Friday, May 17, 2013

Cannes Stars -- Sonam Kapoor

Sonam Kapoor in Dolce & Gabanna
Sonam Kapoor in Shehla Khan

I don't know who this lady is, but she can wear the hell out of a dress.  For full coverage of the Cannes Film Festival fashion, go visit Red Carpet Fashion Awards

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Final miscellaneous thoughts about the 2012 Met Gala

I've got to finish this thing -- Cannes is upon us and I must go on Swinton watch!  So . . .

Miley Cyrus in Mark Jacobs. My pick for best dressed at this event: baby bear isn't too punk, she isn't too dressy, she's juuuuuuuust right. I love her hair, too. Hell has just frozen over.
Linda Evangelista in Marchesa.  Linda looks like she just floated in from a vampires' Ren Faire, and I just love it.
January Jones in Chanel Haute Couture.  January Jones looks a lot like Grace Kelly, a fact that the producers and costume designers of Mad Men love and exploit.  January, however, can't be too fond of the resemblance because she keeps dressing against type.  She really needs to get over it; it's much better to look like Grace Kelly than an angry David Bowie impersonator.
Nichol Richie in Topshop.  The hair makes her look like one of the Walking Dead.  I hope she got the number of Myle's hairdresser.
Gerard Butler in Dolce & Gabbana.  This picture makes Gerard looks like he has the most awesome mullet ever.  Thank you, random young lady passerby.
Michael Kors and Jennifer Lopez wearing Michael Kors, of course.  It's their world and we're just living in it, bitches. 
Now, on to find the Swinton!

Clothes on Film: Glama-jamas and the Met Gala

I imagine a designer, sometime in the 1950s, thinking to himself "Gee, ball gowns, overskirts and pants are all really popular right now.  What if I put all those things together, make them out of satin, brocade and lace, and call the ensemble . . . hostess pajamas! " And thus an another incarnation of that wardrobe abomination, the dress over pants, was born.

From what I can tell, the idea didn't really take off in rest of America, but Hollywood designers and stars loved it.  When the leading lady appeared dressed in hostess pajamas it meant that her character was glamorous (ball gown), slightly bohemian (pants), and sexy (split-to-the-waist overskirt), or, and this is a big or, it could mean that  her character was just pretending to be all those things.  For example, in Imitation of Life Lana Turner (shown here in an unrelated publicity still) wore hostess pajamas, or as I like to call them, glama-jamas;

Lana Turner: you'd better believe she's glamorous
A search for "hostess pajamas" on google yielded more hits for Barbie clothes than anything else, so you know they had to be hot:

What, you were expecting Barbie to wear a snap-front house dress?  As if!
And you KNOW hostess pajamas had to be super glamorous if they were featured in a Modess . . . because ad.
Because she's hot, that's why!
On the poser side, Judy Holliday wore them in Pfffft (I've never seen it either) and Born Yesterday, and Lucille Ball (not pictured) wore them on I Love Lucy.
Judy Holliday and Jack Carson in Pfft.

Judy Holliday, Broderick Crawford, and William Holden in Born Yesterday.  The plot in a fashion nutshell, she gets smart and loses the glama-jamas.
As Hollywood glamour went out of style the ball gown version of hostess pajamas disappeared in favor of palazzo pants and other simpler, saner, clothing, but designers were and are always trying to bring back the dress-over-skirt and pajama dressing.  Both these trends were out and loud at the Met Gala so that we can (a) understand why this garment was supposed to be worn at home, (b) recall what a ridiculous and often unflattering ensemble it is and (c) separate the truly glamorous from the posers, or not.  Observe:
Sophia Coppola in Marc Jacobs, with Marc Jacobs. All pajama, very little glama, but at least she's prepared to take a nap if things get really boring.

Sara Jessica Parker in custom Giles, with custom Louboutin boots.  Lotsa ball gown, very little jama, but she has to be wearing some kind of pants under that thing, doesn't she?  For the love of all that's holy, DOESN'T SHE?

Jessica Biel in Giambattista Valli Haute Couture, with the designer, Giambattista Valli.  Jessica looks a little worse for wear in that photo, so it's appropriate that she's wearing her glama-jamas derelicte.

Jessica ParĂ© in Jason Wu with the designer, Jason Wu.  Jessica's outfit is probably the closest to the Hollywood original; I could see Lana Turner wearing it, but I wouldn't like it on her, either.  Damn that 1980s blue.  And girl, the eye make-up?  No.
Doetzen Kroes in custom Theyskens' Theory, with the designer, Olivier Theyskens.  Something got lost in translation and Doetzen wound up in a skirt over a skirt, both slit up the whazoo, but she's hot, the leather over-dress is kewl, and Olivier Theyskens is as cute as a button, so who cares?

