GOLDEN MOMENTS IN FASHION

Byline: Merle Ginsberg

LOS ANGELES — Two major differences define Oscar and Golden Globe fashion: credibility and alcohol.
And those are both good things.
The Globes have often been criticized for lacking in history and credibility. Established in the late Forties, the trophies are doled out by the Hollywood Foreign Press. In contrast, winners of the the 73-year-old Academy Awards are selected by thousands of motion picture professionals.
But what the Globes lack in authority they make up for in viewership: 250 million people watched them live last year on NBC. And in Hollywood, audience is credibility. They are also the first semirespectable awards show of the year; the People’s Choice Awards, which took place Sunday, is still considered too pandering.
This, of course, makes the Globes prime real estate for brandishing the newest fashion and beauty trends — and creating new ones.
Richard Tyler, a favorite come award season, recalls his first entree into the Globes. “It was for Julia Roberts when she won for ‘Pretty Woman.’ She wore our pinstripe suit, and it made a big difference in our business. People started wearing suits for evening. Then last year, when Sarah Jessica Parker wore our sparkly tulle dress — and won — we also got incredible exposure.”
Customers called in the next day to place orders for that exact dress, and others wanted renditions for their weddings, he said.
When Halle Berry wore Valentino’s white-and-red rosette gown in 2000, the amount of inquiries for that style at the boutiques was phenomenal.
“A lot of trends have started at the Globes,” agrees Pamela Dennis, who’s dressed Jamie Lee Curtis, Calista Flockhart and Jane Leeves for the event. “The ideas of evening separates, the sweater set, the ballgown skirt, leather, icy colors — frankly, I’m tired of all that now, all the bugle beads. It’s time to move on to something different.”
The lack of time between the Globe nominee announcements (this go-round Dec. 21) and the awards themselves (Jan. 21), compounded with the end-of-year holidays, is thrusting designers into overdrive. Already, they are contending with fall collections, happening at the same time in Paris and weeks later in New York. All the madness begs the question: Do they break out resort, spring, couture or next fall for the Globes?
“I won’t do fall 2001 for the Globes,” laughs Tyler. “I’ll do spring and pre-fall. No one’s seen our spring but fashion editors, and it’s not even on the racks yet. We don’t need to show fall — I have to save that for the Oscars.”
The Oscars, the ultimate Hollywood moment, is clearly intimidating to actors and designers alike when it comes to choosing a look. Its daunting viewership is over a billion.
For many, this injects the Globes with a refreshing lack of formality. It’s also the rare awards show that seats its nominees at tables with up to 11 of their peers and serves bottomless glasses of wine and champagne. No wonder it’s often regarded as “Hollywood’s biggest party.”
Back in the press room, countless journalists have watched wide-eyed as Gerard Depardieu snaked up to a microphone reeling with drunkenness, Whoopi Goldberg whipped off her spike heels and took to the press room podium barefoot and Sharon Stone gossiped freely on her cell phone backstage about whom she and the caller would meet up with later — obviously charged after winning for best supporting actress for “Casino,” dressed in a clean Vera Wang black-and-white column that created more commotion in 1996 than her win.
“That was the easiest dress I ever made for an awards show,” recalls Wang. “And the most successful. We did the whole dress over the phone. The Oscars have so much more pressure and formality. People tend to be more experimental for the Globes and relaxed with what they wear. That black-and-white dress stood out because of its stark modernism in a city of cleavage and glitz.”
Tyler, a veteran of just about every awards show, agrees. “The Globes are definitely not as crazy. People don’t get as freaked out. I’ve seen some Academy Awards tears and disasters. But not for the Globes.”
Mark Badgley and James Mischka concur that “the Oscars are definitely a much more serious fashion affair than the Globes.” The pair has outfitted Kim Cattrall and Jada Pinkett Smith for the affair. “They’re a bit more free and fun — but it depends on the person.”
WWD has observed a number of Golden Globe fashion favorites that will doubtfully return this year:

PANTS
Blame it on Giorgio Armani. The man who made the Oscars safe for dressed-down designer chic helped make the Golden Globes safe for pants.
Michelle Pfeiffer donned his white pantsuit, sort of a new, slouchy tuxedo look, in 1994. That same year, Meg Ryan and Janet Jackson arrived in black Richard Tyler pantsuits. Like that, pants became an acceptable staple. Rita Wilson went hippie in Gucci black beaded and fringed bell-bottoms in 1999, and Gwyneth Paltrow took the “rocker awards show look” further in a Chloe beaded top and leather pants last year. Cameron Diaz wore a Gaultier one-shoulder pantsuit in 2000 that stylists Claire and Nina Hallworth pulled from his archives.

