Back to Black

Oh dear. I have said it before (in 2009, no less), and I shall say it again: we may be in the depths of something-we’re-not-quiet-calling-a-recession-but-might-as-well-be, but we don’t hold big, glitzy award shows at the Royal Opera House to enforce this. Quite the opposite. We hold big, glitzy award shows to cheer ourselves up.

Just for a moment, we want to forget it’s February, that there’s a cold snap, that we have no money, that everybody’s fake boobs are on the verge of exploding. We want to see bling and va va voom, and preferably lots of it. We don’t want the front row of the BAFTAs to look like an upmarket funeral procession. (Which last night it did.) So enough with the black already. Show us a bit of colour.

To illustrate (and I have borrowed from the Daily Mail and the Telegraph here, because they were the first with the pictures):

This is Christina Hendricks, looking lovely. She gives excellent cleavage, as we know, and has more than a hint of late nineteenth century courtesan about her here – in a good way. But she is wearing black and hasn’t bothered with her hair. B-, Christina. B-. She did, I think, do the whole black corset look slightly better than Meryl Streep (whom I’m not showing, because you’ve seen her everywhere), but even so.

By the way, did you see the bit with Meryl’s stiletto coming off and Colin Firth retrieving it and putting it back on for her? Meryl said ‘That couldn’t have gone worse,’ but it was actually the best bit of the show. ‘Aw’ factor – about ten trillion. That is what we need in these troubled times: Oscar winners losing shoes like Cinderella and other Oscar winners kneeling down to put them back on again. Take note, Hollywood.

OK, enough of the black dresses. (There were loads and loads.) I include Michelle Williams because the bit next to her face is white, and very pretty. And because I love the overall effect. And her hair is great. And the dress came from H&M. H&M, I tell you. Total win. A+. Go, you, Michelle. And she doesn’t look cold.

It was Christina Ricci’s birthday. She celebrated by wearing gold Lanvin, with classic Hollywood glamour. As you do. Was it a nod to The Artist, which won practically everything? (My favourite quote of the night was by the guy who won Best Adapted Screenplay, who thanked The Artist for not being a book first.) Anyway, it was not black, it was yum. Admittedly, it is very hard to screw up in gold Lanvin, but we like, Christina, we really do.

I loved Viola Davis’s pink dress anyway, because it’s such a pretty colour and it zings against her skin and fits her to perfection. It’s by Valentino, which never hurts, and I’ve just found out (from Grazia) that it was made out of recycled plastic bottles. That definitely sounds like a scene from Threads … Apparently it was organised by Colin Firth’s eco-friendly wife, Livia. See how educational we are?

Moving up the colour scale, Naomie Harris’s yellow number reminds me of the tulips that have just started to appear – at vast expense – in our local florist. Very beautiful. She looks freezing, poor lass, for which I don’t blame her. If I’d been out in the same weather last night, it would have been in several layers and a coat. I hope she’s tucked up in bed with a hot chocolate this morning, recovering, and deservedly admiring herself in all the papers. Thank you, Naomie, for the yellow. It’s just what we needed.

This was my favourite dress. For a start, it’s worn by Ginny Weasley, aka Ginny Potter, aka Bonnie Wright. It’s not black. It’s very pretty. You could imagine a real human being wearing it to a real party. I’d have given her nicer accessories, but I am quibbling. I couldn’t possibly have given her better hair.

It contrasts big time with Jessica Chastain in her Oscar de la Renta silver/gold number, which is about as Hollywood as you can get. I loved this dress too, and particularly the way it looked in this photo, billowing out in the freezing cold London wind, while Jessica tried to look as if she was modelling on a beach somewhere.

Opposite ends of the spectrum: accessible and impossible. But neither of them funereal. The BAFTAs did OK fashion-wise, eventually. Now it’s Oscar time. Auntie Nonie is primed and ready to tell you what she thinks. Watch this space.

About sophiabennett

I drink too much cappuccino, love arty stuff, want to save the world and write books for teens. Type of thing.
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