Did social distancing leave ninety nine per cent of the actresses at the BAFTA TV Awards last night unable to consult a stylist? Or was the dress code: Half an Hour to Shop at New Look? I got a migraine just watching it.
Was Stacey Dooley’s partner giving her advice on what to wear, for when she got home? The red carpet was a sea of flat chests and fat legs. Many of the looks appeared as if they’d been pulled from the Final Reduction section of TK Maxx, or a dressing up box.
Jody Comer almost got it right, but for god’s sake woman, get a pedicure! How I longed to see her again in the kind of structured dress she’d worn in 2019 alongside Phoebe Waller-Bridge, unforgettable in that textbook, elegant cyan caped gown. There were a couple of other near-misses. Billy Piper – who made a classic black ballgown work if not majestically but semi-regally in 2019, wore Moschino (which isn’t the go-to for red carpet dressing, more one for the after party) that could have worked, with tights, bubblegum pink Miu Miu heels or statement boots, but perhaps wasn’t envisaged in the heat during the froideur of wintry lockdown and, forgetting the fashion mantra of “you have to suffer to be beautiful” she decided, “Oh, hang it, I’ll just go bare-legged and whack on a pair of black stilettos instead.” BIG MISTAKE.
It’s not difficult to dress well. Valentino has built an empire on ceremony dresses. Granted, high octane frock supplies aren’t generous (is anything, these days?) in 2021 – Valentino’s limited and Lanvin lacks. Most of today’s actresses are as likely to touch Marchesa as Harvey Weinstein to invite a budding starlet to an open plan office; but Alexander McQueen produced some solid gowns this year, Needle and Thread provides an affordable alternative to couture, Rosario is accessible, and Ralph and Russo and Oscar de la Renta two design houses, forever fabulous, who will never, ever, ever chase the Athleisurewear dollar.
I’ve mixed feelings on the sartorial choice of one of our leading talents and best-loved personalities, Michaela Cole. They say that past a certain age a woman has to choose between her face and derriere. At any age a woman has to choose just one area of her body to expose when dressing formally. I can never forget the vision of that sculpted hair or dramatic, backless dress out of my mind. Nor, alas, her breasts.
Next time, perhaps the ladies should follow the tried and tested approach by the men, who almost ubiquitously got their looks right this year: classic, well cut and bespoke never fails for black tie. One imagines a frothy, tangerine-tinted sigh of relief from those stars who didn’t win, as their fashion faux pas weren’t recorded for posterity. I, and the umpteen million who bore witness to the sartorial car crash, will, alas, be haunted by their wardrobe choices forever.