February 2009

The New Red Carpet

  • Kate Winslet: This Chanel is a really chic, modern, feminine way of wearing a tux, and since Kate's so elegant but not overly froufrou, it would be perfect. She's one of the great actors of our day--absolutely brilliant, quite serious, such a hard worker, and she seems so genuinely grateful that people appreciate her performances. Therein lies the balance: She projects a young, cool, playful vibe, which this twist on black tie reflects well. You can tell Kate's this English girl who just gets it.
  • Nicole Kidman: This dress by John Galliano is heaven. Not too many people could pull it off, but I love this for Nicole. Even though I'm sure it would put her on someone's 'don't' list, it’s just so major, and the color would be so stunning on her, it’s well worth that risk. She wouldn’t need a lot of jewelry. It would be fabulous to put a huge bracelet on the arm with no sleeve, like it was a piece of art you just want to appreciate. In this, you'd know you're a part of an artistic creation.
  • Anne Hathaway: I picked this Giambattista Valli for Anne because it's so gorgeous--such a statement and so romantic. This is the Oscars, Hollywood, over-the-top red carpet. Some might say this dress is too much, but who cares? It's a piece of art, and with her dark hair, Anne would look stunning in it. She's young and amazing, it's her first nomination, and girls love wearing Valli dresses.
  • Keira Knightley: Holly­wood's biggest night doesn't always mean wearing a gown. This heavy, Swarovski-crystal catsuit by Alexander McQueen is 100 percent Oscar worthy! It's modern, incredible, different and totally unexpected. I mean, how fabulous would it be to see someone like Keira in this? Perfection would be to add two sensational bracelets and nothing else. We get locked into these ideas of right and wrong. You should be able to wear whatever you want if it meets one criterion: that it's amazing. Go for the artistic and for something you could wear on that one night only.
  • Angelina Jolie: Angelina always has a side of her that is a bit goth and in-the-black. What I love about this angular Maison Martin Margiela dress is that it has a Morticia-ness, but it manages to bring fierce, cool and chic all into one dress. Margiela is truly avant-garde. He’s the designer the designers look up to. You never see him, because he's never interviewed--the man just lets his work speak for itself. It's a major statement, but Angelina could pull it off. Her body type is perfect for this dress--her legs, her arms, everything. It's really just an extreme version of what she already wears on the red carpet, anyway—drama and class.

Risk isn't wrong for Tinseltown fashionistas  by Lori Goldstein / illustrations by Mats Gustafason

Fashion is subjective. That said, it seems in recent years celebrities have become afraid to be original on the red carpet because no one wants to end up on a “don’t” list. But I’m always attracted to someone who dares to be different. There’s creativity in risk. I mean, Björk’s swan dress was brilliant. I loved her for being original. I’d much rather see that than what we see today. Almost no one takes a chance anymore, and I think that’s sad. Fashion is about style, sure, but it should also be about state of mind. Right now, it’s as though there’s a formula: Wear a pretty dress someone else chooses for you; show a little skin; parade your borrowed million-dollar necklace, bracelet and/or earrings; have your lovely bag and shoes; and politely say who made each item. What’s happening on the red carpet these days doesn’t work for me. It’s boring. It’s time to hit the restart button, time for people to show who they really are—and the Oscars is the perfect place to start. This is an opportunity for stars to decide for themselves how they want to be perceived. Remember, Oscar night isn’t about reality—it’s about fantasy, and the looks should 
reflect that. So even though the economy is bleak, the Academy Awards comes but once a year. It’s a time when people can forget everything and immerse themselves in one magical evening. So here’s how I’d dress five of the industry’s top actresses for Hollywood’s biggest night...