I was thinking the other day how I hadn’t done my annual “Hip Report Best Dressed for 2014.”
I’ve totally shirked my duties as fashion pundit and bailed on my annual Ten Best Dressed.
But every time I would drag myself to the computer to compile my list, I would stare at it, thinking of nightmarish moments like this (and above) from last year:
Paula Patton at the Golden Globes wearing a unfurled Charmin toilet paper roll down the side of her dress. A beautiful woman but an unfortunate fashion choice.
Kim Kardashian in Balmain at the 2014 Grammys. Model Joan Smalls at the same event looking infinitely better and far less slutty. –But I do like Kardashian’s shoes better, for the record.
AARP-er Madonna flashes her grill. Completely ick.
Anna Wintour pretends that Rhianna is not completely naked beside her–but we all know there’s only a thin veil of Swarovski crystals and a pelt between her and us. (rolling eyes)
Miley Cyrus making moms everywhere panic over the trajectory of their own daughters, no matter how much direction they try to give them in their informative years.
It is a deeply flawed world we live in these days. No longer does vulgarity seem, well, vulgar. It sells a lot of movies, records, magazines and gets a lot of hits on the internet. And it’s translating into fashion faster than you can say Ralph Lauren.
You may not see such an overtly stupid display of skin in the most expensive barely there outfit on a celeb in person in your lifetime. But all you have to do is go to a mall, a theme park, a movie theater–anywhere where the average human being gathers and trust me, you’ll get an eyeful even at the amateur level. It’s well near impossible these days not to be assaulted by a stranger’s boob or butt, either on grand public display or swathed in the most shrink wrapped clothing you yourself can’t imagine getting in to.
It’s just the profoundly sad over sexualization of America. Thank you Hollywood. Thank you. Really. Thank you for trying to convince us that we need to see twerking and butt selfies and evening gowns on red carpets that are literally x-rated. Thank you for assuring us that it is compelling to see a fifty something singer delude herself into thinking she is the best version of herself looking like a slutty 20 year old. (Madonna in case you’re wondering.)
So where do I start? Who last year were the tasteful, the salmon swimming upstream against the flotsam and jetsam that is pop culture?
I could nominate Kate Middleton again but she had a bit of a dull year to be honest. Her dresses were far too prim for her age and the lack of prints and fresh silhouettes disappointed me often. I’m tired of her LK Bennett pumps. I crave seeing her toes (weird, right?) in some strappy sandals and I cringe when I see her in the peplum-ed two piece suits because they make her unnecessarily frumpy and I think her evening wear has fallen short from her past glory days a few years ago, below.
Kate in Alice Temperly, 2012
Kate in Jenny Packham, 2011
It’s not to say Kate has let the world down because she still is a bright light amongst the general dimness of our oft disappointing celebrities. But she’s just not putting a twinkle in my eye or a sigh in my breath lately. No, I think the Queen Mum has gotten ahold of beautiful Kate and nerded her up. And aged her style greatly, especially this past year.
So I’m going to take a different approach as I reflect back on 2014. It’s just too hard to pick a consistently well-dressed woman because the moment they are catching your eye and your fancy and helping you regain all your hope in humanity again, they fall so short the next time, you wonder if you’re looking at the same person.
These are in no particular order. They are simply 2014′s Moments of Fashion Gold:
Iman at the CFDA Awards
Turning 60 this year, Iman just shocks and awes.
I’ll just get it out of the way: very few sixty year olds have this kind of style. Most have either given up or are in a tragic time warp from their glory days in the 70′s.
Iman has spent a lifetime being feminine and yet more a beauty and fashion icon than any Kardashian out there could ever, ever hope to be. And she’s done it without social media, gratuitous nudity and selfies. I miss the days before iPhones, Twitter accounts, Instagram shots– when Avedon or Scavullo shot mega models like her with impeccable lighting, incredible settings, all while wearing an Ungaro, an Alaia or a Mugler that hinted at sexuality and femininity but never screamed it. (Oh–and if you don’t know any of those names, I honestly feel sorry for you. You missed a great decade or two in fashion back in the 80′s and 90′s.)
Here Iman rocks a Juan Carlos Obando, one of my break out designers for 2014,highlighted in a past Hip Report. Jenna Lyons, Creative Director for J Crew featured a capsule collection by him last year and your Hip Reporter snagged the blue blouse Iman is wearing. It’s nothing short of magnificence on.
For all that she is and inspires us to be–for the hope she gives us ‘past a certain age’–Iman at the CFDA was truly a moment of ‘Fashion Gold.’
