Monday, 8 March 2010

You what!

This has to be the worst quote of the year and it is only March, "Style-wise, this year's Oscars were predictable. Strapless, floor-length gowns dominated with only a few daring to be different. Perhaps when stylists no longer rule the red carpet we will see a little more individuality and personality shining through." These words of waffle were penned or rather typed by Laetitia Wajnape, a fashion writer. It was a piece for the BBCi

Granted there are lots of rubbish stylists out there. In any job there are the good, the bad and the downright jobs worths. But please, the idea that an actress (lets face it the guys just put on tuxedos) would do a better job left to their own devices because they would be more individual and reflect their personality then sadly Laetitia you are misguided. Some actresses know fashion and know what they want. Don't tell me Sarah Jessica Parker and Maggie
Gyllenhaal stood lamely in a corner fiddling with their hair whilst a stylist tried to choose a frock for them!

Also don't try and tell me without a stylist Zoe Saldana would have chosen the Givenchy number, even if as you noted, she is a fashion week front row regular.

I don't disagree that the red carpet parade was a mismatch of gowns most of which failed to inspire, but these are unsettled times. However Cameron Diaz and Penelope Cruz stayed understated for good reason and both looked fittingly dressed without any dramatic display.

They were dressed a professional actresses turning up for an award ceremony not a fashion editorial shot.

Let's not forget the best dressed woman of the night was Kathryn Bigelow, the first woman to win an Oscar for Best Director. She out shone the clothes on every other person as she held that Oscar (or 2). No stylist required? Don't tell me she didn't have one and lets not pretend she was wearing a wow dress. She wore a dress that reflected her stature and her personality and individuality.

Everyone works with what they get, who they are and make decisions collaboratively. Perhaps the wrong choices were made. I still think Wintour was right to advice Mulligan not to wear long gowns, a) they swamp her and b) there is a lot to be said for 3/4 length gowns when you are younger. Her Prada number was a hybrid, that said it said individuality with the forks and spoons but didn't quite make the grade.
I'm not disputing the fact lots of stylists aren't that good but please the day actresses dress themselves for the Oscars will be never - and if they did it might be reminiscent of what happens to middle class women of a certain age in the UK - all Johnnie Boden and not an individual to be seen.


  1. I always have to laugh at the fashion round-ups written. Either the dresses are said to be too crazy or too plain, the middle-ground is tiny. A good stylist knows her client and can take a actress' look and take it further.
    Wow about Cameron Diaz, she actually looks very pretty, unexpected and elegant.

  2. I couldn't agree more - a stylist is there to work with their clients and be as involved as they need. Like you said, these are actresses not fashionistas, it's ok if they need a little help!
    I totally missed Cameron's outfit- she looks beautiful!

  3. Yes Cameron and I also love the last look .. I am dreadful but have forgotten her name x

  4. Ha! I absolutely agree.

    I think there were a lot of safe choices, but it was nice to see some classic glamour on show.

    I think actresses know that they're going to be scrutinised intensely at the Oscars, so going for a relatively safe option is better than being slated in every paper, blog and magazine for the next 3 months about how awful you look.

    I imagine there is heavy stylist involvement, but these are powerful professional women, not retiring ingenues, and as such I imagine that they work closely with their stylists for such an important event! I certainly would.

  5. I loved all the other dresses you show, but also didn't like Mulligan's. And she looked so fabulous at the Bafta's!

    Re the stylists; the red carpet is the actresses' office. Their appearance is their shop window. They wear what will be the best for their public image and pr. Not to use a professional to help would be sheer madness.

    Good, thoughtful post about the Oscars and frocks.

    Helena xx

  6. Was wondering what that red thing was on Bigelow's wrist. Was it one of those bracelets symbolizing some cause or another? I don't care if it is the most noble cause in the world or a good luck charm or whatever! It was so distracting. She looked elegant except for that red thing jumping out.

  7. I didn't like Mulligans black gown either, Prada or not! Although I do think a long gown is required at the Oscars but she might look better in the kind of dress Victoria Beckham wore as her features are also quite elfin.

  8. Great post. I think the Oscars is an event to be dressed beautifully, not to be outshone by a gimmicky gown. It has to suit the person's personality too... Celebs want to stay off the worst dressed pages, just like I would - taking some professional advice would be recommended, not avoided. I thought Cameron Diaz looked lovely in her dazzling dress.

  9. I was wondering what you'd have to say about this throughout the evening. Not knowing fashion, I'd have to say I wasn't impressed with anyone in particular.

