It’s been nearly a year since the pandemic began, and you’d have thought the designers, TV networks, and stylists who rely on the pageantry of award shows would have figured out a good red-carpet substitute by now. But at Sunday night’s Golden Globes, with a hybrid ceremony that featured most presenters and hosts onstage in person but most attendees streaming video from home, there was no central clearinghouse for fashion imagery. Video streams were grainy. Most outfits were only visible above the belly-button. If you wanted to capture a gown for posterity, you had to take a screenshot.
Those of us who prefer awards-show fashion to awards shows themselves can thank our lucky stars, and those stars’ publicists, for the nominees who had the wherewithal to take and post their own at-home photos. (If you wore couture and didn’t serve looks for a professional photographer, did it even happen?) In a year that’s found lovers of formalwear scrounging for scraps, the pandemic Golden Globes offered precious little sustenance. What follows is an appreciation of the few outfits we actually got to see.
Hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, both known for wearing pants and jumpsuits to awards shows, went the opposite route this year: No pants, just jackets-as-minidresses. Fey started out the show in an oversized tuxedo blazer, and Poehler in a slick, sequined military-inspired jacket.
Keke Palmer showed off for InStyle’s virtual faux elevator (the most promising red-carpet substitute of the evening) in a Dior paisley and floral two-piece, cut like a conservative bikini with a high-cut waist and low-cut legs. Carrying a serpentine staff, she looked positively regal.
Angela Basset was a vision in violet, adorned in ostrich feathers. She presented in person, but it would have been perfect at-home wear: an upscale version of a marabou-lined dressing gown.
Kaley Cuoco, of The Flight Attendant, wore a heavenly Oscar de la Renta gown. Its elegant silhouette was cheekified by abundant sewn-on silver stars, like fireworks down her skirt.
The lack of red-carpet crowds was a blessing for Cynthia Erivo, who would have cleared a path in her highlighter-green Valentino dress. Made of mesh with puffed seams, an unyielding shape, and the thick hug of neoprene, the wide-hemmed gown was a built-in social distancer.
Eiza Gonzalez, of Netflix’s I Care A Lot, wore a simple but striking Versace gown, whose metallic accents on the neckline and breastlines gave it an almost two-dimensional look. More importantly, she wore black pantyhose with open-toed sandals. Let’s bring that back!
The award for the pair we’d have most liked to see in person together goes to Leslie Odom Jr. and Dan Levy, who both sported two-tone Valentino suits and platforms in the comfort of their own homes or hotel rooms or whatever. Levy went for a springy, sunflowery yellow, while Odom Jr. went for mauve and a seafoam turtleneck, topped off by meticulous facial hair and cornrows.
Margot Robbie brought the 1999 dELiA*s catalogue back (via Chanel) with a casual, ruched ‘n’ ruffled ditsy floral print.
Elle Fanning, nominated for The Great, evoked palatial vibes in aquamarine custom Gucci, draped in jewels, with crisscross seams that were quite obviously sewn to her precise proportions.
Tiffany Haddish shone in multi-hued metallic body armor with links modeled in the shape of Cracklin’ Oat Bran bits. In a captivating twist, the dress looked impermeable, but revealed itself to be sheer when the light shone through it as Haddish walked across the stage.
The evening’s most creative twist on classic textiles and silhouettes was worn by Andra Day, of The United States vs. Billie Holiday. Her Chanel gown featured a drop waist, oodles of tulle, and a bodice that looked yarn-bombed.
Amanda Seyfried and Jane Levy went with zoomed-in looks: Seyfried in coral faux florals that draped across her back like a massive lei, and Levy in large-format eyelet.
Bridgerton’s Nicola Coughlan could have stepped directly out of the show in her butter-yellow gown, gathered at the waist in what looked like whimsical tassels of tulle that swung to and fro as she moved. Lest it look too stuffy, Coughlan styled it with shocking red eye makeup and a cardigan.
I’ll end this post with one terrible screenshot, because Regina King’s look deserves to be seen. She knew it, too! When King spoke with host Karamo Brown during E!’s pre-show, she stood several feet back from her camera, avoiding the pitfalls of the typical video call’s portrait framing. Her Louis Vuitton dress looked like a set of nesting dolls, with a silver gown tucked inside a black one. Both were worth a better showing than they got.