Monday, December 22, 2014

The garb was fit for a goddess of comfort

The start of the red-carpet season showed that current styles in evening wear such as jewel-toned Grecian and frothy white gowns flatter curvy women.

During Monday night's Golden Globes, full-figured winners Jennifer Hudson, who donned a soft, navy-blue short-sleeved dress by Vera Wang, and America Ferrera, in a deep purple, cap-sleeved Brian Reyes gown, looked fabulous in the goddess-style tucks and upper-torso gathers.

Other Grecian-style hits included Salma Hayek's flowing white Dior by John Galliano (she just oozed nectar and ambrosia). Eva Longoria's fitted midnight-blue Emanuel Ungaro gown popped, thanks to the multicolored embroidery stylishly wrapped around the bustline.

And while Meryl Streep didn't look as put together on the stage as she did in the movie adaptation of The Devil Wears Prada - which won her a Golden Globe for best actress in a comedy/musical - she came across as impressively modern, tousled hair and all, in a blush seersucker gown with tucks in the bodice by Carolina Herrera.

Stylists say the stars turned to the classical influences for one timeless reason: comfort.

"It's appealing because the women don't have to wear corsets," explained Nicole Phelps, executive director of Style.com. "You'd be surprised at how many young stars wear corsets when they are out on the town."

White gowns, in all types of shapes and styles, were another big trend that really worked Monday night.

A litany of ladies went pale, from Grey's Anatomy star Ellen Pompeo, who looked incredibly fresh in a loose-necked, floor-grazing Versace, to Sienna Miller, in a white, drop-waisted and gold-embroidered Marchesa, to Jennifer Garner's sparkly, V-necked Gucci.

Often, it was the strapless white gown that enhanced the light-as-a-cloud look (while I'm usually not a fan of the strapless, I liked the lower cut seen on the red carpet).

Kate Winslet sparkled in her Azzaro by Vanessa Seward; Heidi Klum was regal in asymmetrically hemmed Givenchy Haute Couture; actress Ali Larter was classic in Reem Acra; and Hayden Panettiere was statuesque in her Monique Lhuillier.

The bright sea of white included one faux pas, in the form of now-single Cameron Diaz (who arrived separately from long-time beau Justin Timberlake). Not only was her white tulle-tiered Valentino hideous, but also her hair was as dark as the black bow clumsily placed in the center of the dress. The whole look was ghostly.

Speaking of disappointments, stars who donned glitter and metallics were more of a don't than a do.

"If you are going to dazzle and go all out on the Golden Globes, then what are you going to wear to the Oscars?" Phelps said.

Some of my favorites fell into this inappropriately bright fashion hole. Beyoncé Knowles' glittery Elie Saab was stunningly revealing and shockingly tasteless. Jennifer Love Hewitt looked too overdone in her gold, corset-style Georges Chakra.

Jennifer Lopez's black-and-gold scarflike Marchesa gown didn't light any fires (and we bet her back was cold). From the looks of her '60s-influenced hair, Lopez is trying to bring back the questionably stylish is-it-real-or-is-it-a-fall ponytail. Which brings us to Grey's Anatomy star Chandra Wilson. Her dress was blah, but we want to praise her for always wearing her own hair.

Jewel tones made us look twice at many stars. Pops of color helped Felicity Huffman look oh so chic in her emerald-green gown, a color also worn by Renée Zellweger, who chose a tea-length vintage Christian Dior. Helen Mirren was queenly in a Donna Karan Couture turquoise gown, and Reese Witherspoon was cute in a strapless yellow Nina Ricci.

Then there were those who stuck with black. Wisely, most stars chose dramatic cocktail dresses with lace and well-placed bows over plain shifts.

Cate Blanchett looked great in a lacy, tiered black Alexander McQueen, as did Penélope Cruz in her noir Chanel. Katherine Heigl was demure in a strapless Escada.

Angelina Jolie was surprisingly boring in her gunmetal-gray St. John knit. At first we thought she was trying to give off the aura of motherhood, but word has it she's feuding with St. John (she's the spokeswoman) over clashing styles (gee, what a surprise).

The only-painfully-skinny-girls-can-wear-that-dress award goes to Emily Blunt, who sported an Herve Leger. Blunt won as best supporting actress for her work in the BBC's Gideon's Daughter.

The what-was-she-thinking award goes to Vanessa Williams. We were utterly dismayed with her ultra-tight fishtail dress by Carmen Marc Valvo and voluminous hair. Could be she's channeling the sometimes questionable taste of her Ugly Betty character, Wilhelmina Slater, but nothing about this ensemble was easy on the eyes.

But the worst-dressed award goes to not one but three women: the Big Love wives Chloe Sevigny, Ginnifer Goodwin and Jeanne Tripplehorn, who stayed in close-knit character by parading the red carpet together.

Their ill-chosen ensembles were a one-shouldered cowprint Yves St. Laurent, a bronze Dolce & Gabbana, and a black Giambattista Valli cocktail dress, respectively.

Ick. Ick. Ick.


Contact fashion writer Elizabeth Wellington at 215-854-2704 or ewellington@phillynews.com. To read her recent stories, log on to http://go.philly.com/elizabeth

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Elizabeth Wellington Inquirer Fashion Writer
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