Monday, January 11, 2016

2016 Golden Globes - Red Carpet Review

I have covered so many red carpet fashions that I need to find new ways to present my commentary. So for this year’s Golden Globes, I’m going to compare some of the stars’ fashions to what they wore at last year’s Golden Globes. Here are the gowns I commented on last year -  feel free to pull them up for reference. I’ll group the actresses in the same categories as last year, for convenience.

One Shoulder

Last year, Amy Adams, Heidi Klum, Jane Fonda, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus all opted for one-shouldered gowns. This year, their looks couldn’t have been more different from each other. 

Adams wore a striking reddish-coral halter-topped column with a sequined insert, Klum wore a feathery belted column with a deeply plunging neckline, Fonda wore an ivory column with a monstrosity of an overly-ruffled bodice, and Louis-Dreyfus opted for a classic strapless black lace gown with just a bit of flare at the knee. A few nice details: Adams’ tiny train, Klum’s fabulous strappy silver sandals, Fonda’s perfect updo, and Louis-Dreyfus’ navy satin belt and clutch. Best of the bunch: definitely Adams.

Neutral Colors

Last year saw plenty of blacks, whites, silvers, and beiges among the gowns. The neutrals that I commented on included Felicity Huffman, Melissa McCarthy, Gina Rodriguez, and Julianne Moore. Interestingly, three of the four went with deep blue this year, while Felicity Huffman opted for a dark cranberry which worked beautifully with her newly-brunette locks.

Huffman’s slender sequined column was topped with lace insets and puddled subtly around her feet. Rodriguez’ very traditional satin ballgown with hidden pockets had lovely wrapped detailing at the bust and was beautifully complemented by her sleek, simple, shiny hair. Moore’s long-sleeved, tight, sequined column added visual interest with a square-cut neckline and curved choker-style inset. And McCarthy showed off her recent weight loss in a shiny wrap gown with full sleeves and skirt with a slit to just below the knee which allowed a peek at her fabulous gladiator sandals. Extra points to McCarthy for leaving her hair loose and simple, which is much more flattering than some of the overly-styled coifs she’s sported at other red carpet events of late. If I had to pick a winner from this grouping, I’d have to go with Rodriguez, simply because as lovely as the dress is, my attention is drawn to her rather than to her gown.


In contrast to the many neutral gowns, last year also saw quite a few bright red gowns, worn by (among others) Viola Davis and Helen Mirren. Did the crimson crowd tone it down this year? 

I think it’s safe to say that they both toned down the color but certainly not the style. Davis wore a stunning midnight blue flared gown encrusted with silver sparkles, looking like an entire galaxy (in the best possible way). And Mirren’s simple black column with ¾-length sleeves and see-through shoulder insets was perfectly accessorized with an absolutely stunning diamond necklace (which also trailed down her back) and a sleek asymmetrical bob. I can’t bear to call a winner on this one, since these ladies were both sheer perfection in every way.

Cleavage, Cleavage, Cleavage

Last year, we saw more than we might have liked of the chests of more than half a dozen A-listers, including Kate Hudson and Jennifer Lopez. Were they as bare this year?

Hudson has been heavily marketing her line of exercise wear, so it’s not surprising that her gown this year showed off her well-toned abs rather than her cleavage, and was a bit reminiscent of exercise wear. Her sequined tube top and A-line skirt were not a very flattering color, but they certainly drew the focus to those abs. Lopez also chose a less then flattering (although certainly eye-catching) color, and she opted to focus on a different body part this year, as well: her fabulous legs. The stark lines of her capelet and snug bodice were a nice contrast to the curvy wrapped hips and full, flowing train of her gown, through which peeked one of those long legs, and she was perfectly accessorized with simple diamond jewelry and silver shoes and clutch. The dark lips were also a lovely touch. Winner? Lopez, although Hudson will be crying over her loss all the way to the bank.


I chose to call out a few actresses who didn’t fit in a particular category last year, but whose looks were noteworthy for one reason or another. One of those I commented on was Maggie Gyllenhaal, who often falls into the “hot mess” fashion category, in my opinion. I am delighted to report that she did quite well this year, perhaps not reaching my “best dressed” list, but at least falling solidly on my “well dressed” list. 

This simple 1920s-inspired black and gold brocade dress with an oversized flower on the shoulder worked well with her slight figure and her coloring. Her simple, curly hairstyle and bright coral lipstick were nice touches, as was her heavy gold cuff bracelet. I would love to have seen a small pop of color somewhere, perhaps a coral clutch to match her lips, or a bright edging to the flower. But overall, I’d call this a successful look.

There were other looks worthy of note this year worn by actresses who didn’t make last year’s list. Here are a few which caught my eye.

Amy Schumer found the perfect gown for both her style and her figure. She’s not the ruffles-and-bows type, and she’s not a perfectly proportioned size 0. This stark black and white gown shows off her perfect hair and skin with the off-the-shoulder neckline, draws in her waist with the angled white panel of the bodice, and creates soft, elegant lines with the voluminous skirt and train, looking feminine but not fussy. It’s a great look for her. 

