August Musings On September Issues

I’ll be honest- August is one of my least favorite months. I don’t know why but weird, not-so-awesome things always seem to happen in August, or the month has routinely carried the weight of transition for me. I moved during August (two years to the date!), school frequently starts up again in August, the calendar starts to get too busy in August, and summer movies are never quite as good in August. It could be the looming start of a new school year and the existential reminder that all good Rosé seasons must come to an end, or it could just be me.

So over the years I’ve tried to find little ways to take back this month and be intentional about enjoying it, and for nearly ten years now one of those ways has involved getting really, really, reeeeeeeeally excited for September issues. If you know me, you know this. The annual crowning achievement of every fashion magazine editor is their September issue, and while the magazine industry seems to be in upheaval now right alongside retail, we can bet that no matter what happens there will forever and always be excitement surrounding the inaugural weeks of fall fashion. I’m not sure why people don’t get this excited for spring fashion in February. It must be the pumpkin-spice-loving, Ugg-boots-wearing, Bath-and-Body-Works-obsessing white girl in all of us.

So let’s look at a couple September covers, though we’ll be sans Vogue today because they have to be all queenie and make a grand entrance after everyone else. However, we WILL make some speculative guesses!

Blake Lively for Glamour

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I like this cover. It’s cheerful. It reads a little more March than September to me, but it’s still very beautiful. I’m not a huge fan of the large flower on Blake’s neck, but the soft focus on her face is easily the first thing you notice anyhow. Glamour has really been playing with its cover design the past couple years and the playful font lends a decidedly millennial feel to this one, clearly reaching out to younger readers. Lively apparently spends a great deal of her interview discussing the Child Rescue Coalition, an organization that “provides law enforcement with technology to track and prosecute child predators.” It might be heavy subject matter for a September issue, but I have to say it’s great to hear a celebrity pushing the focus outward instead of talking about their latest reinvention of themselves.

Alicia Vikander for Elle

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This, in stark contrast to Glamour‘s, is actually the kind of cover I prefer. It may be a little boring to some but I like that it makes a plain, straightforward statement. The bold fonts combined with Vikander’s dress and shoulder-y stance give off a kind of eighties vibe. Speaking of Alicia Vikander, it isn’t as interesting to see who is chosen for a September cover as much as it is to discover why. I like trying to predict September covers based on who has projects coming up that month. Alicia probably snagged the cover in anticipation of her late-August movie Tulip Fever, and to ramp up buzz for her Tomb Raider remake in March.

For Vogue, rumor has it that a certain actress in an upcoming Darren Aronofsky film will be taking their September cover. If this proves true I’ll be a little disappointed beings that she had this coveted cover just four years ago AND she was on Vogue‘s cover this past December, less than a year ago! Give it a rest, Ms. Wintour. And a second prediction- Rihanna will almost certainly grab a September cover somewhere, be it with Allure or Marie Claire, due to the launch of Fenty Beauty on September 8. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t excited for this launch. You know there’s bound to be some top-of-the-line lipstick in any beauty launch that Rihanna’s responsible for.

Selena Gomez for InStyle

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Ah, and now for the one that I subscribe to and don’t just pick up on occasion. This magazine has been undergoing a nonstop overhaul since Laura Brown replaced Ariel Foxman as editor-in-chief last November. Some of the changes I’ve loved, others not as much. The covers that Brown has overseen have been consistently fresh and eye-catching nonetheless. She really has done a bang-up job.

It’s seemed the entire print mag industry has been trying to get its sea legs as it adjusts to constant change these years. Some have shuttered completely (RIP Lucky, Self, and probably People StyleWatch, or whatever it’s called now, very soon). Waning relevance thanks to social media and online content, a struggling retail industry (affecting fashion in general), and a political climate in upheaval have made it a challenge for fashion magazines to keep up readership and relatability. It’s been good to see InStyle as one of the few print periodicals that has taken the bull by the horns and leaned in to the maelstrom of change these days. And Selena, the woman with the most Instagram followers in the world at 124 million, is having her moment with a Coach partnership and a new album out probably sooner than later.

Adriana Lima, The Weeknd, and Irina Shayk for Harper’s Bazaar

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And now for the wildcard. Selena and her boyfriend must be high-fiving each other over both claiming September covers this year- not something you’d expect to find on any male celebrity’s resume (save for the obvious i.e. GQ). I have to admit that I laughed out loud when I first saw this. The expressions on their faces somehow read super Zoolander to me. I’m pleased, however, that Adriana and Irina are the only models on the September cover lineup so far. The rest are musicians or actors. I have to say that I’m pretty burned out with the resurgence of the supermodel. I know for a while we all complained that the world of fashion had been given over to the celebrity and there was not enough respect being given to the model, the original and true muse of the industry. However, we’ve turned on the supermodel firehose these days with an endless barrage of Gigi, Kendall, Joan, Bella, Hailey, Kaia, Emily, Cara, and Karlie. Their omnipresence on our social media feeds has had a numbing effect on me personally, and I’ve struggled to relate one little bit to today’s supermodels. But I guess the point of a supermodel isn’t exactly relatability, is it?  And the day I do relate to one, well, that probably means I’ve somehow become one in some alternate universe.

Any covers you especially love? Or any predictions for those yet seen? Do tell, and first and foremost, try to enjoy your August! xo, MR

Photo credits by order of appearance: Nathaniel Goldberg/Glamour magazine, David Bellemere/ELLE, Phil Poynter/InStyle, Brigitte LaCombe

Best Of The Met Gala 2017

And tonight, once again, we witness Kardashian & Kompany turn out of for fashion’s most garish, most opulent night- Anna Wintour’s annual Met Gala.

Of course, we always hope to see more than just Kendall and Kylie competing for highest slit in a sequined gown, but in recent years that’s sort of what’s happened to this event.  The themes continue to remain quite highfalutin, but the guests and what they choose to wear and try to accomplish have seemed to wane in sophistication as of late.  The Met Gala used to appeal to me as the very height of fashion on parade, the epitome of bougie-ness and unattainable class.  Now it’s got more of a who’s-who-of-Snapchat flavor.  But that’s what makes a celebrity these days I guess, and the times have undeniably changed.

