Tuesday, 24 February 2009

I'd like to spanx the Academy

Am I a day late? Well maybe - but this blog isn't about pointing out the good and the bad, but looking at why some of the dresses were so unflattering. Readers - you may not be planning a foray down the red carpet, but we can all learn from these mistakes.

Melissa Leo's Ginger Bridesmaid Dress.

A lot of attention has been directed towards the colour of this dress, and that it matches her hair. Not a brilliant idea, true enough - this kind of pale red hair would be set of beautifully with a lavender, or an eau de nil. But it's the dress itself - the design and the cut of the bodice, and the way it doesn't quite fit her, which is to blame. Scroll down until you can only see the dress from the thigh down. It's absolutely beautiful fabric, and it drapes flatteringly (although I have just noticed those shoes. Heaven's sake!). But the bodice... all those horizontal pintucks are widening, and that's exacerbated by the fact that she doesn't really go in at the waist. She can't help that, of course - but if the bodice were slightly shorter, then the hip flare would start at the waistline. This would give the impression of a waist. Alternatively avoid the waist issue by choosing a Grecian inspired column dress, free floating but straight from beneath a bandeau-style top. The bit over the boobs looks completely flat. Now if you google image search Melissa Leo you'll see some lovely tasteful topless shots, and she does have boobs, albeit modest. Therefore, she needs a bodice which supports them. Alternatively, she may choose not to display her boobs - in which case she needs to avoid this kind of neckline; it's too much of a frame to have nothing displayed in it.

Rachel Weisz is Dominatrix Barbie

One of the most beautiful women on the planet, who appears not to have got the memo that this was a bit of a 'do', and has come halfway through changing between a day at the beach and a night at a fetish club. But let us ignore the dubious styling, and stick to the unflattering nature of this look. Firstly, you might be tall and slim - but every woman has less pretty parts, and Rachel Weisz has knobbly knees. Knobbly knees are not a terrible body flaw, but the length of this beacon-bright skirt effectively points to them. Bare legs are fine - even if you have pale skin - in fact, I applaud Rachel for not worshipping at the shrine of St Tropez, but they do nothing to disguise the knobbliness, where stockings would give a more even tone. The clumpy shoes make her slim legs look spindly - again drawing attention to those knees. Because her legs are long and slim, she could just about get away with the short-and-fat effect created by this type of sandal (see also shoeboots, gladiator sandals etc), and they belong to the same outfit as the top, but that coordination just makes us notice the skirt more. If the shoes weren't quite so in tune with the top, we wouldn't be staring at this terrible item. This skirt is proof, if it were needed, that tulip skirts flatter no one. It doesn't make her look fat, granted - but on someone slim it just hangs very oddly, and again makes her legs look all the more frail below.

Beyonce's Curvy Curtains

There's a reason why patterns on clothes aren't usually that big. The scale needs to be on a bigger canvas - like a sofa. Beyonce has an amazing, body - world class curves - and this dress accentuates them, it's true. The vertical panelling is usually a good idea for elongating the look, but sadly here it has a negative effect. The front and back panels, sewn together, look like they would make a whole dress for an A-list starlet elsewhere on the red carpet. Because the side panels are a different fabric it has the unfortunate effect of looking like they were added to 'let out' the dress for someone who'd had a few too many puddings. This is particularly noticeable in the rear view. The back panel needs to be wider to make the side panels look less substantial. Then there's the matter of the fishtail. Lots of those about right now, and not entirely a bad thing - they repeat the pattern of the hourglass curves, and the overall impression is very sexy, as Beyonce herself often demonstrates:

But the difference here is the weight of the fabric. In the Oscars frock there's too much bulk to flow gracefully from the gathers and it looks boxy and stiff. This heavy flounce gives an impression of weight and connection to the floor - poor Beyonce looks stumpy.

Alicia Keyes's Purple Pleats.

Most of the problem here is the bodice. There's no structure to differentiate the boobs from the rest of the torso, and while the one starburst of pintucks emanating from the right boob is potentially quite dramatic, there's then a horrible mess of pintucks going every which direction. It's a mess, and it makes her look all square and boxy above the hip, and even slightly bulbous over the tummy. I'm not sure about the colour either - it could do with being lighter or darker - the tone here makes her look a little washed out.


  1. I said you should style them, Miss C! Wonderful! Ceej x

  2. OMG please comment on Jessica Biel - TWO outfits, both of which a terrible mistake!

    (I actually really like the Beyonce dress, but take your point about the side-panels)

  3. "it has the unfortunate effect of looking like they were added to 'let out' the dress for someone who'd had a few too many puddings."


    On the nail as always
    Trashy x


Thanks for commenting - always nice to know I'm not talking to myself...