Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Red Carpet Review: The 2014 Golden Globes

The gowns at this year’s Golden Globes, as is often the case at awards shows, tended to follow one of several trends. Some of the trends are true classics (basic black and black-and-white), some have been around for a few seasons (striking solid colors and lots of volume), and some are quite recent (two-toned gowns and metallic fabrics). For this review, I have grouped the gowns by category and have chosen a winner and a loser for each group.

The Category: Sheer Volume
The Nominees: Sofia Vergara, Juliana Margulies, Michelle Dockery, Caitlin Fitzgerald, Guiliana Rancic, Sandra Bullock
The Review: The simplicity of Vergara’s solid black gown (relieved only by a striking turquoise necklace) helped to balance its volume, while Margulies’ gown’s plunging neckline looked out of balance with the weight of her gilt-trimmed skirt. Dockery’s gown somehow looked light despite its volume, while Fitzgerald’s appeared unwieldy and stiffly draped despite its apparently lighter-weight fabric. Rancic’s gown was more in balance with itself, but as is often the case with her tiny frame, it seemed disproportionately large for her. Bullock’s gown managed its own volume nicely but the pale pink bodice and hem lining and baby blue swath at the bottom of the skirt just didn’t work.
The Winner: Sofia Vergara, for making it work (by just a hair over Michelle Dockery).

The Loser: Caitlin Fitzgerald, for looking like a flight attendant in formalwear.

The Category: Striking Colors
The Nominees: Taylor Schilling, Helen Mirren, Lena Dunham, Melissa Rauch, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Lupita Nyong’o, Emma Watson, Reese Witherspoon, Kristin Chenoweth, Ariel Winter, Jessica Lange
The Review: Wearing a bold, striking, solid-colored gown takes nerves of steel. If you’re the only one wearing that color, it will get you noticed. If someone else is wearing it, it will get you compared, and not necessarily favorably. Age triumphed over youth in the battle between striking deep sea-green columns as Mirren’s textured lace and curves won out over Schilling’s drooping bodice and overly-straight silhouette. Dunham’s canary yellow was a vast improvement over her past awards gowns (see  http://sandysmotherhoodblog.blogspot.com/2013/09/the-2013-emmy-awards-red-carpet-review.html and http://sandysmotherhoodblog.blogspot.com/2013/01/the-2013-golden-globes-red-carpet-review.html) but paled (figuratively if not literally) beside Rauch’s better-proportioned and more well-fitting although strikingly similar gown. Louis-Dreyfus, Nyong’o, and Watson wore gowns that shared little other than their deep coral hue. Louis-Dreyfus’ was simple and classic, Nyong’o’s was geometric and tailored, and Watson’s stole the show with its demure front and revealing yet boyish back. The bodice of Witherspoon’s snug blue column was a bit too evocative of a bathing suit but its smooth silhouette gave it an edge over Chenoweth’s long-sleeved blue column that came off as matronly instead of striking. And youth won out over age in the battle of the plums, as Winter’s gathered satin set off her own beautiful coloring, unlike Lange’s scoop-necked, cap-sleeved velvet.
The Winner: Helen Mirren, for picking a dress that is stunningly, uniquely, and flatteringly HER.

The Loser: Lena Dunham, for improving so much but still missing the mark.

The Category: Two-tone
The Nominees: Amy Adams, Taylor Swift, Julie Bowen
The Review: Adams’ gown featured coordinating shades of deep red, Swift’s was contrasting black and deep pink but in the same heavy satin, and Bowen’s had a red velvet bodice and a purple satin skirt. Bowen’s was best proportioned, with Swift’s wide sash making her look rather short-waisted (which, since her legs are already 8 feet long, was not a good choice) and Adams’ mid-seam falling too high to be at the natural waistline but too low to be an empire waist. But even its lovely lines couldn’t compensate for Bowen’s gown's squared-off shoulders and clashing colors.
The Winner: Amy Adams, for evoking her nomination without looking too disco.
The Loser: Julie Bowen, for ever putting those colors together.