The theme of this year’s Met exhibit is “Rei Kawakubo/Commes des Garçons: Art of the In-Between”.  To make it clear, the exhibit is honoring revolutionary female Japanese designer and founder of Commes des Garçons, Rei Kawakubo.  Her designs are known for being high concept, visually stunning, architecturally forward, and typically weird.  And I mean really weird.  Her craft is the definition of avant-garde.  Kawakubo’s work has never seemed to be about making a flattering dress or celebrating the woman’s body as it is with some designers.  It has seemed her work is more about her.  “Pretty” isn’t what she goes for. Or at least, your definition of pretty.  Give her a rule, and she’ll break it.  The woman does what she wants, and so she has forged for herself a formidable career.  To read more about her exhibit and see more of her work (and trust me- you want to), check out this Harper’s Bazaar article.

So what can we expect with tonight’s looks?  Well, based on the theme, we can expect weird.  And that’s good!  Although, I wouldn’t have pulled a Solange Knowles and shown up in a puffer coat.  But we’ll get to see what many celebrities define as “weird” or at least a little off the wall.   A ball honoring Rei Kawakubo demands something far beyond the boundaries of a column gown.  As always, my same rules apply when choosing favorites: dress/outfit, hair, makeup, and accessories must all work beautifully in tandem.

Most This-Is-What-I-Would-Do – Rose Byrne in Ralph Lauren 

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I talk a big talk when it comes to the Met Ball, but I know I probably wouldn’t be brave enough to actually wear one of Rei Kawakubo’s designs.  Because they’re Charlie Sheen levels of crazy.  However, this I can do.  I like the wild hairdo.  I love the architectural neckline of this dress in this bright shade of true red.  I like the artsy jewelry.  And the makeup is beautiful.  This, I can do.

Most Not-On-Theme-But-Still-Fabulous – Jennifer Lopez in Valentinojennifer-lopez-met-gala-2017-ftr-1

Paging Betty Draper!  Or Meghan Draper.  Or Joan!  Or all of them at once!  Anything that makes me think of Mad Men is more than fine with me.  The powder shade of blue, the chiffon, the cape, the high neckline, the incredible jewelry, and obviously the hair and makeup made this a stunner look straight out of the sixties.  And thank you, J.Lo, for abstaining from a naked dress!

Best Model That Didn’t Try To Just Look Like A Model – Lily Aldridge in Ralph Lauren Custom Collection

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Even though none of my favorites have worn Commes des Garçons (yet…), I still appreciate models like Lily for taking a risk and clearly pushing boundaries with the intent of paying homage to the design house’s outlandish creations.  It’s interesting to see a lot of Ralph Lauren at this event; that’s a designer I would’ve guessed as too safe for the Met Gala.  But the accessories and styling of this white gown have kept it from just looking like another skin-baring dress on a model.  I love Lily’s crazy red boots (Balenciaga) and her fuchsia blush netting that she’s wearing across her face.  Her makeup is also spectacular.  I saw a lot of incredible makeup this evening regardless of what folks were wearing, with this being a particular favorite …

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Now that is eyeshadow fit for the gods.  Alright, now for my last pick …

Best Fantasy Moment – Zendaya in Dolce & Gabbana

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This woman is such a chameleon.  She wears anything she wants, and she does anything with her hair that she wants.  It’s so evident that she loves fashion, and I love watching that.  Her hair and makeup are gorgeous, and I already such a huge affinity for parrots- this is the dress of my dreams.

Most Perfectly-On-Theme-And-Still-Fabulous – Rihanna in Commes des Garçons

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Ok, finally we have someone that interprets this year’s theme literally and wears Commes des Garçons!  And of course it’s Rihanna.  I love that she’s always such a team player when it comes to the Met Ball themes.  Remember when she wore this insanity for China: Through The Looking Glass?!  That gown was the creation of a legendary Chinese designer and there was no better opportunity to wear it.  That’s what you’re supposed to do at the Met Ball.  So yes, this dress … or outfit, whatever we’re calling it … is perfect for a Met Gala dedicated to Kawakubo.  It’s one of her own creations, it’s a breathtaking-if-not-baffling work of art, it’s weird, and it’s Rihanna, who doesn’t seem to mind weird.  And be sure to search close-up shots of her makeup.  It’s incredible.  Perfect.

There’s lots to still sort through from tonight’s extravaganza, but other honorable mentions go to: Dakota Johnson in some excellent Gucci, Kate Bosworth in Tory Burch that looked dangerously similar to Dakota Johnson’s Gucci, Jennifer Connelly in Louis Vuitton (because DUH I’m obsessed with her), Elle Fanning in some very Cinderella Miu Miu, Doutzen Kroes looking natural and relaxed in Brock Collection, Ruth Negga in a very avant-garde cape thingy, and Lupita Nyong’O in a gorgeous shade of orange.

Let me know what you think, if things got weird enough for you, or if they just couldn’t get weird enough.  Anything goes at this party.  But you know who didn’t go to this party?  Taylor Swift.  xo, MR

Photo credits in order of appearance: Instagram, Rex/Shutterstock, Rex/Shutterstock, Instagram, Getty, Getty/John Shearer

Best Of The 2017 SAG Awards

Our next stop during our 2017 awards season brings us here, to the red carpet of the Screen Actor’s Guild Awards.  A glitzy red carpet feels strange and quite off at the moment considering the tumult of this past week, but I invite you to beat back against any frustration, despair, or anxiety you may be dealing with and just enjoy something frivolous and pretty.  My dad frequently quotes Willy Wonka to me- “A little bit of nonsense now and then is cherished by the wisest men.”  Let’s have some nonsense, if just a moment.

And now, to summarize- I have so, so appreciated the noticeable amount of risk-taking and weird-making during this red carpet season.  Gone are the column gowns!  Out of sight are the solids!  I am so pleased with all the sequins, patterns, appliqués, architectural designs, and animals that adorned this year’s SAG Awards’ gowns.  It’s been a good year so far (in this realm, at least).  I can’t wait for the Oscars.  Let’s get started!

