The Red Carpet: Being Your Own Sartorialist

January 23, 2010 • Magazine

The Red Carpet: Being Your Own Sartorialist

The Red Carpet: Being Your Own Sartorialist

Sun, 2000-01-23 07:00

Amanda Aldinger
The first question asked to a celebrity on the red carpet is not, “What were you nominated for?” but “Who are you wearing?” In this age of rapid-fire information transmission, there are televised pre-shows, Twitter feeds, blogs and a whole host of additional media outlets dedicated solely to dissecting the celeb-studded, evening gown-draped turn down the iconic red carpet. As a self-proclaimed film buff, the excitement of an awards show for me is dual-natured: award props for amazing films paired with a free-flowing cascade of some of fashion’s most chronicled hit-or-miss moments.
Unless you live in a black hole, you know that the 2010 Golden Globe awards were on Sunday, January 17. As per usual, my search for unique, inspired fashion, and the best dress of the evening was on. When all was said and done, I felt the same way that I always do: there were the looks that missed completely (Sandra Bullock‘s tulled prom dress, anyone?), those which were simple and elegant (Jennifer Garner), and then there were the looks for which I eagerly await – those evoking a spirit of elegant high fashion, of couture (Vera Farmiga, in Dolce and Gabbana; Chanel jewelry).
As the Pret Reporteur, I come to you not with a bias, but with an observation: when it came to this year’s Red Carpet hits, the Europeans did it best. Toni Collette was absolutely radiant in her luxurious, sequined Elie Saab. New-comer Carey Mulligan was a dream in navy. Her figure hugged gloriously by her textured Nina Ricci creation. And Vera Farmiga was as sensual and arresting in her black, body-hugging Dolce and Gabbana as her character in Up in the Air. Don’t get me wrong – there are exceptions to the European rule of thumb. Maggie Gyllenhaal‘s red carpet attire consistently pushes sartorial boundaries, and this year her pale pink RM Roland Mouret was no exception. January Jones had, without question, one of the best looks of the evening in her stunning, floor-length Lanvin (my red carpet designer of choice). And Chloe Sevigny (albeit, terribly awkward in both poses and interviews) was romantically radiant in an off-the-runway lavendar Valentino.
But when high style’s the game, there’s always a leader of the pack. Holding strong for Team Europe was Marion Cotillard – who, this year, was confident and chic in a gorgeous, delicately structured, one-shouldered Christian Dior dress.  Not only was Cotillard one of the Golden Globes 2010 best dressed, but she has undoubtedly reigned a fashionable supreme in a multitude of previous award shoes. For the Critic’s Choice awards earlier this year, Cotillard also donned Dior Couture, looking exquisite in her pale pink corsetted top. Her black Elie Saab cocktail dress at the Palm Springs International Film Festival was the very epitome of effortless chic, while the scalloped, fishtail haute couture Gaultier dress she wore at the 2008 Academy Awards was one of the most acclaimed pieces of the evening.
I understand that not everyone has an innate sense for styling, or possesses a creative sartorial flair, but it’s difficult for me to regard many of the individuals who walk the red carpet as purveryors of fashion when it’s so painfully clear that their look is not their own. When one examines Marion Cotillard, and her red carpet history, it’s evident that she favors experimentation, risk-taking, and harnesses a deep appreciation for fashion as an art form. Thus, her red carpet attire is not an unfounded appeal to the avant-garde, but a continued representation of a long withstanding interest in fashion and personal style. This is in direct opposition to the terrible disappointments that were both Sandra Bullock, whose ill-colored, aggressively bright tulled ballgown seemed as out of place as her cop-turned-beauty-queen in Miss Congeniality, and Amy Adams (an actress I generally adore) whose glasses and lack of make-up seemed an effort too lackluster to match the Tiffany jewels and Carolina Herrera dress that comprised her red carpet attire.
My point is this: you either have it, or you don’t. I love the red carpet as a fashionable feast for my greedy little eyes, but as a celebrity, there is a way to maneuver the weighted importance placed on style and fashion without conforming to something that doesn’t suit one’s personality or personal style. Cotillard’s ensembles garner repeated accolades because her style is unique; her ensembles possess originality and an individual point-of-view. Looks like Drew Barrymore’s, whose stunning Atelier Versace gown boasted a bizarre hip appendage but still spoke to Barrymore’s quirky personality, are not as disappointing as those like Bullock’s, which seem so uncharacteristic that they are distracting more for their obvious displacement than their unfortunate coloring.
Like many famed European actresses so flawlessly exhibit, there’s a flair for the unquestionably chic in all who are style-conscious. A look that’s off can be a hit if there’s confidence and purpose behind it. But a miss that was never one’s idea to begin with? That’s just a bright purple atrocity waiting to headline the Worst Dressed List.

1. Toni Collette, Golden Globe Awards 2010
2. Maggie Gyllenhaal, Golden Globe Awards 2010
3. January Jones, Golden Globe Awards 2010
4. Marion Cotillard, Golden Globe Awards 2010
5. Marion Cotillard, Palm Springs International Film Festival
6. Marion Cotillard, Academy Awards 2008
7. Sandra Bullock, Golden Globe Awards 2010
8. Drew Barrymore, Golden Globe Awards 2010

Image Layout: Alicia Lee

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