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The Guardian - UK
The Guardian - UK
Ellie Violet Bramley

Red-carpet fashion makes a bold comeback at Golden Globes

Rosamund Pike arrives at the 81st Golden Globe awards in Beverly Hills, California, on Sunday.
Rosamund Pike arrives at the 81st Golden Globe awards in Beverly Hills, California, on Sunday. Photograph: Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

Hollywood, the place that announces itself with enormous letters on a hillside, is about nothing if not spectacle.

So after a months’ long actors’ strike, if the stars had not pulled up to the Golden Globes red carpet in some noteworthy looks, it would have been time for some sartorial soul-searching. But, thankfully, at the Beverly Hilton on Sunday night, red-carpet fashion re-entered the atmosphere with a bang, making a bold comeback after its period of hibernation.

Rosamund Pike wore a vintage Dior creation that would have been at home in the wardrobe department of the Royal Opera House – high-octane despite being all-black. Helen Mirren flounced her way down the red carpet in an uninhibited palette of pinks and purples. Billie Eilish gave plenty to unpick, in creations by the Mexican-American designer Willy Chavarria. And, even if you are fatigued by now with all the Barbie-pink, it would be hard not to have been a little cheered by the sight of a beaming Margot Robbie dressed in Armani as 1977’s Superstar Barbie.

Natasha Lyonne arrives at the 81st Golden Globe awards
Natasha Lyonne arrives at the 81st Golden Globe awards on Sunday. Photograph: Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

The sparkle and shine quota was filled by Elizabeth Debicki in Dior couture, Taylor Swift in head-to-floor green Gucci sequins and Oprah Winfrey in Ribena-purple sequinned Louis Vuitton. Black also came with high-shine thanks to Meryl Streep in Valentino.

Then there was the contingent who seemed to have been inspired as much by Zaha Hadid and Frank Lloyd Wright as by any other cultural reference point. Poker Face star Natasha Lyonne wore a Schiaparelli creation that seemed to borrow its mid-head-height neckline peaks from the Sagrada Família, Julianne Moore’s ketchup-red Bottega Veneta gown had a neckline that Oscar Niemeyer might have appreciated and you would be forgiven for thinking Dolce and Gabbana had been inspired by Hull’s Humber Bridge when they were designing Fantasia Barrino’s architectural gown.

Fantasia Barrino arrives at the Golden Globes
Fantasia Barrino arrives at the Golden Globes. Photograph: Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

Then, of course, the men. There were more black sequins thanks to Timothée Chalamet in Celine, Pedro Pascal looked like an expensive hacker in Bottega Veneta, and Barry Keoghan befuddled the eye with various points of accessories intrigue.

This is what the people wanted. The French essayist Roland Barthes could have been talking about the red carpet when he wrote of wrestling: “It is the spectacle of excess. Here we find a grandiloquence which must have been that of ancient theatres.” As spectators, sitting at home behind our screens, we want from the red carpet something bombastic, something exciting, something entirely un-mundane; something a million miles from our living room.

Pedro Pascal at the Golden Globes
Pedro Pascal at the Golden Globes. Photograph: Allison Dinner/EPA

The least inspiring looks of the night were those that perhaps in a different time would have been seen as classic and timeless. Jennifer Aniston in black, strapless Dolce and Gabbana, Amanda Seyfried in Armani, and Jennifer Lawrence in a perfectly lovely Dior look.

Greta Lee
Greta Lee. Photograph: Mike Blake/Reuters

And so it was a night where the best dressed were also the most dressed; the people who had taken a risk were the ones who looked exciting and modern. But the flamboyance of best looks was not necessarily in the direction you might expect. In the digital age, looks that leverage some shock factor have often won out over those that champion good old-fashioned cut. But the outfits that sang at Sunday night’s event weren’t meme-bait, viral stunts. They were bold, but they were also more traditionally beautiful. Look to Greta Lee’s sculptural Loewe dress for the perfect example.

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