Best Mix of Salty and Sweet – Taraji P. Henson in Reem Acra

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This dress is sweet.  It even has little bows!  It’s girly and femme and frothy and magical.  I love this dusty shade of mauve.  Maybe it even has some purple in it?  It’s hard to tell based on all the photos you see because the lighting is so different in nearly every one.  But what I love about this overall look is that Taraji’s hair keeps this Reem Acra dress from drowning us in sugar.  Taraji’s assymetrical bob with shaved sides is the lewk right now.  I had this haircut for about six months (sans shaved sides) and it adds salt to everything you wear, seriously.  Cookie got it done tonight.  And her eyebrows are always fiyahhhh.

Best Maternity Style – Natalie Portman in Dior Couture

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In case you haven’t noticed, Natalie Portman is pregnant.  She’s actually been pregnant during both of her special awards seasons (the previous being for Black Swan in 2011, for which she won a Best Actress Academy Award), and yet I’ve loved this go-round of maternity style so much more than her first.  Of course it might be the constant Jackie O inspiration we’re seeing in her styling lately, but Natalie has looked so regal this month.  She and her stylist Kate Young have chosen gowns that are the epitome of elegance and class.  And a sidenote- statement sleeves like these are going to be major this spring, and the choice of white may have been a nod to suffragettes.

Best Use of Kingdom Animalia – Thandie Newton in Schiaparelli Fall 2016 Couture

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What. A. Fantasy!  I would wear this dress, hands down.  I love the futuristic silhouette and the crazy amount of sparkle.  There are stars, there are birds, there are horses, there are horses that appear to have feathers on their heads (think Cinderella?), and there’s a ferris wheel!  It’s also tea length, which always seems to add a bit of whimsy.  Maybe the word “tea” just makes me feel whimsical.  But anyhow, paired with understated makeup, hair, and nails, Thandie looks incredible.  This dress is a dream.

Best Pleasant Surprise – Sofia Vergara in Zuhair Murad

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I can typically predict what Sofia Vergara will wear on the red carpet: something body-con, perhaps sequined, probably in a solid jewel tone, floor length, with lots of diamonds.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s a formula that you really can’t go wrong with.  Sofia is maybe thee definition of va-va-voom, and her looks always complement that.  However, it was fun to see her in a knee length dress that felt a bit more fresh and youthful than her go-to aesthetic.  Plus, the styling is just so classic- a black tulle skirt with red lips and nails, coupled with a brilliant boustier and, of course, diamonds.

Best Call-Me-Crazy-But-I’m-Obsessed – Nicole Kidman in Gucci

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Ever since Alessandro Michele took over Gucci at the beginning of 2015, the Italian fashion house has done lost its damned mind in the best way EVARRR.  Anyone happen to keep up with the press tour for Suicide Squad?  Remember Margot Robbie’s crazy sequined unicorn dress?  Gucci.  The dress she wore with the tiger on it?  Gucci.  Jared Leto’s pink pants and kelly green coat that made him look like the captain of the Lollipop Guild?  Gucci.

And you know what?  I love it.  I looooove it.  Of course, Michele can play it fairly normal, too (think Brie Larson at last year’s Oscars, Zoe Saldana at this year’s Golden Globes), but I  never want normal on a red carpet.  Ever!  Something like Nicole Kidman’s parrot insanity here is so much more fun, so much more exciting, and so much more worth my time than any tired column dress.  Such dresses always look good- that’s never the problem- but like I’ve said, if you have access to all the fashion in all the world, why not wear parrots on your shoulders every once in a while?  But that’s just me.  xo, MR

 

Photo credits in order of appearance: Rob Latour/Rex/Shutterstock, Rob Latour/Rex/Shutterstock, Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty, Frazer Harrison/Getty Images, Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

Best Of The 2017 Golden Globes

I’m not sure there could be a better way to kick off a new season of writing after a couple months’ break than the Golden Globes.  After the social media and newsfeed tumult that was 2016, it’s nice to have a bit of fun with good ole’ awards season and a brand new year to go with it.  It’s like hitting the refresh button and everything coming up glitter.

If I had to describe this year’s Golden Globes red carpet in one word it would be finally!  Finally!  I think this is the first red carpet I’ve encountered in years when I saw consistent risk-taking and some truly incredible head-to-toe styling across the board.  Honestly, most everyone looked great in one way or another.  Even the guys were catching my interest!  Donald Glover in that velvet brown suit with the purplish bowtie?!  In the words of Lando Calrissian, hello what have we here.  Of course there were a couple looks that had me wrinkling my nose, but maybe only a handful.  Overall, the stylists and glamsquads killed it this evening!

Before I list my favorites, try to remember once again that I’m not just considering the dresses- I take into account the hair, the makeup, the jewelry, and the accessories as a whole package along with the dress.  Some “weirder” dresses were made perfect to me by the overall styling pulling it together, while other looks were thrown off for me by maybe just one thing like a necklace.

Alright, enough with that.  Here we go!

Best Newcomer That You’ll Continue To See Forever – Ruth Negga in Louis Vuitton

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Ruth Negga has that gamine kind of look that feels like she’s just stepped out of a chic Parisian nightclub in the 1920s.  Her finger-waved hair and gown that reminds me of the Maschinenmensch in Metropolis are adding quite a bit to that vintage vibe, but this look is giving me Wonder Woman feels too (especially with that cuff she’s wearing).  Considering that Ruth is currently on the cover of Vogue and she’ll probably land an Oscar nomination for Loving, I have a feeling she’s about to experience the kind of meteoric rise to fame like Lupita Nyong’O a couple years ago and we’ll be seeing a lot more of her.  This Louis Vuitton gown is not a bad way to start.

