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Academy Awards 2010: Belle's Hall of Sartorial Shame

A reader once asked me how a red carpet gown qualifies for inclusion on Belle’s worst dressed list.  She wanted to know whether it was a matter of personal preference or if there were certain style rules that had to be broken in order to qualify for the Hall of Sartorial Shame.  But for me, whether I like your dress or not is all about my first reaction.

The criteria are simple.  If I see a gown and my first thought is either “Fire your stylist” or “What the hell?,” then the dress belongs on the list.  And this year, there were plenty of odd, ill-fitting and downright ugly gowns that met either one or both of these criteria.  So without further adieu, let the acid-tongue lashing commence.

Given her love for the plunging neckline, any gown that covers Mariah Carey’s surgically enhanced assets is a welcome change.  But this gown is the physical embodiment of the almost over-the-hill Carey’s mid-life crisis. 

The asymmetrical hemline is reminiscent of a junior prom dress one would buy at D.E.B., while the neckline is pure David’s Bridal mother-of-the-groom.    If I didn’t know better, I would think Nick Cannon was the usher at a black tie wedding and Carey the recently divorced second cousin trying mightily to recapture her glory days.  A word to the wise, Mariah denying your impending over-the-hill status will not make the aging stop and dressing to match your husband’s age only emphasizes your advancing years.

I know, I know, you love Kate Winslet.  I love Kate Winslet.  But, while I liked the soft silver color of her gown, this Yves Saint Laurent frock didn’t make any kind of sense.  The rigid peplum bodice is structured like something Rihanna would wear on stage, while the pleated satin skirt looks like one of Diane Keaton’s pant suits.  The gown was, in a word, bi-polar.

I do commend her, however, on her sleek finger waves and the gorgeous yellow diamond pendant necklace and earrings.  From the neck up, she is perfection.

The newly single Charlize Theron certainly knows how to get attention.  Her Dior gown made it impossible for any man, woman, child or priest to look anywhere but at her breasts.  It looks like she’s being fondled by two giant lavender hands. 

Even now, I can’t look at the photo without staring directly at her chest.  How she made eye contact with anyone while wearing this gown is a mystery.

Remember the scene in Fried Green Tomatoes where Kathy Bates tries to spice up her marriage by wrapping herself in cellophane?  Well, Jennifer Lopez is apparently a big fan.  But while the bubble wrap like quality of her silk organza Armani Prive gown is puzzling, the style of the dress is the real killer. 

It’s funny to me that the same people who panned the Rubenesque Christina Hendricks for wearing a heavily ruffled, strapless frock to the Golden Globes are the same people calling J.Lo’s gown a bold choice. But the massive side train and off-the-floor hemline did nothing for the actress’s signature asset and made her hips look five feet wide.  The gown’s voluminous nature also made Lopez’s painfully skinny husband look like an anorexic Jack Sprat and her the gristle eating wife by comparison.  Probably not the mental image she was going for when she chose the gown.

But the undisputed champion for the worst gown of the night is…

Diane Kruger is known for her bold fashion choices; but this gown looks like a Chanel-inspired piñata not a haute couture creation.  The odd mix of textures and segmented style completely overwhelm her tiny frame and emphasize her diminutive stature.  Just another case of the dress wearing the woman, instead of the woman wearing the dress.

And if my first reaction upon seeing your gown is that it should be entered in Charmin’s Toilet Paper Wedding Dress Contest, you definitely belong in the Hall of Sartorial Shame.


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  1. CatG says:

    Jeebus, J-Lo looks like an exploding vagina.

    March 8, 2010/Reply
  2. Jaime says:

    I’m glad you got J-Lo on here….I saw her last night and I thought that dress was terrible. Why oh why was everyone else falling over themselves about it…??

    March 8, 2010/Reply
  3. Belle says:

    Jaime, I do not know. It looks almost exactly like the peach dress that CH wore to the Globes and everyone hated that dress. I think people just can’t bring themselves to hate anything Armani Prive.

    March 8, 2010/Reply
  4. Laetitia says:

    love the fried green tomatoes reference. My first thought too when I saw J.Lo was that I just wanted to pop her dress like you can pop bubble wrap!

    March 8, 2010/Reply
  5. MAA says:

    I think SJP’s odd creation of a dress should be in this list as well.

    March 8, 2010/Reply
  6. Jill says:

    I can’t believe Charlize’s dress with the oddly placed rosettes is Dior. Surely they would have figured out how to avoid punch-line gowns by now.

    March 8, 2010/Reply
  7. Rory says:

    J. Lo’s dress actually reminds me more of Vera Bradley’s quilting that bubble wrap.

    March 9, 2010/Reply