Best Of The 2017 Academy Awards

And here we are, once again!

This is technically the fifth Academy Awards that I’ve blogged and it’s my favorite post each year.  I’ve had a lot going on this evening work-wise so this post has been a process of constantly refreshing my phone before and after in attempts to get some quick peeks at attendees as they’ve arrived on the red carpet.  Not ideal, but I’m making it work.

A couple notes- Firstly, I’ve seen more impressive red carpets.  We were doing really, really good during this awards season but we seem to have pumped the brakes a bit.  I had hoped to see more bold color and risk-taking tonight.  We saw mostly gold and other soft metallics, and Janelle Monae was probably our only kooky-crazy gown.  I only noted a bit of red and perhaps just Scarlett Johannson’s pretty purple.  Secondly, Natalie Portman did not attend tonight’s ceremony because she’s in her third trimester of pregnancy.  I mean, whatever, okay, FINE.  But in all seriousness, I was bummed because I know she would’ve shown up looking glorious but I guess third trimester pregnancy merits some rest and a break from uncomfortable shoes and everyone staring at you.  OKAY, NATALIE.

And finally, I can’t seem to find Amy Adams!  Has anyone seen her?!  I looked all over social media and I did the Google, and she appears to be nowhere.  I do concur, by the way, that it was wrong of the Academy to nominate Meryl Streep over Amy this year, but I’d thought she’d surely attend tonight to support Arrival!  I also missed seeing Cate Blanchett. She wasn’t involved in much this year, but she always wears the best stuff.

And so with that, on to my favorites!  And again, a reminder- It might be a great dress but if the styling doesn’t appeal to me, it doesn’t make my list!  And it might be a cooky/ugly dress but if the styling streamlines the look and makes sense of it all, it might make my list!

Best This-Person-Would-Look-Good-In-A-Burlap-Sack – Charlize Theron in Dior

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Charlize is the one woman who has made my Best Dressed list every year she’s attended the Academy Awards.  I get that it’s hard to make someone of her features look bad, but despite how we may feel we all know that it can be done.  I think that’s one of the reasons why I’m continuously so impressed with her- she always knocks it out of the park and keep things classic and beautifully flattering, and doesn’t rely on her physical beauty to carry a look.  She still makes the right choices.  Her styling is always glamorous but simple, and her contract with Dior has probably been the most successful partnership I’ve seen between a celebrity and fashion house.  This particular gown looks like liquid gold and those earrings are bonkers!

Best Overall Because LOOK AT HER – Taraji P. Henson in Alberta Ferretti

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I mean, okay. OKAY. There is literally nothing wrong with this whole thing.  There is no flaw.  At the SAG Awards, Taraji seemed to have her frothy, feminine fantasy moment.  But she wasn’t having any of that tonight and THIS look is just about as sexy as it gets in my opinion.  No, not in my opinion.  IN ALL REALITY EVER.  This neckline with that slit all in deep blue velvet (scratching my David Lynch itch, Cookie!) with those diamonds and that haircut is just deadly.  Deadly, I say!  Taraji looks like she was just poured into this dress like an expensive glass of the finest champagne.  She has never looked better. I can only pray I come across an occasion where I have to wear something this glamorous in my lifetime.

Most Welcome New Darling Of The Fashion World – Ruth Negga in custom Valentino

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So, I think Ruth Negga likes clothes.  I mean, I think she really likes them.  Most new actresses that arrive on the scene tend to play it rather safe for a couple years before taking a couple risks once they get a high-profile stylist or a new haircut or something like that.  Or they wait for a contract with a fashion house and suddenly every dress seems to be wearing them and not the other way around (paging Jennifer Lawrence …).  Such has not been the case for Ruth Negga (or Lupita Nyong’O, the other exception in this case).  Right out of the gate, Ruth has been a person made for fashion.  She clearly loves the artistry of clothes-making, and she appreciates unique and sometimes quirky pieces.  I loved this Victorian style custom Valentino gown she wore.  It was similar to what Ginnifer Goodwin wore, but Ruth’s seemed to have a more Gothic feel.  Her makeup and hairpiece matched the mood, too.

