Behind the Seams
Posted by: Randy Fenoli - March 24, 2010
I hope you all watched me on the red carpet pre-show at the Oscars this year and took note of this amazing display of eveningwear! I'm always giving you girls the same tips about your wedding dresses—make it about you, make sure the dress flatters you, and so on and so on - so I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to show you examples of exactly what I mean. I chose 7 red carpet looks from some of the top women of the evening and showed you exactly why it did or didn't work and what you can learn from them to apply to your own special gown! Check it out below:
Rule: Be YOU!
Carey Mulligan and Helen Mirren wore totally different looks and have totally different personalities, but both nailed their looks perfectly using this same rule!
Carey Mulligan is young, a little edgy, and totally chic. True to her British roots, she showed up looking like a rock star in this bejeweled Prada. This look is the perfect example of balancing venue and occasion with personality. Carey could've shown up in a more mature look and the Oscars do have a reputation of causing even Hollywood's most rebellious to opt for a more refined look, but this 24-year-old kept true to her modern-chic-edginess and managed to look elegantly picturesque at the same time. My only complaint is the dark, heavy-looking shoes. I would've suggested going lighter to compliment the look and not distract, but let's not be too harsh on her shoes - she still looks FABULOUS!
Helen Mirren always gets it right. She pulls off glamour and elegance in a way that leaves us all feeling like we should be taking notes. This is a lesson to all of my more mature brides who think they can't wear the dress that they really want. Helen is about style, grace, and FUN! At 64, she is still part of setting the trends as her Badgley Mischka gown is right on target with the silver theme we saw in so many of our favorite starlets including Kate Winslet and Sandra Bullock (don't worry, she's on my list too, keep reading!). The silver color is also what makes this particular gown so great on her! The illusion sleeves seem soft and feminine, not at all the vibe I would be getting if they were in a harsh black. And let's not forget about the neckline! Who says women have to resort to high-neck gowns after a certain age? Helen pulls off the square-neck flawlessly and the lowness of it is actually a positive because it leaves room for that gorgeous necklace!
Rule: Don't let the DRESS wear YOU!
Now, let me explain that I think it is perfectly fine, even encouraged, to take risks with an Academy Award gown and Zoe Saldana was one of the biggest risk takers of the night in this Givenchy couture gown! But girls, we are talking wedding gowns here and you don't get a wedding once every year so I don't necessarily advise being so bold. Again, Carey Mulligan is the perfect balance: Be expressive, be you, but make sure you're the one people are looking at when the doors open and you start down the aisle - nothing worse than having your own dress overshadow you on YOUR big day.
Rule: Eyes up here!
When I look at Charlize Theron in this Dior Haute Couture gown, I can't help but have my eyes go immediately to the Madonna-style bust—and what a shame that is! Her hair is up and elegant with a gorgeous sweep in front that adds the kind of soft femininity brides kill to achieve. Her lipstick is also on point being automatically dramatic because of the red, but a light enough shade to keep the softness. Remember girls: I'm all for you being sexy on your wedding day, but when I tell you the bling on your necklace or bust of the dress is too much or that the gown plunges just a bit too low, this is the type of fashion DON'T I'm trying to help you avoid!
On the other hand, Demi Moore's Versace number is the epitome of a breathtaking look that is stunning in its own right, while still drawing your attention to her face, and therefore to HER. Here, Demi chooses colors that compliment her skin tone so well that the fabric almost looks like a glamorous second skin. And who said contrast is a bad thing? The color may compliment her skin, but the contrast with her dark hair is what makes her striking, not boring. Again we see the type of up-do with a bit of hair cascading down over her face, just like with Charlize, only this time we're actually paying attention to how gorgeous it is! And the nude lips follow the same rule as her gown, simple and complimentary to draw our eyes to the contrast of her sparkling brown ones!
Rule: Proportions. Proportions. PROPORTIONS!
If you've been reading the other fashion reviews from the Oscars, you may be surprised to find me ridiculing JLo's notable Armani Privé frock, but remember I'm judging by the rules of wedding gowns. As Oscar looks go, this was pretty stunning, but in my opinion, just a bit too overpowering. When I saw her on the red carpet, I thought the dress arrived before she did. I noticed the stunning gown before I noticed who was wearing it and like we learned from Zoe Saldana's look—you want people looking at YOU. Those of you who have been to Kleinfeld for an appointment or watched "Say YES to the Dress" may have heard me say "it's just too much dress," especially to my petite brides. Well, this is what I mean! The dress is gorgeous, Jennifer Lopez is gorgeous, but why should the two be competing? Take away some of the excess fabric and VOILA, problem solved!
Rule: It’s YOUR day - OWN IT!
Finally, we arrive at the star of the night! As her first Oscar win, this is sure to be a night that Sandra will never forget and will look back on for years to come. So, it is a good thing that she won't have to look back in horror. Sandra Bullock, with the help of this stunning Marchesa gown, is the essence of timeless beauty. Although it sounds like an oxy moron, classic can be modern and this is a great example. If you want to be one of those brides who can look back on her wedding day photos years from now and still be stunned at how gorgeous you were on that very special day, this is how it's done. Remember that your wedding day is your white carpet moment, and you should look and feel like an Oscar winner!
That's all for the women of the Academy Awards, keep checking back for what I have to say about the men and how your fiancés can achieve the same debonair and avoid the same mistakes!
With 15 years fashion and design experience, Randy joined the Kleinfeld team last year as the Fashion Director.
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