Best Throwback To A Bygone Era – Natalie Portman in Prada

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To say this look is “1960s inspired” would be the understatement of the evening.  This is the 1960s; this whole look could’ve come straight off the set of Mad Men or straight out of Jackie O’s closet.  It’s getting a lot of flack on social media, but I love it.  Natalie’s hair is perfect, and the jewelry and makeup and chrome clutch merely adorn the gown rather than distract from it.  I was pleased to see Natalie wearing Prada as we’re so used to seeing her in Dior.  Prada is a little more playful and colorful, but there’s still something understated and regal about this gown (probably because we know who it pays tribute to).

Best Hard-To-Screw-Up Formula – Brie Larson in Rodarte

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A glamorous shade of red.  Shiny, old Hollywood waves.  An incredible, always-flattering sweetheart neckline.  There’s little to be done wrong with a look like this, and I’m learning to appreciate the whole “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it” philosophy when it comes to style.  I knew this gown was Rodarte as soon as I noticed the signature crystals on the bodice, and while it’s not the biggest risk of the evening, who cares?  Brie looks like a Valentine come to life!  This would be a beautiful gown on anyone, but Brie wears it like a dream.

SECOND Best Throwback To A Bygone Era – Drew Barrymore in Monique Lhullier

74th Annual Golden Globe Awards, Arrivals, Los Angeles, USA - 08 Jan 2017

I think the history buff in me was going crazy tonight because I felt like so many gowns referred back to various decades in twentieth century America.  Something I love!  Ruth’s touched on the 1920s, Natalie’s embodied the 1960s, and Drew’s gorgeous dress here is a beautiful throwback to the 1930s.  Moreover, any gown that gets me thinking of art deco and architecture in general is a winner in my book.  Check out those sleeves!  There’s also a closeup shot of Drew’s makeup floating around social media and it is glorious.  I might’ve done something different with Drew’s hair; the dress seems to be calling for something that pulls her hair away from her face.  But you know, it looks so healthy and lovely on its own that I don’t care!

Best Weird Dress Completely Redeemed By Perfect Styling – Kerry Washington in Dolce & Gabbana

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Like I’ve said, I like weird dresses that may initially have you going ohhh honey noooooo (or at least scratching your head wondering if you hate it or if it’s magnificent).  However, it’s typically the hair and makeup that rounds out the weirdness of the dress into something I love.  Kerry is good at this- she and her team frequently choose “bad” or “weird” dresses that are then styled into something magical because of a tweak here and there, the right manicure, and an excellent glamsquad.

This is the perfect example.  This Dolce & Gabbana dress is actually floor length on the runway, but the proportions make more sense when the skirt is shortened.  Thanks to strappy sandals and see-through lace, this dress actually elongates Kerry when a floor length dress with capsleeves typically shortens the one wearing it.  The bodice and sleeves are very ornate and complicated, but when you pair it with perfectly smooth, dark hair tossed behind the shoulders, the look seems balanced.  A nude manicure and a complete lack of jewelry aside from a simple pair of earrings allows the elaborately detailed gown to show off without being too much on Kerry.  Top it off with the perfect, purply-brown lip color and she is wearing the dress, not vice versa.  And suddenly, a dress that would normally have me giving the side eye has me ooh-ing and aah-ing.  That’s what stylists do!

Let me know your thoughts!  Any folks you thought looked absolutely stunning?  Any dresses have you dazed and confused?  Do tell, and next stop- the SAG Awards!  xo, MR

 

Photo credits in order of appearance:  Jordan Strauss for Invision via Associated Press, Getty Images, Rex via Shutterstock, Rob Latour for Rex via Shutterstock, Steve Granitz for WireImage

Best Of The Met Gala 2016

And once again, Anna Wintour has thrown me an early birthday party and forgotten to invite me.  It’s really just getting obnoxious at this point.  I guess I’ll have to return her hostess gift- a bottle of two-buck Chuck and a Target candle.  Your loss, Anna.

And in case you, dear reader, need a brief review on what exactly the Met Gala is, here is the quickest definition I can give you- the Met Gala is an annual fundraising gala hosted by Anna Wintour (editor in chief of Vogue, in case that was needed) for my birthday the benefit of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute in New York City.  It celebrates the opening of that year’s Costume Institute exhibit too, which remains open for a couple months, but the main purpose of the Gala is to fund that exhibit.  So, yes, what this whole thing boils down to at the most fundamental level is, more or less, a fundraiser.

But of course, we all know that’s not really what it is in its essence.  The Met Gala is not just a fundraiser.  I don’t think any of us can picture Beyonce showing up to a country club for a dinner of chicken, rice pilaf, and veggie medley, and then merrily writing a check for $100 after a PowerPoint presentation and a bit of pinot noir in a disposable wine glass. No, to call the Met Gala a fundraiser really does not do it justice, even if that’s what it is by definition.  With the highly exclusive invite list overseen by Anna herself, the press coverage second to none, and the accompaniment of some highfalutin theme each year, the Met Gala is sort of what the fashion world recognizes as THEE event.  If you’ve been invited to the Met Gala, that’s one of the most influential authorities in fashion telling you you’ve made it and you’re welcome to now use emojis when texting her.  Or something like that.

Of course, I have become rather cynical toward Vogue over the years as I believe it’s started to warp into a mere celebrity platform with a bit of tabloid flavor.  A bit of that came out in tonight’s red carpet, as well.  Vogue now seems more about staying pop culturally relevant as opposed to remaining the revered fashion authority it has been; more about pimping the names of models with six million or more Instagram followers than celebrating the creativity and innovation of designers and artists around the world.  First came the Kim and Kanye cover of April 2014, then the single special edition devoted entirely to Kendall Jenner, and most recently, a perfectly timed May 2016 Taylor Swift cover that has gone hand in hand with her new “edgy” makeover.  It’s all just in time for the Gala as Swift co-chaired this year, yet I can’t help but feel that the Wintour influence has been unbearably obvious and heavy-handed in her case.  I’m never a fan of a makeover feeling manufactured or manipulated for press or publicity, and I have to say that Taylor Swift’s choice of outfit this year was … well … let’s just say that it looked like a stylist from Charlotte Russe got hold of her as opposed to Nicolas Ghesquiere himself.  I was, admittedly, very disappointed.  I find my feelings toward the Met Gala overall sort of turning in the same direction as my feelings for Vogue- it’s starting to be difficult to take seriously.  However, I don’t want to stop enjoying things I love such as fashion, so I’ll attempt to overlook the Hunger Games Capitol flavor its taken on and just take it for what it is- a fashion show.

