Stars on the march
On the first big post-Golden Globes red carpet, actresses swapped black gowns for politicised pinks and armour-inspired metallics, writes Meadhbh McGrath
Whatever your opinion on the political efficacy of the Golden Globes' black dress protest, there was no denying it was a landmark moment in Hollywood history, as the industry's biggest names took a collective stand against sexual harassment and abuse.
But since then, the all-black dress code has been abandoned in the run up to March's Oscars.
The first big post-Globes event was Sunday's Screen Actors Guild Awards, which serves as a pretty reliable indicator for who will take home the Academy Awards - unlike the Globes, which are nominated by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, there's a significant overlap in the members of SAG and the Academy, so they'll likely vote the same way for both.
SAG is also one of the handful of awards shows broadcast nationwide, and this year elected a female host for the first time: Kristen Bell, star of Frozen and Netflix comedy The Good Place - a refreshing change from the slew of male late-night comics at every other awards ceremony. In another show of support for the Time's Up initiative, the event featured an all-female line-up of presenters.
On the red carpet, the #MeToo campaign was noticeably quieter. Gone were almost all the Time's Up pins and the black uniform - apart from Winona Ryder and Blackish actress Yara Shahidi, who stunned in a custom Ralph Lauren jumpsuit, the red carpet was a riot of colour and pattern.
Meanwhile, reporters struggled to find a balance between the usual Hollywood chatter and more meaningful conversation. One red carpet question we didn't see coming? E! host Giuliana Rancic asking Alison Brie about the claims of inappropriate sexual behaviour levelled at her brother-in-law and Best Actor nominee James Franco.
The GLOW actress replied, very diplomatically: "I think that, above all, what we've always said is it remains vital that anyone who feels victimised does have the right to speak out. I obviously support my family and not everything reported has been fully accurate. But of course now is a time for listening and that's what we're all trying to do."
Throughout the pre-show, Rancic frequently gestured towards actresses' gowns, but stopped herself from asking who they were wearing - until This Is Us actor Sterling K Brown did the job for her, delivering styling credits for himself, his wife and Rancic in one go.
And what about those gowns? The event took place less than 24 hours after the second annual Women's March, when thousands took to the streets all over America to protest President Trump's policies and demand social and political change for women. The symbolic pink 'pussy hats' that became popular during last year's march were back out again, while attendees dressed and carried signs in a sea of pink shades - and it was that colour that was all over the SAG awards the next day.
We may not see the viral hats popping up at the Oscars, but hot on the heels of the protests, the parade of pinks nodded to a women's movement on the march. The palette ranged from delicate pastels on Margot Robbie, in Miu Miu chiffon with frothy feathers, to vibrant fuschia on host Kristen Bell, in a fabulously flattering strapless gown by J Mendel. And then there was Kate Hudson, erupting in Valentino's heart-shaped polka dots and Victorian-style lace.
Our own Saoirse Ronan was a vision in pale pink, wearing a floor-length silk gown by Louis Vuitton, with rosy cheeks and raspberry lips. Her stylist Elizabeth Saltzman has spoken about how Ronan hadn't always been much of a fashion fan, but told Vogue she is starting to have fun on the red carpet: "Before it was a mystery and now it's enjoyable. When we met, she didn't like pink, she didn't like sparkle, she wasn't into dresses, and now of course that's everything!"
The 23-year-old has become known for interesting and unexpected looks, and her SAG dress was no different, with long sleeves, a waist-accentuating belt and tiny silver pailettes adorning the side trims - a nod to the night's other dominating trend: armour-like metallics.
When they weren't swathed in shades of pink, actresses opted for gunmental sequins, creating a chainmail effect - most notably, Best Supporting Actress winner Allison Janney, in a form-fitting gown with major shoulder detailing by Yanina Couture. "It makes me feel like I have armour on," she told Rancic.
Laurie Metcalf, who plays Saoirse Ronan's mother in Lady Bird, also opted for a sequinned column gown by Sachin & Babi, while Lupita Nyong'o looked radiant in glimmering silver Ralph & Russo Couture with a feathered train.
The blackout may have been a one-night-only event, but we're not quite back to business as usual on the red carpet just yet.