irrespecitve of her clothing, she is an ethereal beauty but add this resplendent Naeem Khan and she is singing in a choir of angels.  The intricate beading was arresting and made this gown the perfect choice for SAG because it had a sense of occasion and yet didn't take itself too seriously.  The stripes and color brought levity at a time when it is much needed.  The way she worked this piece was extraordinary.  Take a peek:

Standing O!

While we are on the topic of stripes (one we are not going to depart from anytime soon), allow me to present my second favorite:

In case you needed an example, this is what confidence looks like.

Michelle Dockery was topping my chart until Yara showed up at which time I had to bump her down to number 2.  Even as runner-up she is glorious, and for many of the same reasons I cited for Yara - the color, the stripes, the levity! Perfect choice.  She looks refined and sophisticated and completely on point for the SAG red carpet thanks in large part to Elie Saab for designing this beauty.  Standing O!

Apologies for the redundancy but stripes were the hot ticket last night.  Witness Michelle Williams:

I can't decide what shimmers more - her dress or her skin.

I adore a liquid metal dress and she/Louis Vuitton are using this concept to great effect. Her figure looks flawless as does her make up and hair (which, magically, seems to weigh in between a gold and silver color).  She is almost achingly beautiful and when I reflect on her performance in Manchester By the Sea, the word devastating comes to mind.  It's applicable to this look and to that role in equal measures.  My only criticism is the choker.  I've never been a fan, and while I think that it does break up the real estate between the deep v and her head, I would've liked to see some sort of long and delicate chain instead.  At any rate - Standing O!

There's simply too much negativity in the world right now and so I am opting out of a Hell No.  Instead, let's evaluate a look that seems to be stuck in everyone's craw (pun absolutely intended):

At this point she's been beaten down but she needs to OWN this look because it is fabulous. In the immortal words of Taylor Swift: And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate / Baby, I'm just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake / I shake it off, I shake it off

I refuse to climb aboard the hate train where this Gucci gown is involved.  I fully support a red-head in green and this particular shade is glorious!  I also truly dig the feathers on her shoulders - they are luminous and unexpected and lovely.  And I'm not mad at her for the parrot heads - they are fun and shimmery and represent a risk which, I argue, paid off.  If I could tweak any part of this, I'd have made that a tight fitting straight skirt with a slit but these are minor details.  I love that she chose this dress at this time for this event.  She certainly has the wattage to carry it off.  Therefore I would like to request that everyone get OFF OF HER BACK (AND SHOULDERS!!) FOR GOODNESS SAKE!!!!!  Initially I was on the fence about giving her a Standing O but feel I need to come out strong on this one since there is so much dissent.  So let me go on record: Standing O for keeping it interesting!

Standing O or Hell No: People's Choice Awards

It cannot be denied that girlfriend knows how to work an angle. And I mean that in every conceivable way. The People's Choice Awards happened Wednesday night.  What's that?  You weren't aware?  Well, apparently no one was except for J Lo who alone brought her A Game.  Let it be said that, like Naomi, she must also collude with The Devil because the years pass by and she remains perfectly...perfect (her love life not withstanding).  Here she looks like the sexiest version of Morticia Addams I have ever seen.  (Drake can be Gomez!) This entire look delights me as does her agelessness: Standing O!

However, aside from J Lo pretty much everyone else failed to dazzle.  And by "failed" I'm specifically referring to this unholy trio:

Everything from the kneecap up should be discarded.

It is never advisable to turn your breasts into a sleep mask.

This will teach her to tango with a Harlequin clown.

Hell No!

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!

Oh the Inequity

I might even be convinced to see a remake of Glitter if these foxes were in it. In the spirit of the season, I wish the internet could elect a Homecoming King and Queen.  These two would have my vote for sure.  Even though their film, Keeping Up With the Joneses, looks like sheer and utter nonsense, they make a compelling visual case to go and see it anyway.  What on God's green earth do you think their mothers fed them for breakfast when they were children?  Bars of pure gold sprinkled with beauty dust?  It's inconceivable that this much genetic favor was bestowed on just two human beings.  Speaking of God, if He was being fair he could've spread the bounty out a bit more evenly among the rest of us.

Besides their intrinsic beauty, each of these two is KILLING IT in the wardrobe department.  I'm not sure who Jon Hamm's current stylist is since he's worked with a few folks but he continues to be the inspiration for how all men should look in suits.  As for Gal Gadot, I know she works with Micaela Erlanger who is extremely talented not to mention a beauty in her own right.  This D&G dress that she chose is off the charts amazing.  It is so flawless and well made/worn that it looks liquid and I applaud that the shoes pick up where the dress leaves off - with more sparkly silver.  I wouldn't have minded earrings or a cocktail ring but letting the dress shine (literally and figuratively) was a great move.  And an even better move would be for Gal Gadot to keep hold of Jon Hamm's hand.  He, in that suit, is a better accessory than any stylist or starlet could ever get a hold of.