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Fashion

Op-Ed: The Best Celebrity Red Carpet Looks Of 2016

We pay tribute to the most memorable moments on the red carpet before the year ends.

(One of) the finest red carpet moments: Michelle Obama


As always, the First Lady tries to pay homage to whichever country the state dinner is honouring and for her final state dinner for Italy, she chose to go with Atelier Versace, the haute couture arm of the Italian house. Not only is the rose-gold hue really complementary to her skin tone, the form-fitting silhouette also showcased Michelle’s famously athletic figure in the best possible light.

While it is not my personal favourite Michelle Obama state dinner moment (the hairstyle she sported here could have been better and I prefer the red Alexander Mcqueen at her state dinner for China), this Atelier Versace does make for an extremely glamorous swansong.

Like so many others have noted, although she will eventually and inevitably have to leave the White House, she’s going out with a bang. For anyone who is even remotely interested in fashion, Michelle Obama as First Lady has been a godsend.

Back in top form: Nicole Kidman


The reigning film queen of the 2000s, Nicole Kidman has always had this superstar aura about her – I will probably always associate her with being the face of Chanel No.5. Her patrician features lend themselves well to Kidman’s modus operandi – classic black-tie glamour, and this was best exemplified with the Armani Prive she wore to the London Film Festival for the premiere of her latest film, Lion. Black isn’t my favourite colour, but when it’s done so tastefully, I can’t help but admire it on Nicole.

Best dressed at the Met Gala 2016: Zendaya

Let's start from the beginning….leaving the hotel

A photo posted by Zendaya (@zendaya) on


Let’s just admit it – this year’s Met Gala was really watered down compared to last year’s China theme and it’s not just because Rihanna didn’t show up this year (her yellow Guo Pei cape-gown still haunts me).

In case you’ve forgotten, this year’s theme was Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology, and of course at least half the guests came in some form of silver metallics. Take Zayn Malik‘s suit with the plated armour – I applaud the effort but it was just a little too literal.

IMO, Zendaya is really one to watch out for – if there’s a modus operandi to the 20-year-old Disney actress, it’s unpredictability. Like Rihanna, you never know what Zendaya’s going to wear, and that’s what makes her very exciting to watch.

For the Met Gala, she was a futuristic Cleopatra in liquid gold Michael Kors Collection. While the texture of the gown is certainly a nod to the theme, it’s really Zendaya’s super sleek bowl-cut hairdo that sealed the deal between a literal interpretation and injecting a personal touch to the theme.

Best mannish moment: Charlize Theron


I love that Charlize Theron bucked the trend of big fancy gowns – a staple at Cannes, only the world’s most glamorous film festival. While pantsuits are having a huge moment with celebrities right now, I don’t think anyone really quite channeled classic YSL Le Smoking as spot-on as Charlize did.

All the hallmarks are there – the artfully unbuttoned white shirt, razor-sharp tailoring, slicked back hair. Sometimes, it’s really down to the celebrity’s own charisma to really pull off a look, and the Mad Max actress has it in spades.

Best under-the-radar couture label: Schiaparelli

Golden! #ClaireDanes #BTS #emmys2016 Make up: @itsmatin Hair: @peterbutlerhair

A photo posted by Petra Flannery (@petraflannery) on

It may not be a household name to most, but the woman who founded the house, Elsa Schiaparelli, was a fashion force to be reckoned with in the 1930s, where she even rivalled Coco Chanel herself at her peak.

Schiaparelli was known for her Surrealist-influenced whimsy – think shoes fashioned from hats and dresses dominated by gigantic lobsters. The house was revived three years ago and it’s been quietly and successfully making waves on the red carpet, as seen with Nicole Kidman, Jaime King, Claire Danes and Tilda Swinton here.

Best use of colour: Lupita Nyong’o


Lupita Nyong’o was 2014’s most promising break-out star (for 12 Years A Slave), and she returns triumphantly for her Queen of Katwe promo tour. And what a joy it’s been to have her back on the red carpet. Her vibrant canary yellow Carolina Herrera dress alone would land her on any best-of-year list, but it’s really the headwraps that distinguishes her from all her peers.

Nyong’o is known for her love of colours, and the headwraps are a fitting tribute to her African ancestry and to the theme of her latest film.

Best street style meets high fashion: Rihanna


Three words: Rihanna. Killed. It. Who else could make a 5-digit fur coat look so casual yet so perfect all at once? Sure, some bold industry insiders like Anna Dello Russo might have also worn it but in that typical fashion-y way. Rihanna, however, made it look like she was born with it.

Biggest Gucci fan: Jared Leto


Jared Leto is a hardcore Gucci fan (he’s friends with the brand’s creative director, Alessandro Michele) but beyond that, it really takes a very bold celebrity to pull off the Gucci menswear head to toe. For successfully doing so, the Suicide Squad actor is my vote for the most stylish man of the year.

Biggest Gucci fan, part II: Cate Blanchett


Where would any best dressed list be without Cate Blanchett? The Carol actress was the first celeb to turn up in Gucci’s Spring 2017 collection, and while admittedly her recent looks have been a bit blah (by her standards), this queenly number sees a welcomed return to form. Any other mortal who attempt to pull this look off would most likely looked clownish – but not Queen Cate of course.

Best use of vintage: Amal Clooney


How is it that a lawyer looks more glamorous than most movie stars? Amal Clooney may be an important human rights lawyer/activist by day (and George Clooney’s wife) but by night, she outshines most celebrities when it comes to dressing.

Of course, it helps that she has the height and charisma but the girl has taste as well, as evidenced with this vintage sequinned Yves Saint Laurent number with a tulle overlay. Sometimes life isn’t fair.

 

Main images: @fashion_critic_ and @zendaya Instagram 

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