SKIN AND THEN SOME
The Globes still flaunt skin and a bit of good ol’ va va voom. When Melanie Griffith wore her Badgley Mischka last year (a fall gown that reappeared on their runway a week after the Globes), she did so bouncing braless. Hilary Swank’s unbelievable $28,000 Versace couture python dress went nearly transparent before the camera lights. The year of Titanic, 1998, Kate Winslet’s nude and black lace Pamela Dennis made her curves seem, well, titanic. In Randolph Duke last year, Minnie Driver’s cleavage plunged so deep, one half-expected to see her navel. And Madonna’s cups runneth over in that tight black Dolce & Gabbana bra dress in 1997.

QUICK COUTURE
Lest anyone doubt couture rears its head at the Globes, it’s not unusual to catch a glimpse of gowns shown just a few days before in Paris, or a few days after on the red carpet. Take Hilary Swank’s Versace or Courtney Love’s Dior couture slashed hobo gown last year. Christina Ricci went to Versace’s couture show in 1999 and arrived with a strapless gown courtesy of pal Donatella. The Blond One has been particularly keen on the turnaround trend: the company sent Melanie Griffith a brown-and-gold leaf-print dress just after it was shown. But the end-all has to be McQueen’s Givenchy boned, pale-green mermaid gown for Minnie Driver. Even she admitted it “will probably end up in a museum after tonight.”

VINTAGE
Hollywood was a little slow to the vintage craze, but last year at the Globes, Reese Witherspoon modeled a vintage Valentino strapless black gown from 1951, and Juliana Margulies donned a 1952 Pauline Trigere.

SEPARATES
Gwyneth kicked off the mania for evening separates in 1999. Her black sweater set and gunmetal ballskirt by Calvin Klein spawned thousands of imitators and revived the ballgown from obscurity. Meg Ryan, also in 1999, donned DKNY’s pale-blue ballskirt and a yellow Celine pullover, showing TV viewers that separates, even by separate designers, can look cool by night.

HOLLYWOOD VS. NEW YORK FASHION The true battle of Gloden Globe fashion isn’t with the Oscars — it’s between New York chic and Hollywood glitz. Wang confesses she always prefers the modern New York approach, but often Hollywood doesn’t get that.
Or know what its fans want. “Hollywood is Hollywood, and that’s why we’re drawn to it: for fun and fantasy,” says Los Angeles-based Tyler. “That’s why Galliano’s clothes work here. It’s a different sensibility, and there’s nothing wrong with a little bit of tits and ass — it’s fantasy and escapism. We all need that.”
Randolph Duke, who’s dressed Angelina Jolie, Charlize Theron and Debra Messing for the Globes, agrees — even though he’s firmly based in New York. “The Golden Globes has a chic, Old Hollywood quality, like a fabulous Old Hollywood dinner party, full of elegantly dressed men and women, all in sumptuous, deep, dark urbane colors. I suppose this is just my fantasy. But what’s fashion without a little fantasy?”

SHORT CUTS
Kim Basinger brought shorter back in 1998, donning a tea-length dress by wedding designer Amsale, heralding, temporarily, the end of floor-length. Angelina Jolie’s silvery beaded Armani flapper dress was just to the knee, and last year the Cult of Chloe Cool began when Ms. Sevigny wore her navy patterned blouson YSL with the deep V-neck that came to the knee — bringing fashion’s look to the Hollywood runway even before New Yorkers started wearing it.
Perhaps Christine Baranski said it best, back in 1997, when she wore a skintight strapless Robert Turturice mermaid gown. “Life is short,” she quipped. “Especially on television.”

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