This year, due to the lackluster choices on the red carpet, I decided to do away with the close-but-no-cigar post. There were lots of “meh” choices–including Kristen Bell who looked like her gown was strangling her, Taylor Swift whose dress was drama in the back and 1997 prom dress from the front. There were a few choices that I liked but that had fit issues–Anne Hathaway whose white Chanel dress was a bit matronly, Jen Garner whose bust looked squashed and Jennifer Lawrence whose breasts looked misshapen–but there was nothing I felt motivated to showcase.
With so much ugly to sift through, it was difficult to choose gowns that could qualify for a best dressed list. At no point was I wow’ed or awe’ed. I “liked” a few gowns. I thought a couple were pretty. But the only emotions that I experienced with any consistency were dismay and stultifying boredom. Here are the handful of gowns that garnered middling approval, a slight smile or a positive remark.
Isla Fisher in Reem Acra
This dress is by no means a stunner, but it has potential. The sheer neckline is lovely and the long, rectangular stones cascading down the dress are a chic way to wear sequins. The hair could have used a bit more styling–because while the gowns on the carpet may have been terrible, the abundant finger-waved coifs were sublime–the dress was delightful.
Olivia Munn in Armani
The beaded turquoise bodice, sleek updo and fresh makeup made this ensemble one of the most modern, elegant choices of the night. I probably would have skipped the blinging necklace, but the rest of the look was fantastic.
Naomi Watts in Zac Posen
There were a lot of peek-a-boo or keyhole necklines on the red carpet, but Naomi’s was the only one that wasn’t too revealing (Eva Longoria) or too gauche (Kate Hudson). I also love the open back, the figure-framing details and the train. I’m a sucker for a train.
Oh, and the earrings, the earrings were magnificent. My favorite thing I saw all night.
Helen Mirren in Badgley Mischka
This entire look is perfectly curated. The dress with the gold accents and waist-defining seams, the earrings with onyx lacquer and yellow gold, the curled, slightly messy updo. At 67, Mirren blew women 1/3 her age out of the water. And if you want a dress with same figure-framing side details, Shelli Segal has a short one that is pretty fantastic.
Jessica Alba in Oscar de la Renta
Alba’s coral gown is a stunner. Well, Alba is a stunner no matter what she is wearing, but this fitted gown really helps. I love the way the necklace compliments the neckline of the gown, and the way her lipstick coordinates with the dress’s color but doesn’t match exactly. This dress would have been my best look of the night had it not been for the feathered clutch. It looks like Alba shaved one of the Muppets and hot glued his fur to her bag.
Since Alba missed the mark due to crimes against the residents of Sesame Street, my best dressed attendee was…
Hayden Panettiere in Roberto Cavalli
All night, Miss M and I looked at horrible gowns and yelled, “Can you believe that dress is Calvin Klein/Armani/Valentino?” Hayden’s pale pink gown was the only dress that caused us to yell, “Can you believe that this is Roberto Cavalli?” because the dress was dainty and pretty, instead of Cavalli’s signature printed and garish.
This dress fits her perfectly. The tiered chiffon layers and mermaid shape hug her body beautifully. And the simple jewels, pretty shimmering makeup and bright pink box clutch really bring the look home.
I can’t say enough good things about this dress. It really brightened an otherwise miserable red carpet pre-show.
So were there any gowns that you loved, or any that you just liked?
P.S: Most of the photos in this post came from Getty Images, one came from Fab Sugar (Naomi Watts) and the top photo came from Just Jared.
I loved Jennifer Garner's red gown-surprised you didn't list that one!
Loved Kerry Washington
Claire Danes was my favorite!
Claire Danes was my favorite, too, and I'm surprised she's missing from your list! Best dressed, in my opinion. I also didn't hate Jennifer Lawrence's dress; I thought she looked stunning, as well.
Yes – Naomi Watts was my fave! Also really loved Hayden's dress – she seems to have a straight, more athletic figure – and I really thought this dress made her shape awesome.
The Jessica Rabbit look (both dress & side waves hairstyle) is really in, no? I don't hate it, it's just interesting to see how many of them are doing it.
I hate Taylor's dress and that hair – just awful.
Sally Field, looking that bangin' at 67.
Jodie Foster, with that slate blue beading that had such a cool texture during her closeup.
Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, who were the funniest thing about the show and looked great–especially Tina, breaking out of matte black gowns and admitting she's a hottie.
Wondering what you thought of Siena Miller's two piece Erdem? At first I was aghast, but it grew on me a (very, very little) bit, mostly because she is beautiful and had a really fresh faced look.
The link you posted for Jen Garner isn't accurate… it directs to Nordstrom
I thought Miranda Kerr looked stunning! Loved her whole look
I cracked up when you said that Taylor's swift looked like a 1997 prom dress from the front because, as I told my husband last night, the front, top specifically, looked just like my 1997 prom dress! That was in a sea foam green because in the late 90s pastel dresses were all the range. Thanks for the giggle!
I loved Michelle Dockery's look. The more sculptural, beautiful, non-choking and tailored version of what K Bell was attempting.
Agreed. Michelle Dockery looked terrific, and just a little 1920 but not too much.
I had only one issue with her dress, and it only bothered me when they zoomed in close. That gold lace work at the top–did it have to be over totally nude fabric? Is that the default now?
I think it's a neat effect on occasion, the whole is-she-naked-or-isn't-she trick, but I feel like it's popping up everywhere.
Maybe I'm just thinking of last season of Project Runway, where there was lots of nude netting going aready.
It pains me to say this because I find her arrogant and annoying, but I loved Lea Michele's dress. While she admittedly took her spraytan a little too far, her Elie Saab dress was spot-on, I thought.
I completely agree with what you said about Olivia Munn – the dress is complete understated elegance. I too would have opted for the look without the statement necklace. It would have kept the look consistently understated and chic.
Zooey Deschanel in Oscar de la Renta: the dress was lovely, but the hair was a bit meh, but I agree, a lot of the dresses were very unimpressive.
What? How about Anne Hathaway?!
Also, Kerry Washington was stunning.