Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Wherein Style Spy Resists the Urge to Pun in Her Post Title

The Cannes Film Festival is presently going on in the south of France. Now, as a low-level film geek I'm always interested in what happens at Cannes, cinematically-speaking. And as a high-level fashionista, I'm always happy to have opportunities to view, critique, and learn from displays of wardrobe derring-do. But I can't help but feel that the Fashion Monster has completely devoured, digested, and regurgitated the film business at this point. My guess is that entire movies get made because some starlet or producer's wife saw a gown at a runway show and insists on creating an opportunity to wear it by engineering a movie premiere. I feel churlish about complaining about the chance to look at pretty dresses, but the dresses are ongoingly more boring, homogeneous, predictable, dull... in a word, Hollywood-ized. It just kills me, because one look at the latest round of collections in New York & London & Paris would tell anyone that this is an incredibly exciting time in fashion, with interesting new silhouettes and fascinating fabric treatments and yet... one by one, movie stars trundle down the red carpet in shiny, sparkly, skin-tight columns of fabric. It's such a yawn. To wit:


The ubiquitous Mischa Barton. Someone please tell me what this young woman has done besides a series of endlessly fey print ads for Keds sneakers. And yet – I see her everywhere. I need to hire her agent, because apparently he or she has figured out how to carve out an entire career based on just putting on pretty dresses and showing up. (And when I say "pretty" in this case, please understand me to mean "utterly forgettable.")


Julianne Moore in Christian Lacroix. Oh, my god. This is beyond dreadful. Now, I hate to shoot her down because I love when anyone wears Lacroix, but so few people pull it off well and that looks hideous on her. If you have this sort of complexion, DO NOT WEAR THIS COLOR.


Unless, of course, you are the magical exception that proves the rule. Apparently, angels and fairies hovered about Cate Blanchett's crib as an infant and bestowed upon her the Gift of Perfect Skin. I do not understand why this is so good on her and so terrible on Julianne Moore -- someone with more color & makeup savvy will have to explain that.


Woody Allen and Soon-Yi Previn. I will omit commentary except to note with mild surprise that this appears to have stuck and to say that if you're going to wear an evening gown A) STAND UP STRAIGHT and B) put some lipstick on, for pete's sake.


Amira Casar. I think she's an actress, but I can't be bothered to Google her right now. Love this. Love that it's black & sparkly, but short & not clinging to her like a wet paper towel. Love the slightly weird coral necklace as an accent. Also, how about those shoes, huh? Would really like to see those up close. Like on my own feet, under the table at a fancy restaurant.


Salma Hayek in Balenciaga. See, perfect example of my complaint. This stylist must have trolled through every stitch of clothing available at Balenciaga and picked the single least interesting piece in the joint. I mean, for crying out loud -- Ghesquiere showed this in his last show:


More than you want to bring to the red carpet? Fine, okay, how about this?


Come on, people. As LBDs go, that is one for the books. Yet Hayek looks, dare I say it, borderline matronly in that green number above. I do appreciate that the woman has an amazing figure. More to the point, the woman has an extreme figure -- she is not lithe & willowy in the way that allows a person to wear many different kinds of silhouettes in the manner that a runway model can. But for crying out loud, her husband is the CEO of the company that owns Balenciaga. My guess is that Nicolas could have been talked into doing a little something for her.


Natalie Portman in vintage Chanel couture. (Of course, these days "vintage" can mean "last season," so who knows...) Conventional wisdom has it that Ms. Portman is our new Audrey Hepburn, and she has always had a very precocious appreciation of classic fashion. She always looks lovely, and never like she's trying too hard. She understands how to wear a dress that flatters her without making her a exhibit in a freak show. But. I wouldn't mind if she were a little more adventurous. She's so young, after all, and so beautiful. I'd love to see her push the envelope a little.


Gillain Anderson in Alberta Ferretti. Dress is fine, pose is slightly ridiculous, and I hatehateHATE that hair. Honestly, when I rule the world, all the flatirons are going to be gathered up and thrown into a deep, deep pit. It is NOT flattering, and it smacks, on someone this age, of a desperate attempt to look younger than you are. (Vera Wang, I'm talking to YOU!) And if you're going to wear stick-straight hair with a part this extreme, see to your roots first. Sheesh.


No idea who these people are, but this is important: if your boobs look like this, do not wear this neckline. Or wear a narrower version of it that shows off your sexy sternum and that is all. God bless her for not succumbing to the lures of the knife, but discretion is the better part of valor. This is a perfect example of the Pick One Thing school of fashion advice: she's got great legs. Work that slit skirt, amen. That dress with the slit and a higher neckline -- much better. As an addendum -- if your boobs do look like this and you insist on wearing this neckline against my advice, at least try not to wear long, droopy hair that echoes your long, droopy... well, enough said.


