Emmys Red Carpet Top Ten 2014

How is it that time of year again? I remember writing my Emmys Red Carpet post last year - which sparked a whole series of red carpet outfits - and thinking it can't have been that long ago! But it is, and on Monday night TV's great and good were out in force showing off their red carpet looks, so I thought I'd do a post on some of my favourites.

I know this is epically late but to cut a long story short I've had laptop issues and had to get a new one, plus work has been busy so haven't been able to blog at lunchtime. But I promise to be better at blogging in September!

The early trends seem to be block colours (particularly silver, red and white), contrasting shapes - the dresses all seemed to be either big and frilly or very sleek and pared-down - classic make-up (including flicky eyeliner) and very simple hair, particularly waves and updos. I'm very excited to see which of these carry on into the winter red carpets as there were loads of things I liked; it was very hard to get it down to just ten! But here are my favourites - what did you think of them?

Hayden Panetierre in Lorena Sarbu
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Those who read my Red Carpet series last awards season will know that I am a sucker for well-dressed pregnant ladies and Hayden Panetierre is already an early contender. This silver dress is absolutely stunning - fitted but not overly sexy - and I love the really simple updo and natural make-up which let the dress take centre stage.

Sofia Vergara in Roberto Cavalli
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OK, this is just sickeningly beautiful. It's mermaid-meets-Marilyn with the shell-effect bodice and silver trim highlighting Sofia's gorgeous curves. Throw in a classic red lip, simple accessories and perfectly groomed loose hair and you've got a recipe for red carpet success.

Allison Williams in Giambattista Valli
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One of two Girls cast members to wear Giambattista Valli to the Emmys (Lena Dunham being the other), this is a beautiful dress. I love the girly blush pink colour, the flower details on the bodice, the bow - I am a sucker for a good bow - and the yellow belt to add a pop of colour. Not keen on the hair admittedly but the dress is so gorgeous I can forgive pretty much everything.

Michelle Dockery in Rosie Assoulin
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Michelle Dockery was a regular feature in my Red Carpet posts last awards seasons and this dress is making her an early contender this time. I love the Art Deco petals look of the top and that shade of royal blue is just amazing with her skin tone. Add classic hair and jewellery and we're onto a winner.

January Jones in Prabal Gurung
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I love black and red together and January Jones has nailed this one. Her trademark peep-toe dress has a bit of an edge added to it with the black side details and unusual print, and the shoes add a tougher aspect to the girliness. The messy fringe and Old Hollywood make-up balance it all out nicely.

Joanne Froggatt in J. Mendel
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This is so, so lovely. I really like the shape of it - the plunge neckline is quite sexy but the floaty Grecian shape means it's not too revealing - and there's just enough sparkle to justify the lack of jewellery but without it looking too much like a bad Don't Tell The Bride dress. The slightly wavy updo works well to keep the focus on the dress as well.

Lena Headey in Rubin Singer
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I love this. There's something really Gothic and cool and rock-chick about the overall look (I think the hair and the tattoo probably help), plus the hem is a nice alternative to the more traditional peep-toe dress and the shoes add a girly touch. Again it's really simple and the dress isn't being overshadowed by any of the accessories. My favourite of the night.

Zooey Deschanel in Oscar de la Renta
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This is a bit of a departure for Zooey but I actually really like it. The sleek shape of the dress works really well with the bold bright colour and I love her hair falling in those beautiful curls. Not 100% keen on the flowers on the bag and the make-up could be bolder, but overall I think it works really well and it's nice to see her back in something that's not floaty and pastel.

Claire Danes in Givenchy
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I'll admit I wasn't keen on a lot of Claire Danes' dresses in last year's awards season, but I rather like this Givenchy number. Not wild about the belt but the neckline detail is nice and I like the lace panels (other photos show it goes all the way round the back) and the floaty-but-not-enormous skirt. The classic make-up and upswept hair also compliment it really nicely.

Natasha Lyonne in Opening Ceremony
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Firstly, I love a celebrity who looks like she's enjoying her time on the red carpet, and Natasha Lyonne's grin says that in spades. This is a lovely dress - whilst the length and skirt shape may be difficult to pull off for some, she is absolutely nailing it. The dark colour makes it demure but the lace sleeves give a bit of sex appeal, and I love that she used her own gold jewellery as well which goes beautifully with the navy.

