Its that magical time of year again when awards season and fashion week strike at the same time. And while some people I know host Oscar-themed parties with their friends where they stuff their faces and stay up all night, red carpet fashion has held little to no interest to me over the years, except for that one time when Olivia Wilde wore a stunning Marchesa which went on to inspire my wedding dress.
As horribly cliché as it may be, the only time I’ve actually stayed up to watch the Oscars was when a close friend was attending as the official makeup artist for a film, and I was hoping to catch a glimpse of her.
Besides that, as someone who works in, is consumed by and largely driven by fashion, it almost seems taboo to say out loud that I honestly believe red carpet fashion is completely irrelevant. There is nothing about the months of starvation and extreme exercise or the hours of professional primping and preening all to appear in an almost always uncomfortable looking dress the price of a small house, which the celebrity’s stylist (who she’s had to hire as she probably has no sartorial sensibilities of her own) no doubt ‘borrowed’ from the designer, or got for free.
There’s nothing achievable, aspirational or even remotely realistic about it, and I, personally, find it quite difficult to relate to. If it were up to me, my money would always be on something more down-to-earth for the win. Something I can actually buy after paying for all-too-real expenses like rent, bills and the overpriced dog walker I can barely afford. Lets not even get started on how much the dogs’ haircuts cost.
Which is why, I will always turn to street style when my eyes are hungry for a fashion feast. The women photographed outside these shows all work hard, have full-time jobs, bills and rent to pay. They are serious journalists and influencers who do more than attend the shows, but actually write, report and have opinions on the sights they see and information they absorb and dispense. They have realistic concerns like picking shoes that are comfortable to be able to walk and stand around between shows, hair being ruined while they do it day after day and spots popping up on their faces due to stress and lack of sleep, without the comfort of a facialist or a makeup artist on retainer.
More importantly, their unique sense of style is entirely their own. They mix Zara with vintage and high end pieces that are still aspirational and within reach (read: not couture gowns). They’re always dressed in the latest trends but still manage to look achievably glam in looks we an easily replicate to elevate our own wardrobes with a piece or two from the high street.
Some might argue that sometimes, these editors and influencers are paid to wear or sent designer handbags and outfits, specifically to be photographed in them outside the shows. Which I don’t really see as a bad thing. Ultimately, its their style sensibilities that are putting together a look with the designer pieces thrown in. Also, its important to acknowledge the fact that influencers are businesswomen and journalists who have worked very hard to establish themselves and for their voices and opinions on fashion to be taken seriously. Given a choice, I’d always believe trust the opinion of someone who actually works in the industry and knows what she is talking about over a celebrity who dogmatically wears / carries a designer item just because her PR person thinks it is a ‘good move’.
They say ‘city streets are the real runways’. And let’s face facts, at the end of the day, its the edgy, out-there, I-wish-I’d-thought-of-that styling of basic day-to-day looks from street style shots that are littering the ‘fashion’ or ‘my style’ boards of your Pinterest page. Not the long, feathery, glittery, sheer, totally unattainable couture pieces you see the likes of Hollywood barely being able to walk in on the red carpet. Those dresses are beautiful to look at and appreciate, yes. But that’s really just as far as they go, unless you want to display them in a museum. To me, they seem uni-dimensional, uni-faceted and un-interpretable in any way to the average woman.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject. Share them with me in the comment box below or via social media. I’m @MascaraEverySaturday on Facebook and Instagram and @MascaraEverySat on Twitter.