Wednesday 26 June 2019

All white on the night at the BAFTAs greatest hits

As the stars opted for restrained elegance on the London red carpet, on the other side of the Atlantic the Grammys provided a colourful contrast with a mix of the weird and wonderful, writes Caitlin McBride

Kate Middleton. Photo: Mike Marsland/WireImage
Kate Middleton. Photo: Mike Marsland/WireImage
Olivia Colman
Irina Shayk
Cardi B
Lady Gaga
Jennifer Lopez
Viola Davis
Laura Whitmore
Barry Keoghan & Shona Guerin
Caitlin McBride

Caitlin McBride

After 2018 was declared as 'the year of the woman' with politicised red carpets to match, this year's awards season has been remarkably more subtle. Instead of a sea of black gowns in support of Time's Up, Sunday night's BAFTAs was without any obvious theme and arguably one of the most fashion forward ceremonies in recent memory.

Classic black or black and white looks, both carrying political connotations of their own, were the only clear pattern among Hollywood's best dressed stars, with the occasional appearance of some colour, oversized material or a sprinkle of hair accessories.

The biggest stir of the night was, as expected, Kate Middleton's arrival alongside husband Prince William. The British royals attend the event every year thanks to William's role as president of the British Academy of Film and Television, and the Duchess of Cambridge wore one of her best looks in a custom asymmetric Alexander McQueen gown, accessorising with a pair of diamond and pearl drop earrings that belonged to her late mother-in-law Princess Diana. But it was her choice to wear white that sent the internet aflutter.

Kate was criticised last year for wearing a forest green dress, while all the other female guests were dressed in black (the royals can't be seen as engaging in any way with politics - at least publicly) which makes her choice of shade all the more interesting. White, the traditional colour of the suffragette movement, is enjoying resurgence in the US amid the continued campaign for women's rights under the Trump administration and just last week, the women of the Democratic Party flooded the US Capitol in white suits during President Trump's State of the Union address.

Actress and singer Mary J Blige opted for a white suit by British designers Ralph & Russo, while Letitia Wright, who won the EE Rising Star Award, chose a chic all-white two-piece.

Suits weren't the running theme of the evening, but there were enough to make a dent as supermodel Irina Shayk chose a black Givenchy Couture tuxedo, matching boyfriend Bradley Cooper. Widows star Viola Davis's black velvet gown, with dramatic contrasting white bow, was an instant classic, while Salma Hayek's one shoulder Gucci gown was a sight to behold.

Olivia Colman, who is joint hot favourite with Glenn Close for the Best Actress Oscar, opted for a monochrome Emilia Wickstead gown with balloon sleeves, and she paid subtle homage to Time's Up with a ribbon attached to her clutch. Rachel Weisz, who walked away with the Best Supporting Actress statue, chose a white tulle gown, custom made by Gucci.

The Irish contingent were out in force with Barry Keoghan, clad in a classic black tuxedo, joined by his long-term girlfriend Shona Guerin, in a pink and black lace Dolce & Gabbana dress, while tv presenter Laura Whitmore, wearing a semi-sheer Amanda Wakeley gown, incorporated this season's hair-clip trend.

On the other side of the coin, a hop, skip and a very large jump away in Los Angeles, the Grammys were an apolitical, mish mash of looks; from Cardi B's delightfully over-the-top Mugler gown, dating back to 1995, to Jennifer Lopez's confusing wide brim Ralph & Russo hat.

Lady Gaga, who previously arrived to the awards via egg pod, was surprisingly demure but still added that pop star pizazz with a silver Celine gown and over 100 carats of Tiffany & Co jewels.

Kylie Jenner, who attended with her rapper boyfriend Travis Scott, championed her family's favourite label with an unusual pink jumpsuit, including matching gloves.

Irish Independent

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