Regular readers of The Anchoress would be very surprised to learn this about me: I adore looking at gorgeous clothes.
I don’t especially crave ownership. My closet is unimaginative. Lots of Benedictine black and white, some denim, one great grey gown I wore to a brother’s wedding. I hate to shop, and it never occurs to me that I might need more than one pair of shoes (black) and one pair of sneakers.
But I do own a red organza dress that could only be worn by a 20 year old…and yes, I have hung on to it for 26 years, because it’s just a GREAT, wily and feminine dress!
It seems incongruous to anyone who knows me, but there it is. I DO have my superficial side! I watch Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, just so I can look at that incredible white dress that Elizabeth Taylor wears. Did anyone ever look as great in white as Elizabeth Taylor? I watch Giant for her wardrobe, as well. Give me that simple, full skirted black gown, with the dolman sleeves and the slit down the back, that Katharine Hepburn in wore in Holiday, for the New Year’s ball. I don’t want to wear it, I just want to put it on a dummy and LOOK at it! Give me that fabulous striped coat and hat Roz Russell wore in His Girl Friday, and the completely fun striped day dress Katharine Hepburn wore in Bringing Up Baby. I am a sucker for stripes.
Sigh. This is something I could write about ad nauseum, and only I would be entertained, I know it…so I’ll stop.
But now that I’ve revealed my frivolous side, I may as well confess that, while I didn’t watch the Oscars tonight, I did just sit down and amuse myself by looking at the photos of the “red carpet” part. My brother used to tease me that on Oscar night, my “inner gay man” comes out! :-) And Ann Althouse’s fun Oscar commentary has inspired me, so blame her!
I loved Salma Hayek’s midnight blue dress – form fitting, drop-dead sexy, with a wonderful fabric. I loved Natalie Portman’s Greco-princess-y thing. crinkle fabric, very light and airy. It looked comfortable and it flattered her small-ness. I adore Cate Blanchette – she always looks sensational – and Kate Winslet’s dress was a sleek winner. I’m not a fan of Julia Roberts, but the black, form-fitting power-gown she wore flattered her and reminded every woman there that she is still Julia Roberts and must be dealt with. She’d better watch out for Scarlett Johansson, though. She was channeling Audrey Hepburn, and succeeding.
Ditto Hilary Swank – whose dress actually seemed to be a sexed-up, modernized version of the great Kate Hepburn dress I mentioned, from Holiday. I know some people will disagree, but I loved Swank’s dress; it was dangerous and bold, and a hard – unforgiving – dress to wear – if her bustline was the merest big bigger, it would have been a disaster, but she pulled it off. And what a silhouette it gave her! Elegant folds, elegant train. Elegant hair, too.
I didn’t much care for Renee Zellweger’s red monster. She’s such a tiny girl and she keeps selecting these huge, rather stiff dresses. A few years ago she wore yellow vintage dress, off the shoulder with a knotted bodice and a flow-y chiffon and she stole the show! She needs flow-y beautiful fabric…and blonde hair!
I hated Gwyneth Paltrow’s pale-pink, shapeless, heavily-skirted sheath and shapeless long hair. She looked like she reached into her closet for a 1999 dress she got for free and finally decided to wear. All wrong. Wrong color, wrong design, wrong everything. This girl could could look splendid with Grace Kelly lines (egad – put her in that cocktail dress from Rear Window!) and a decent up-do. instead she always looks bored, un-put-together and drooping at the hinges.
Biggest disappointment: Charlize Theron. Yuck baby blue, yuck too many ruffles, yuck did nothing for her. Again, she could have done something bold and ballroomish – she could pull off any of those great vintage dresses of the 50’s, with the piles of skirting and the tiny belt around the waist, a portrait neckline, sleek. Come on, girl!
And I thought Barbra Striesand’s slope-shouldered, too-much cleavage, cover-up-those-upper-arms-I-got-this-for-free-from-Donna-Karan schmattah was…just sloppy and boring. We’ve seen it before. Seems we see it all the time. Yawn.
Lastly – I only saw “Ray” the other night, and Jamie Foxx was just astounding. I have no idea how good anyone else was. But man, he was great – I’m glad he won.
And I liked the modest, sweet white dress his daughter wore – note the gloves, the girl can accessorize – just right for a girl her age. When she gets older, with that skin, put her in browns and golds and egad, she’s gonna look fantastic!
Update: I swore I would write no more on this subject, but then I ran into this great “slideshow essay” which takes Hollywood to task for sameness (something to the critique, I admit) and this even better “slideshow essay” with some great glam shots from the ’30’s