Monica Corcoran Harel is contributing to Deadline’s Golden Globes coverage.
You can tell a lot about a Golden Globes nominee’s fashion poise by how she exits her limo. Not surprisingly, Modern Family’s Sofia Vergara — wearing a Zac Posen with a painted on bodice — anxiously adjusted her copious cleavage in the reflection of her car, while Cate Blanchett of Blue Jasmine regally swanned from a backseat in a high-necked, lace Armani Prive gown with nary an adjustment. Wouldn’t it have been fun if the Hollywood Foreign Press Association forced the two to switch dresses?
But let’s get right down to business. Best dressed at this year’s ceremony? Hands down, Lupita Nyong’o in a vibrant red Ralph Lauren column dress with an architectural cape. The contrast of the sleek, minimal design with the blinding color highlighted her complexion and chiseled beauty. A close second would be Blanchett’s breathtaking confection of delicate lace with a sculpted open back. Black, which can feel so funereal on a red carpet, becomes a light, airy option with a full skirt of frothy tulle and shimmering black Swarovski crystals.
On their four-inch heels were Olivia Wilde in sequined Gucci maternity wear (reminiscent of Angelina Jolie’s Atelier Versace look in 2011), nominee Taylor Swift channeling Grace Kelly in a color blocked cherry and black Carolina Herrera and Naomi Watts in a molten silver Tom Ford with a gold crystal collar and sultry cut-outs. Amy Adams’ Valentino get up — replete with a capelet in a ’70s palette of rust, red and clementine — had a bold, retro coked up feel that felt right in step with American Hustle and flattered her slight upper frame.
On to the plus-size ladies — a genre that better mirrors us mortal viewers. Plus, it’s always refreshing to see an actress on the red carpet who weighs more than a wet Cavalier King Charles spaniel. Lena Dunham of Girls highlighted her curves expertly in a clingy, citron-yellow Zac Posen, while Melissa McCarthy outlined her silhouette in a black gown bisected with silver edging that looked a bit like a crop circle of paper clips. (Her 2012 Marina Rinaldi dress still stands out as a favorite because she accentuated her shape with an empire waist.)
Curse me for including the pregnant actresses in the largesse category, but I’ve been there and everything swells over those nine months. Drew Barrymore’s floral Monique Lhuillier with a sheer overlay didn’t come across as sexy — and the red appliqued flowers read a bit like splattered afterbirth — but it looked comfortable. Scandal’s Kerry Washington established herself as fashion royalty because Alexander Wang at Balenciaga made her a dove gray maternity gown with a chic drape. But if we learned anything from the preternaturally gorgeous and pregnant Wilde, it’s this: Long sleeves are a big, expecting girl’s best friends.
This year, the worst dresses were shudder-worthy. America’s sweetheart and nominee Julia Roberts soured her chic track record in a mash up of a corporate white blouse and formal gown by Dolce & Gabbana. Did she have a hickey to disguise? It looked like her strapless dress was humping a J. Crew shirt. Presenter Paula Patton’s voluminous Stephane Rolland concoction also looked like a frock under attack — by a twisted bed sheet. (Patton usually scores high marks on the red carpet so this look was a surprise; Roberts, on the other hand, strikes me as a woman who doesn’t give a snort what you think of her damn outfit.) Gravity’s Sandra Bullock’s color-blocked Prabal Gurung gown felt a little too saccharine in its icy pink and baby blue. It wasn’t an atrocious choice, but the bodice appeared too roomy and she didn’t look thrilled to be wearing it.
Ultimately, the fashion — much like the show itself — didn’t offer a lot of surprises. No major risk takers or incredible transformations. And a decided shortage of vintage looks too. Here’s hoping the Oscars bring a few gasps — or even groans.
Who Wore What
Julia Louis-Dreyfus: A tangy halter gown in crimson by Narcisco Rodriguez.
Jennifer Lawrence: Tiered white Dior Couture with 1920s platinum chandelier earrings with black spinel, onyx, black diamonds, jade and coral.
Taylor Schilling: Heavy silk custom gown by Thakoon with draped front in emerald green.
Reese Witherspoon: A sleek aqua Calvin Klein gown with halter and racer back with four-carat diamond stud earrings by Harry Winston.
Emma Watson: Dior Couture crimson gown with open back and black pants.
Amy Poehler: Black fitted Stella McCartney with patent belt and cut out at midriff (red carpet arrival).
Tina Fey: Oscar de la Renta Spring 2014 floral taffeta gown with ball skirt (red carpet arrival).
Julianna Margulies: Black and gold brocade Andrew Gn with fitted bodice, cap sleeves and full skirt.
Zoe Saldana: Black Prabal Gurung with lace panel skirt and Swarovski crystals from the Spring 2014 collection.
Meryl Streep: Vivienne Westwood couture collection black silk satin gown with side slit.
Mila Kunis: Gray silk chiffon halter gown by Gucci Premiere with floral neckline and sequined skirt.
Helen Mirren: Beaded and ruched chiffon Jenny Packham in mint green with vintage emerald and diamond earrings from Bulgari.
Zooey Deschanel: Pale gold Oscar de la Renta gown with beaded crop top and tulle overlay skirt from Spring 2014 runway collection and Neil Lane citrine flower earrings.
Emma Stone: Pearl embroidered top and gray/black skirt from Chanel’s Spring 2014 ready-to-wear collection.
Hayden Panettiere: Tom Ford black and white column gown with halter neck.
Monica Potter: Gold beaded halter gown with ball skirt by Romona Keveza.
Elisabeth Moss: Jet beaded art deco-style J. Mendel gown.