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White-hot and still cool

January 16, 2007|Mimi Avins | Times Staff Writer

WHEN enough actresses show up at the Golden Globes wearing pretty, skin-baring black dresses of one sort or another, even an event that is hyped within an inch of its life begins to look like a black-tie affair at a wedding palace in New Jersey. Sure, there was a passel of borrowed bling, the makeup was expertly applied and there were a few more drop-dead beauties than at Tony and Tina's bash, but either real women have successfully adapted red-carpet style or stars are so overexposed that they don't seem to be the celestial beings they once were, even when all spiffed up.

Of course, there are exceptions who still dazzle with overstatement (Beyonce Knowles), others who missed the mark in an epic way (Vanessa Williams) and gowns so beautiful (Cate Blanchett's black lace by Alexander McQueen) that a mall facsimile would be tragic. The black gowns were nearly outnumbered by the pale brigade -- the white, bone and cream gowns, many of them gorgeous. There was Meryl Streep's blush number with a flattering portrait neckline; Kate Winslet's classic white strapless; Emily Blunt's ivory vintage Herve Leger mermaid gown; Ali Lartner's Reem Acra jersey; Ellen Pompeo's Versace and Cameron Diaz's white tiered confection.

Yet, even the best dressed women of the evening weren't compelling enough to keep the mind from wandering. So, a few questions:

1. Do the gowns in unusual colors stand out just because so many others are black or white? Perhaps. But Felicity Huffman's bottle green number with beaded straps would be a stunner in any crowd.

2. How pretty is America Ferrera when she isn't uglified for ABC's "Ugly Betty"? Very, in a royal purple gown designed by Brian Reyes.

3. How cold was it? Hard to tell because so many actresses acted as if they were warm enough despite low necklines and bare arms and backs.

4. Is there any woman classy enough to wear her own jewelry or none at all, thereby avoiding the shameless plug? Yep. Jada Pinkett Smith.

5. How could Helen Mirren look better than she did on "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno" last week? She couldn't. Her sexy bob and dramatic decolletage on Leno were hard to top.

6. Does it take a village to create loosely waved hair that looks the way it does when a California girl strolls on the beach? Probably, but it's worth the effort. Blanchett, Winslet, Huffman, Sheryl Crow, Lartner, Jeanne Tripplehorn and Jennifer Garner trumped all the tortured up-dos and faux falls in the room.

7. Is it all the models' fault? There were a few actresses who looked in need of a force-feeding. Angelina Jolie was on the scary skinny side. She let Brad Pitt do all the talking with reporters on the red carpet. Was she too weak to speak?

8. Did any style trends appear? As predicted, there were a number of metallic gowns -- Sarah Jessica Parker's and Ginnifer Goodwin's bronze Dolce & Gabbana. Dresses with sleeves looked new, and fitted waists nudged empire waistlines into the wings.


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