Hilary Rhoda in Wes Gordon.  Now would that be business in the front and party in the back, or party in the back and business in the front?
Gaia Repossi, in Dior Haute Couture. If this is the new Dior Haute Couture, then LVHM needs to hire a sobriety coach and bring back John Galliano right away.  (I bet that crazy little dude could design the shit out of a pair of glama-jamas.)

Elaina Watley in Naeem Khan and Victor Cruz.  This one, I like.  It's tuxedo-ish, which is always a winning look, the overskirt and pants don't clash and they're nicely balanced.
I think the lesson to be learned from all this is that if you have the urge to wear glama-jamas, stay home and watch Lana Turner and Judy Holliday movies until it passes.


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Problems of Rich Girls

Gwyneth Paltrow in Valentino: she looks happy here but she hasn't gotten inside yet!

Several years ago I went to charity balls all the time, not as a guest, but as a model showing and talking up fur coats donated as silent auction items.  The parties were mostly held in local casinos, and because this is Reno and not Las Vegas, there are no Chihuly chandeliers, three-tier artificial waterfalls, tigers, or Venetian canals in their lobbies.  In fact, everything looks a little tired, especially the carpets.  The people who attended those parties were a mixed bunch, old rich, new rich, no rich, wearing whatever they thought passed for party clothes.  They, and I, generally had a very good time, especially those people at the "lifestyle" convention.  Google it and use your imagination. 

Anyhoo, looking at the photos from the Met Gala red carpet, with its tired old red carpet and its motley assemblage of alleged celebrities, made me recall my home-town parties.  The big difference was that most of the people at the Met Gala didn't seem to be having a good time at all.  Maybe it was all that black pseudo-punk eye makeup that made the women look so grim, or maybe their feet hurt, or maybe they were hungry from starving to fit into their sometimes really ugly couture outfits and angry because they knew they couldn't actually eat at the event for fear of getting a spot on the borrowed garment.  Who knows? 

It is known, however, that Gwyneth Paltrow didn't have a good time at the Gala, and her remarks about the event being overcrowded, hot, and disorganized got almost as much press as Kim K's couch-impersonation photos.  She was thoroughly dissed for those comments, too, because GP is the woman everybody loves to hate; how else could she be voted "most beautiful" and "most hated" celebrity in one year?  (Okay, I know how she was voted most beautiful.  People Magazine always puts celebrities with some huge project to promote on the cover of their "most beautiful," or "sexiest" issues.  Iron Man 3 was released around the time People published its most beautiful issue, Gwyneth is in Iron Man 3, hence Gwyneth is the most beautiful.)  One TV commentator called GB's complaints "rich girl problems," implying that she should be grateful for being invited at all.  A columnist chided her for daring to piss off Anna Wintour, Vogue Magazine's editor-in-chief and thus ensuring that she'd never be invited to the Gala again and endangering her status as a Vogue cover girl.  (Now that's what I'd call rich girl problems.) 

But I have to give GP a pass on her comments because neither she, nor any of the other, celebrities at the Gala were, strictly speaking, guests.  They, their host, and the corporate sponsors who actually ponied up the money, were all involved in a complicated dance of self-promotion.  The Met Gala is supposed to be elite, exclusive, artistic, a chance to rub shoulders with A-list actors, socialites, and fashionistas.  When Gwyneth shows up, Vogue's power and prestige is enhanced – look, we called and an Oscar-winning most beautiful actress answered! – and some designer gets his dress photographed.  In return, GP's reputation as a woman of taste gets a boost, and she can trade on that to get more covers, more dresses, and more Goop.  This year, though, I'd say she didn't get the benefit of her bargain.   

Anna Wintour supposedly has veto power over the attendees, so not every Tom, Dick and Harriet with $250,000 to pay for a table can buy their way in.  It was reported that Ms. Wintour barred the cast of the Real Housewives of New York, no doubt about to attend on Bravo's dime and fixin' to brawl, and Kris Kardashian, because she wanted a "parade of stars, not a parade of reality stars."  But Heidi Klum made the cut, so did KellyOsbourne and Julianne Hough, who shows up everywhere for some reason unknown to me.  There were a lot of other "Dancing with the Star" quality stars in attendance, too.  Thus instead of looking like sophisticated fashionistas, the red carpet gang resembled escapees from the People's Choice Awards plus one or two visitors from the AVNs.  There were too many blonde actresses from every list from A to Z, too many no-so-super models, and too many pop stars.  Pop stars are the death of class; how could Anna not know that? 

