Tuesday 21 May 2019

Hollywood's stars sparkle once again post #MeToo

Celebs at the Emmys turned out in unapologetic glamour in the first awards show since the toned-down dress codes of Time's Up, writes Meadhbh McGrath

Scarlett Johansson wore an old Hollywood style Balmain gown. Photo: Getty
Scarlett Johansson wore an old Hollywood style Balmain gown. Photo: Getty
Tiffany Haddish in customised Prabal Gurung. Photo: Getty
Kirsten Dunst in midnight blue Schiaparelli Couture. Photo: Getty
Claire Foy wore Calvin Klein by Appointment. Photo: Getty

Meadhbh McGrath

Awards season has rolled around again, kicking off with the Emmy's on Sunday night. It marked the first red carpet post-#MeToo, and without any dress code in place, television's brightest stars were free to dress as they pleased.

The results revealed an industry still coming to terms with how to tackle a red carpet now that Time's Up. It was inevitably less coherent than an all-black fashion parade, and many of the most daring outfits appeared on the male guests, from reality host RuPaul and American Crime Story's Darren Criss to the Fab Five heroes of Netflix's Queer Eye. It was a refreshing break from the usual steady stream of plain, all-black tuxes, and hopefully indicative of a new chapter in red carpet menswear that will continue throughout the season.

That's not to say the women phoned it in. Tiffany Haddish brought the rainbow in custom Prabal Gurung, a dress that prompted plenty of jokes about beach balls, but managed to outshine everyone else on the night. Gurung explained that the design was inspired by the Eritrean flag, where Haddish's late father was born. When she twirled, the colourful panels soared through the air, making for a fabulously cheerful fashion moment, and a much-needed one after last year's almost funeral #MeToo gowns.

Blackish star Tracee Ellis Ross delivered another major look in voluminous Valentino. The full-skirted fuchsia number was testament to the new era of unapologetic glamour, and sent a fearless red carpet message.

Thandie Newton opted for a similarly bold pink gown by Brandon Maxwell, complete with piles of diamonds and a dramatic floor-length asymmetric cape, while Allison Janney sparkled in stunning metallic purple.

Sunshine yellow reigned thanks to Regina King, Alison Brie, Judith Light and Gwendoline Christie, and Best Comedy Actress winner Rachel Brosnahan and Sandra Oh glowed in vivid reds.

Aside from the joyful mood, old Hollywood style appeared on the likes of Kirsten Dunst, attending with her fiancé Jesse Plemons. It was Dunst's first red carpet since the birth of her son Ennis four months ago, and she looked every inch a bombshell in midnight blue Schiaparelli Couture.

Supporting her boyfriend and Emmy's co-host Colin Jost, Scarlett Johansson wasn't going to settle for a quiet 'plus one' look either. She also went old Hollywood with a figure-hugging Balmain gown covered in sequins - all very glamorous until she turned around and revealed an enormous new back tattoo, featuring a bloom of roses and a lamb peeping out from the strapless neckline.

White and ivory were popular elsewhere on the red carpet, most notably on Claire Foy, who took home the Best Actress gong for The Crown. She's currently gearing up to play Lisbeth Salander, and we're sure to see some edgier choices in that promotional tour wardrobe later this year, but while she's representing The Crown (for the final time, before Olivia Colman takes over for season three), Foy stuck to classic elegance.

Her Calvin Klein by Appointment gown looked a little bit like a hastily thrown on bed sheet from behind, but viewed from the front, it was beautifully refined.

The slicked back updo and red lip elevated the look, while her mismatched sandals added a touch of eccentricity.

While subtle polish and gilded glamour make for nice pictures, what we really want from a red carpet is froth - fairytale glamour that only the A-listers can provide.

Happily, many of the night's best dresses were all about scale and spectacle, from Ellis Ross's duvet dress to Westworld actress Angela Sarafyan's sweeping Christian Siriano gown to Sarah Paulson's feathered extravaganza by Oscar de la Renta.

For a while there, Harvey Weinstein et al seemed to have put a halt to loud, high-carat razzle dazzle.

The industry was so busy apologising for its misdeeds and sexual misconduct that unapologetic glamour seemed out of place. But a year on, we're entering a new chapter in Hollywood history.

And it's not all about sex appeal either - this generation of gowns are taking up space and making their mark on the red carpet. These women aren't just the arm candy, they're the main event, and their gowns celebrate that with aplomb.

The mood has changed in La La Land. Men and women alike are making progress to better the industry, and we're starting to see that flashy glamour again, from Lady Gaga's high-drama Venice tour to the Emmys.

The mourning period is over, and we're ready to have a little fun on the red carpet again.

Irish Independent

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