The 13 Best Red Carpet #Lewks of 2014

Photo Credits: David X Prutting/BFAnyc.com

Red carpet attire has the legendary ability to rocket an emerging starlet to mega-stardom or land her on worst dressed lists and endure public ridicule (though less bitingly than ever before, RIP Joan).

There’s something exciting at any event when stars really dress for the sake of fashion. The red carpet and all its hoopla are easy targets–but for all of the flops and hot messes we see on the red carpet every year, there are countless more bland, boring looks from those who just want to avoid any embarrassment. So I’ve tried to give my attention to the ladies who walked the carpet with gusto and *Fashion*.

Taylor Swift in Gucci Premiere at the Grammys

Ms. Swift had a big year filled with her “good girl gone a little less good”/”country gone pop” rebranding plan. This gown spoke to those goals. There’s a chicness to this Gucci despite the inherent flashiness of the diamonds and sequins and beading that’s a far cry from the princess-y gowns of her past. Instead of looking like a floor-length version of an ice skating costume (which it absolutely could have–especially with the short sleeves and collar) it’s a smart, sexy look that doesn’t go for cheap provocation sometimes found on the Grammys red carpet. Tay is nothing if not savvy, and this look puts her into seriously sophisticated territory and, also notable is the fact that it isn’t a crop top, that barely-there garment she’s since taken a strong liking to, to say the least.

Lupita Nyong’o in Ralph Lauren at the Golden Globes

If the Golden Globe red carpet was the only red carpet Lupita walked this year, she probably still would have emerged the breakout of the awards season. The shoulder-baring cape elevated this very pretty, classic, Ralph Lauren column gown into the higher pantheon of red carpet style. Nyong’o seemingly emerged out of nowhere with the kind of prepossession and poise of an actress with far more industry experience, and sent both the entertainment and fashion sphere into a frenzy. Forgive the clichéd nature of this next statement, but it’s kind of inarguable: a star was born.

Olivia Wilde in Gucci at the Golden Globes

Being pregnant on the red carpet has to be tough. You’re expected to wear high heels and an outfit that features your growing belly. You and your growing belly need to look as healthy and happy as possible, lest you want to have a paparazzi picture of you eating ice cream with the words “DESPERATE AND ALONE” written under your face. In any case, Wilde doesn’t seem too bothered in her long-sleeve Gucci gown. The rich hunter green fabric is almost skintight, but she doesn’t look like a pregnant lady in a gimpsuit or as though she’s stretching the seams within an inch of their life. The beading reflects the flash without looking cheap and embraces the curves that come with, you know, growing a human inside your body.

Tilda Swinton in Haider Ackermann at the Gotham Awards

Did you hear that Tilda Swinton was named GQ’s Woman of the Year? Did you ever read the incredible Twitter account, @NotTildaSwinton? Sample tweet: “The most delicious meal I’ve ever had?  My first gasp of air upon emerging from the geode my father impregnated.” Swinton has also had a good year. She’s a renowned clotheshorse, a genuine red carpet vanguard who wears haute couture and maintains a strictly individual and often androgynous style. No mere mortal can carry such a complicated garment (note the contrasting textures of the champagne fabrics, or the way the blazer-inspired top melts into the skirt) with such ease. Gaze on.

Kate Hudson in Atelier Versace at the Oscars

If I were a red carpet stylist I would wield whatever influence I had to force as many of my clients to wear capes as possible. (There’s a theme here). Then, if capes had some sort of resurgence I would hire a publicist to link the trend back to me. Versace has created a strong shouldered capelet? sleeveless bolero? variation on a shrug? that complements Hudson’s creamy romantic gown. The cape and shiny beadwork injects some much-needed drama that most actresses disappointingly often avoid in favor of something boring or miserably overdone. The last time Kate wore a cape to the Oscars it was a sort of unmitigated disaster, making this victory that much sweeter.