Then there was Julianna Rancic reporting from the red carpet for E! news.  If pop stars are the death of class, Julianna and E! news are the undertakers. 

In the end, people like Niki Minaj, Kate Upton, Stacy Keibler and Jimmy Fallon got to bask in Gwyneth's reflected glory, while all she got was heat rash.  Worse, the acting, award-winning, blogging, Spanish-speaking-friend-of-Mario-Batali, model-thin and internally-cleansed Gwyneth was upstaged by Kim "Famous for Nothing" Kardashian.   Even worse, the Fashion Police didn't like her dress, or the dress she wore the previous week at the Iron Man premiere.  
Finally we get to the dress:  Valentino, pink, totally covered up (unlike the butt-baring premiere monstrosity) except for a net window on the breast bone, and boring.  Can this look be fixed?  Yes, with jewelry.  Lots of it.

The Dutch royal family has to pay for its jewels; your average movie star gets loaners.

 Pearl and diamonds, from ebay, only $19,000.  Aren't the Interwebs wonderful?
More from ebay, a mere $24,000!
I've had enough of this stripped down, blingless trend, and I'm going to make it my personal mission to end it.  Girlfriend, throw on a honking big colored-jewel necklace and a wide ethically-sourced diamond bracelet or three; it's safe, they're vegan!  A star should shine, dammit!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Fashion Critical Mass: Kim Kardashian at the Met Ball.

Kim Kardashian, with her baby daddy, both in custom Givenchy, at the 2013 Met Gala in honor of the costume institute exhibition Punk: from Chaos to Couture
The title of this post isn't another weight joke about the pregnant Kim K (although heaven knows I could make one, and probably will), it actually refers to the definition of the term, which is "the amount of fissile material needed to maintain a nuclear chain reaction."  In other words, if there's critical mass, there's a bomb, and it didn't me take more than one photo Kim in her flowered monstrosity to conclude that she landed on the Met Gala red carpet with the impact of the Fat Man, a famously big bomb.
Okay, there's the fat joke, and a truly tasteless one it is. 
Now you're probably thinking that a woman, especially a pregnant woman, shouldn't be criticized for the size of body and how she chooses to cover it.  I absolutely agree, except when that woman is a full-time player in the red-carpet celebrity game and basically getting paid just to look good.  Really, with nothing to do except to maintain her alleged hotness, and access to the loan or gift of the finest fashion, Kim chooses to appear at the biggest fashion event of the year dressed like grandma's divan?
Of course she does, she gets more attention that way.
This floral disaster got Kimmy more attention than Madonna's pantsless look, or Uma Thurman looking like a couture Poison Ivy:
Uma Thurman looking so good in Zac Pozen I thought she was Charlize Theron
or even Gisele Bundchen making a scene.

It's Gisele motherfracking Bundchen in Versace, bitches.
So the girl who is famous for nothing dropped the big one and won the war.  At least she and the Met Gala got me off the Clothesaholic wagon and posting again.

Monday, September 19, 2011

63rd Emmy Awards -- the Glee Gang.

Adolescent angst does not end with high school, I just have to hope that the nerds  will end as up as software billionaires, and the cool kids will sink into well deserved obscurity.  Soon.

Now let's pause to reconsider how fabulous Naya Rivera looked at the Emmy awards.

And now I'm left to wonder why, given the heat generated by the dancers on Glee, does the singing midget get all the attention from fashion magazines?  I'm refering to Lea Michele, who, among other things, was on the cover of the September issue of Harper's Bazaar.  In close-up, heaven help us. Interesting issue of Bazaar, btw: it included articles about Michele Bachman and the Duchess of Windsor, and a feature devoted to the fashion of Margaret Thatcher.  Maybe the editors thought they'd balance things out by putting a Jewish girl on the cover?  Anyhoo . . .
Lea Michele in Marchesa -- What. Ever.  During the preshow, Kelly Osborne said that she asked Marchesa to loan her a dress, but they refused, saying that they were only going to dress one actress for the Emmys.  Well, there were two, Lea and Elizabeth Moss.  Whose nose should be out of joint?  If it's Lea, how could we tell?
Dianna Agron in Roksanda Ilincic -- A Spelling Challenge.  Dianna always looks like she borrowed her clothes from a 50-year-old WASP society matron.  Apparently, Dianna goes to the matron's hairdresser as well.  Her outfit is too old, too blue, too wrinkled, in short, a material crime against a beautiful young woman.