  10. Fab roundup!
    Loved Cameron D's dress!


  11. Being a stylist myself, I am more than aware than all styling work isn't bad. However, for events such as the Oscars, stylists act more as brokers between designers and actresses than as real stylists. There is a lot of money involved in dressing Hollywood A-listers on the red carpet, which means stylists don't always dress them according to who they are, but more according to which couture house will pay more to have such and such star wearing their gowns.

    This to say you might want to think before you start attacking another writer.

  12. I am Celebrity stylist so yes nearly every celebrity has a stylist, even those who insist they don't.

    If I may give my opinion and try and break down that BBC article, I think what Laëtitia was saying in her article about stylists etc was that there is a lot behind the choice of a gown at such a huge event. Its affected by World politics & international climate,brand placement,image branding,business affiliations and by a lot of money at times too. There is a lot of politics into who is wearing what and when.

    Sometimes all of that can end up with the celebrity wearing the wrong piece. As it's not based only on what they like or what suits them. So even though strong personalities like Sarah Jessica Parker & Maggie G pick unexpected individualistic unique pieces that most other female celebrities might not go for, there are still always other factors at bay than just what meets the eye.

    Not everyone might agree with an article and that is the beauty of it, we are all allowed our own opinions.

    However, I strongly believe in my humble opinion that it is never necessary even if you disagree with an article or particular points raised in it, to ever attack a writer directly.

    Let us rather support each other as stylists + writers.


  13. p.s I meant to also say...

    I am a bit perturbed by this burgeoning culture of follow the leader.

    I have just re-read a lot of the comments and a few just seem to be agreeing blindly without real rhyme or reason.

    I am suprised that none of the prior commenters other than Mademoiselle Robot herself and myself pointed out that the shooting of someone quite directly because of an article they have written was not needed.

    Finally I think the gown on Catherine Bigelow(super proud of her for being that all important first!) was such a shame as she is a gorgeous woman but honestly as a celeb personal stylist, the gown did nothing what so ever for her colouring or figure.

    Personally I was completely left feeling blah by the Oscar style. Some of the gowns never should have made the redcarpet at all. In those specific cases, the stylists unfortunately failed their clients.

    Kisses & Thanks,

  14. Madame Robot & Marian - well as a stylist myself I felt perfectly happy with my decision to say that I found it offensive that Laetitia quite clearly stated

    "Perhaps when stylists no longer rule the red carpet we will see a little more individuality and personality shining through."

    I think I was well within the rights of league of defending stylists. I found this a throwaway unacceptable remark by a journalist. If you both think it is ok to damn stylists in this way then fine. And equally as a writer, I was taught the first rule of journalism is develop a thick skin. I also did not call her names I merely unpicked her closing statement regarding stylists ruling the red carpet and making actresses look bland as if they have no personality or individual thoughts (One of my actress friends swears she has no personality hence why she needs characters)

    But the reality is her view is that, without stylists being involved actresses will be better dressed going down the red carpet and the blandness is all the fault of stylists.

    I'm sure that neither of you meant that you thought I was attacking - as attacking seems a strong word when applied to my response which I thought was defensive of the hard working stylist. But I bloody well was saying that what Laetitia had written was ridiculous. Of course there is a lot of behind the scenes issues and world politics to think about but don't blame the stylist for negotiating this thankless minefield and task.

    Before Stylists, the film company costume design department fulfilled the role of dressing the stars. Actresses have never just rock up with no help to anyone's knowledge and I should know I have an MA in this. Fine for a journalist to say whatever they like but don't expect readers to be dumb and always anticipate they might be better informed than yourself. Also journalists have a long history of repost to boot as well.

    Marian I completely respect your work, your sense of self and think you are wonderful and I respect your point of view and defence. You remain as lovely as ever.

    Madame Robot - I really don't know you so you probably don't know me or my background or my personality. I'm an ex fashion assistant (Elle magazine), worked in PR & Marketing for years to earn more money and was enticed back to styling. I've recently completed an MA in fashion & film at LCF. I still work part time as a stylist but work more within the film industry. I wasn't attacking I meant what I said. It was an ill judged written remark and it annoyed me. Stylists don't need a fashion writer to say their dressing of actresses are bland. If you knew me you and we had a nice chat over a lovely cup of tea - you'd realise that I'm never gone to think before I open my mouth and actually if I did think before spouting it would be a lot, lot worse because by then my dyslexic head would have sorted out a more caustic and precise argument.

    But ...I still wonder if anyone understood what I was saying and why anyway!