So anyhow, the theme of this year’s ball was “Manus x Machina: Fashion In An Age Of Technology”.  Your eyes may have rolled into the back of your head after reading that, but I have to say that very few attendees of this year’s event seemed to stick with the theme or even try to dress to the theme because, after all, how exactly can you dress for a “tech” theme?  Dress like an iPhone?  Accessorize with a fax machine to be ironic?  You could wear a light-up dress as one celebrity did, but even that’s already been done by Katy Perry at a previous year’s Gala.  What we did see were a TON of metallics, a massive trend toward dark and vampy lips, a whole lotta model chicks in Balmain (which I’m super over btw), and just a whole lotta WEIRD in general.  It was perhaps the strangest red carpet I’ve seen in a while.

So here are the looks that I enjoyed the most when considering every element including hair, makeup, and accessories.

Zoe Saldana in Dolce & Gabbana

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Ah yes, there’s my girl Zoe bringing it once again in an insane dress that looks like she’s carrying a jungle with her, complete with birds and palm trees and flowers.  But really, I love this.  This is the kind of statement that I’m looking for.  And I cannot wait for an up-close shot of the skirt so I can see it in full detail.  How it goes with the tech theme I do not know, but like I said earlier, the theme got kind of thrown out this window this year from what I can tell.  With minimal makeup and low-maintenance, Zoe’s look was a win for me.

Kate Bosworth in Dolce & Gabbana

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This was the first dress that I really squealed over.  I love just how much detail is in involved in this gown.  How do you even begin to envision something like this?!  That bodice is exquisite!  And I love the jeweled “floral” headpiece.  It’s a modern rendering of an ancient Etruscan goddess, complete with glowing, angelic skin.  And can someone PLEASE find of what lip color that is?!  I’ll be scrolling through Insta all night trying to find out.

Lupita Nyong’o on Calvin Klein Collection

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Might it be the most ambitious hairdo we’ve ever seen on a red carpet?  Perhaps.  But Lupita has taken an avant-garde turn in fashion that sort of allows her to try whatever and pull it off, even if it’s basically haute couture Cindy Lou-Hoo.  And please take a look at this gown.  It is mesmerizing.  Such a lovely, refreshing color with texture that makes her some kind of beautiful cross between a mermaid and the Empire State building!

Jennifer Connelly in Louis Vuitton

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I chose this look because A) it’s representative of the very casual vibe that many folks went for on this year’s Met Gala red carpet but B) this particular casual look seemed to work out better than others.  And C) because it’s Jennifer Connelly and I’m obsessed with her and I all-too-frequently give her a free pass.  This was one of many, many Louis Vuitton outfits seen tonight too, but I much preferred this look as opposed to say, Selena Gomez’s.  Jennifer’s look feels edgy and elegant until you get to the boots (which are freakin’ tight if you ask me), whereas Selena’s just felt much, much too casual from top to bottom.

Beyonce in Givenchy

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Bey’s eyes are only half open.  I’m thinking she’s just a little tired from waterboarding everyone with lemonade these days, and the fact that she’s currently on tour.  Yeah, she has a show in Raleigh, North Carolina in less than 24 hours.  Bey better take a nap or she’s gonna fall asleep on stage!  But her latex Givenchy dress is pretty rad, I must say.  I like a weird texture on a dress, and I miss all the exaggerated shoulders from five years ago.  I also really love Beyonce’s hair when it’s straight with a center part for some reason.  It is just so pretty.  And I never met a smokey eye I didn’t like, or black manicure I didn’t like.

Emma Stone in Prada

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Is this woman starting to look more and more like Margot Robbie by the minute?  They’re morphing into one person and it’s scaring me.  But I digress.  I liked the overall effect of this, especially with Emma’s new, rich hair color.  I’m not sure why I like it so much; it has the feel of a Roman gladiator which, again, is nowhere near the tech vibe that we were supposed to be going for, but oh well.  It flatters Emma beautifully and I cannot wait for makeup closeups.  Rachel Goodwin is forever and always a makeup genius.

Brie Larson in Proenza Schouler

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I love any dress that looks like it may have taken a billion hours to make, and this is no exception.  I would choose to wear something like this if I were attending the Met Gala, though I’d typically prefer something floor length because when do we normal humans ever get to wear anything floor length besides pants?!  I like that this dress is very feminine and sweet in its silhouette, but the severe hair and makeup keep the look from going in a direction too cloying.  Just the right amount of girly-girl married with futurism.

And there you have it.  I almost wish I had done a “roast post” on all of the other absolutely ridiculous looks we saw this evening, but I feel that’s not my brand.  I’ll mention just a couple stray observations:

  • The Kardashians always look like the Kardashians, and always wear Balmain, all the time.  I feel that I’m completely numb to their effects now.  I always seem to know exactly what they’re going to look like these days.  Even Kanye wearing blue contacts feels blasé.  And will someone please convince him to wear something other than denim?!
  • Madonna’s face looks so painfully stretched that my teeth hurt just looking at her.  I’m making a dental appointment.
  •   “Naked” dresses feel so last year, and yet we still saw way too many of them.
  • Katy Perry is Katy Perry.
  • Sarah Jessica Parker has never looked worse!  That broke my heart.  I have no idea what she was thinking.  I get that she’s SJP, mais quelle horreur!
  • Too much white, too many metallics.
  • Where have all the eyebrows gone?
  • I feel like we have seen Amber Heard in the exact same look before, from head to toe.
  • Naomi Watts looked lovely, but I feel like I’ve also seen her in that same exact look before.
  • Olivia Wilde is really into metallic chokers.
  • Blake Lively always looks like Blake Lively.
  • Idris Elba showed up looking like the living, breathing definition of James Bond, but oh yes, he’s too “street” to take over the role apparently. Smh.