Best Old Hollywood Throwback – Emma Stone in Givenchy Haute Couture

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As I write this, they’ve only just announced the winner of the Best Supporting Actress (go Viola!) and so we’ve yet to learn if Emma will indeed win in tonight’s Best Actress category. I have a feeling she will, and this is a lovely dress to win in.  I love Emma’s 1920’s style dress paired with very 1940’s hair and makeup.  It really is a very classically beautiful look. I was hoping to see more color on Emma during this awards season, but for what we’ve lacked in color her styling team has made up for in texture.  Fringe, glittering stars, floral appliqués- we’ve seen plenty of gorgeous handicraft in the texture department on Emma this year.  I did like her look when she attended the 2015 Academy Awards for Birdman more than tonight’s look – I loved her updo paired with the chartreuse gown and coral lips – but this is still nothing short of stunning and worthy of a winner. I’m getting some Rita Hayworth vibes with her hair, too.

Best Holy Cleopatra Batman! – Jessica Biel in Kaufmanfranco

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I told you there was a lot of gold this year!  I wasn’t kidding!  But I have to say, this is my personal favorite.  Don’t you dream of wearing dresses like this?  I mean seriously. That necklace is incredible, and the gown reminds me so much of Nefertiri in The Ten Commandments.  Nefertiri was probably the first woman in film that I idolized and wanted to look like and dress like as a child.  Of course, I was supposed to be drawn to the humble shepherd girl played by Yvonne De Carlo, but that would take some Mount Sinai-levels of convincing throughout my adolescence and beyond.

But anyhow, this dress had me.  And the necklace.  And the styling!  I love Jessica’s bold cat-eye made with thick eyeliner (again, Cleopatra!) paired with peachy lips and cheeks.  I also love the sleek updo with the center-part in Jessica’s deep brown-black hue.  I can’t wait to get a view of the back!  And again, if you know me, you know I like it when something’s just a bit off. In this case, it’s hairstylist Adir Abergel’s genius work with this updo- it’s totally off-center on purpose.  It adds characters and just barely tweaks the perfect symmetry of the center-part.  Details like this that play with shape and balance are my favorite; details of color and texture are a close second.

So there you go!  Now tell me your faves!  Anything you hated?  Anything you hoped for but didn’t see?  And don’t forget, there are always the after-parties with plenty of gown changes and extra folks who just weren’t important enough to invite to the awards ceremony.  Have fun!  xo, MR

 

Photo credits in order of appearance:  Getty Images, Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, Noel West for The New York Times, Getty Images

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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

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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

Winter Makeup Inspiration

So, if you follow me in my various social media outlets, you know the SAG Awards were a relative disappointment to me.  I think my favorite dress honestly may have been Brie Larson’s thanks to its unexpected details, but beyond that, I was considerably underwhelmed.  Again.  However, what the SAG Awards were lacking in dresses, the month of January certainly made up for in awesome celebrity makeup.

This is the kind of makeup that I find so inspiring, mostly because it actually seems accessible and real and like something I could repeat on myself.  I love makeup that is still beautiful but doesn’t exist for the sake of itself, and doesn’t insist on completely transforming its subject.  Ironically, red carpet celebrity makeup is much less intimidating to me than anything like what I see on YouTube or Instagram with all the palettes and powders and contour creams, however fun that all may be.

So the following three looks are ones that had me gasping and reaching for my own makeup brushes this past month.  The subjects all happen to look extremely alike, so you’ll need to forgive me for my unintentional-but-glaringly-obvious lack of diversity in this post.  However, it is beautiful makeup nonetheless, and I think everyone can appreciate that.

