Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Another View on The Golden Globes: Fashion Celebrity Status Takes on a Personal Style:

There is no doubt that for the next week, every fashion editor, television pessimists and self-professed member of the "fashion police" (a term that should be done away with as soon as possible)...will be harping, critiquing and evaluating the trends, shows, good and bad moments seen from red carpet to Ballroom stage at this year's Golden Globes.

The verdict is self-evident. For one of the first years in the last decade, stars came out with an obvious sense of personal style, sans the usual what's a la mode or de rigeur dictates of the fashion world and with an extraordinary sense of occasion and respect for place. Gone were the usual attitudes that seemed to shout and scream on their last legs like Dean after the Iowa caucus (I just couldn't resist) "I'm going to shock you and show you I can wear what I want, where I want." For once, ladies, were ladies...albeit not with a staid or uniform look or trend that pervaded all their looks, but with an eclectic touch, choice of color, jewelry, hairdo or hemline, that gave women watching everywhere an idea of what it means to be comfortable and confident in your own skin, while still looking and giving off that sex appeal that has nothing to do with what you are wearing, but with how comfortable you are with WHO you are.

After all isn't that what icons of style have taught us? It's not what you wear, but how YOU wear it. It was pleasing to see Nicole Kidman, perfect as a glittering version of the coquette which she said felt very Salome to her in YSL Rive Gauche by Tom Ford. After all, if you were presenting the award for Best Actor in which your ex husband was a candidate, would you opt for a subdued conservative moment or a drop dead look what you're missing attitude. I would hope the latter - and we all know Ms. Kidman does the coquette very very well. There is nothing new to her daring plunging neckline, not overdone or inappropriate with a sheer lining to be sure all remains where it should.

Other highlights, Sofia Coppola, who more comfortable in her own skin than this intelligent and lovely accomplished woman, who knows who she is. Happy to see she opted instead for a sexy Alaia, without the flash, that proves, you don't need 6 inch Manolos, or body baring slits to look sexy...Ms. Coppola is sexy and charming, always herself, in all that she wears. As my mother says, when you go to accept an award, you're nervous enough, why add to that with uncomfortable clothing?

Other moments in fashion reality: Jennifer Lopez in hot tangerine and goddess-like silver Michael Kors gown, which was pretty, appropriate, not her usual flash and dash, but still somehow a dress that looks like J.Lo moment. It suited her, especially since she knew all eyes would already be looking at her and wondering... hmmm how's she holding up after the break up that been able to capture and override even Michael Jackson's behavior?

Catherine Zeta some may say made a boring choice in her Oscar de la Renta long black strapless dress, but what of the fact that it was Michael Douglas who would be honored that night. And in a gracious and well-mannered world, would you upstage a bride at her wedding, would you upstage a best friend at an awards show honoring her or even now, who should we have all eyes on...her husband or her when he is about to achieve the Cecil B. DeMille award for lifetime achievement? She still looked lovely and she still looked like Catherine, simply stunning. It's not the dress, it's the girl in it.

Charlize Theron dispelled her "Monster" and brought back the lovely South African girl who grew up on a farm and is now standing in fancy Hollywood heels accepting an award, for her acting and not her choice of dress, however the beautiful Dior dress she wore (and not the other way around) was a perfect choice.

Renee Zellweger glamorous in her bodacious body complemented her new curves in a sexy Carolina Herrera accentuating her svelte legs in a knee length hemline and decollete with two sparkling vintage Cartier diamond and sapphire clips.

Vintage and couture seemed to reign, as celebrities are bored of the constant swarm of looks being sent out online, on television, and in magazines, long before they hit the showrooms and the stores. After all, why would you want to wear a dress that some tv fashionista or fashion editor has already pulled apart in their seasonal critique of what's hot and not in fashion? Christina Ricci's chic choice of Madame Gres vintage couture may have looked matronly and boring on anyone with less of a seductive and intriguing personality as Ricci exhudes. Kim Cattrall doesn't need to sex it up, her Sex and the City character and sex book have enough of that, and she still looked flirtatious enough in her vintage Valentino goddess gown. Maggie Gyllenhaal always surprises with her choice of characters and fashions, and this was no less of a pleasure to see her in a coppery Lanvin - after all, there ARE other designers besides, Dior, YSL, Chanel and Versace...that are perfect for red carpet moments and galas. Finally, Sarah Jessica Parker stayed true to form in a made to order Chanel couture gown with a feminine sparkly and girly full skirt but in a mature and elegant shade of grey - it was quintessential Ms Parker as interpreted by Chanel. (How many times have we seen her comfortable in her frilly full skirted dresses, no matter what the designer?)

Other young starlets coming into their own added a few surprises, veering away from the usual body baring, sex-kitten looks that the press has come to expect from their rebellious natures, and opting instead for elegance and sophistication, perhaps proving they are in it for the craft, but appreciate the glamour all the same, just don't need to sacrifice themselves for the sake of the camera. Or perhaps, this is the new rebellion, less sex, and more appeal. Brittany Murphy attending her first Golden Globes in sparkly and charming Dolce & Gabbana, perfect for a blushing bride to be... Evan Rachel Wood in an emerald Prada gown, which although it looked like it may have been chosen for her, and could have been fitted a bit more flattering at the bodice, was interesting enough. Gwen Stefani, was herself, elegant without losing her rock chic effect in platinum upswept hair, red va vroom lips and head to toe white vintage Valentino as only she can carry off. Jessica Simpson wore Chanel, although she could have lost that flower as choker, but then again, but perhaps that was her own personal touch. Jennifer Garner looked lovely in Zac Posen with a gradation from creme strapless to lavendar hem.

All in all it was an interesting show, not predictable in its fashion highlights, not boring and appropriate for the occassion, the glamour and glitter, beauty and sophistication expected of celebrities who have the world of fashion at their fingertips...it was not an advertising publicity driven parade of hot designers who are of the moment, nor was it a scene in how sex can cause a stir, proving an age old cliche. It's the woman that makes the dress, and not the dress that makes the woman.

SML

(Meet our latest contributor: Sally Melanie Lourenco. She has been a Associate Editor at Italian Vogue/Glamour, worked at Marie Claire magazine as their fashion editor, and then for the last two years she was at French Vogue as a correspondent news editor for the online website. She is currently working freelance and finishing a book to be published in August/ September of this year on the magazine publishing industry, its inner workings and its future.)

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