Nicki Minaj in Alexander McQueen at the MTV Movie Awards

Remember all of that stuff I’ve said about going for the gusto and aiming for *fashion* instead of clothing? Sometimes that means something totally insane and maximalist, and sometimes you’re Nicki Minaj and you pretty much cornered the market on looking nuts with the wigs, pom poms, popes, what have you, that characterized many of her prior appearances. Over the course of the last year or so, she made a very conscious public effort to rebrand herself, not unlike Miss Tay from earlier. Choosing this skintight black Alexander McQueen sheath, accessorized with a staggering amount of both ass and gold jewelry, and mean mugging every photographer on the carpet, were excellent choices to earn a great deal of attention for very different reasons than on her forays down awards seasons past.

Lizzy Caplan in Donna Karan Atelier at the Emmys

Producing some long analysis of the minimalism perfected in this Donna Karan gown seems counterintuitive. The dress is deceptively simple looking; there are a lot of ideas here: the cut-outs, the racerback’s nod to activewear, and, of course, the gorgeous surprise of the full, white skirt. Managing all of those design elements is no small feat, and Caplan pulls it off beautifully–helped by the fact that it fits her like a dream.

Angelina Jolie in Saint Laurent at the BAFTAs

There’s something heartening about the fact that, despite the deconstructed aesthetic Hedi Slimane’s brought to Saint Laurent (In our hearts, Yves), the revered French fashion house can still turn out an impeccable take on Le Smoking. Angie isn’t known as much of a red-carpet risk taker as of late but the lady-pants and totally intimidating level of sex appeal on display here gave me a whispered “yass” moment at my desk, and made me wonder again why she so often opts for drearier, more buttoned-up looks.  But this look gives me some hope; that she still carries a tiny vial of someone’s blood on her person at all times and fantasizes about dressing like Morticia Addams and kissing her brother again. We’ve all got needs!

Rihanna in Adam Selman at the CFDA Fashion Awards

2014 CFDA Fashion Awards - Inside Arrivals

Photo Credits: David X Prutting/BFAnyc.com

Look–there’s nothing remotely tasteful about this dress (is it even a dress?), and for many, an outfit this outrageous didn’t help build the case for CDFA awarding their “Fashion ICON” award to a 26-year-old. As with many of RiRi’s style choices, this does nothing if not attract attention. Rihanna’s self-awareness and, frankly, the fact that she can pull it off, help to distinguish her from the many other starlets who have worn next to nothing on the red carpet with little success–and earn her a spot on our list. Inevitably, the dress became a meme, the most memorable iteration a drawing of Family Guy’s obese patriarch Peter Griffin. Rih then adopted the picture as her Twitter avatar for a while. It got people talking, and it’s nothing if not memorable. And maybe even iconic.

Sarah Jessica Parker in custom Oscar de la Renta

The Unofficial MET Ball After Party Hosted by The Top of The Standard - Arrivals

Photo Credits: Matteo Prandoni/BFAnyc.com

This fits my definition of a “moment,” as fashion types (or people who enjoy Project Runway and the internet) like to say. It’s pure camp and glamour. In the photos of SJP on the Met steps, glancing over her shoulder, there’s a sense of the enormity of the dress. It’s the kind of memorable absurdity that distinguishes *fashion* from clothes–and the kind of memorable absurdity that the Met Gala should inspire in its attendees. And Parker’s insistence on including Oscar de la Renta’s signature on the train embarrassed the designer at the time, but in light of his passing this fall, it rightfully puts his stamp on a moment he created.

Liu Wen in Zac Posen at the Met Gala

The Metropolitan Museum of Art's COSTUME INSTITUTE Benefit Celebrating the Opening of Charles James: Beyond Fashion and the Anna Wintour Costume Center - Receiving Line

Photo Credits: Billy Farrell/BFAnyc.com

AND

Karolina Kurkova in Marchesa at the Met Gala

The Metropolitan Museum of Art's COSTUME INSTITUTE Benefit Celebrating the Opening of Charles James: Beyond Fashion and the Anna Wintour Costume Center - Red Carpet Arrivals

Photo Credits: Joe Schildhorn /BFAnyc.com

I’m slotting Liu Wen and Karolina Kurkova together because they’ve accomplished similar feats in entirely unique looks. Posen and Marchesa both tend to over-embellish and over-complicate dresses. So, lesser humans (they’re both supermodels) would likely have been swallowed whole by either dress, but these two can carry the massive pleating, tricky bodices, and general grandiosity (all impeccably rendered) of the gowns with grace.