Heather Morris in Masai Payan -- Sorry, Heather, You're Out.  I love Heather Morris, I love the character she plays on Glee.  BUT!  This dress -- it looks like something a Project Runway contestant would make for an "avant garde" couture challenge where the only material allowed is toilet paper.  And on top of it all she's got a hair Tsunami.  Oh, no, honey, just . . . no.   
Jayma Mays in Zuhair Murad -- So Sweet My Teeth Hurt.  On Glee, Jayma's character is afflicted by Innocence Virgin on Stupidity.  Someone needs to tell her she doesn't need to dress that way in real life.
Jenna Ushkowitz in Gadah Paris -- Props for Originality.  Jenna took a chance, and it's -- okay.  It is nice to see something that's not the same old strapless mermaid/one shouldered red yadda yadda, but once again, this look rather old for her.  Still, nice try.
Amber Riley in Unknown -- Talk About Old!  When I first saw Amber in this dress, I thought "she must have gone shopping in her grandmother's closet."  Then I realized that her grandmother would probably be about my age, and I wouldn't have something like this in my closet.  It reminds me of the dresses my heavier aunts used to wear to Italian weddings in the 1980s.  Who did this too poor Amber?

63rd Emmy Awards -- once you go black . . .

No surprises here – there were lots of strapless mermaid dresses, again, lots of one-shoulder dresses, again, and lots of pale pale actresses wearing pale pales dresses, again.  Oh will they never learn?  As usual, the A-list actresses got the A-list dresses and, for the most part, looked the best.  There were, however, a lot of lesser-known designers represented on the runway, including Tony Ward Couture, Johanna Johnson, Romona Keveza, and Kaufmanfranco, with greater or lesser success.

The trendiest color on the red carpet was red, which is a continuation of the trend set at the 2011 Academy Awards.  Even red-haired Kathy Griffin wore a red Oscar de la Renta.   (Speaking of hair, there should be a special prize for Good Looks Ruined by Bad Hair.)  But when I picked out my favorite looks, almost all of them were black, and here they are:

Naya Rivera in Lloyd Klein -- Take THAT Lea Michele.  My favorite look of the event.  It's simple, retro, and sizzling hot.  I would have liked it worn slightly fuller hair and darker lips, but that's quibbling, and even I shouldn't quibble with fabulous.

Maria Menounos -- It's a Mystery.  Pictures of Maria wearing her sparkling dress are posted all over the internet, but I haven't found one with a caption that identifies the designer, poor dear.  Unfair, considering that this dress, like Naya's, is simple, retro, and hot, and more fashionable than the very similar dress Elie Saab dress worn by Evan Rachel Wood.  Whoever you are, dear designer, stand up and take a bow.

Christine Baranski in Zac Posen -- Hotness for Grown-ups.  I had already sorted this picture into my black beauties files when I read that it's actually midnight blue.  Whatever.  What excites me about this little number is that it's got sleeves, and it's still hot!  Of course, it helps that it's worn by a tall woman with a dancer's body, but even tall and gorgeous can go wrong.  (Are you listening, Nicole?)  Good job, Christine.

Evan Rachel Wood in Elie Saab -- I Didn't Know She Could Sing.  Slick and pretentious.  Yeah, I could see Veda Pierce in this dress.

Gretchen Mol in L'Wren Scot -- the KISS Principal at Work.  Her management and Vanity Fair Magazine have been trying to sell the baby-faced Gretchen Mol as a sex bomb for at least 15 years.  Bomb?  No.  Very nice looking?  Yes.  Needs a necklace?  Definitely.
Kaley Cuoco in Romona Keveza -- Give it up for Tea Length!  Young and cute, but she should have gone all the way and added a crinoline.  Dare to be, uh, daring!

Kelly MacDonald in Unknown -- Good Dress, Bad, Bad Hair.  On days when she was going to do heavy duty cleaning, my mother would put her hair up in pin curls, tie a scarf around it, and get to work.  When she was done, she'd take off the scarf, comb-out her hair, change her dress and put on some make-up.  Looking at this picture I can only assume that Kelly didn't have time for the comb-out before she left her house, but her toilets are really clean.
Gwyneth Paltrow in Pucci -- It Looked Better on TV.   I was really impressed when I saw Gwyneth approaching the tiny Seacrest wearing this; it seemed unique and daring.  In the still photos, it makes her look like she has a slight muffin top.  So we can conclude this dress would have looked better as a one piece.  Consider it, Pucci.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

I'm baaaaaaaaaaack.