The Burberry Monogrammed Blanket Cape on SJP, RHW, CJD and OP
Well, I’m kinda cheating a bit. But what item of clothing screamed 2014 most and made it wearers look completely perfect? — It was the sold-out-everywhere Burberry blanket cape from the Fall ’14 collection, with that to die for monogram font.
Sarah was spotted wearing it walking her little twin daughters to school. Rosie Huntington-Whitely (model) was spotted wearing hers with the most fabulous pair of suede gray boots and modern fedora. Cara Delivigne sashayed down the Burberry runway with hers. Olivia Palermo wore hers with over-the-knee boots and tweed shorts. In August.
They all looked extraordinary. The rest of us can be a little pissed we never got one.
The Make-Under Not Heard ‘Round the World…But It Should Have Been
Back in the early fall, a magazine cover came out to the complete disregard of the mainstream. It was a generally unheard of magazine and it’s model, though beautiful, wasn’t anyone recognizably famous. Or was she?
Folks, this the Pamela Anderson we know.
And the magazine cover…that’s Pamela Anderson too. Done demur. It’s Pamela with a little bit of what, Catholic school girl (?) East Coast Girls Prep School (?). It’s also unbelievable.
When this cover came out, I couldn’t stop staring at it. It was Pamela Anderson without all the gloppy makeup, her eyebrows weren’t over plucked, her boobs were nicely contained and her skin wasn’t spray tanned and her hair wasn’t bigger than a beachball and rattier than a stray dog’s fur. This was what Pam Anderson could potentially look like if she quit being what she thought was a man’s porno fantasy.
Granted, the shoot was a little over-styled in the sense that no grown woman should go out of the house with bows and looking like a 3rd grader. But you get what I’m saying–this photo shoot is what happens when someone famous for their sexuality puts it somewhat under wraps and gets out of the image they persistently, to their detriment, always see themselves as. It’s what happens when Pamela Anderson gets out of lycra and in to organic fibers.
In some ways, this shoot makes me sad. For the Pam Anderson that could have been had she not taken a walk on the ahem, tartier side. But it does inspire me. Because it proves that this kind of overt sexuality we’re being fed by the media, it isn’t in a woman’s best interest. It’s aging and it’s ugly. And for once, I think Pamela looks breathtaking without all the lies she’s been fed about herself.
Blake Lively’s Pregnancy
I never thought Blake Lively would be so truly compelling pregnant. Truth be told, I have found her style on occasion in the past to be a little too “Orange County Va Va Voom Meets Barbie.” A lot of the time she lets Michael Kors dress her but all too often her dresses have been too short and she persists in wearing those ugly mile high Flintstone looking Loubitons the Kardashians made famous; I hate them. Even Blake can’t redeem those unsightly pumps.
But her recent pregnancy brought the feminine out in her and it was to beautiful and fresh effect. I hope she ditches that Orange County stuff and just goes with the new and improved look. Throughout her pregnancy, one minute she was a little bit boho, then part glam and and then at times very urban modern. It all worked so splendidly.
I can only hope that Lively continues her pregnancy mojo even though she has delivered and that she keeps up her more mature, more modern looks. Maybe her off again on again Malibu Barbie So Cal vibe will officially be left behind.
Lately she’s been sweet inspiration for us all, whether we are expecting or well beyond those fertile years.
A Unexpected Treat: Amal Clooney’s Trousseau
Who would guess that this English barrister would capture the attention and ultimately fancy of America’s leading man, George Clooney. But she did and I suspect she did it without the wig. I can’t look at this picture and not giggle–not out of mean spiritedness but we Americans, just don’t get why these ridiculous things are necessary in English courts. But whatever, they are and we can’t be too hard on our friends across the pond. They gave us Kate Middleton. And for that, I personally will be forever grateful.
So when an actor took a wife, who knew he took someone who could wear a barrister’s wig with some amount of dignity but most especially, who could clean up so Jackie Kennedy perfect? Her trousseau for her Venice wedding just took the cake, the ice cream, the nuts and the mints.
Each pre wedding look showcased a woman who understood style. Not fashion. But style. She looked camera ready in every shot, with varied colors, silhouettes and lengths. She smiled warmly, waved appropriately and just generally seemed to be made to order for the position of Mrs. Clooney.
I’ll admit, I didn’t hold up too much hope for Amal. I wasn’t sure she could see her way through the daunting jungle that is fashion –and fashion under the cruel microscope that is the American paparazzi. But she did. She did. She did.
And she did it well enough to quiet the naysayers and win the respect of tasteful pundits everywhere. Like myself.