Ashley Madekwe in Banana Republic at the British Fashion Awards

Retail on the red carpet: totally a thing now! Actress and style blogger Madekwe has not only made Banana Republic, of all stores, look absolutely luxurious, but she’s rocking a super stylized take on the tux completely distinct from the iteration Angelina wore to the BAFTAs. The diva-like appropriation of the jacket as shrug, suggestive cleavage, and statement lapels give an excellent Studio 54 vibe. As for the pant length, it makes me think of “Distinction” by Pierre Bourdieu (cue my anthropology professor dabbing a tear from her eye): she’s not covering the shoes because they aren’t fabulous, it’s because she knows that, considering the rest of her outfit, we’ll all just assume that they’re enormous Louboutins.

 

Art Basel FOMO: When Non-Arty People Attend Art Fairs

Photo: Billy Farrell/BFAnyc.com

Every once and awhile an event will happen that will engulf your Instagram feed whether you like it or not. Basically the two weeks of Coachella and the days of Art Basel Miami take the cake on the obnoxious photo posts that create a major fear of missing out for those not involved. That little Facebook status saying “Miami” has a much more powerful effect if it’s between the 3rd and 7th of December.

Welcome to America, where every event, regardless of the subject matter, is turned into a fanfare of celebrities and brand powerhouses. Case in point, the fabulous array of people in attendance at the Basel events in Miami. In honor of making you even more green-eyed over Art Basel and its eccentric famous attendees, we’ve collected our favorite party pupils.

1. Michelle Williams at the Louis Vuitton’s Playing With Shapes Dinner Billy-Farrell-2Photo: Billy Farrell/BFAnyc.com

2. Kate Hudson at the Louis Vuitton’s Playing With Shapes Dinner LOUIS VUITTON Dinner PLAYING WITH SHAPES / Pierre Paulin, 1972Photo: Billy Farrell/BFAnyc.com

3. Derek Blasberg and Kate Hudson at the Louis Vuitton’s Playing With Shapes Dinner LOUIS VUITTON Dinner PLAYING WITH SHAPES / Pierre Paulin, 1972Photo: Billy Farrell/BFAnyc.com

4. Bella Hadid at the Louis Vuitton’s Playing With Shapes Dinner LOUIS VUITTON Dinner PLAYING WITH SHAPES / Pierre Paulin, 1972Photo: Billy Farrell/BFAnyc.com

5. Miranda Kerr at the Louis Vuitton’s Playing With Shapes Dinner LOUIS VUITTON Dinner PLAYING WITH SHAPES / Pierre Paulin, 1972Photo: Billy Farrell/BFAnyc.com

6. Chelsea Leyland at the W Magazine and Miami Beach Edition Hotel Party THE MIAMI BEACH EDITION HOTEL launches with a celebration for W MAGAZINEPhoto: Joe Schildhorn/BFAnyc.com

7. Toni Garrn and Douglas Booth at the W Magazine and Miami Beach Edition Hotel PartyJoe-SchildhornPhoto: Joe Schildhorn/BFAnyc.com

8. Tommy Hilfiger at Celebration of Marc Quinns Collab with Dee Ocleppo Celebration of MARC QUINNS collaboration with DEE OCLEPPO, benefitting AUTISM SPEAKS, at the home of Dee and Tommy HilfigerPhoto: David X Prutting/BFAnyc.com

9. Karolina Kurkova at Celebration of Marc Quinns Collab with Dee Ocleppo Celebration of MARC QUINNS collaboration with DEE OCLEPPO, benefitting AUTISM SPEAKS, at the home of Dee and Tommy HilfigerPhoto: David X Prutting/BFAnyc.com

10. Leigh Lezark at Morgans Hotel Group The Teepee Project Opening Party MORGANS HOTEL GROUP presents The Teepee Project Opening Party featuring The MisshapesPhoto: Madison McGaw/BFAnyc.com

Naked Models, Pharrell Gets Happy, and Fashion Fires: Today’s #StyleScoop

If you’re having trouble shaking off the weekend, spend a few minutes with Pharrell’s latest – a 24 hour music video guaranteed to help with the whole Monday thing. Better now? Okay. Let’s talk about what’s happening in fashion.

