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January 20, 2010

Francesca on the annual Golden Globes fashion brouhaha

Filed under: Uncategorized — Francesca @ 3:34 pm

It is like this. Francesca finished high school many a long year ago, and she does not wish to engage, actively or passively, in idle chatter about who looked sooooo good and who should NOT BE WEARING THAT, who was a “hit” and who was a “miss.” It is so boring.

Francesca loves looking at the pretty dresses, and she enjoys –yes, with her own little bit of unfortunate shadenfreude — seeing rich celebrities tank on their fashion risks. But to spend time and energy dissecting, to the minutest of details, why  so-and-so looks like a vampire in her paleness or how ridiculously like a 1980’s Barbie so-and-so looked is just a waste. Especially since the first so-and-so might simply be a victim of red-carpet lighting, and the other so-and-so might actually look fun and feminine in a daringly Barbie-like way — and anyhow, does it really matter THAT much? –so why don’t we just enjoy the prettiness when it is there, take what we like to inspire our own fashion choices if we wish, and move on?

Fashion is great fun and tells us something about ourselves and society — hence, this blog — but it is not worth throwing away one’s manners for.

Seriously, all the talk about who looked washed out and who looked fat and who looked too frilly is, frankly, anti-woman. You do not see the Big Bad Media wondering why the MEN at the Globes look boring, who designed their cuff links, or whether wearing black versus dark grey works for their complexions. Let us focus on the talent and artistry, and just be happy for what prettiness there is — because Hollywood stars do, after all, clean up real nice —  and allow female stars to dress up as glamourously as they can to win their awards without worrying whether they will be caught in a bad lighting situation and forevermore dissed for it.  Francesca does not mind oohing and aahing over how beautiful someone looks, within reason, but if someone “misses,” we do not speak of it. We focus on the positive and build each other up. We are not in high school any more.


  1. I completely agree, at an awards show, could we please talk about the talent being honored, and not concentrate so much on the petty sniping over someone’s appearance (the women only, mind you). Grow up, and if you can’t say something nice, shut up!

    Comment by Northmoon — January 20, 2010 @ 4:01 pm

  2. I’ve actually seen lots of sniping over the guys’ appearances. When they show up looking unwashed/underdressed, they deserve criticism! As long as you don’t dress like an idiot, fine. But if someone of either gender is dressed/acting like an idiot, well, laughing at them is probably ok.

    Comment by J — January 20, 2010 @ 4:43 pm

  3. J is right; the men get taken to task, or admired, depending on how they dress at these awards shows, too. They do have it easier: how hard is it to screw up a tux? (Not hard, if you’re Mickey Rourke.) I understand where Francesca is coming from, but I look at it a little like I do sports. I yell when a pitcher gives up a home run in a close game because he’s supposed to be better than that.

    Actors are trading on their talent and appearance, and therefore can be judged on them. I often think hideousness results from a combination of bad advice, bad dress choice and/or bad styling, but a miss is a miss. I don’t think anyone is “forevermore dissed for it,” unless you are referring to Bjork’s swan dress, which in retrospect is sort of adorably tragic.

    I think people are comforted by the fact that all the money or youth or “help” in the world can still produce a stinker. On the other hand, I am not so critical when it comes to mere mortals. They do not have the advantages that many celebrities do. Also, some of the fashion criticism is just that: fashion judgment. I’ve heard praise for taking chances as well as dismay when the dress wasn’t right for someone’s body, and they weren’t talking about weight or size, but rather shape.

    Maybe I’m simply justifying an evil pleasure. Sorry.

    Comment by Mrs. Hendricks — January 20, 2010 @ 6:26 pm

  4. When actors “do” award show, they are the product of a very high level professional team, designers (Versace), stylists (Rachel Zoe), hair, make up. Accordingly, I think that professsionaI effort may legitimately be subject to critique, like any other form of art. I agree it is wrong to trash the actor’s personal attributes, but quite reasonable (and fun on the T-Lo blog), to discuss if the effort is successful. It is often just a matter of personal taste.

    And, then there can be the elephant in the room. (Metaphorically). If one wears a knee length prom gown, but doesn’t shave one’s legs, or wears a truly eccentric bolo tie with a tux, well, that is a choice. An actress and her team (or choice not to have a team) should be able to find an appropriate foundation garment. This can also be an issue of decorum.

