Byline: Merle Ginsberg / with contributions from Marcy Medina
LOS ANGELES — When names such as Alaia, Ungaro, Jacobs, Thimister, Lacroix and Willhelm appear on an awards-show red carpet, you know that Hollywood has finally got it. This year’s Golden Globes had the usual smattering of beading and cleavage. But the real news was a healthy touch of diversity and elegance, along with lots of black and blue. Unfortunately, it’s now clear that a few fashion disasters make for a more amusing evening. Paging Celine Dion!
You know it’s not the most thrilling of awards shows fashion-wise when the biggest surprise is Nicole Kidman’s wavy bob, courtesy of John Frieda. Her dress was a pleated Prada. Jennifer Lopez looked positively demure in a white Valentino knee-length dress and a Jackie O leopard coat. Rita Wilson donned a year-and-a-half-old Josephus Thimister ballgown with shirt detailing.
Sarah Jessica Parker went surprisingly low-key in a strapless peach Ungaro, simple hair — and no feathers in sight. Juliette Binoche chose an American-based designer, Richard Tyler, to do her peacock blue-green velvet gown. “After all, I’ve been living in New York for six months,” the Parisian actress said. And Edie Falco was downright sexy in a simple black Armani suit — minus the blouse. “I’m taped up to within an inch of my life,” she said.
Bjork wore Bernhard Willhelm’s full-skirted dress with her hero Michael Jackson’s face stenciled on the skirt. “He’s the king of Hollywood and the king of my heart,” she said.
Actresses are getting savvier about how much award shows pictures run and how much their styles can be typified. “I usually go romantic, so this time I wanted to be stark and assertive,” said Debra Messing, who wore a cream and black striped Ralph Lauren dress, complete with train.
“Mine’s net,” Tracey Ullman barked to Bette Midler of her one-shoulder short Marc Jacobs prom dress. “Mine’s straw,” Midler yelled back of her stiff raffia Pamela Dennis tube dress.
Julia Roberts — practically a Calvin Klein muse — went with a simple midnight blue Giorgio Armani, while Hilary Swank chose Calvin, a sparkly, pale champagne sheath with pink net details. “Calvin helped me pick it out,” she whispered.
But some ladies are still loyalists. Catherine Zeta-Jones arrived in a royal blue Christian Lacroix with black bodice beading. “Christian made it for me at the same time he made the wedding dress,” she said. “It saved time.”
And Donatella’s girls are seemingly forever her girls: Lucy Liu in an elaborate black couture halter dress and Angelina Jolie in a pale champagne sheath with a train. She flew to Milan for the fitting. “I wanted to meet this woman I’ve been wearing,” Jolie said. “Now she feels like a girlfriend.”