Share with me your thoughts, criticisms, and wailings of lament.  And in the words of Miranda Priestley, “That’s all”.  xo, MR

Best Of The 2016 Academy Awards

Alright, kids.  It’s that time!  I think the first thing I should note is that there were so many people missing tonight!  No Lupita Nyong’O, no Jennifer Lopez, no Emma Stone, no Gwyneth Paltrow, no Halle Berry, no Jennifer Aniston, no Amy Adams, no Viola Davis, no Angelina Jolie, no Kate Hudson, no Beyoncé, no Nicole Kidman – and those are just the regulars that I feel we see on most every Oscars red carpet.  So, that kind of bummed me out as I always look forward to seeing what I would classify as the heavy-hitters.  However, there are always the after parties so we’ll see what those bring.

Bear in mind that I take into consideration the entire look when determining my favorites.  This means I like the hair, the jewelry, the makeup, everything (and not just the dress).  So, here are the four from tonight’s Oscars red carpet that I absolutely adored!

Best Fantasy Moment

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So, I’ve seen stuff on the internet about this dress saying things like, “Step away from the glue gun, Cate”, and that it looks too crafty.  Um, I’m sorry, but have you ever made a craft that looks as good as this dress?!  I mean, COME ON.  Cate looks like the epitome of a fairy princess in the best possible way wearing this gorgeous Armani Privé gown.  With her dainty, elven face, gowns like this are a perfect match for her.  Feminine, flowery, and in a shade that I’d describe as robin’s-egg-blue (with crystal details and what looks like little purply bits found in the flower appliqués), this was the first look I saw tonight that made me squeal.  It’s that every-little-girl’s-fantasy kind of dress.  The silhouette is incredibly flattering, too, with the exaggerated shoulders and deep v-neck.  Simple beautiful.

Best Moment of SHUT THE FRONT DOOR YOU IS LOOKIN’ HOT!

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Yeah, Kate Winslet is aging backwards.  I mean, the woman just doesn’t age (though a contract with Lancome does help- Genifique, anyone?).  Her face has evolved into one that evokes Old Hollywood glamour and sophistication, and her red carpet styling always lends itself quite well to that aesthetic.  This particular look, however, took a bit of a sidestep away from the stately sophistication and veered more into HOT MAMA territory.  I mean, wow.  The loose waves coupled with the shiny texture of this Ralph Lauren gown amounts to a look that is at once futuristic/edgy and timeless/simple.  I am crazy about the liquid feel of this silk lame.  And her standing next to Leo?  Twitter just about lost its mind.

Best Moment of Redemption

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Confession- I have felt for a long, long time that the partnership between Jennifer Lawrence and Dior has been a huge mistake.  I just don’t really find that Dior suits Jennifer.  She’s a young, cool girl with an edge of crass to her, and Dior is the pinnacle of ladylike sophistication seen on the likes of statuesque, elegant actresses such as Marion Cotillard and Charlize Theron.  It just doesn’t jive for me, and the gowns and clothes that Dior has had Jennifer wear always seem to end up wearing her instead.

However, tonight was a welcomed exception.  This dress felt cool.  This dress felt edgy.  This dress felt young.  And the overall styling was fantastic.  I love that Jennifer’s been going more platinum with her hair these days.  That icy white platinum look?  Ooh, I love it.  I’d do it myself if I knew my hair wouldn’t literally snap off in heaps after three weeks.  I’d need a bucket of Olaplex to survive.  But anyhow, hats off to the JLaw team tonight.  She looked stunning, and I’m thinking she and Dior may have turned a new corner in their relationship.

Best Moment of Color

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A silhouette like this typically isn’t my favorite because we’ve seen it so much, but for some reason, this outstanding shade of vermillion makes it all okay.  I think it also may be the fact that we never see Charlize in this color.  We’ve seen her look stunning in gold, white, black, and baby pink, but I don’t think we’ve seen her choose serious color for the Academy Awards since 2010 when she wore her lilac bustier gown (which everyone hated but me).

My most favorite look of Charlize’s is actually the forest green Dior gown she wore to the 2006 Oscars, back when John Galliano was still at the helm.  It was so dramatic with that giant bow, and the color was so unexpected.  I guess that’s what I love Charlize for- she can wear absolutely anything, so unusual silhouettes and bright colors are always a delight on her.  And I have to say, if Imperator Furiosa had to walk a red carpet and couldn’t choose to wear black, it may as well be this uncompromising shade of red.  My mom loved it, too!

Other honorable mentions include Naomi Watts’ gown that reminded of the Rainbow Fish, Margot Robbie’s I-am-literally-a-golden-Oscar-statue moment, and Saoirse Ronan’s gorgeous shade of green that made me think of a mermaid.  I also liked the architecture of Olivia Munn’s gown.  Alicia Vikander’s dress was beautiful too, but the whole look was definitely a bit too inspired by Belle, all the way down to the half-bun.  Daisy Ridley’s was pretty but I would’ve preferred a full-length gown, and Julianne’s was nothing special to me.

Rachel McAdams’ was a bit of a yawn for me too, and while Brie Larson’s gown was really pretty her hair styling sort of ruined the look for me.  I’m not much for pulling back hair that way with a flowy gown that has lots of movement.  I would’ve loved to see some loose waves, or contrast the gown with a sleek chignon.  And Rooney Mara has become as predictable as ever!  I don’t expect to ever see her in bright pink or anything like that, but there’s got to be some way of changing things up while sticking to her general elegant-goth aesthetic.

Well that just about wraps it up for me, and now its time to dig for some extra details on the makeup- my very favorite part!  Give me your thoughts and let me know what you think.  And now, it’s time to start the countdown to the Met Ball!  xo, MR

Photo credits in order of appearance to: Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, Jason Merritt/Getty, George Pimentel/WireImage, and Unknown on Theron image.

Best Of The 2016 Golden Globes

So, if you know me and how I am with the red carpet, I’m always demanding to be entertained with something unexpected, probably unfairly so.  I’m tired of column dresses, I’m tired of solids, I’m tired of black or neutral or white or red (done plainly, I should say), and I’m tired of a lack of risk-taking in the gowns chosen by celebrities for events like the Golden Globes.  I want more drama, I want more volume, and I want more I’m not sure if that’s ugly or amazing.  In short, I kind of want more fashion and less good-looking.