    Comment by Debs — January 20, 2010 @ 9:02 pm

  5. I’m afraid that I’m of an age where the one person whose outfit I want to see at the Golden Globes (or the Oscars or wherever) is Helen Mirren. And as usual, she look fab. There’s hope for me yet.

    Comment by Toby Wollin — January 20, 2010 @ 9:53 pm

  6. Thank you. :-)

    Comment by Bianca — January 20, 2010 @ 11:37 pm

  7. Amen!

    One thing that pissed me off years ago was when a bunch of self-appointed fashion queens trashed Sharon Stone for wearing clothes from The Gap instead of one their “approved” designers.

    Comment by "The shoe-obsessed" Wayne — January 21, 2010 @ 12:43 am

  8. I’m with Debs. In general, this is not high school with impressionable girls desperate for social approval. These award shows are multi-million dollar machines with men and women who are outrageously well compensated and who command economic rent for their appearances. These are not groups of innocents walking around who deserve to be treated with kid gloves. Appearances at these shows are not personal; it’s business, and if it’s going to be business, it’s going to have to take its lumps. So when Talley put Jennifer Hudson in that ghastly “but she’s a fat girl so we must cover her upper arms” alien bolero shrug a few years ago, he deserved to have his fanny handed to him. Jennifer is exquisite; she deserved better. Period. She recovered from that bad outfit; Gwynneth Paltow has recovered from bad outfits, Posh Spice retains her fame due to whackjob dressing, etc.

    I draw the line at body comments. There is a world of difference between “that woman is fat” and “that outfit is embiggening” and “that woman looks pale” versus “that outfit washes her out.” The first is anti-woman and body-hating. The latter is about an outfit. It’s not who you are. It may reflect your taste and ideas and part of your identity, but it’s an outfit.

    Another place to draw the line is for family and children, whether they are child actors or no. If somebody is married to somebody normal, you leave them alone. So Brosnan’s wife isn’t a supermodel. Yawn. Move on. And no matter what, we keep our cake-hole shut when it comes to anybody AT that young and eager for acceptance age. I want to take Lindsay Lohan and Miley Cyrus in and make them wash their faces and wear something decent and drink cocoa and play Uno with my husband and me for 5 more years before they go back into the Hollywood snake’s nest.

    Comment by Lisa — January 21, 2010 @ 1:17 am

  9. If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say nothing at all. I like it, I really do. Sadly, I sometimes unconsciously find myself joining in on the idle chatter. I need to do something about this trait. It’s not very nice.

    Comment by All Women Stalker — January 21, 2010 @ 1:42 am

  10. Look, I enjoy those shows. I do. So shoot me. I don’t have the money for the team and I never will, so I like to see what people are wearing. Over the years I have even gained an education from these shows as to designers that I like, trends I would or would not want to try, etc. It’s obvious who uses stylists and who tries to go it alone. Part of being a star is the image projected. If you publicize yourself as elegant, then your image should match. If you are a rules breaking kind of person, then your dress for these events should reflect that. And if, unfortunately, you have questionable taste and do your own styling, then your choices reflect that. This year’s GG’s also had an extra element of rain and what it does to carefully constructed hair styles. I heard the words Aqua Net more than once, which I hadn’t heard in years. I also watch makeover shows because I enjoy the transformation and seeing people making better choices. Most people have no clue as to how they are perceived by others. Frankly, I also find the reference to high school a bit insulting. I’m 60 years old. I was and still am a studious type, and would not care to relive those years. It was not fun.

    Comment by mdegraffen — January 21, 2010 @ 10:03 am

  11. I think you can critique the dress, the styling, the team behind the appearance. Afterall, fashion is up for critique, no? It’s when people make it personal that it bothers me because it’s not really the actresses fault if they look bad in the clothing. You turn to a stylist to help you find something that works for you, not a mannequin, not a hanger, but you. So if the actress turns out looking “big” when they obviously are not (like all the big talk around Christina Hendricks) that’s a fail for the styling team. And if someone really is “big”, then you can’t hold that against them as an automatic (that’s totally anti-woman). That’s just idiotic. Queen Latifah can look amazing and she can also look bad. It depends on how she is styled, not her size.