Token Bloke: Matthew McConaughey in Dolce & Gabbana
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Again, regular readers will know that my Red Carpet Token Bloke is usually the one guy who doesn't wear a normal black tux, and McConaughey's suit is about far away from normal black tux as you can get. The mix of colours is very much in the 'shouldn't work but does' box and I like the fact there's not too much black to clash with the blue in the actual suit. Plus you've got to love a guy who's not afraid to rock a bow tie.

Honourable mentions
Gwen Stefani in Swarovski Versace
Kerry Washington in Prada
Jessica Paré in Lanvin
Taylor Schilling in Zuhair Murad Couture
Kaley Cuoco in Monique Lhullier and Ryan Sweeting
Cat Deeley in Burberry
Kelly Osbourne
Kiernan Shipka in Antonio Beradi
Lucy Lui in Zac Posen
Octavia Spencer in Tadashi Shoji

What did you think of the red carpet looks at the Emmys?

The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier at the Barbican

Before I went to this exhibition, I didn't know much about Jean Paul Gaultier beyond his Classique perfume (the one with the corset-shaped bottle) and vague memories of staying up late watching him on Eurotrash when I was a teenager. However, after a rave review from a colleague, I decided to check it out last weekend whilst Nick was on his stag do. I also took a ridiculous amount of pictures - photography is encouraged which is always a nice change! - so apologies in advance that this post is ridiculously pic-heavy...

The exhibition is split into various sections focussing on a different theme of Gaultier's work and recurring motifs, from Breton stripes and corsets to religious imagery and punk chic. I really loved his use of presenting classic images and designs in unusual ways, such as Madonnas dressed in black, mermaids on crunches or stripes reworked in feathers and lace.

These mannequins had faces projected on to them that moved and spoke - brilliant if a little bit creepy! Whilst on the subject of the mannequins, I really liked that they weren’t all white but instead designed to reflect different ethnicities, mirroring Gaultier’s use of models who aren’t conventionally beautiful.

Is it a bit wrong that I want one of these chairs for my flat?

Gaultier is particularly famous for his corsets (he shot to fame after designing an infamous beautiful pink corset for Madonna’s Blonde Ambition tour in the early 1990s) so not surprisingly there were loads of corsets and corset-style dresses and outfits dotted throughout the exhibition:

Yes, that is a teddy bear wearing a bra. Apparently this was Gaultier's first ever attempt at corset-making when he was a kid.

The legendary Madonna corset. It's so detailed up close - just amazingly put together and such fantastic craftsmanship.

At first I just thought 'Ooh that's a nice dress', but then I looked closer...

One of the things I loved about the exhibition was it celebrated Gaultier's willingness to push the envelope and turn conventions on their heads. Whether that's putting men in skirts and corsets, vein and muscle bodysuits or 'pregnancy' corsets, it showed he has no fear of being different which is something that I always like in a designer.

Many of Gaultier's designs look very theatrical and as well as wardrobes for pop stars' tours (more on that later), he's also designed a number of costumes for ballets and films, particularly those by Pedro Almodovar. I particularly loved this tiger costume for The Skin In Live In  - complete with tail - and this amazing dress which is made of ribbons printed to look like rolls of film.

As for many designers two of Gaultier's big influences are fashion and nature, but again I love the way he plays with conventions such as adding an amazing Native American headdress to a wedding gown, mocking up a cheetah skin for a dress or making backpacking in Mongolia look glamorous. I am seriously coveting that coat with the huge fur-trimmed hood and silky pink pyjama pants. Plus again it's going back to the use of unusual materials to craft his ensembles - including, in a creepy yet fascinating way, an umbrella made of real human hair.

I love this carousel of chic dresses influenced by the romantic ideal of Paris, whether that's gorgeous can-can skirts under masculine coats, the use of Eiffel Tower motifs in sequins or as back panels or the impeccably tailored suits. I'm also very tempted to recreate the look of the girl in the grey skirt myself (minus the cigarette of course. Smoking is bad for you, kids).

I love this outfit - it's the kind of thing I'd try to recreate myself if I was feeling girly but wanted to toughen up my look a bit.

Love Gaultier tapping into the punk ethos here with a skirt and dress made out of ties. And that top hat is just epic.

 I loved all the punk stuff in the exhibition - it just really embraced the spirit of that do-it-yourself ethos but in the way of taking ordinary fabrics like denim, tartan or camo gear and making them into the most beautiful dresses. Again it's always those little details of taking an image you think you know and adding something that just lifts it perfectly.

As I mentioned above Gaultier had many celebrity fans, and he himself was a huge fan of Amy Winehouse, even dedicating a collection to her. I love this outfit in particular as it's just so classic Winehouse, but there is also a beautiful floral dress in the exhibition that I could envisage her wearing to an awards do.