  15. I thought that Maggie looked lovely--I usually dislike her red-carpet choices. I think that it was the strong print and the simple style that worked for her.

    I also see that lots of commenters liked Cameron Diaz's dress, but I didn't think that it suited her. It was too traditional for her, as was her pretty, soft hair. I like Cameron with an edge.

  16. I think M. Robot is being a big baby here. Anything one writes for public consumption is open to criticism. If someone thinks your position - or even writing style - is idiotic, so what? Why do you feel your opinions are sacrosanct? Why must everyone agree with you?

    I don't think Make Do "attacked" the writer. She merely attacked the written opinion. If that's too much to handle, the writer should just keep a private journal.

  17. So I take it Mademoiselle Robot that you are actually Laetitia Wajnape, is that right? I think that Make Do Style made a perfectly valid point - she is both a stylist and a writer herself so she knows of what she speaks.
    You put your words out there for us, the public, to think about not accept uncritically.

  18. I am perfectly fine with people disagreeing with me, that's not the issue.
    And the same way Kate is allowed to disagree with me, I am entitled to explain when I think somebody didn't understand what I wrote.

    Just sayin' as you all seem to be having a field day brandishing clichés at me about thick skin and being a big baby.

  19. I thought your post was really interesting until I reached the comment section. Even though I believe in complete freedom of speech, I think the whole outcry because Laetitia/Mademoiselle Robot dared to answer is completely useless and a bit childish.

    Reading all the comments, I was struck by how "I am a stylist" is used as an answer per se, the fact that you're a stylist doesn't make you or anyone else faultless.

    It feels like Laetitia, being a journalist, should be ready to be critized without the right to answer. Seems a bit unfair. Freedom of speech should work in both directions or am I just being naive? Disagree doesn't allow you to be rude.

    "Stylists don't need a fashion writer to say their dressing of actresses are bland."
    #1 She didn't write this, that's your interpretation.
    #2 It feels like stylists are superior to fashion writers or is that just my interpretation?

    One last thing (fully using my right to express myself if you don't mind)
    @ Sister Wolf
    "I think M. Robot is being a big baby here." Is that supposed to be an argument? If so, I think YOU are being a big baby.

  20. It might be more worthwhile celebrating the fact that Kathryn Bigelow is the first woman to win an Oscar for best director, regardless of what she is wearing (I realise that this is the right place to discuss that - I promise - I'm not a crusing troll) than everyone just picking each writer's motives and opinions to pieces. It just feels like two steps forward, one step back. Sorry, and Love, Over-sensitive-anonymous-new-wave-feminist xxxx

  21. It might be more worthwhile celebrating the fact that Kathryn Bigelow is the first woman to win an Oscar for best director, regardless of what she is wearing (I realise that this is the right place to discuss that - I promise - I'm not a crusing troll) than everyone just picking each writer's motives and opinions to pieces. It just feels like two steps forward, one step back. Sorry, and Love, Over-sensitive-anonymous-new-wave-feminist xxxx

  22. it's quite funny this post was written without you knowing that Laetitia is an internationally renowned stylist herself. It's easy to attack a journo. And why not wade in to defend an entire profession? Well, because she is part of that profession (with a talent for writing) and is better placed to comment on the world of styling than most people, so was logically, a natural choice for this item. Hence why the BBC chose her. They had done their homework. Though well done on getting your hits up (controversy always works), though maybe next time a bit of research from your end would not go amiss?

  23. I actually really liked Mulligan's dress: quirky & classic all at once. Many of the dresses were a little dull for me, but I presumed there was a lit ofmoney at work & houses paid actresses to wear their gowns as they do to sit front row! Well, payment or other pressures. Otherwise, why would so many wear Marchesa..? Couldn't have anything to do with the Weinstein connection, could it?!

  24. N.T. - I'm actually ok with anyone writing what they want and am loathed to call anyone rude but firstly you have been very rude to me whilst I was not rude to anyone merely unpicking a sentence which was "Perhaps when stylists no longer rule the red carpet we will see a little more individuality and personality shining through."

    I read it as I explained in my post. I still see it in exactly the same way. It says what it says.

    That I had no idea who Laetitia was or that she and Mademoiselle Robot is a fact.

    I didn't attack a person I critically analysed a piece of writing. If you want to get the gist of personal attacks then I refer you to Julie Burchill and Camille Paglia fax gate for that.

    It is fine to support an alternative view and I completely understand that Mademoiselle Robot didn't like the way I read her writing. She hasn't been rude unlike you.

