To tell you the truth, the SAG awards fashions have been sort of “meh” in the past so I really haven’t been as on-the-ball as I normally would – it’s Tuesday and this was Sunday night after all. But there are some great takeaways here, so here we go!
OK – so the first thing you’ll notice is that this is a very dark photo – which is on purpose. Years of doing debutante and wedding gowns have taught me that to see the real detail you have to darken it to see that detail. This is Dior and it’s killer great with lots of goodies.
First – there are lots of bias seams here. They are really hard to do and sometimes we think they are impossible to do, but this dress is proof that they can be done. That said, when you are sewing and cutting on the bias, you’re dealing with the grain of the fabric and that is directly related to hang of the fabric. In the 20s and 30s there was no access to stretch fabric, so how did the starlets get those skimming dresses? They cut on the bias which has a little give to it. They are delicious to wear and they drape like a million, except at the seam. This is like law and you can see at the hip drape the seam part of the drape seems to have a little more wrinkle on one side of the bias than on the other. This is a natural phenomenon of bias seams. The best way to cure this is to always sew from large to small, however, when you are sewing this zig-zag sort of seams, you will always have one that wrinkles and one that doesn’t. The takeaway here is not to stress on the wrinkles in a bias seam. Press it, and if there are no wrinkles, let it go when it drapes and know that if the seam is flat but there are a few more wrinkles in the drape that it’s simply a phenomenon of the seam.
The second thing to notice about bias seams is that you will have a contrasting nap, and in this case, the designer used this nap contrast to act as a design. If you are lucky enough to get close to this dress, it’s very evident, but in a normal photo, it’s hard to see unless you darken the photo a lot. Here you can see the beautiful contrast in the nap especially at the lower part of the dress. The takeaway here is two parts: 1.) watch your nap – if you have one piece going one direction and the piece next to it going to the other direction, you’ll look sort of like a harlequin, and 2.) you can use the nap to make an interesting statement like on this gown.
Finally, put some bandaids over the boobs – please -otherwise it’s TMI.
Honestly, Lopez is turning into a classic model at these things and it’s a treat to see what she will wear next. The diamonds don’t hurt either. The takeaway: This is a straight forward dress using texture as the main contrast. You always hear me talk about the Elements and Principles of Design? Well, this is using them classically and very elegantly. The Element used here is texture. The Principle used here is Contrast. Taking the basic tool of texture and using the principle of texture makes a gown look stunningly gorgeous. This is a very simple and basic use of these tools, but it shows how valuable it is to use these in your pattern and fabric selection. Now I’m not saying every garment you make has to have this particular principle or use this particular element, but using one element and one principle in a stark dramatic way makes a gorgeously classical gown! Not only knowing about these tools, but having access to this helps you so much when you know you are so close to creating a gorgeous look, but not sure what’s missing or what’s wrong. Check out the Elements and Principles of Design in the Resource Library to learn how to use these tools for yourself.
One last remark, cause I’m going to deal with this in detail below – the bow here works as does the train, but just barely!
OK, so she’s pregnant and forgiven, and I love how she’s not wearing a body-skimming gown. That’s TMI in my opinion. But this bow is really tough to make work. Ms. Emmanuel is small and petit and this is an awful lot of fabric for a person this small. I’m sure it was comfortable, but it would have the same amount of comfort if it were a little less poofy. She almost looks like if this were helium, she’d be circling the globe right now!
Wearing this without any sort of fit, and there is none here, makes this look way too big and out of proportion, and the bow has to be that big to balance out the bouffant skirt that it all gets out of control. This is a strapless gown with that big bow and it could have been really elegant without the bow at all emphasizing her voluptuous breasts.
OK, the reason the Hobeika gown works and the Miu Miu gown doesn’t is all about proportion and location. The Hobeika gown bow is almost like a bustle and it falls so perfectly that it doesn’t hinder the basic silhouette of the gown. On the Miu Miu gown, the bow is too large, and even if it was scaled down a little that would help. All we want is to see just a little silhouette, and we don’t need to see the whole big baby bump, but a little silhouette would be nice. With a little more containment on the skirt – not quite so bulky, a more moderately sized bow it would work. When things get out of proportion, you know it, but you may not necessarily know why. That’s why Lopez looked like a true diva and Emmanuel looked like a wannabee or try-to-hard. Pregnant is hard to do in formal clothes, but not impossible, and I think this is one of my favs of all time.
Shoji is the go-to designer for problem figures because he does such a fabulous job, showing everyone that no matter what size, shape or style you are, you can be fitted in a flattering way. Here again, is a great example and the takeaways here are numerous.
First, she’s got good shoulder placement, and that dang gold ornamentation is almost inspirational. NOTE: if you have a stocky or thick shape – this is a fabulous tool to use to de-accentuate your bust and large shoulders. These are raglan sleeves, with the ornamentation on the raglan seam. The sleeves are open and really look like a shawl more than anything else. This is a great idea for a shawl look that isn’t a shawl and doesn’t float all over kingdom come and yet shows off the side silhouette (which Shoji fits like a dream).