Gaultier was also key in helping stars establish their 'look' - this is an outfit he designed for Boy George and it is pretty much his entire aesthetic in the Culture Club era in a nutshell.

I really love these two outfits Gaultier designed for Kylie; the beautiful gorgeous floaty Madonna dress (worn for a photograph called The Virgin and the Serpents which is pretty much Gaultier in one image) and then this update to the 'Madonna corset' complete with American flag feather boa and see-through shoes that she wore on one of her tours.

Again these two outfits, both worn by Lily Cole, are a great example of that contrast in Gaultier's work between the feminine pastel Madonna look and the tough, sexy, slinky Diana Rigg in The Avengers-meets-English businessman catusuit/bowler hat/umbrella combo.

Finally, we have this beautiful black velvet corset dress worn by Dita Von Teese. I love this because it is so true to her style but also still embracing that Gaultier 'look' of mixing sexy and feminine, with a touch of Gothic and an amazingly flattering cut.

Overall I think this is my favourite fashion exhibition of the year so far. It's a real celebration of Gaultier's work and is really strongly driven by his aesthetic whilst retaining a thread through all of it that ties it all together - a sense of craftsmanship, creativity, desire to create something beautiful, playful and above all a lot of fun. I really do recommend you pay a visit as the clothes are so beautiful and detailed that you need to see them for yourself. It's not the cheapest exhibition ever at £14.50 but considering I was in there for the best part of two hours I'd say it's definitely worth it.

The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier is on at the Barbican until Monday, so if you haven't yet got any plans for the Bank Holiday weekend then go go go!

#2014BloggerChallenge: Black and White

The theme of this instalment of the #2014BloggerChallenge is 'Perfect Pairs', and I must admit initially I was struggling for ideas (put it like this, at one point it was very nearly going to be a soppy post about Nick and I. I know. I'm sorry). However, as usual, the best ideas come to me when I'm under pressure, and over breakfast today it hit me that I could do a post about my favourite black and white outfits.

I really like wearing black and white, especially for work, as it goes perfectly and is theoretically really easy to put an outfit together in the morning when you're a bit stumped for what to wear. Unfortunately most of these items are quite old, but hopefully they should give you an idea of how I put together a black and white look - usually with my black Mary-Janes or ballet flats (which you can see in my shoe collection post) and finishing off with a slick of bright red or pink lipstick.

This is a go-to black and white outfit for me - it's very similar to an outfit worn by Garcia in one of my favourite Criminal Minds scenes and is really quick and easy to throw together when I'm slightly bleary-eyed at 7 AM. I particularly love the slightly unusual geometric-floral print on the skirt, which always seems to get compliments whenever I wear it. The whole ensemble is from Dorothy Perkins.

For slightly colder days, this is a great black and white combination. I like the slightly 60s feel of the dress and find that layering it with a long sleeved top makes it really cosy, though equally you could also wear it on its own or with a cardigan in warmer weather. The dress is from New Look and the top is from Dorothy Perkins.

Whilst my first two black and white outfits were more casual work looks, this is how I do black and white for big scary meetings. This dress is from H&M and I find the horizontal stripes really flattering, especially for highlighting my waist. It is a little short for my liking so I tend to wear it with black tights but it's definitely one of the things I reach for when I want to feel confident at work for whatever reason.

This is the black and white dress I will often go for if I have an event after work or am meeting friends for drinks or dinner. It's from ASOS and is really easy to throw on - the longer sleeves make it demure enough for the ofice but the keyhole back means it's nice enough for evenings. Plus how gorgeous is that Dolce & Gabbana-esque hearts and stars print?

Of course black and white doesn't just have to be limited to work. This is one of my favourite outfits for those slightly warmer summer days when I want something relaxed but equally not too casual. The T-shirt's from New Look and again I like the horizontal stripes and scoop neck - it's one of my favourites and I will be gutted when it eventually falls apart. The jeans are Gap Real Straight and again just a very steady pair of black jeans. Throw on my Wonder Woman Converse and I'm good to go.

Finally, although it's not strictly black and white, this is an outfit I have been a bit obsessed with lately. This little Primark skater dress is super-cute, really flattering and again such an easy outfit with black leggings and ballet flats, whether that's a slightly-dressed down look for work or something a bit smarter for a family party - I wore it to two in a week! I've paired it here with a black and white cardigan from Joy which has really cute bow detail; you can see what it's like on in my spring outfit post. (Also, apologies for my knee randomly appearing at the bottom of the photo.)