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The 2023 Golden Globes: A Fashion Analysis

Following last year’s hiatus, the Golden Globes were back this January with a full-scale spectacle and equally extravagant outfits. In 2022, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, who award the Golden Globes, were accused of racist bias, not having a single Black member out of 87, and various accounts of corruption. This prompted boycotts from celebrities and broadcasters alike, and the show ended up being significantly scaled down and not televised. In the lead up to this year’s event, questions remained over the extent of change enacted within the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and whether some stars would continue their boycott. However, Hollywood’s collective memory seems to be short and selective, and all the big names of the industry gathered at The Beverly Hilton on January 10th as much for the red carpet as for the awards. 

Ever since the first photos were released of Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling on the set of the upcoming Barbie movie, the fashion world has been in Barbiecore frenzy, and if this red carpet is any indication, the trend is here to stay. Margot Robbie, Elizabeth Debicki and Julia Garner all donned pastel pink dresses and Seth Rogan was seen in a salmon pink suit. But Billy Porter, widely acknowledged as the king of red-carpet dressing, stole the show in a bold fuchsia outfit from Christian Siriano, giving a nod to this trend while preventing him from drowning in a sea of baby pink. I found Margot Robbie’s Chanel dress disappointing, especially following some spectacular red carpet looks over the winter (courtesy of Bottega Veneta), which fans had interpreted as a shift towards a bolder style and a definitive move away from the French fashion house. Attempts were clearly made to reference both of her upcoming films (Barbie, through the colour, and Babylon, through the 20s-style tassels), but the result was uninspiring and didn’t do her justice. 

The night was also dominated by jewelled dresses, classic black, and lace looks. Expectations were high for the star of Blonde, Ana de Armas, and she didn’t disappoint in a custom Louis Vuitton black dress, with a handstitched sequin front panel. Paired with minimal jewellery and simple hair and makeup, this was the perfect red carpet look for one of this season’s leading ladies. On the more unsuccessful side of the jewelled dress trend, I personally wasn’t a fan of Jessica Chastain’s Oscar de la Renta dress which featured crystals in a spider web pattern on a nude fabric. It was also worryingly similar to Salma Hayek’s gown on the same night which could’ve led to some red-carpet awkwardness! A standout of the lace dresses was certainly Daisy Edgar-Jones in a black Gucci dress with a lace corset top – possibly in homage to the late Vivienne Westwood. 

As the first of the awards shows of the season, the Golden Globes are the perfect opportunity to dress boldly and make a statement. Stars like Austin Butler (who won the award for Best Actor in a Drama Motion Picture) looked good in classic red-carpet attire, but I can’t help wanting more; especially after last year’s hiatus it felt like something more attention-grabbing was called for. 

Dramatic outlines were therefore a huge hit for me this year. Think Michelle Williams in her one-shouldered Gucci gown with voluminous ruffles. Billy Porter, Percy Hynes-White and Reece Feldman showed that suits don’t have to be dull by playing with the silhouettes and adding skirts. A$AP Rocky and Rhianna caught the tone perfectly by adding some drama to classic Hollywood glamour in their custom Schiaparelli ensemble, which featured velvet gloves and a billowing stole on her part, and diamond accessories for them both.

On the theme of dressing boldly, some of my favourite looks from the night come from those who went against the grain in terms of colour. Anya Taylor-Joy stunned in a bright yellow Dior two-piece, which brought some of the more light-hearted dressing of summer into January. Emma D’Arcy proved that a little can go a long way when it comes to statement colours, with their electric blue gloves and matching hair and makeup brightening up an oversized black suit. Personally, one of the best outfits of the night was Letitia Wright’s white and orange Prada dress, with matching orange heels. The white at the top and base of the gown, and along the slightly ruffled slit, balanced out the deep sunset hues to dazzling effect. Is orange the new pink?

Looking forward to the rest of awards season, I’m hoping for more experimentation with colours and silhouettes. With the industry becoming more diverse and accepting, and actors such as Emma D’Arcy speaking out about gendered acting awards, this should be reflected in the fashion on the red carpet, as stars step out of the dresses/suits binary or fuse the two together. As Golden Globes went ahead with very little discussion of the reasons for last year’s boycott, and it has just been announced that no women are nominated for this year’s Best Director Oscar, I hope that celebrities don’t underestimate the political power of fashion. 

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