So it’s got one problem, but this makes a huge point about fitting and shoulders. Those shoulders and fitting around the armscye and right below is so good, that the one problem with this is almost unforgivable. But it looks like she wore one bra to the fitting and then another to this event. The bust dart seam isn’t right and therefore takes away just a little from the whole look. The takeaway here is 1.) if you get your shoulders right, so much else goes right, that even if you if one this is wrong, it’s forgivable so get your shoulders right first – it’s the first thing you must think about, 2.) fit in the undergarments you’re going to wear with the garment and 3.) get a great support garment.
Uh Yeah – with a capital YEAH! Holy cow, there’s nothing wrong here. Ms. Zeta-Jones is a class rectangle, which means she has no waist. Now I would not call her thick or chunky at all, so you can see that even if she went on a starvation diet to get her shape back, she ain’t gerna lose anything more in her waist. So she dresses accordingly.
The takeaway: All rectangle-shape figures take note – the dress is sleek and shows off her thin hips her sleek figure and using the design as a focus for her waist, she uses some tricks of the eye to make you think she has a thin waist when she really doesn’t. This is a design mechanism that all rectangles can use. The dress is coming back in and if you use some sort of contrast like this around your waist, even though the dress is sleek and to your body, it will look like you have a waist even though you don’t. Great design executed really well.
I sorta get bored with people who are walking the red carpet and don’t want to smile or be happy. She doesn’t look happy and she looks like it’s almost an imposition to be here. She dresses that way too. This is the antithesis of Ms. Zeta-Jones in that her shoulders have totally collapsed and therefore everything below her shoulders is trying to make up for it, but can’t and things go from bad to worse.
Where are her shoulders? Heaven knows, Where’s her silhouette? Your guess is as good as mine, Where’s her waist? and then the shorter length on an already shorter figure doesn’t work proportionally. It’s almost as if she wants to look ugly and sometimes for people who are searching constantly for attention, that’s a sort of attention on its own. The takeaway: don’t dress like this. If stars and famous people want to do it, realize that clothes do make a difference and they matter. They are, whether you like it or not, a reflection of yourself, and they immediately set the first message about who and what you want to be. If your clothes are projecting a negative or slouchy or sloppy or “I don’t care” attitude, you will most likely be treated that way and discounted before you can even open your mouth or have a thought.
The blond hair sorta saves Kidman from a disaster but she’s a redhead with a very blond, but distinct ruddy complexion, and for me, this would have been a perfect night to wear red, because the non-red carpet wouldn’t have bled out her red and she would have stood out, but normally Kidman doesn’t look good in cool colors. The same is true of Dakota Fanning who is about as porcelain as they come and the green simply dulls her skin and makes her look grey and dead. A light blue brings out the rose in her cheeks and makes her look positively glowing.
The takeaway here?…. Color matters and it matters a lot. If you haven’t had your colors done, do them. There are many fine books out on this. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, I have a Color Primer in the Resource Center that you can check out. This not only tells you about the different kinds of colors but how to identify them better and how to order color in the online fabric store!
With age not only comes a beautiful patina to one’s eyes and smile but tons of wisdom and it starts with fashion. Lately, I haven’t seen Angelina, Fonda, Zeta-Jones, and Close in anything other than the most flattering look, and this is no exception. Although there is no shape to this and it looks comfortable, there is one clear focal point – the neck, shoulders, and decolletage, which focuses all on her face, which is where we would want all the focus anyway. This is a law I’ve lived by with my formal wear that you put all the money around the face where it will show. With Ms. Close’s gorgeous white hair, porcelain coloring and silver accents, it all goes for a great, complete classic look.
The takeaway – keep all the attention close to your face or as much as you can. As we get older, it’s our smile, our eyes and the patina of our spirit that shines through in our face and this is where we want all that attention.
So isn’t this what we pay those starlets to look like? They look all glamorous and that this dress is the most comfortable thing to wear? Right? Well, let me tell you – anytime you get that neckline V below the bust line, your girls are simply waiting for a wardrobe malfunction. You absolutely must sit up straight, stand up straight, stoop straight, bend straight all night long or you’re in trouble. I’m going to go with the professional description of a “teal” color which is OK for Johansson’s coloring, but in some of the shots it looks green and that color doesn’t work for her at all.
The takeaway: Please be careful of that V neck. Yes, it looks easy to wear, but it’s anything but. If you don’t believe me, look at this video interview, she acts like she has a broomstick up her back because she can’t let that dress sag at all in front!
I thought the SAG awards were filled with some beautiful and interesting clothing ideas and styles. I simply love this new phase of fashion we’re moving into where pretty is finally in!
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