  25. I'm afraid I have to agree with Laetitia, the Oscars were quite disappointing this year. Much as I love Maggie Gylenhall I don't love the dress. It's nice but it isn't wow. SJP's dress does nothing for her, the colour is draining and the cut reminds me of a potato sack. Kathyrn Bigelow's dress looks dated and quite boring. To me Zoe Saldana was the only one who really stood out. Her dress quite simply has the wow factor, which is what I personally expect from the oscars.

  26. Ada - If you will go back and read M.Robots first comment, she accused Make Do of attacking her. It's right there written in English. This is what we call "being a big baby." It's a technical term.

  27. Anon - the post was not about the oscar dressers or agreeing/diagreeing with anyone's views on the dresses. That is always purely subjective and not up for discussion ever. The point of the post was to discuss the validity of who dressed actresses.

  28. We read the sentence as you did if that helps. It does say backwards actress personalities would be more prominent if the red carpet choices were not dominated by stylists. As we say 'nuff said'

  29. Hmm... won't wade into the specific disagreement that's taken place here! But my two cents: I was disappointed by the array of dresses this year. Part of me recognises that the Oscars isn't just a big party, it's an industry event and the chosen dress will reflect on an actress professionally as well as personally. Little wonder that they choose to hire stylists who know what they're doing, I can't blame them.

    I would like to see a few actresses willing and able to step out to a major event in a look entirely of their own choosing - equally I would like to see more variety and originality on the red carpet, whether it comes from a stylist or any other source. I'm not talking about eliminating stylists from the game - unrealistic as it is, I just wonder what it would be like if the whole fashion/Oscars parade was less obviously managed. Designers rely on the custom stylists bring them, and it's well recognised now that it is a transaction. And I can't see it as a terrible thing actually. If we are so troubled by what actresses are wearing in a sphere like the Oscars, perhaps we are emotionally investing a little much in the celebrity of it all anyway.

  30. Charponnaise - wade in everyone else has! I think 2007 was the peek on the red carpet and since then the economy, Haiti and other issues have impacted on the showiness of the Oscars. Of course designers love to influence what is worn but they can be quite selective on who wears what too.

    I never have much of an opinion in best/worst dress as it is all subjective but as a stylist I often think 'oh I wouldn't have put so and so in that.' I was really only concerned with stylist being cascaded for ruling the red carpet.

    Cher is a good example of someone who did what she wanted at the Oscars and yes you've got to lover her for it!

  31. I gotta say...I think Zoe did a bang up job with Demi. Her nude ruffled AV number was heavenly!

  32. You all need a reality check. You're having a virtual argument about something so superficial. There are bigger issues to be thinking about rather than wasting time having petty arguments about who said what and why. Stop thinking you are all so self-important. It's very easy to call yourself a 'stylist' online, you can be anything you want to be online. Judging by your blogs that vocation is an impossibility. I would be happier being dressed by my blind dog than by any of you.

  33. Why do pricks always sign in as Anonymous? I am talking about the last Anonymous, not to slate all the other Anony-mice? in this argument. Hello, you are reading a fashion blog, if you do that just to feel superior to the rest of the human race, don't bother wasting good gigabytes commenting.

    Personally Kate: while I agree that the first journalist quoted is behaving like a big baby in responding to your critique in that way;

    (And Big Baby Robot/Laetitia - you got off lightly. Go and read Sister Wolf's own blog if you want a taste of what she could have called you)

    I would like to see the nominees dress themselves, just for the carnivale aspect of it. Imagine an Oscars night filled with Celine in her back to front jacket dress, Lizzie from "Priscilla" in her Amex gown, Helena Bonham-Carter as a bag lady, Cher in her.....WTF and so on.

    But as your actress friend will tell you, many of the nominees on the night would be lost without a "costume" as they pour so much of their energy into playing a role; in their down time they don't have the energy to learn what suits them, as they prepare to take on their next role.

    After that we might be happy with a soothingly styled and reflective of the times Oscar night. I don't like the idea that the night is being manipulated by commerce though. It would be nicer if the Stylists could be lead by the Actresses as to what and who they liked, rather than who paid what. Are they not rich enough?

    When you bring that into the equation then it all becomes like a huge advertisement. And that is a real bore.

    oh and Anonymous Prick?
    Many of us are concerned with hugely draining issues like autistic kids, health worries, the loss of a loved one to suicide.

    Which is why we like to read Fashion blogs.

    Keep writing and styling Kate xx


Thank you for commenting, much appreciated. Sorry about no longer offering anonymous comments but spamming had become a very annoying issue. xxx