Before my blogging was so rudely interrupted by work, the serial release of new volumes in four Fantasy/SciFi series I follow (reading each new volume requires a reread of the previous volumes, which in the case of A Song of Ice & Fire means a 4,000 page review) and, most importantly, my quadrennial nervous breakdown and medication adjustment, I was writing about New York Fashion Week and the Fall 2011 collections.  I even had carefully organized files of photos illustrating trends for discussion.  Well, screw that, because my head has cleared enough for me to start writing again . . .
at the end of New York Fashion Week for Spring 2012.  I've said it before, and I'll say it again – It's always Fashion Week Month somewhere.

But before I write about any of that nonsense, if I do, here's some Clothes on TV commentary:

Project Runway Season Who Gives a Damn

There has always been an undercurrent of misogyny and ageism circulating among the mostly young gay male contestants on PR, but this year those particular evils are front and center thanks to a contestant named Josh Overpluckshiseyebrows.  And I already know that Mr. Overplucked is going to be among the finalists, or perhaps even win, but it really makes no damn difference, because, given the season timing, all nine of the remaining contestants got to show at fashion week.  In seasons past I've looked at the fashion week photos, this year, I dislike most of the contestants and find their clothes boring and frankly, m'dear, I don't give a damn.

The Rachel Zoe Project

Rachel's back, with her husband, but without Brad Gorecki, who, it must be said, was the real star of that show.  So we're left with what must be the whiniest couple in fashion/showbiz, and with Rachel pregnant, there is just soooo much more to whine about.  The next episode is the pregnant Rachel styling women for the Oscars.  I may watch that episode on mute.

Amsale Girls

Amsale Girls is WE TV's wedding gown series.  It supposed to be about the women working at the Amsale boutique on Madison Avenue in New York.  The boutique is elegant, the gowns even more so: no see-through corset gowns here.  Amsale gowns average about $5,000, and according to a blurb on, can cost as much as $75,000.    Unfortunately, all that good taste produces very little drama, and the show is rather boring.

Say Yes to the Dress, and Say Yes to the Dress – Atlanta.

Bad taste, tacky gowns, petulant brides, mothers-from-hell, jealous sisters, bitchy bridesmaids, what more can one ask for?  Right now, these are my favorite fashion TV show.  Thank gawd there's something I can depend on.

Live from the Red Carpet, the Umpty-tump Emmy Awards

Very relaxing show – I feel free to get up and fill my bird feeders, consider caulking my windows, water my container garden, wonder why the holy hell anyone would remake Mildred Pierce, and thank goodness for DVRs.  Now I can fast forward through the many interviews with men (and it seems like ONLY men are stopping to talk to the skeletal Giuliana and the miniature Seacrest), rewind for a glimpse of some of the few interesting dresses.  In short, another boring broadcast.  But I keep watching.  What does that say about me?

Friday, April 29, 2011

The Dress -- Not great, but just grand.

Kate Middleton wearing a Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen dress
And oh, so tasteful: no boobs, no bling, no damn fit-and-flare.  Pre-royal wedding, your average "Say Yes to the Dress" shopper  probably wouldn't even try on a similar dress.  Simon Doonan wrote that the royal wedding could usher in a "whole new era of elegant restraint" and put a temporary end to "porno-chic."  Unlikely, given the Kardashian-media complex, but we can hope that at least a few bimbos out there in celebrity land will get a clue and start wearing dresses long enough to prevent the spread of crotch-rot.

Ahem.  Yes.  Back to the dress:  in the black center of my heart-of-hearts I was hoping that Kate would wear something completely cracked-out,thus inspiring decades of brides to march down the aisle wearing, say, sequined Crocs, cowboy hats and 80's style mini-poufs, all for my amusement. The better part of me wanted her to wear something very modern and minimal, bordering on Tilda wear, that fashion and clothes bloggers could argue about for ages. But Kate, an obviously a smart, and even calculating, young woman, chose a dress that no one could complain about. Reportedly, even the hyper-critical Karl Lagerfeld liked it. May the rest of her choices as a royal be as successful, to the undoing of the tabloid press.

Oh, and I lurve the tiara. There's no garment that can't be made better by some honking big genuine jewels.

Now I wish I had a piece of  carrot cake.  Weddings do that to me.