Eva Longoria in Atelier Versace. No, sweetie, I think you misunderstood. You're supposed to save a piece of your wedding cake and eat it on your anniversary, not save the entire wedding cake and wear it to a party.


Angelina Jolie, Jack Black, and a large stuffed panda. I... What...? Why...? Every single thing about this photo makes me fear for the future of my species.


Gael Garcia Bernal with Yoshino Kimura. Again, don't know who this young woman is, but I love the kimono. Often I find the donning of traditional garb in formal situations a little forced, but this is just so pretty. I attended a wedding this past weekend and one of my fellow guests was a Japanese woman who also wore her kimono. Ohhhhhh, my goodness, it was so breathtaking. I sat next to her at the ceremony and paid almost no attention to the bride & groom because I was so mesmerized by Kumiko's kimono. There is a LOT going on in a traditional kimono -- sashes & belts & ties & underskirts and many layers of gorgeous fabrics. When it's done right it is a graceful symphony, and fascinating in a way that modern clothes seldom are. Looking at it, I found myself wondering all sorts of things about it -- where did she get it, how did the designer choose the colors and fabrics, what sort of process is it to get into & out of... I was riveted. Everywhere else around me sat a sea of women in droopy, poly-chiffon floral print dresses with flounces at the bottom and faux pashminas draped over their arms. I didn't give their dresses a second look. So -- here's to the kimono. It makes a statement.


Linda Evangelista. Yeah, buddy, that's what I'm talkin' about. Still one of the most beautiful women and arresting presences in the world, if you ask me. (I say "still" like she's 100 years old -- for crying out loud, she's a mere three months older than me! Such is the ephemeral nature of fashion.) Forget everything I said above about being bored by shiny, sparkly columns of fabric. This is how you do it. If you're gonna go, go big. And if you go big, work it for all you're worth. La Linda gets it.

Photos: Style.com

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r r s said...

Has anyone else noticed that, in addition to essentially wearing to same dress (different color) to everything, Salma does the braid-coil around the head ALL THE TIME?

Cate Blanchett does always manage to look like a lovely, champaign-colored statue, doesn't she?

Another thing I'd like to put out there: If you'd like for me to never, ever, ever buy your product, please use Mischa Barton as your spokesmodel. She makes my skin crawl, and I don't know why.

benvenuta said...

Cate is stunning, and you are right about Linda Evangelista. Wow! What a stunner.

I do like Angelina`s dress - the color is nice.

BTW, my problem with images not showing cleared up. For some time I had to read your blog (and Manolo`s, as the images there didn`t show for me either) in Internet Explorer. (See what I devored reader I am? I hate IE.) Now the problem went away and I don`t have the slightest idea what was going on, and I am not completely illiterate when it comes to computers.

Robo said...

Great breakdown and commentary. I had the exact same thoughts about Soon Yi before even reading your comments -- HA!

I think with Cate Blanchett, her skin has more golden undertones, which make the peach look ethereal on her. Julian Moore seems like she has a more cool/blue undertone, which might explain why the yellow looks blah on her.

WinterWheat said...


I actually LOVE Julianne's dress, but not on her. That dress needs a 6' frame with an uber-long neck. The black shoulder poofs should not reach the jawline, let alone the ears. And you're right about the color. While I appreciate her embrace-the-pale attitude, this is taking it a wee bit too far.

StyleSpy said...

r -- I could also live without the Austrian milkmaid hairdo on Salma. What's wrong with a nice French twist?

WW-- I love the dress, too, but it does not love her. Robo's comments about color make sense to me, and also that the Lacroix is a pale yellow-y nude and Cate's dress is a rosier shade. Much more flattering.

Anonymous said...

What was the pun? Something along the lines of "No Cannes Do"?

Susan B said...

Wow, agree that Julianne's dress is a disaster color-wise. She needs to fire her stylist. Love La Linda. She's still got It.

Anonymous said...

Just because you Cannes doesn't me you should! ;-)

Miss Cavendish said...

Love the puns in your comments.

On Mischa Barton: you might check out an edgy film she did while she was a little girl: Lawn Dogs.

Duchesse said...

Whoot! That was FUN! Julianne Moore has such alabaster beauty, but this dress is a screaming nightmare. Maybe better in person but the contrast probably messes with photos.