The Magnificent Transformation of Miranda Lambert
I’m not a country music fan at all. I grew up with the country outside my back door and while lovely, I didn’t find the music resonated with me. I have developed a notable appreciation of Johnny Cash over the years but maybe that’s because he always wore black and was this bad boy renegade kind of character which is naughtily compelling to me. But country music, no thanks. I couldn’t tell you anything going on in Nashville and that’s fine with me.
A look available at honky tonk store near you.
Wait. Except the miraculous transformation of Miranda Lambert. It started in 2013 but in 2014, it just kept getting better and better.
I couldn’t tell you one song she sings. I couldn’t tell you much about her except I know she was country cliche and frumpy but now she is definitely not. And this transformation has been exciting to watch. I love seeing a girl that has been trying too hard to be mainstream and her version of sexy and pretty and it’s really just some really bad version based on a lack of knowledge of herself, fashion and style. But somewhere along the line she sees the light, maybe gets a stylist, finds better people to ask, “Does this look good on me?” and she completely updumps her dumpy look and finds the best and most beautiful and freshest version of herself. You just can’t help but cheer.
It all started when Lambert hit the 2013 CMA red carpet with her husband Blake Shelton after loosing a bit of weight and revamping her basic country-themed style. She went from cheesy to Cavalli at warp speed and everyone was talking about her new look. It was modern, simply wonderful to behold and you just wanted to give her a standing ovation.
(The country music highway is paved with women who just can’t extrapolate themselves from the cliched country look that ages them and simply does their beauty and talent no justice. Yes, yes, we know you look good in Daisy Dukes on a pile of hay with a virginal white top on. But it’s stupid.)
Anyway, since her 2013 makeover, Lambert has been on the fast track as one of country music’s best dressed women. She’s the one girl in Nashville I’ve got my eye on for 2015.
She’s had more home runs in 2014, solidifying that the royal blue Cavalli gown was not a fluke. Who knew she had all this incredible, in her?
And the Award Goes To……
The Red Carpet could also be called ‘The Red Sinkhole’, for all too often too many well-intentioned starlets walk down it clueless, swallowed in the quagmire that is fashion quicksand.
Looking to stand out, set a trend, wear the best designer name or establish themselves as burgeoning fashion icons, many a victim has been sucked into the darkness that is (cue foreboding music) ‘Fashion Victim.’
Everyone’s been there. From Julia Roberts to Sandra Bullock to Nicole Kidman — even the A listers slip and fall flat once in awhile.
In 2014, two bright stars stood out on the most of important of red carpet nights.
First, Emma Watson, who, in my humble opinion very, very rarely trips and stumbles. She’s young enough to pull off some unusual shapes that many could never dream of. Her makeup is always flawless which helps establish credibility when she’s attempting to pull off the sometimes ‘out there’ looks of couture.
And so it was, at the 2014 Golden Globes, she wore the most peculiarly perfect pantsuit by Christian Dior. It was met with mixed reviews. I think you either loved it or hated it.
For your Hip Reporter, it got an enthusiastic Best Dressed because of its uniqueness and the simply chic way Watson pulled it all off. Classic makeup and a low chignon at the nape of her neck made it all impeccable and beautiful to behold. This was French couture done right and worn even right-er. (I know that’s not really a word.) To top it all off, she chose cobalt blue heels which was daring and refreshing. Done in black, they would have made the outfit less artful. It was a very unique silhouette and one that odds are, will get dissed quickly by traditionalists and fashion critics. But I thought it was a chance Watson took that paid off handsomely. In a sea of ‘safe’ evening gowns which is usually the Red Carpet, this ‘different’ look was neither ‘too out there’ or ‘too sexy.’ As Baby Bear said in ‘The Three Bears’–it was just right.
The girl who stole the show at the Oscars in 2014 was Gwyneth Paltrow in the white Tom Ford gown and cape.
When we think of Hollywood and glam, this is it in one neat package. I just can’t say much more. This is Hollywood–end of sentence.
We all love to hate on Paltrow but more often than not, her fashion choices are on point. And her collaboration with Tom Ford ensured that she was ‘the’ It Girl that night. Sure Lupita was exquisite and Cate Blanchett was as she always is, immaculate. But Gwyneth owned the evening.
More often than not, Gwyenth has an innate sense of what to wear, how and when. You’d be surprised how hard that is for most women, no matter how well-intentioned we all are–that is, being stylish and modern for the occasion, for our bodies and our personality.
So there you have it. My 2014 ‘Moments of Fashion Gold.’ Maybe not what you expected but that’s what I’m best at…throwing you a few fashion curveballs to see if you’re listening…
Now let’s see what good and evil fashion 2015 brings us. Stay tuned…
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