So, the gowns I tend to freak out over are typically not the safest ones.  Granted, they may not always be the most flattering ones, but they’re at least fun to look at.  Like I’ve said before- If you’ve got the world of fashion at your fingertips, why not take advantage of that and go for something a bit weird that perhaps you wouldn’t have access to otherwise?  But hey, I get it.  People want to look good.  It’s when people play it safe at the Met Ball, now that’s when I get really perturbed.  Ya’ll got no excuses at the Met Ball.

Anyhow, I digress.  On to the favorites.

 

Best Use Of Color – Jaimie Alexander in Genny
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I have only seen Jaimie Alexander in Thor: The Dark World as Lady Sif (and future Valkyrie, apparently?), but she is one of those people that is scary beautiful.  The dark hair and hazel-green eyes amount to a terrifying kind of beauty that is very intimidating to me.  However, maybe it’s the stunning shade of emerald that’s making things extra striking today.  I love the metallic texture and the geometric pattern, as well.  It’s all very Metropolis-meets-Picasso-meets-Oz.  Fabulous.

 

Best Use Of Texture And Construction – Zendaya in Marchesa

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I never understand why dresses like this get canned the way they do.  I love this dress.  I just want to twirl in it.  I love the floral pattern and the dramatic three-tiered silhouette.  I love the texture and construction and ambition behind it.  I also love that somehow, even with the plunging neckline (which was super popular this year, by the way), the dress still looks very young on Zendaya, who is still basically a child at 19.  The color is also enchanting; it reminds me of wine and Eastern Europe and opera.  Mmmm.

 

Best Dress That Transports Me To Another Era – Cate Blanchett in Givenchy

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I can’t decide if this amazing dress belongs in the 1900’s, the twenties, or the thirties, but either way, it is heaven.  The color is so lovely (and definitely one of Pantone’s colors of the year, rose quartz), and anything that scratches my nostalgia itch just sends me.  I mean, this has such a deco feel to it with the fringe and the silhouette that just sort of hangs on her, and not to mention the deco design of the bodice.  Delicious.  Put me in this dress, fix me a sidecar, play some Gershwin, and watch me die of happiness.

I always love that Cate really goes for fashion on the red carpet.  She’s never too interested in what’s flattering or what’s sexy- it’s always about fashion, and that makes me always look forward to seeing her.  That and Givenchy is probably my favorite house of fashion for the red carpet.

 

Best Overall Because It’s Hard To Make This Person Look Bad – Rosie Huntington-Whiteley in Versace

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You know, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley is not ugly.  She’s just not.  Therefore, it’s kind of difficult to make her look that bad.  But you know, when the whole package comes together with the hair, and the makeup, and the skin (I mean, have you ever seen such healthy-looking skin?), and the gown, you kinda have to give credit to the team that’s making it all happen.  This look, as a whole, was great.  The gown is not my absolute favorite because it’s still very safe for me, but the styling makes it all perfect.  Rosie is the picture of glowing beauty here.  And she makes me want to exfoliate and tan and moisturize and do yoga until I glow like Apollo.  And congrats on that engagement to Turkish.

So there they are, my favorites.  I don’t really have any least favorites, just ones that I thought were boring and various other disappointments.  I never think Dior and Jennifer Lawrence have a good relationship, I miss Keira Knightley, Rooney Mara always looks like Rooney Mara, Jennifer Connelly never shows up to anything anymore, J.Lo needs to lose the cape, and hopefully Diane Kruger will show up at one of the after parties.  Speaking of, time to check out all my feeds for after party gowns.  Party on, kids.  xo, MR

** None of the photos featured here in this post belong to me.**

The Best Of 2015

Around this time of the year, I typically do a “best of” post that overviews the greatest beauty moments of the previous 365-ish days (in my humble opinion).  In the past, they’ve been some of my most viewed posts and they’re really fun to put together because I’m normally so excited about trends and all the surprises we’ve witnessed throughout the year.

This time around, however, I honestly had a hard time putting together a list of groundbreaking trends or happenings in the beauty world.  My Little Pony-colored hair took over the world, you can now wear black or blue lipstick without being stared at like a freak, blah, blah.  I guess what happened in 2015 was a lot of normalizing of things that were formally seen as fringe behavior.  But we didn’t have a lot of brand new, I think is what I’m trying to say.  Jennifer Lawrence grew out her pixie cut into a versatile lob, Adele also debuted an amazing lob that had me gasping and proud to be in medium-length territory, long-wearing liquid lipstick sealed its reputation as the most covetable formula on the market, and Kim Kardashian went platinum for a week.  Honestly, nothing that notable.

I only have one real “Best Of 2015” moment, but it comes heavy with significance- In 2015, Victoria’s Secret featured a black model with completely natural hair (read: no extensions, no weave) for the very first time during their annual fashion show.

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This, actually, is a huge deal.  Maria Borges, of Angolan descent, literally made history as the first black Victoria’s Secret model to eschew the famous “bombshell” waves in favor of her own hair.  And you know, when I think about it, Maria might actually be the first Victoria’s Secret model to wear her hair cropped this short, period.

One of the things that has bothered me about VS over the years is that try as they might to diversify their models by ethnicity, we still see them all with the same bodies.  But more along the subject lines of this blog, we still see them all with the same hair.  There are no other hairstyles featured on Victoria’s Secret models besides long, shiny mermaid waves.  Do I like this hairstyle?  Yes, of course.  I am constantly wearing my hair wavy, and you know I love length.  However, one hairstyle isn’t exactly a fair representation of all women and hair types in the world, or even in this country.  And yet Victoria’s Secret, in their fraudulent kind of “girl power” way, has continued to depict long, wavy hair as the most aspirational and desired hairstyle on every model, no matter their ethnicity.  Because in all our pink-infested, bow-and-lace-adorned, diamond-encrusted push-up fantasy dreams, this is apparently the hairstyle every woman should have, no matter what their hair looked like originally.