A still photograph cannot possibly do justice to Brie Larson’s crystal-encrusted gown. Under the lights, and as she moved, the crystals sparkled and flashed every color of the rainbow, yet somehow the fabric still moved and rippled softly and naturally despite what must have been significant weight. The peekaboo panels at the waist and halter-style bodice added lots of sex appeal without being overly revealing, and Larson’s simple hairstyle and near-complete lack of accessories allowed the gown to shine without outshining her. Definitely one of the top looks of the night for me.

Cate Blanchett, normally a 10 on the red carpet scale, fell rather short this year. From her oddly-proportioned bob, to the matronly cut and washed-out color of her gown, to the out-of-place black clutch, her look just wasn’t flattering. And yet, being Cate Blanchett, she still somehow managed to look stunning. Go figure. 

Eva Longoria’s gown struck me as “cute” amidst a sea of “sexy” and “elegant.”  The cut-out bow at the neck gave it schoolgirl charm, along with the embroidered flowers at the hips, and the long center slit tried to dress it up a little, but on such a petite person as Longoria, it looked overly youthful, and didn’t quite pack the punch one expects in a red carpet look. 

Jada Pinkett Smith’s stunning, teal, Grecian-inspired gown caught my eye for the first time when she happened to be in the background of another interview. “Eye-catching” is not a strong enough word for this gown. Much like Longoria, Pinkett Smith sometimes struggles to find a gown that works with her petite frame without either engulfing her or, as in Longoria’s case, infantilizing her, but this gown suits her perfectly. I love the drapes off the shoulders which echo the small train, the slit up-to-there, the slightly asymmetrical neckline, and the tiny belt, as well as the perfectly simple matching shoes. Send this lady to the top of the best dressed list!

Jennifer Lawrence's two-piece red column with crop top and waist cut-outs looked great in photos, but did not move well. Her always perfect posture made the best of a less-than-ideal situation, but the cut-outs still gapped as she moved. The fabulous collar-style necklace was a nice accessory, and although her upswept 'do looked a bit stiff at certain angles, it suited her and the gown. Another nice look for her.

Judith Light is somewhat hit or miss in the fashion department, in my opinion. She often tries for avant garde looks and isn’t always successful – or in some cases, she finds a look that works when she poses for the camera, but that just doesn’t move well. This stark white suit is beautifully cut and succeeds in both fitting and flattering her, while at the same time being eye-catchingly different. Not many women can pull off pure white, but her icy blond hair and fair but not pale skin provide just enough contrast that white is stunning on her. This is one of her best red carpet looks in recent years.

Kirsten Dunst tends to fall into a trap that many grown-up child actresses do: she gets so busy trying to remind the public that she’s a sexy adult now that she goes for revealing rather than flattering. While this look isn’t terrible by any means, the combination of a too-broad décolleté, open shoulders, and acres of side-boob, just doesn’t work on her. I love the general silhouette, the rich velvet fabric, the sweeping train, and the tiny black cords across the front. But it would have been much more successful with a slightly narrower expanse of skin showing. 

You never know what you’re going to get with Lady Gaga, but this year she chose to (very successfully) channel Marilyn Monroe in a skin-tight black velvet gown with an off-the-shoulder sweetheart neckline, flared hips, narrow skirt, and short train, accessorized by diamond cuffs, platinum waved hair, and surprisingly subtle makeup (I appreciate that she skipped Marilyn’s trademark red lips, which may have moved her from “tribute” to “parody”). The torpedo-style breasts were a bit over-emphasized, but other than that minor quibble, this look was a marvelous throwback to old Hollywood glamour. 

Lily James was a good example of a gown and a wearer both being lovely but just not working well together. The white Grecian-style gown with asymmetrical slits and wrapping in the bodice and chiffon draping down the back is lovely but a bit vampy, and although James’ heavy eye makeup and slightly droopy waved hair worked with it, it didn’t suit her bubbly personality. I felt like she was putting on a character in order to wear the dress, and since the red carpet is such a fun place to see performers as themselves rather as than the characters they portray, I felt that I missed out on seeing the real Lily James.

Special Mention

I can’t write a red carpet review for the Golden Globes without adding a special mention of this year’s Miss Golden Globe, Corinne Bishop (daughter of Jamie Fox). 

Bishop’s gown was a lovely champagne color, accented by embroidered white and silver doves and twining leaves. It featured a plunging décolleté and see-through, slightly puffy sleeves. One of the best parts of this gown was that it was designed to look lovely and graceful when walking in it. All too often, the hostess looks lovely when standing still, but awkward when escorting the presenters and winners from the stage. Kudos to her stylist for getting it right, and to her for looking lovely, comfortable, and natural all night long. And kudos to Mr. Fox, as well, for raising such a poised young woman.

Bookmark and Share