In case you didn’t know, Sophia Loren is still smokin’. The one-time Pirelli calendarmodel was on hand alongside Karolina Kurkova, Lapo Elkann, Franca Sozzani, Alek Wek, and myriad other beautiful and talented faces as Pirelli celebrated 50 years in Milan on Thursday. The calendar released for 2014 pulls Helmut Newton’s 1986 not-a-nip-in-sight calendar out of the archives.

Quel hommage! Donatella Versace Lady Gaga stars in the latest Versace campaign lensed by Mert and Marcus (the same duo who did Kate right for Playboy).

Speaking of Kate’s nude shoot (one of many, really) the NYTimes is talking about Treats, only the latest to jump on the tastefully done, fashion nude magazines bandwagon, addressing the ever-increasing popularity of omitting clothes from fashion shoots.

Another no-clothes situation: Mulberry isn’t showing a fall 2014 collection in London this coming season. They’re still looking for a creative director since Emma Hill left. But if you’re tuning in to  i-D’s list of reasons Things to Remember When Fashion Gets Too Much, it’s ok.

And finally: a fire destroyed the Abercrombie & Fitch flagship store in Paris. Discuss.

Gisele Bundchen Struts the Runway for Alexander Wang

While she might not make the best Super Bowl commentator, Gisele Bundchen is a world-class model.  Following last week’s outburst in defense of her husband Tom Brady, she made an unexpected strut down the mirrored catwalk at Alexander Wang yesterday along with  Shalom Harlow and Karolina Kurkova.  Supermodels are back.

Wang’s show was darker than in past seasons and full of black and white and lots of leather. He canceled his usual Fashion Week party and now it’s clear to see why.  All the money that would have been used to throw the bash was spent on these pretty, albiet half-covered faces.  Worth it. 

Gisele Bundchen

 

Shalom Harlow

 

Karolina Kurkova

Meet Victoria Secret’s New Angels

Victoria Secret has announced it will add five fresh faces to its line-up of genetically superior mannequins this season. The models in question: Emanuela de Paula, Lindsay Ellingson, Candice Swanepoel, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, and Chanel Iman. Iman is no doubt the most recognizable of the group, but having been added to the Victoria Secret roster gives the aforementioned models as good a chance as any to becoming household names as well (especially considering, according to Fashionologie, such contracts typically are signed for three years). Victoria’s Secret is gearing up to tape its much-anticipated annual runway show November 19.

With three of its catwalk’s most famous faces having just given birth, or just about to do so, the addition of some newbies isn’t surprising. Sitting on the sidelines this season will be Heidi Klum, who just gave birth three weeks ago; Adriana Lima, who is rapidly nearing her due date; and last but not least Karolina Kurkova, who welcomed her first child just last week. However, Klum for one will be in attendance, as she’ll be playing host. Also making an appearance: the winner of a countrywide search for a new Victoria’s Secret model that included bikini castings and Angel Boot Camp. Titillating video of the search here. As per usual, expect plenty of flesh and over-the-top lingerie loaded with feathers, lace, crystals, and maybe even some Christmas ornaments.

Stars Come Out to Fête Valentino (& His Dogs) @ MoMA

Last night at the MoMA, while the aristocracy of the fashion and entertainment worlds trailed in and out of the star-studded premiere of Valentino: The Last Emperor hosted by Quintessentially and the Gilt Groupe, the designer’s pooches stole the show. While only there in spirit — Valentino’s six pugs, Molly, Milton, Monty, Margot, Maude, and Maggie — were the hot topic of the evening.

Not a real surprise, given New York’s ongoing pug obsession. The event marked the end of the designer’s 50-year fashion career, with the premiere of a behind-the-scenes documentary of the competitive and glamorous life of Valentino and his partner Giancarlo Giammetti. “The pugs are the costars of the film,” claimed director Matt Tyrnauer, who followed the designer around for the final two years of his career to shoot the film. “There’s a scene in the movie where they’re making a $100,000 dress, and the pug walks out from underneath the dress, so yeah, they kind of got in the way, but in a good way,” added Tyrnauer.