    Comment by graciela — January 21, 2010 @ 2:35 pm

  12. Aha! So this is where all the talk is coming from…

    Comment by mdegraffen — January 21, 2010 @ 3:18 pm

  13. Oh Francesca, one of my guilty pleasures! You are right of course.

    I do love to hear discussion of the dresses. It is interesting aesthetically and where else do we get to see this stuff outside of a runway, which is an even more absurdly out-of-reality environment than a red carpet. I could do without dissection of the choices and the body snark is horrible and probably I should not watch. Strangely enough they seem to be extra nice when talking about an actual big girl!

    Anyone claiming that the men get it as bad as the women should put down the crack pipe. Even when the men are criticized there is a tone of “oh that wacky Mickey Rourke, the dear” but when it is a woman it is more “off with her head!”

    Helen Mirren rocks my socks, rocks the Casbah and rocks generally. She rocks.

    Comment by Abby — January 21, 2010 @ 3:42 pm

  14. I may be the only person in the world who thinks this, but I actually really like what Mickey Rourke looks like these days. He looks like hell sometimes, but there’s something very real and joyful about the way he presents himself and I like and respect that. I don’t care that he was a hottie when he was young; we were all beautiful then. He’s been through a lot, and there is a lingering sweetness about his little necklaces with his dogs’ names that reflects his sincere gratitude towards the companionship his animals gave him when he didn’t have lot of other true friends, his silly adornments. He refuses to be invisible when he knows he’s not the stud he was. It feels very authentic and real, and I like it. I wouldn’t encourage my husband to dress that way, but Mickey works and owns what he has become. There’s a lesson there and it’s too bad that more people don’t discuss it.

    Comment by Lisa — January 21, 2010 @ 8:05 pm

  15. Lisa – what a refreshing perspective. Also points out that many former “hotties” are chastised for not properly living up to our expectations. I can only imagine the self-confidence it takes to look past others’ expectations & accept yourself as you are with the additional pressure of the spotlights – which try to impose what you ‘should’ be.

    Comment by G-dog — January 21, 2010 @ 10:09 pm

  16. I agree with Lisa. These are professionals, and this is part of their job. After all, if it really was only about the performances and who has won or lost, there wouldn’t be a red carpet in the first place. All of the celebrities would walk in the door with a minimum of brouhaha.

    Also, if we are going to look at celebrities and say, “She looks great! That dress is stunning. He has such a great sense of style,” then there needs to be the flip side of, “Oh, honey. No.”

    Comment by Ripley — January 21, 2010 @ 11:49 pm

  17. Lisa I completely agree with you re Mickey Rourke. Beautifully said. I brought him up because his clothes have been so discussed, not because I personally objected to them.

    Comment by Abby — January 22, 2010 @ 6:37 pm

  18. I object strenously when the primary complaint about someone’s outfit, male OR female, is “It’s not what I’m used to!”

    I’ve seen these so-called “experts” having a cow over men in traditional Scottish evening wear (yum, yum, YUM), or women wearing something everyone else ISN’T wearing.

    I saw Diane (Lane, I think) in a WONDERFUL white outfit one year – fit her beautifully, looked fabulous – she made the “Losers” list for that year. So did Sharon Stone one year in a BREATHTAKING satin evening suit which owed not a little to Christian Dior (the original), and it was well worth it, too. She looked incredibly elegant; I believe one of the “experts” made a snarky remark about “Star Trek”. Well, she looked out of this world, but I don’t think that’s what that Common Tater meant. (small potatoes, and few to the hill).

    I’m all for discussing what people wore, what looked great, what looked really odd, even for the wearer, what almost made it and why it didn’t – but I’m interested in the analysis; I’m not looking for a chance to laugh at someone who took a chance, or to mock them merely because their jobs require them to turn up in what is essentially fancy dress these days. I’d rather see someone take a chance on her own taste, and fail, than see ten people in a row all dressed by the same stylist – especially if that stylist is trying to turn out clones of herself (….Rachel Zoe).

    Comment by La BellaDonna — February 8, 2010 @ 6:54 pm

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