The Category: Black and White
The Nominees: Zoe Saldana, Julia Roberts, Jennifer Lawrence, Heidi Klum, Hayden Panettiere, Jenna Dewan-Tatum, Laura Carmichael, Allison Williams, Jacqueline Bissett
The Review: The black-and-white contingent covered multiple styles, from floral embellishments (Saldana, Klum, Dewan-Tatum) to stark geometrics (Carmichael, Panettiere, Williams) to simple horizontal lines (Lawrence, Roberts) to 1980s prom (Bissett). Saldana’s dress had great details like a see-through hem insert, unusual beading, interesting geometric lines, and an arched ribbon across the bodice that followed the line of the draped straps, but there were just a few TOO many details. Roberts’ was crisp and flattering but a bit too blah, much like Lawrence’s. Carmichael’s was stunning but could have used a line of black piping at the gracefully-shaped neckline to avoid having it blend in to her pale skin, and Williams needed a bit more visual interest than the unexpected cross-shoulder strap. Klum’s dress sported a lovely silhouette and a beautiful see-through train but somehow still looked bland. Panettiere’s dress demonstrated the perfect relationship of angled lines and a curvy figure. Bissett’s dress was just too dated, too youthful, and too reminiscent of a Wagnerian soprano in a Viking helmet.
The Winner: Dewan-Tatum, for feminine yet striking lines and the perfect pop of bright lips. (Panettiere could have taken the category with a better hairstyle - or possibly just a shampoo.)

The Loser: Jacqueline Bissett, for bringing back the 80s in a BAD way.

The Category: Basic Black
The Nominees: Uma Thurman, Megan Mullaly, Emma Roberts, Jessica Chastain, Amy Poehler, Melissa McCarthy, Cate Blanchett
The Review: Thurman looked tall and regal in a beaded halter and an artistically draped, subtly spangled train. Mullaly’s hipster glasses and odd hairstyle thankfully distracted from dropped sleeves that looked like they belonged on a graduation gown. Roberts’ sleek gown hugged and flared in all the right places although the angled straps made her shoulders look very wide. Chastain opted for her usual form-fitting to the knees then slightly flared silhouette, with a diamond necklace that hung over her shoulders rather than around her neck, and yet another slicked-back, unwashed-looking hairstyle. Poehler’s asymmetrical keyhole wrap bodice could have used a bit more support but was still cute-sexy, and McCarthy is apparently back with the stylist who hates her (the fabric of the gown and the drape are gorgeous, but the cut is doing her no favors), and obviously her hairdresser now hates her as well (at first glance, I actually thought she was holding a hairbrush and a curling iron in her right hand in this photo, but unfortunately I was wrong). The back of Blanchett’s gown featured a daring and very revealing diamond-shaped cutout, but the clingy lace at the sleeves and neck combined with the flaring of the skirt at a strange height made it a disappointing choice overall.
The Winner: Thurman, hands down (although with a better hairstyle, Jessica Chastain might have given her a run for her money).
The Loser: Mullaly, for either the hair or the sleeves, you take your pick.

The Category: Silver Storm
The Nominees: Mila Kunis, Kate Beckinsale, Emilia Clarke, Naomi Watts, Sarah Paulson, Kate Mara
The Review: Kunis’ metallic silver bodice faded to soft gray in the skirt; Beckinsale’s art deco mermaid gown was a dark, burnished silver; Clarke’s dress was encrusted with silver spangles; Watts rocked a smooth, pale silver sheath; Paulson was drowning in tired-looking silver fringe; and Mara’s stiff space fantasy-inspired cap sleeves contrasted oddly with her gown’s soft Grecian draping. The most flattering silhouettes belonged to Kunis, Beckinsale, and Clarke.
The Winner: Beckinsale, for a gown that looked just as beautiful in motion as it does in still photos.
The Loser: Paulson, for whatever it was she was thinking when she chose that dress.

The Category: Ruffles and Bows
The Nominees: Paula Patton, Edie Falco, Berenice Bejo, Anna Gunn, Greta Gerwig
The Review: Ruffles and bows can be flattering and feminine, but they can also be overwhelming, as was the case with Patton’s giant white ruffle (which was not quite the same shade of white as her dress). Falco’s oversized bow was balanced by the simplicity of her bias-cut copper silk dress. With the clumps of lumpy ruffles, Bejo’s fitted jacket and flowing train had lovely lines. Gunn’s train, made of a single giant bow, accented the simple but lovely lines of her gown. And Gerwig's overly ruffled black gown was just a travesty of tulle.
The Winner: Gunn, for somehow making a white satin sheath with a giant bow in the back NOT look like a wedding gown.  
The Loser: Patton, for being devoured by her own clothes.

The Category: Maternity Chic
The Nominees: Kerry Washington, Olivia Wilde, Drew Barrymore
The Review: Washington chose the Globes to announce her pregnancy with a barely noticeable baby bump framed by a flared white vest; Wilde proudly showed off her growing belly in a deep green, spangled, form-fitting sheath; Barrymore’s white chiffon dress was covered in orange and red…pom poms? flower petals? miniature Christmas ornaments? I’m not sure what they were but she was so adorably glowing that it didn’t matter what she was wearing.
The Winner: All three of these ladies were winners last night! May their babies be as beautiful (and as talented) as they are.

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