There can be 100 people in a room, and if only one person is wearing a $5 million necklace from Tiffany's — does anybody notice? Does that necklace matter?
Well, Lady Gaga (bearer of said necklace) did steal the show at last night's Golden Globes — but for different reasons. And the marketing machine that is the red carpet resumed its usual programming. Her Valentino haute couture gown that resembled her Star Is Born grandmother Judy Garland's periwinkle number went viral on Instagram and Twitter, as did her hair – but fans weren't happy about Mother Monster losing Best Actress, Drama to the legendary Glenn Close, an upset that took most of the conversation away from what she could have worn anyway. Nevertheless, Gaga's look wasn't daring in the slightest; it wasn't the act of revolution we're so accustomed to when it comes to her sartorial choices. Still, it didn't deter us from cheering on her Hollywood ascendance.
But, apart from that, a rare Taylor Swift outing in Atelier Versace, an "embroidered bib" by Virgil Abloh at Louis Vuitton for Timothée Chalamet, and Michelle Yeoh's sporting of the famous Crazy Rich Asians emerald, the 2019 Globes was a hushed night for red carpet style — inside the venue and out, online and off. It was, pardon the pun, just a tad bit shallow.
Last year, red carpets turned black with dozens and dozens of actresses speaking on behalf of the burgeoning Time's Up and #MeToo movements to demand adequate representation for women, equality when it comes to pay, and a stop to sexual harassment and abuse in Hollywood. And, through their efforts — including deliberate, impactful fashion choices — people took them seriously. There was depth to red carpet fashion that award shows and similar events had never seen before. But apparently that ship has sailed, and fashion, last night, was yet again reduced to a supporting role — or bracelets and ribbons, we should say.
Yvonne Strahovski held a ribbon as she walked the carpet and Laura Dern tied one around her purse. Edgar Ramirez donned a bracelet and Regina King's son Ian Alexander, Jr. brought back the black pin from last year. The only noticeable difference between these accessories and last year's is that they were thicker and longer, spelled out "#TimesUpx2" (the second coming of the Time's Up movement), and in smaller numbers. It was Regina King's speech, however, that brought attention to the cause, when she vowed to only produce projects with 50% female cast and crews.
So yes, there were some fashion-able moments from last night. And they weren't for nothing. In terms of context-free, apolitical color trends, nude, silver, and white had their round in the spotlight. And there was a fair share of green, too. There were some repetitive motifs, as well, like ribbons and tulle, and a few pairs of pants. And there was even our first major red carpet appearance of Hedi Slimane's new take on Celine: a white and black number on The Favourite's Rachel Weisz and a gold frock on Bohemian Rhapsody's Lucy Boynton. Perhaps the only form of protest was the noticeable absence of red carpet regulars like Dolce & Gabbana and Marchesa, for reasons very much known.
But anyway, this is fashion we're talking about — and not everything has to mean something. But maybe things would change if they actually did. A spark of hope, however, came in the form of queer fashion. There were several stars last night who forewent the traditional route and made the red carpet more of a runway than a step-and-repeat, like Pose's Billy Porter in a hot pink, custom embroidered Randi Rahm cape, and American Horror Story: Apocalypse star Cody Fern, who wore Mason Martin Margiela Tabi heels with trousers.
Or Judy Greer, whose stylist Karla Welch opted for a black Alberta Ferretti suit — something that the actress has never, in her own awards ceremony repertoire, done. To some, these are just clothes, and they may not have been as overt of discourse as a ribbon, pin, or bracelet — but Greer's suit was daring, and held more weight than the 10-foot train of a couture gown.