Sunday, January 19, 2014

Better or Worse? The 2014 SAG Awards Red Carpet Review

Since I wrote up such an extensive fashion review of last week’s Critics’ Choice Awards red carpet, instead of doing a complete review of last night’s SAG Awards, I’ll compare a few actresses who wore particularly good or particularly awful gowns last week and rate whether or not they improved their style this weekend.

Amy Adams: Good to Great

I liked Adams’ CC dress, but her SAG gown was even more striking, with its dramatic purple hue, geometric cut-outs, diamond-studded belt, and long slit, yet with a touch of old Hollywood style in her marcelled hair and bright red lips.

Cate Blanchett: Okay to Bad

The front of Blanchett’s CC dress was bland but it was salvaged by a plunging diamond-shaped cutout in the black. Her SAG dress was a more flattering color but a much less flattering cut, looking almost like a maternity dress with its billowy, pink metallic-edged top. Change that metallic hem into a sash and this dress would be a knockout, but as is, it falls flat.

Julie Bowen: Bad to Awful

Bowen’s CC dress just missed the mark due to its clashing colors and overly broad, square shoulders. But she missed it by a mile at the SAG Awards, with a misshapen geometric skirt and a strangely-constructed bodice that thickens her waist. I love the seaming and the color of the orange bodice, but it’s all downhill from there.

Sandra Bullock: Bad to Great
I was very disappointed in the odd color combination of Bullock’s CC gown, but the rich emerald of her SAG gown was perfect with her dark hair and eyes and her fair skin. The simple draping of the gown, the fabulous shoes, and the small detail of the bow at the hip were a vast improvement.

Laura Carmichael: Great to Okay
While I appreciate that Carmichael went for dramatic effect at the SAGs, the stiff drape of her silver gown and painfully-tight updo were not nearly as flattering as her simple black-and-white geometric CC gown. Points for her fabulous strappy sandals and matching clutch and heavy bracelet, though.

Michelle Dockery: Good to Okay
I wanted to love Dockery’s SAG dress; I really, really did. And I do love the black-and-white (particularly against her alabaster skin, dark hair, and bright red lips), and the vest-style top and long straight skirt panels, but the wide, plunging décolleté is too wide, particularly as the white trim blends into her white skin, making her look droopy. I preferred her bell-shaped, feminine print CC gown.

Jennifer Lawrence: Okay to Great
I didn’t hate Lawrence’s CC gown, although I’ve certainly seen her dress better. But her stunning, form-fitting, iridescent spangled sheath at the SAGs was a complete knockout.

Julie Louis-Dreyfus: Good to Okay
Louis-Dreyfus’ CC gown was a great color and cut for her, and worked well despite its simplicity. Her two-tone SAG gown, while not horrible, was just not as flattering, nor was her drab hairstyle and oversized clutch.

Helen Mirren: Great to Okay
Mirren’s CC gown was so lovely and flattering that it would have been hard to beat, so although her SAG dress wasn’t bad, it was still a move down. Her slicked-back hairstyle and coral lips were terrific, but the wide-waisted skirt and blouse with tan detailing just didn’t set off her gorgeousness the way her stunning green CC gown did.

Lupita Nyong’o: Great to Stunning
N’yongo moved from good to better in this bright turquoise sheath. Her simple but unusual CC gown was a flattering color, but her gorgeous dark skin jumped to life against the stunning color of her SAG gown, and the floral neck detailing moved the dress from simple to spectacular.

Sarah Paulson: Bad to Bad
Paulson’s frilly CC gown was at least a pretty color, but the stark white of her SAG dress was NOT an improvement, nor was the swap out of descending ruffles for descending fringe, and the high scoop neck replacing her droopy spaghetti straps called unflattering attention to her neck. Her hair also looked crudely chopped off and had somehow lost its warm honey highlights. At least her shoes and clutch were cute.

Giuliana Rancic: Okay to Great
The tall but slight Rancic often struggles with proportion, and although she was a bit overwhelmed by her CC gown, her SAG gown his all the right notes with its rich purple due, snug fit to the hip, slim black belt, and criss-cross neckline.

Sofia Vergara: Great to Good
I hesitate to call Vergara’s SAG gown “worse,” because it’s really not bad. But her CC gown was truly a stunner, despite its volume. The big turquoise necklace was the perfect accessory, and her va-va-voom figure handled the huge skirt beautifully. Her SAG gown, although pretty, seems to place an undue emphasis on her hips, and without a pop of color somewhere, seems a bit monochromatic and bland compared to her CC look.

Kerry Washington: Good to Bad
I hate to dis a mom-to-be, but if there’s any time that a bare midriff is inappropriate, it’s at an awards ceremony when you’re 3 or 4 months pregnant. The full black skirt is very cute, the fluffy pink “Lana Turner at Schwab’s” sweater and matching clutch are cute, even the pulled-back updo with the girlish headband is cute, but the bared midriff just doesn’t work. Her demure but belly-framing CC outfit was much more flattering – and subtle.

Ariel Winter: Great to Great
I feel like I’m wimping out a bit by giving Winter equal scores for her CC and her SAG gowns, but I really do find them equally lovely and flattering. The color of both suits her, as does the softly gathered style and criss-cross strap/bodice. This young actress (and/or her stylist) has a terrific sense of her own personal style and what looks good on her.

And I’d like to end with a few honorable mentions that I missed at the Critics’ Choice awards, but whose SAG fashions are worthy of mention.

Isla Fisher
Fisher channels 1940s glamour in her champagne-color, bias-cut gown that flares at the knee and puddles into a train. Her subtle makeup, simple wavy hairstyle, and minimal jewelry let this beautiful gown speak for itself.

Jennifer Garner
I am a perennial fan of Garner’s simple yet elegant style. Once again, she opts for a simple, minimally-accessorized gown that sets off all her natural assets in the best possible way.

Camila Alves
I’m not a huge fan of this particular shade of yellow, especially against Alves’ olive skin, but the draping and silhouette are so breathtaking that I have to include it. The shape of the neckline, the gathering at the hip that falls gracefully into a train, the silver sandals…it’s just a terrific look all around.

On the whole, I’d say that the fashions at the Critics Choice and the SAG Awards were pretty equivalent. A few actresses fell a notch, but even more made significant progress. I think Amy Adams gets my vote for favorite SAG gown of the night, a gown I prefer to my favorites worn at the CCs by Jenna Dewan-Tatum and Helen Mirren. I look forward to seeing what these famous ladies break out for the Oscar Awards a few months from now!

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