Kristen Stewart at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival premiere of “Certain Women”

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K-Stew is my jam when it comes to a smokey eye.  She frequently wears a smokey eye and it seems to fit her supposedly moody disposition (though this smile would say otherwise), but I absolutely love the look and am always thinking of either her or Keira Knightley when trying to replicate it on myself.  Friends know this tends to be my go-to look when I really want to “do my makeup” – a smokey, smudged-out eye paired with little else, hence the nearly-bare lips.  Good stuff.  And just yesterday, Kristen was announced as the new face of Chanel cosmetics so I’m pretty sure we have a lot more smokey awesomeness coming down the pipeline.

Makeup artist Jamie Greenberg was responsible for this look, and you can check out her blog for the exact routine and products she used on Kristen (which are almost all Chanel, of course).  And what a fun surprise- Greenberg used Burt’s Bees Lip Crayon in Sedona Sands on her lips.  That little guy is sitting in my makeup bag at this very moment!  I knew that paired well with tons of eyeliner.

Alicia Vikander at the 2016 SAG Awards

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This is the kind of makeup we call “timeless”.  Makeup like this, on any skin tone, on any woman, for any occasion, will never not be beautiful.  Look like this at Prom, look like this on your wedding day, look like this at work – it will never be an issue.  I know it helps to have otherworldly skin like Vikander, but honestly, even if you have acne or some type of skin insecurity, the color features of this look will still work for you.  Yes, they will.  Why?  Because it sticks with the very best strategies for flattering anyone’s features- a rosy-ish lip that looks like it’s just come in from the cold, glittering eyes surrounded by an earth-toned shimmer, full, voluminous lashes, groomed eyebrows, and gently sun-kissed skin.  Even if you don’t have pristine skin (and I’m sure a bit of makeup was involved in giving that illusion, too), your features will still be nothing but enhanced with makeup like this.  You would just vary the choice of shades depending on your skintone.

Charlotte Tilbury created this look to complement Alicia’s stunning Louis Vuitton sequined gown.  The Australian edition of PopSugar did a full feature on the look here, complete with a run-down of every single product used.  Remember that the prices for the mentioned products are translated into Australian dollars, so they don’t cost quite that much stateside.

Natalie Portman at the New York City premiere of “Jane Got A Gun”

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Good ol’ Natalie Portman.  I think the first high-end product I ever purchased as a teen was Stila’s lipstick that they’d made just for her back in the day, appropriately named Natalie.  It was sheer, a berry color with purple-ish undertones from what I remember.  Of course it’s now discontinued and who knows what happened to mine, but I remember thinking as a fifteen-year-old girl that I would finally look like Padme once I got my hands on that lipstick.  Padme isn’t exactly the worst film character to look like, but her choices are pretty questionable and I’m not sure how much the lipstick actually helped my cause.  I managed to date someone similar in character to Anakin Skywalker, so I guess the goal was met?  Minus the whole awesome space opera part that made it actually worth it?

Fast forward some ten-odd years later and here’s Natalie again, still looking gorgeous as ever with a deep, crimson lip.  There’s something so fragile and feminine about Portman’s features that makes a dramatic lip stand out on her in ways that may not be the case with others.  I love her nearly porcelain skin here.  When I try to let my skin lose its color, I find it doesn’t give off a Snow White etherealness so much as it does a yellow-green Tales from the Crypt vibe.  It’s all about those undertones, man.  They’ll get ya.

As the face of Dior beauty, you can count on every product used here on Natalie to be Dior.  Lipstick Lifestyle did a great feature on the whole look recounting all of makeup artist Pati Dubroff’s steps.  I’m eyeing the eyeshadow and liner duo used that’s to be released as part of Dior’s spring makeup collection, but I’m certain it’ll be a little out of my reasonable price range (especially considering my lame empties challenge, which I guess I’m continuing with indefinitely).  I’ll just need to shop what I own.

And now I’m looking forward to seeing what beauty awesomeness (and hopefully gown awesomeness) the Oscars will hold for us.  Hopefully there’s some Leo awesomeness involved in that, too, because if there isn’t there will probably be some type of bear-attacking-you-in-nineteenth-century-Canadian-wilderness hell to pay.  xo, MR

Image credits (in order of appearance) to: Vanity Fair, Getty Images, Mike Coppola for Getty Images