Tuesday, February 27, 2007

"LOOK AT ME": How to Make an Entrance

Watching the Oscars last night, I am reminded of the many evening gowns I have worn in my lifetime. I am reminded of what it is like to mesmerize and make people gasp by that combination of a beautiful garment and the woman who brings the garment to life. It is a formula that always works.

“Beautiful gown + confident woman = STUNNER”

If you noticed, it is the same women who stand out, year in and year out at the Oscars. Some of the actresses, will always have class and will always carry and comport themselves with elegance and grace. You will also notice women who wear garments that are bigger than their personalities; consequently, you see them struggling with their garments or worse, the garments wear them and not the other way around.

Sometimes, at American idol, you hear a comment that says the song is bigger than you; which is a nice way to say, you did not do the song justice. Well, it is the same with clothes….sometimes the grandeur of the garment overtakes a woman’s personality instead of complementing it and the result is an ‘unconvincing beauty’.

I think choice of garment is very important in presenting oneself. At an affair like the Oscars, celebrities not only have to make the right choice of garment, they also have to have the right choice of hair and make-up, accessories and jewelry. They also must choose a garment that complements their personality and what they are feeling as of that particular moment. The Oscars is a singular moment in a year for an actress to present her personality and say “This is me.” “Look at me.”

Coupled with the fact that the Oscars is the ‘mother of all red carpets', women must choose with timelessness in mind. They must choose garments that will leave an indelible mark in our memories. Fifty years from now, we would like to remember you as glamorous.

Last night, 3 women were memorable to me. It is not because they had the most beautiful garments but because they carried the garments, MOST BEAUTIFULLY.

Cate Blanchett was the most chic for me. She chose an Armani that is subdued and elegant. She has that long neck and the tall elegant stature. In fact, she can wear anything but decides on a dark metallic silver palette that accentuates her complexion. Her choice of garment is one that is timeless; we can’t date it. Details in blood red embroidery are in the bottom of the gown. I love her fashion sense. She seems to have a knack for what is current.

Photo credits: Oscars.org
Penelope Cruz in a glamorous ‘ blush’ gown by Donatella Versace was a stand out because she wears the garment. The garment does not wear her. She wears the garment like it is her second skin - effortlessly. The simplicity and elegance of her hair and make-up connotes 'classic'. The phrase ‘natural beauty’ comes to mind and the choice of the natural hue accentuates the fact; the gown is a mirror of her beauty – simple with intricate detail, soft and light but with a lot of substance.

Jennifer Lopez, in a jeweled taupe empire waist gown with a famous and talented husband at her side, has also succeeded in making us look at her. It is a very simple gown, probably vintage, but it is an entrance maker. She has succeeded in steering away from what people expect her to wear. I like the fact that she has her own style and that she chose a garment that takes away from her famous body and puts the attention to her beautiful face.


Here is a Valentino gown worn by Anne Hathaway, and it looked contrived. I would have loved to have seen this gown on Julia Roberts.

Rachel Weiss wore this silver taupe silk chiffon gown by Vera Wang. This would have looked fabulous on Nicole Kidman. The funny thing about gowns are they are constructions made to accentuate the female form. Long body types carry them very well. She looks beautiful enough, but I really think the dress is ill-fitted on her. (There must be no visible bumps in strange places). Real haute couturiers are able to fit clothes perfectly on any body type which is of course an art. This is not the case with this gown.
Jodie Foster, who is a fixture in Hollywood, stomped across the red carpet in this slate blue Vera Wang gown to match her blue eyes. She donned a garment that was perfect choice for her colorwise. However, here is another example of an ill-fitting gown. It is too long for her. Sometimes the illusion of a longer hem works and makes one seem taller but when you look at the carriage of the gown as a whole, the proportions are off.
In evening dressing, you want to achieve a longer silhouette however, if you don't cut to the right hem length, the effect is the opposite - you look like your wearing your big sister's gown. (See also Rachel Weiss above)

Nicole Kidman will look fabulous in anything. I love her choice of color because she stood out. The trick is to choose a color that no one else will be wearing. I also love that because it was not really her night (no awards to win), she downplayed her glamor a couple of notches.

Reese Witherspoon dresses for fun and is very original in her choice of gown. Representing the younger contingency, she was spot on.

And yes, Helen Mirren, if you think you are going to win, by all means, sparkle and shine and wear gold.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, Anna!

Great website!

I'm the editor of of a Filipino lifestyle and community magazine in the Gulf. Where can I send you mail?

6:42 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Dear Anna

How are you? Loved your comments as usual! Interesting to note that you modeled for virtually all the designers featured, something which you failed to mention. Or perhaps deliberately wanted to down-play...

I find it amusing that these 'best-dressed/worst-dressed' lists are always conflicting. Some lists thought Cate Blanchett and Nicole Kidman were disasters. Some thought Ann Hathaway was amazing in that Valentino.

For me, I thought the lady, Sherry Lansing, who received her award from Tom Cruise, was very becoming and elegant. She did not try too hard and was appropriate, elegant (for her age) and classy.

Something you do not often see in people today.

Hope all is well with you.

my warmest regards
Konwae Lin

PS: On a personal note, I did not like that gown on Penelope Cruz. I did not think she carried it well, beautiful as the gown was. The gown 'wore her'.

1:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi anna,

how are you? i hope all's well...

yeah, the oscars. i don't know about you but i swear, if i see one more mermaid dress with a train, i'm gonna spit! which is exactly why i love cate blanchett's couture which was very refreshing. and it was armani at that (i do believe he's making a comeback; beyonce wore him too but i didn't like the dress on her; she cheapened it).

cate blanchett. now there's a girl with a sharp, sharp sense of style. in my book, she hardly ever errs. such courage in her choices and they all work which means of course that she knows what she's all about and knows how to best represent herself through clothing. (worth mentioning, tilda swinton is another actress with flabbergasting style; she and blanchett could be sisters physically and otherwise!)

i gotta say that blanchett was just the most sublime at the oscars. as sparkly as the armani piece was, it did not outshine her. that woman just looked so graceful, sophisticated, radiant, dignified, classy. now those are qualities that are so rare in hollywood nowadays, sadly.

i liked the trompe l'oeil bow valentino gown but not on anne hathaway. there was something odd about how she wore it. i'm sure it would look better on someone else like, say, you anna, because you could carry off a dress as bold that one. you got the height, the frame, and the deameanor to make it work.

but really, more often than not, i am disappointed by red carpet events. it's all too, too predictable. it's all too mediocre. there's is a palpable lack of courage so, therefore, it's boring.

but apart from blanchett, you know who else i thought was fantastic? meryl streep! and here's why -> (a) she looked comfortable in her prada and ethnic necklaces which made her surprisingly unique,(b) she didn't look like she tried too hard and (c) she had courage and obviously didn't give a rat's behind about what people thought of her outfit. so ok, if that's not confidence, i don't know what is. i love it!

cheers anna!

juan miguel

2:21 AM  
Blogger Gautam said...

Great personalities

11:52 PM  
Blogger Betty Bael said...

Thanks, Anna, for forwarding your latest article & your site.

You are indeed a true & profound artist, one who has proven to have reached your own summit, has immensely enjoyed the view but humble enough to gain wisdom & bold enough to share it...you have indeed, arrived!


Artsygutsy of San Diego

1:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi anna,

nice comments on fashion and life...

when will you be part of ANTM or better yet Philippines Next Top Model? You have all the right to play the part!

More power to you...

4:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well written article.

3:10 PM  

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