But not every girl needs to have long, wavy hair.  Not every girl can have long, wavy hair.  And not every girl wants to have long, wavy hair.  That’s why Maria’s choice to wear her own hair for this particular show is such an important move (and it was her idea, just so we’re clear and giving proper credit).  It is significant in terms of body image, in terms of race, and in terms of women (especially minority women) being able to collectively say “no thanks” when time and again we are presented with a billion-dollar business’s take on what perfect hair is.  There seems to be this underlying assumption that if the Victoria’s Secret body is what an ideal body looks like, well, then a head full of Victoria’s Secret bombshell waves must be what an ideal head of hair looks like.  For the first time, we are shown that that’s not always the case.

It’s taken way too long for Victoria’s Secret to get with the program in terms of hair.  It’s kind of pathetic that this had to be such a big deal in 2015 and not, say, 2000, that it was still only one woman, and that it wasn’t Victoria’s Secret’s own initiative (along with the myriad of other issues I may have with the company). However, this still deserves celebration .  And even if it’s just one woman, it makes a difference.  xo, MR

Image credit to Dimitrios Kambouris of Getty Images for Victoria’s Secret, 2015

Best of the Awards Season 2015

So, awards season.  It’s here.  Wait, I mean, it’s been here and I’m just very late.  Very, very late.  How about I not waste any time and just get down to the point, which in this case would be my favorite looks of the 2015 Awards Season.  This mostly revolves around hair and makeup, but there were two irresistible dresses that I’ll get to.

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Keira Knightley, once again, proves to be my number one makeup inspiration (alongside Kristen Stewart).  I am always impressed and delighted by however subtle or dramatic, feminine or cutting edge, new or same-ole’ her makeup is.  I am never disappointed.  The look above from this season’s Golden Globes is almost exactly what I go for when I do bridal makeup, and then work forward if the bride is looking for something more specific.  It’s just a classic, beautiful look.  I spoke to KK’s makeup artist Kate Lee on Instagram (!!!), and while she credited Chanel’s Les 4 Ombres Multi-Effect Quadra in Tisse Gabrielle for Keira’s eye makeup, she let me know that you’ll want to mix in their Lumieres’ Facettes Quadra in Quadrille as well to create a more violet tone.  Luckily, I own the Tisse Gabrielle, so I’ve been playing around with mixing in some of my purplish MAC shades like Sketch for a similar look.  I’ve always said that if I were ever to have the opportunity to have a celebrity makeup artist play with my face, Kate would be my very first choice.  Every little thing she does is magic!

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Not much eye makeup.  A matte-ish, more-tangerine-than-red lip.  Shineless waves, and an asymmetrical cut.  When dissected, so much about Rosamund Pike’s look at this year’s SAG Awards was unconventional and off-ish for the red carpet, and that’s why I loved it.  No giant false eyelashes (maybe none at all?), no obvious slick of lip gloss reflecting so much light it could blind you, and a disheveled hair texture that felt different as opposed to all the perfect, 1940s Hollywood waves we typically see at these events.  Seriously, who wants Pantene commercial hair any more?!  Not me!  Pair it all with that Dior Couture gown and you’ve got a look that I would literally wear myself, from the haircut down to the shoes.

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One of the fun things about social media is you see a certain celebrity you love on the red carpet, and then they tag all of the people responsible for their look that night and you follow the tags down this rabbit hole of amazingness that enables you to discover exactly who is cutting whose hair, who is always doing whose makeup, and who is styling whose dresses.  George Northwood cuts Rosie Huntington-Whiteley’s hair, Nick Barose is always Lupita’s makeup artist, and Tracy Cunningham is the hair colorist of all Hollywood everyone ever.

There are certain dream teams, however, that seem to come together for one special celebrity for every important appearance of theirs.  In this case, it’s the team of hairstylist Mara Roszak, makeup artist Rachel Goodwin, and stylist Petra Flannery that have managed to create moments of pure yes for the beautiful Emma Stone on a regular basis.  This year’s SAG Awards were no exception.  I’m apparently have a moment of affinity for Dior Couture (which is not usually the case), so it’s good to finally feel that I can relate to the fashion house which I’ve had a hard time with in the past.  I tend to leave all the Dior for Marion Cotillard, and I’ve trusted it with no one else.  However, Emma’s turn in black, sheer tuxedo-inspired Dior Couture gave me a case of the Honey Boo Boos,  and I’m giving major virtual high-fives to Emma’s dream team here.

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And let me just mention that I have never wanted to be a redhead so badly in my life.  The funny thing about this kind of “red” hair is that it’s not actually an authentic red; it’s more of a brown-bronze that’s richer, more sophisticated, and more flattering than a fiery red (which Byrdie.com has so eagerly dubbed “ronze”).  But beyond the hair color (pulled artfully back into a sleek, modern ponytail), it’s also the glossy lids, the perfect shade of red on the lips, the amazing lashes, the #flawless brows, and the unique ear cuff that make for those special details that turn a great dress on a pretty person into A) an entire look that I’d wear from head to toe and B) something that will be talked about in the fashion world for months and months to come.  Congrats guys, it’s perfect!

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And finally, we come to the one singular dress from the Golden Globes that really stole my heart and haters can SHOVE IT.  A couple things here:  A) If you wear Mary Katrantzou on the red carpet I automatically love you forever.  B) This dress reminds me of Princess Aurora’s classic silhouette, which might be one of the reasons why I love it so much.  C) That shade of mauve-ish purply pink is gorgeous.  D) Again, I’m all about the weird little details with that box clutch, the dark nails, the matching pink lips, and the shoes that don’t really match at all or make any sense.  Some have said that Kerry’s looking like “a very bold Easter basket” here, but I am almost always impressed and excited by Kerry’s uncanny red carpet choices as opposed to the same body-con piles of blah that we see all the time.  Take a risk, people!  It may not always pay off, but I will at least have a lot more fun looking at you on Instagram.

Questions?  Comments?  Bricks to throw?  Bring it!  But I’m tired now.  That’s all.  xo, MR