x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

In lieu of loaded frocks, we wish celebs would wear what they like

When it comes to awards show fashions, Katie Trotter finds that the red carpet has more drama and intrigue than any of the nominated films.

So the Oscars have come and gone and the "mega-stylists" Rachel Zoe, Arianne Phillips et al can settle into a life slightly more bearable for the next 11 months.

Let me explain. For most of us the equation is a simple one: we like a dress, it makes us look and feel good, we buy it, we wear it.

But for stylists, dressing A-list flesh on the big night is tenuous, on a foundation less stable than the Ring of Fire. Why? Because luring the "right face" into the "right dress" can mean millions of dollars in turnover.

The world of the celebrity wardrobe, while entertaining, is more often than not incoherent and confusing.

Forget about good old-fashioned "looking good" and think more about moving, walking, swooshing billboards, for the modern celebrity is simply the peacock of the advertising world.

Which is just about when the whole thing starts to get a little weird. Celebrities are cleverly steered in either of two directions. First is choosing the most boring dress doing the rounds (if your publicist wants you to go mass market). Think Claire Danes in sugar-pink Calvin Klein or Anne Hathaway in red. Second, go all out in something obviously hideous (if your publicist wants you in Vogue). Think January Jones at the Emmy Awards in a blue monstrosity.

Now I am not placing blame - and who knows if actual money is thrown around - but don't think for a minute that a few "Oh, and you can keep the diamond necklace" aren't tossed about.

Which, of course, brings me to the British royal wedding. Because rumour has it Kate Middleton will be wearing the boundary-breaking Alexander McQueen - which poses a whole other set of rules. Simply look at the uproar that surrounded Michelle Obama for snubbing American designers and daring to wear a dress from a British label to a state dinner for China's president.

Personally, I've given up on excuses why I don't give a toot what Kate will wear on the big day and (in this case) have just started in with the blame. There's plenty to go around. You see, women in the British Royal Family who draw attention to themselves seem to be promptly excluded, while those who remain somewhat shackled to the humdrum of middle-class England seem to please the punters and to project an air of contentment.

It's simply not about the clothes any more. Celebrity style has become a parody of itself. We know the stars have all been briefed and bribed, which leaves the whole taste somewhat sour. How about they go back to wearing something they actually like? Now there's a thought.



This week's highs and lows.

CINCHING WITH STRUCTURE  Alexis Mabille's ornate belts are on our shopping list for next season.

RED HOT The model Lindsey Wixson had an allergic reaction after the Viktor & Rolf show and couldn't walk for several big-name designers. Could it be the face paint?

FALLON JEWELLERY The punk-inspired designs are now available at Symphony, Dubai Mall.

GIVE US A BREAK Even with Blake Lively's much talked-about Chanel campaign, we're struggling to care. Overkill?

GREAT DRAPES Haider Ackermann's A/W 2011 show was all about beautiful draped clothing.