In anticipation of next week’s Oscars, Stephanie Smith highlights the Spring/Summer ’16 runway trends standing out on the red carpet – not always for the right reasons.
On the face of it, you might imagine that a “more is more” approach, such as the mood characterising so much of fashion for Spring/Summer ’16, would be excellent news for the red carpet.
Because isn’t that what the red carpet is all about? Opulence, extravagance and swoon-inducing wonder as the world’s most beautiful women step out to be marvelled at in the world’s most exquisite and expensive fashion?
But, as creative and clever and truly fabulous as high fashion often is, it can bring with it pitfalls, misses and no-nos. The trends coming our way for spring have been debuting in Hollywood, especially at last month’s Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild Awards, and some of the results have elicited responses ranging from “hmm … interesting” to “what the heck were you thinking?”
What looks fresh, daring and divine on the catwalks of Milan, Paris and New York does not necessarily translate to gown-right perfection on the red carpet. What works well on a six foot size 6 18-year-old might not always achieve quite the same stunning impact when worn by an actress who does not share all of the characteristics required of a modern runway model. And while the red carpet is far removed from reality, the actors and actresses who walk it are moving and talking in real time, as well as gushing, grinning, sulking, occasionally tripping and having the odd wardrobe malfunction.
But then, misinterpretations of high fashion trends are part of the reason why we love the red carpet so much, and there are plenty of triumphs too, of course, sometimes by those prepared to take a risk, but more often by the women who ensure that their own style and personality radiate. There are no rules for red carpet dressing, except for the following: You wear the dress, not the other way round.
Here are some of the trends that have been causing eyebrows to raise when witnessed on the red carpet so far this year. Expect to see more at the Oscars next Sunday.
Ruffles: They were everywhere and in all guises – from ethereal and wafting white lace and chiffon tiers to sculptural waves from neck to waist and flamboyant flamenco frills. But beware, because ruffles bring volume and curves, they can make necks look short and hips and bust over-exaggerated. Plus it’s almost impossible to wear anything over. Having said that, narrow ruffles can be surprisingly flattering and an architectural frill in the right place can body balance beautifully. Best not to team with pleats or you might just look like a huge fondant swirl cupcake.
All-over fringing: As above but without the romantic, feminine edge. In pastel or metallic shades, they remind of dreadful 1970s string door curtains, and when mixed with rhinestones, look like electro yee-hah Barbie on space vacation. If you must do fringing, stick to shawls and bags, or maybe a jacket.
Hi-shine: As in all-over sequins, molten metal fabrics and floral encrusted lace and net chiffon. Now these are all far more red carpet suitable. If you can’t dress yourself head to toe in shiny stuff for a Hollywood awards ceremony when can you? Just be careful with the colour and keep hair and make-up understated for a contemporary look that won’t have you confused with a cabaret act.
The satin slip dress: A major trend for spring/summer ’16 in all colours, including nudes and blush pink, ice blues, many trimmed with lace. Stick to maxi length and dress it up with hair, make-up and accessories, if you want to avoid looking as if you’ve just slipped out in your nightie. We can expect lots of furious letters from headteachers berating fashionista mothers this spring – and PJ style trouser suits are a thing too. Confusing.
Pink: Usually a softish baby pink, but do it in sequins and it can look a bit garish. There’s lots of soft pink in lace designs too, which can resemble goose-bumpy skin when worn tight and fitted, so stick to loose tunic styles and tiers. Special mentions to Cate Blanchett for stepping out in pink and shiny and fringed at the Golden Globes, and to Nicole Kidman for wearing pink and shiny and ruffled all over at the Screen Actors Guild Awards. Outstanding services to SS16 trends.
Vivid colour: From bright buttercup yellow to stand-out scarlet, sunset orange, rich emerald and pulsating blue – pick a stunning statement colour that works with your skin tone, in a style that really suits your shape, and you’ll always be onto a winner.
Look out for all these and more at the Oscars, sported with varying degrees of success. The fashion misses make us smile, and they provide a valuable and salutary style lesson for us all. They deserve an Oscar category all of their own.