Celebrities have been planning for weeks to wear black on tonight’s Golden Globes red carpet, an expression of solidarity with Me Too and a plea for Hollywood’s climate of sexual harassment to never return to the status quo. But how will that actually play out in practice? Can a night that normally represents glamour, wealth, and traditional ideas of beauty display the sort of solemnity that such a protest demands?
The actor Amber Tamblyn suggested as much in a New York Times op-ed, published Sunday just hours before the carpet was set to begin, and presumably when she herself would have normally been getting ready. Maybe not this year, though. She wrote:
We actresses are not just modeling clothing when we walk a red carpet on award show night. We are modeling a kind of behavior. We are speaking in a coded language to other women — even young girls — that says: The way I look and what I wear and how I wear it is the standard for women. What is being worn is not an exception. It is the rule. You must dress a certain way and look a certain way if you want to be valued as a woman, no matter what you do for a living or who you are. We never intend for this to be the message we are sending with what we wear, but often it is the perceived one, whether we like it or not.
While her op-ed made space for fashion as something to enjoy—she namechecked her friend, Blake Lively, as someone who is into it—it also begs the eternal question of whether one can be fashionable while also doing activism, a question that the fashion industry has been struggling (and mostly failing) to answer since 2016. More importantly, Tamblyn seems to suggest that on a night when the highest profile actresses are bringing gender and racial justice activists as their dates, simply wearing black is simply not enough—this is a chance to buck the conventions by which the film/fashion/beauty industries impose upon famous women, which thereby trickle down to you and me as well. The question is, if this night is as serious a protest as Hollywood wants us to believe, is it prudent for the all-black red carpet to be as festive, fabulous, and moneyed as it always has been?
We’re about to find out!
Welcome to Jezebel’s annual Golden Globes red carpet look showdown, in which I shall yet again constantly update with everyone who hits the red carpet and examine their outfits; I expect attendees will be wearing ensembles that befit the tenor of the moment, and I’m looking forward to seeing how that gets interpreted. (Dream look? Extremely aggressive, perhaps lethal-looking outwear, something monstrous and grotesque that reflects how most women and other marginalized genders have been feeling since October, and our whole lives. Anyone wearing anything from Alexander McQueen’s Fall 2009 runway automatically gets BEST MUHFUCKING DRESSED.)
Here goes... ride with me.
We’re starting out strong, with Allison Williams wearing half the Target logo on her bust, and Jane Campion looking like a cool Wiccan from the Redwoods who will both make you herbal tea and Put a Pox On Him.
Producer Ramsey Naito’s dark-tinted black glasses project a wonderfully don’t-fuck-with-me vibe, and Samara Weaving, very funny in SMILF, kept it simple and unfussy, a choice that seems right.
Debra Messing’s protest came in the form of a mullet shift and trousers; Joseph Fiennes is the night’s first Ally whose entire look is black, not just the tux. Reed Morano managed the feat of dressing both down, and up, and I am glad for her comfortable footwear; the whole deal strikes a good tone. Susan Kelechi Watson is dynamite in a starry night disco jumper; she is in the show This Is Us, does anyone know what it’s about?
Caitronia Balfe looks as though she will break out into a flamenco stomp; Daniel Kaluuya will win awards tonight, and if he does not we shall riot; Sterling K. Brown and Ryan Michelle Barthe are always full goals on the red carpet, and their matching tuxedos tonight are as aspirational as ever. Zenobia Shroff, who played Kumail’s mom in The Big Sick, is like FUCK IT and is wearing a gorgeous crimson gown that seems to have traditional beadwork. (She plays a Pakistani character in the film but Shroff is Indian.) THIS IS The shoes are black! It counts! *CORRECTION, THE GETTY IMAGES PERSON CAPTION WAS WRONG, WHICH IS FUCKED UP! This is actually Meher Tatna, the President of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. I deeply regret this error. She still looks great! She chose to wear red as part of her cultural tradition, per the Wrap.
Ann Dowd and Catherine Zeta-Jones stuck with the embellished lace trend of the last 10,000 years and will never end; Mandy Moore looks like a superhero in that asymmetrical shouldered gown; Johnny Weir is speaking my language with what appears to be a chainmale neckerchief and tux with a train. He looks like a vampire who will turn predators to dust.
Here are three couples that make me wish I were there and mingling: Meryl Streep and Ai-jen Poo, both demurely appointed because they know they have work to do; Norman Lear and Rita Moreno in a STUDDED BLACK LEATHER TUX because she is our muva; Amy Poehler and Saru Jarayaman, both ready to do this.
Of all the looks so far, Alison Brie’s is my favorite—a taffeta gown that opens up like a tulip to expose its secret weapon, which is pants. Common looks great in all-black and also reminds me that we’re missing the premiere of The Chi to watch this shit; Dakota Johnson went more classic Hollywood, while Heidi Klum is doing the most (Heidi Plume more like... sorry).
Christina Hendricks! She’s not only back, she’s wearing the pants/gown look too! Okay! Dr. Rainbow Edwards-Barris, with her husband and Kara’s boss Kenya, is great in this v-neck jersey gown, with a little keyhole at the belly. Laurie Metcalf is the third person with pants AND a gown, which “makes a trend” as they would have told have told me in journalism school if I had ever gone there. Chrissy Metz has an interesting velvet-sequins-netting thing going on; I think it’s great but it would have worked better floor-length, maybe.
