School of frock

School of frock
(From left) Natalie Portman, Sarah Paulson, Vivica A. Fox, Jordana Brewster.
PHOTO: AFP, Reuters

The A-listers must be holed up in a bunker saving their best for the upcoming onslaught of big awards shows, leaving us with mere crumbs to judge.

LILY JAMES

Premiere of Pride And Prejudice And Zombies in Los Angeles

Gown: Alexander McQueen

In her haste to get to the ball, poor Cinderella forgot to put her dress over her super-fancy slip, but still manages to be the prettiest girl in the room. Oh wait, wrong movie. Unfortunately, I can't generate much enthusiasm beyond that.

NATALIE PORTMAN

Premiere of Jane Got A Gun in New York City

Gown: Valentino

Clutch: Christian Dior

It's a great embroidered floaty-sleeved tulle number - for Keira Knightley. The harsh, vampiric make-up doesn't work on Portman either. Back to the drawing board, please.

JORDANA BREWSTER

Premiere of American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson in Los Angeles

Jumpsuit: Vionnet

Shoes: Rene Caovilla

Well, if a bathroom emergency crops up, at least she won't have trouble finding toilet paper. Just look down and pull.

KERRY WASHINGTON

Hasty Pudding Theatricals 2016 Woman of the Year Award roast in Boston

Top: Self-Portrait

Skirt: Sea

Shoes: Isabel Marant

Recipients are expected to clown around at this event, but Washington just looks crazed in this inexplicably funereal all-black ensemble. You're supposed to be bring the comedy, not tragicomedy.

VIVICA A. FOX

Premiere of Fifty Shades Of Black in Los Angeles

Top and skirt: La Perla

Shoes: Giuseppe Zanotti

No need for scratch-and-sniff tech here. When a 51-year-old has-been actress steps out in what's literally an LBD made out of Spanx and mesh, you can almost smell the desperation reeking from the page.

MOST IMPROVED

SARAH PAULSON

She's quite the eccentric on the red carpet, but who knew she could do elegant? The first outfit - which a messy, smear-y toddler probably used as an art canvas or tablecloth - is typical Paulson, in that it's "off". But she pleasantly surprises with her sleek second choice, a seasons-old McCartney hourglass gown with signature metallic waistband. Various actresses have given this popular design a spin in black and navy over the years, but seeing it in raspberry makes me fall in love all over again.

Premiere of American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson in Los Angeles, Jan 27

Gown: Stella McCartney

Clutch: Lee Savage

Producers Guild Awards in Los Angeles, Jan 23

Dress: Prabal Gurung

Clutch: Edie Parker

Shoes: Stuart Weitzman


This article was first published on February 1, 2016.
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