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Golden Globes: Fairytale princesses with an edge

Sandra Halliday
10 January 2017

The Golden Globes may have had a hint of controversy (the next president of the US responding like a kid in the playground over some thinly veiled criticism of him by Meryl Streep) but in general they went like most awards ceremonies do.

That means lots of great gowns, the occasional mis-step, plenty of strapless, a tanker full of sequins, some side-boob, enough slashed-to-the-thigh dresses to make Angelina Jolie feel vindicated, and millions of dollars worth of diamonds.

So was there anything worth mentioning? Well, yes. The thing that really struck me was how full skirts and princess looks seem to be making a comeback. The dominant silhouettes for years has been slim, with wider skirts and fairytale looks seeming a little.. err, overdone. But not so last night.

Celebs from Lily Collins to Sarah Jessica Parker seemed happy to walk the red carpet in the kind of skirts that have the ability to sweep champagne glasses off tables from three feet away. They were also happy to layer on the girly details from floral embellishment to bow belts and plenty of pinks.

Not that I’m criticising. Fashion thrives on change and as long as we never get back to the full-on 80s wedding dress look, then a full skirt is something to be enjoyed for a while.

To be honest though I preferred the full-skirted look that was a little more understated with designers using layers of smooth or plissé sheers and irregular tiers for a hint of Grecian style or a more quirky look as championed by Alessandro Michele’s Gucci.

I’m less pro another trend that surfaced strongly last night, the bare shoulder look. This one is straight off the high street and I can understand why it’s proved popular there as it’s an easy way to update woven or jersey tops. But for couture or semi-couture dresses? Not so sure. There were some strong looks and I liked Michelle Williams (in Louis Vuitton), despite some thumbs down from various commentators. But perhaps the celebrity endorsement is just a reflection of how very commercial this look is and even perhaps that it could have more longevity that we might have expected.

Also showing staying power is the plunge neckline. While there a few too many obvious cleavages on the red carpet, for the most part celebs rocked the look with a little more style. In fact, in line with the trend for princess dresses, Emma Stone in Valentino and Claire Foy in Erdem even managed to make a deep V neckline look both cool and demure.

Definitely not demure, but channelling an overtly sexy look without going too far, dresses that hugged every curve or emphasised a womanly figure courtesy of a peplum made an impact. Va-va-voom silhouettes like this tend to stand outside the usual trend cycle and make the most of their ‘Old Hollywood’ mood rather than chasing trends.

Colour also has a tendency to transcend trends on the red carpet so there were no of-the-moment hot greens or burgundies. Instead yellows from the palest lemons to sunshine shades stood out as much for the cool simplicity of the dresses as for their uplifting colour story.

Black gave us some drama and won me over for its surprising scarcity (as well as for statement looks like Evan Rachel Wood in a tux). And white also proved popular. Given that red carpet dresses are gifts to the bridal sector, white was the gift that keeps on giving as there’s no need to even try to re-imagine in it another colour.

Next stop, the worst-named awards in history, the SAGs (Screen Actors Guild Awards). Interesting to see whether more celebs decide to play Cinderella-at-the-ball after the positive response those fairytale dresses got this time.

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