So the Golden Globes always start out the Red Carpet season, and although in the past it’s either been boring or absurd, this new decade seems to start on a note of fashion sanity. Everything is pretty. Apparently pretty is new; it’s fashion-forward; and most of all it’s here!
Let’s start with the best first. I’ve loved Haider Ackermann for a while now – ever since he did really cool jackets with the newer silhouette – you know that waisted one. And for you un-initiated-shoulder people out there, the reason the designers do this is to accentuate the waist. And the reason the waist is accentuated is that this is that newer silhouette, and in this case, Swinson/Ackermann carry it off beautifully. I love the pastel color here, the silhouette, the texture – shine of the jacket vs the dead texture of the skirt – and the whole look.
The Take-Away – the waist is in – yeah, I know we all don’t have a waist, but the belted waist can be a very attractive look – I promise for any shape. You simply must wear that belt a little above your waist – that’s the secret.
So this starts the ruffles. This gown had a marvelous ruffle on the side in back and this became a slit a very ingenious and flirty way to add a ruffle. Ruffles are flirty little devices to make a tailored dress even prettier and the application here on the edge of the slit is a classic move.
We haven’t seen much of Jean Paul Gaultier since he went to strictly couture, but his genius is still out there. Gaultier’s move into couture only means he’s not abiding to the press. He invites who he wants to his shows, buyers (usually individuals) buy what they want, and that’s it. He doesn’t have all the falderol with the social media types and Instagramers. This is his way of talking directly to his clients.
This is an unusual way to show a show, but it’s also a way to stay more in contact with his clients’ base. If this is the result, we’re missing a lot by not seeing his work, which can only be seen like this, on the backs of his clients.
Now I find it interesting that he would dress a red carpet wearer. It shows that he still desires to get out there with some publicity, but I do think he still wants complete control and really wants to avoid that social media stuff. I really understand where he’s coming from because he’s one of those many designers who does know exactly what he’s doing and he’s doing it for a reason, but it may not be apparent to the regular consumer and needs some interpretation from a professional on how to best understand what he’s doing.
The Take-Away – Ruffles are your friends. Yeah, I know after a complete eon of fashion casualness and ugliness, ruffles seem like something from Venus, but don’t go there – they really can be quite fun – and in the case of both these designers, their creative add (like on a hem or in the form of a flower, is really very creative and something that’s a huge idea bonanza!
Who doesn’t love Alexander McQueen aka Sarah Burton? This is a classic McQueen and really a lovely garment. OK, so not all of us are going to wear something cut this deeply. That’s OK you don’t have to. But I love all the beading around the neckline – this is where we look first on the garment, and having all that beading located here brings all the attention to the face. And the classic belt (yes, there is a belt; yes, this is part of the newer silhouette), is well….classic – symmetrical design on a belt.
The Take-Away – Whoa! There’s so many. So first, keeping a dominant design (embroidery, beading, any sort of attention like a row of ruffles, contrasts – remember my Elements and Principles of Design?…this helps with all the ideas for “any sort of attention” ideas you need) but keeping this design close to your face is a great way to accentuate your face. And this should be the first consideration for any sort of ornamentation. This is a huge lesson in designing – keep the attention to the face.
Of course, the second place is the new center of focus with this newer silhouette, and that’s the waist, hence the attractive symmetrical design on the belt. And hey, this doesn’t have to be beading – it can be embroidery, it can be color blocking, it can be texture (yeah, here we go with the Elements and the Principles again – the Elements are the part and the Principles are how to use those parts and the belt is simply one example of how to put both of these into action. The belt ornamentation has 1.) color contrast, 2.) spacing symmetry, 3.) placement opposition/contrast so you can see how this works. When you know about the Elements and Principles it’s really easy to use them and they become handy little tools. BTW, you don’t have to have 3 different Principles in action on a specific piece, you can use one!
I do a lot of jurying and teaching at a local university college and one of the things coming from the students is pants in a super formal setting. This is part of a newer look and something that has been around for ages. I’ve done this back in the 80s and wore pants to balls where I was on the committee and had to work to my tail off during the ball. It was a great solution to looking glamorous and practical at the same time.
The Take-Away – don’t be afraid to wear pants (yes, I know the Dress is “in”, but pants aren’t “out” totally), in a formal look. Pants will always have a place in our wardrobes, and adding a sash in a faux skirt type way is a great way to make pants more adaptable for a formal setting.
I wonder if Lawrence/Dior is the new Hepburn/Givenchy of our age. Jennifer is having a massive love affair with Dior and vice versa. It seems to be her lucky designer and she does well by them. This is a really classic design with a WOW feature. OK, not all of us (like maybe none of us regular folks will wear this with a nude or see-thru section), but this doesn’t have to be see-thru. It can easily be a contrast, or if you’re brave enough translucent and what a wow look. And although this looks like it’s suspended in air, it’s not. The skirt piece is attached at the top shoulders and the cutout part is….well…cut out. The nice thing about doing this in a contrast (picture the dress in a projecting color and the cut-out piece in a receding color – need help with that – there’s a Color Primer in the resource center that gets into all thing color and there’s a lot more to color than just ROYGBIV (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet!)
The Take-Away – well, this is a whole new idea in color blocking. And it’s the location here. That scalloped-out area in the waist, is just the spot that can take a confirmed rectangle or apple and positively make them look hourglass voluptuous. Do a projecting color in the red and a receding color in the cutout! That’s what knowing about color and space can do for you (see the Elements & Principles of Design or get the whole package here in the Resource Library). Remember you don’t have to do a cutout, you can simply replace the cutout part with a receding color. And you could make this a short dress if you wanted. Aren’t these Red Carpet thingies fun for ideas?
So black, white and red (in the red carpet photos) are the hardest to show any sort of detail in the dress unless there is some severe darkening or modification of the photo, but skin-tone does photograph well, and you can see the detail. Now, this looks junky, but when you look closely there’s a lot of detail in this.
If you look closer you can see all those dots are covered buttons over lace trim on top of a beautiful Chantilly lace. When you see the closeup, you really have a completely different opinion about the dress. Now, as if that detail wasn’t enough, you look at the whole dress…
…and you begin to see that there are tiers of this lovely trim at an angle, but wait, these aren’t parallel. They are at a graduated distance apart so that the further lower the line of design are they more apart they are, till you get to the skirt which is all tiers of lace at the same angle as the lowest tier of buttons. Now, having done this before, this is a real nightmare to do because you have to make the graduation of separation the same at the lower edge and that can get off so fast it’s scary.
The Take-Away here is detail. Details like this really do matter and they can make or break an outfit. In this case, this would simply be a regular dress with Chantilly lace (albeit beautiful but alone it can get a little boring). You add these buttons and trim and graduated rows and the lace tiered-skirt and you got a wow look. This particular design may not be your cup of tea, but it’s the detail that is so outstanding on this dress. The really sad thing is that in a photo, this doesn’t really show up. I guarantee you if you saw this dress in person you would be aghast at the detail on this gown. This is an Alexander McQueen design and he’s known for his awesome detailing.
Stay tuned for more as this is just the beginning. The Red Carpet season ends with the Oscars on February 9, 2020. There are a lot of these award shows, and some of them are very crazy – like the MTV and Music Hall of Fame, etc. Those musicians seem to really be out there. But if there’s something noteworthy, I’ll put up a blog or two or three!
I’m also doing some little blurbs on the SewingArtistry Facebook Page, so go over there and like me so that you can follow that too.
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