All of the celebrities who had worked with Valentino said that while a bit spoiled, the pups are quite adorable. Victoria’s Secret model Karolina Kurkova proudly claimed that the dogs took a liking to her, but was sure to mention that, “They’re really not nice to everybody.” Gwyneth Paltrow, who made her grand entrance arm-in-arm with the designer, admitted that while the pugs were, “kind of mean,” she insisted that she still loved them. Her daughters remained undeterred in their quest to befriend the pampered pups, who have their very own limo to escort them to the airport in accordance with their jet-setting lifestyle. Other boldfaced names at the event included Anne Hathaway, Claire Danes, Martha Stewart, Agyness Deyn, Hugh Dancy, Selita Ebanks, Jason Wu, and Chanel Iman.

On the fashion front, Valentino — with his old-Hollywood charm and trademark orange facial glow — declared, “I’m not touching fashion anymore,” but added with a smile, “just dresses for high fashion or ready to wear.” The “retired” designer is devoting a great deal of his newly free time to designing costumes for the theater. He also claimed that this documentary was an accurate depiction of himself. “They took almost every detail of my life. When I’m in my house, when I speak with my people. I never was a person who showed off my private life very much, and all of a sudden they were there filming. Sometimes I didn’t even know they were behind my shoulders.” The director had a different recollection. “You’re walking around with cameras, lights, and microphones, and you’re in the way, and Valentino is someone who wants something when he wants it, and doesn’t want to wait around. So we were getting screamed at a lot, but I put it in the movie because that’s who the man is. Valentino is very nice, but he’s a fashion legend, and you don’t get there by being all sweet and polite all the time.”

E! Ranks the Ten Luckiest Men Alive, Fails to Name #1

Congratulations to Karolina Kurkova, she of the biologically airbrushed navel, for joining the ranks of Halle Berry and Marissa Miller as anointed Sexiest Women Alive. E! Entertainment just rated her number one in the world on the sexy spectrum, in front of nine equally worthy femmes. But the question is not who is sexiest alive, but who is lucky enough to date the sexiest? After the jump, E!’s inadvertent list of the ten luckiest men alive, and it’s what you might expect–Alphamale City. But there’s only one problem, who the hell is Karolina Kurkova dating (apparently she has a “longtime boyfriend“)? Any tips?

1. ????????? (is dating Karolina Kurkova) 2. Leonardo DiCaprio (dating Bar Refaeli) 3. Brad Pitt (dating Angelina Jolie) 4. Tom Brady (dating Gisele Caroline Bündchen) 5. Ryan Reynolds (married to Scarlett Johansson) 6. Marko Jarić (NBA Player) 7. Seal (married to Heidi Klum) 8. Javier Bardem (dating Penelope Cruz) 9. Every Italian soccer player (dated Manuela Arcuri) 10. Antonio de la Rúa (son of former Argentine president, dating Shakira)

Supermodel Karolina Kurkova Revealed as Alien Creature

imageFor many folks, fashion models seem like extraterrestrial beings. With perfectly proportioned features and legs that go on for days, there’s something just not natural about that level of aesthetic perfection. And now, for those laymen who have long argued that supermodels aren’t human, there’s now proof in a certain Czech model who has no belly button. NONE!

“While most of us have an ‘outie’ or an ‘innie’, Karolina Kurkova has a smooth indentation (although sometimes a tummy button is airbrushed onto her photos in post-production,” says the BBC. Media outlets made the revelation following the model’s recent appearance in the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show in Miami. So what on earth explains the tummy button absence? According to the British news source, it’s likely that Kurkova’s navel-less torso is the result of a relatively common surgery that infants undergo to “correct abdominal problems at birth, often either an umbilical hernia, or a condition known as gastoschisis — born with the stomach and intestines poking through a hole in the abdominal wall.” Not exactly a pretty picture. But, as Kurkova’s agent will merely say, “She’s not an alien” in answer to the controversy, the mystery will have to remain just that. Until she extrudes an abdominal ovipositor proboscis to lay eggs in your spine.