Jessica Biel’s tulle is swirly ice cream and a half moon; Issa Rae’s DYNAMIC gown is fantastic, and I love that accessorizing even though it doesn’t make immediate sense; same with Samira Wiley’s gorgeous neckpiece. Sarah Paulson and Amanda Peet are BFFs in matching taffeta, solidarity is holding hands with your best gals in public like what.
Alicia Vikander looks extremely Alicia Vikander-y in this Victorian-evoking, gothic gown with the tiny buttons. It’s very serious! But just as this all-black thing was growing on me because it communicates that it’s about the collective and no one is really making it About Them, along comes Kendall freaking Jenner rocking a look that’s not only Rihanna 2015 but also screams LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT ME!!!! I hate it so much! Let’s talk about something better, like Kit Harington, or how Roseanne’s gown with a satin v-neck.
Ava DuVernay’s fashion choices are always just so classic and great; tonight’s satiny skirt and sparkly top are no exception. Similarly, Gayle King always looks like she’s having fun, and I love the starry night effect of her sequin ombré. Allison Janney went as a Tiffany lamp! Zoe Kravitz is minimal, minimal, minimal, perhaps to floss her tight new ‘20s hairchop, which looks great.
Jessica Chastain, overrated actor, looks wonderful in this velvet number; Gwendoline Christie, underrated actor, made a very pointed decision with this gown and though it’s not for me I trust her implicitly. Isabelle Huppert is gunmetal steel, she is shooting daggers at fuckboies from the eyes. Pearlena Igbokwe, WHO if you didn’t know is the President of Universal Television and the first black person to head a major TV studio, is a billion bucks in that lovely one shouldered gown.
Elizabeth Moss in a throwback Mad Men jawn; Octavia Spencer is WONDERFUL in that silhouette and sparkly black; Michelle Pfeiffer’s belted jacket is nice, and I love Taura Stinson’s side-braid and Chanel chain.
Gillian Anderson is BACK and in FULL EFFECT! Give me regal, queen. Kate Hudson’s dress is most likely not Fabletics; Laurie Hernandez’s look is very symmetrical, and shout to Other Michelle Williams for bringing Tarana Burke, creator of Me Too, to whom we owe so much (and who looks terrific in sequins!).
Connie Britton’s sending a theoretically awesome message but the sweater is $400 (with $100 going to charity). But as The Fashion Law often notes, fast fashion is based on exploitative labor, and clothing that is well sourced and made without exploitation is often expensive, because it costs what it makes. THAT SAID: I could have made this shit at home with a thrifted sweater and some yarn. Next time, holler at me, Connie! Kerry Washington’s look is, as usual, perfection; the ankle bootie with the slit! Kerry! Diane Kruger in all the tulle; Lena Waithe, whose The Chi we are missing by watching this shit, is fantastic in satin.
Angelina Jolie is going as Carol Channing, fuck me up mom! Maggie Gyllenhaal in a dress that is also pants—what did I tell you? Millie Bobby Brown’s neckline is a parachute (to get out of this hell, maybe), and Viola Davis, my god, is giving us ‘90s Versace and we are not worthy.
Geena Davis, advocate for women, invoking Ursula, the misunderstood sea witch! Margot Robbie is wearing the whole entire ice capades on that dress but it’s bullshit that she didn’t get a matching gown for Tonya Harding, there showing off that boxer’s midriff. Mariah is being Mariah, get her some damn tea, you plebes.
America Ferrera did exactly what I would have done which is just throw some blazer I got for a job interview over sequins. Respeck! Natalie Portman is giving us Anne Boleyn realness. Emma Stone is unfortunately being outshone by the absolute legend that is Billie Jean King in a pantsuit. Never forget that Lena Headey is actually goth; Saoirse Ronan’s architectural block gown was purchased in the basement of the MoMA Design Store, where they house the expensive shit.
What’s up with the necklines! Emilia Clarke’s looks like when I was a kid and drew eyebrows to connote a person was mad. Greta Gerwig’s was also from the MoMA Design Store, like a moulding I would design for my dream home. Lawrence Fishburne is clean and also would like us to never forget he was in The Matrix. Sharon Stone’s gown is an experiment in shading, but I’m more about what her son is wearing. He’s going home to play some vampire RPGs later for sure.
Gal Gadot cropped a tux, and I imagine the procedure was executed by invisible lasso. Halle Barry is wearing a lace sheath, which I would also do if I were Halle Berry. Both Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon are typecasting their own dresses, but honestly, what would we do if either of them weren’t wearing these silhouettes? It would throw off the balance of earth’s axis.
Dee Rees, with Sarah Broom, is doing the most with the formal trenchcoat and I applaud it. Hong Chau’s velvet slip dress is embodying the platonic ideal of a slip dress, UNLIKE the trash white savior movie Downsizing, which even her immense charm could not save. Mary J. Blige’s giving me everything that I want, which is the implication of cyborg feminism via a one-sleeved column dress. Sally Hawkins is dressed like the wonderful, quirky Brit she is!
Penelope Cruz’s lace is stunning, and I also love Frankie Shaw’s bustier gown, and also Frankie Shaw is my new favorite person. Laura Dern’s dress is fascinating in that it looks kind of like a ‘90s swimsuit for a goddess. FINALLY, here is my best dressed and forever style icon, the genius that is Tracee Ellis Ross. No one else needs to even try!