Is it just us, or has there been an undeniable sense of meh about the crop of red carpet looks we’ve seen so far this Awards season? Identikit waifs in nude, strapless dresses with an obligatory fishtail kick have become so par for the course that we can hardly be bothered to identify their ubiquitous Veronica Lake waved framed faces. While the scourge of the fashion police is admittedly terrifying, it begs the question, why would any actress want to dress in a way which ensures they will never stand out from the crowd?
The red carpet has traditionally been a platform for actresses to shine; for new faces to set the flashbulbs popping, for audiences to be mesmerised by these poster girls of glamour. But the pervasive need to be ‘safe’ from the spectre of worst dressed lists and the barrage of bitchy tweets has taken the heart out of the spectacle and replaced awe-inspiring with acceptable.
And it’s not just the dresses it’s our ideas about beauty too. Grazia’s Beauty Director Liz Hambleton agrees, “Whilst there’s nothing wrong with gorgeously groomed beige lips, beige eyes, beige skin and yes, even beige nails, we love to look to our celebrity counterparts to inspire. The Golden Globe Awards this weekend was yet another wash out make-up wise.”
Of course the situation is completely understandable when you consider that stars these days are scrutinised 360˚in both metaphorical and literal terms. Captured in HD from all angles with their personal lives translating into supposed sartorial message (‘Taylor’s revenge dress,’ ‘Kristen’s comeback dress’), it doesn’t take a genius to see why A-listers were prefer to say nothing with their red carpet garb.
You could also draw broader parallels. Fashion risk averse actresses are emblematic of an era in which the idea that timeless = best has become dominant. As the most photographed generation of all time (on Facebook, Instagram, all day, all night) we are all much more self-aware of how our image will date for posterity (for sure, you only need to scan through your Facebook timeline to be confronted with your former daggy self). The truth is that few of us will ever look back and see the horrors our parents had lodged into their photo albums – no perms, leg ‘o mutton sleeves or cystitis inducing flares for us. Instead we keep it chic and classic in hipster Breton tops, skinny black jeans and ageless leather jackets and just like the A-listers make sure we’ll never be the butt of future jokes. Outside of the serious fashion crowd, the cult of classic has stopped us all taking risks– for the fear that one day we will regret it.
However without taking risks you can never triumph. Surely it is better to have a few fashion regrets balanced with some sensational fashion moments that capture the spirit of the time? Bjork, Elizabeth Hurley, Kate Moss – names that make you remember what a dress ‘n’ hairdo can do for an event (make it iconic) and for a career (make it iconic). So here’s our advice for the stars nominated for this year’s Oscars and indeed for all of womankind clinging to their Bretons: She who dares inevitably wins out. And don’t wear beige.