In fact, I do Hunger Games a disservice. Most of these monstrosities would have been thrown off set for dragging the futuristic franchise’s stylists into disrepute – only to then re-appear as extras on The Walking Dead. Prompting the obvious question: what is wrong with these people? They’re fabulously rich and successful, adored by millions, and able to hire the finest experts on the planet to guide them through any sartorial minefield.
Yet each year, on the biggest date in the fashion calendar, they spend tens of thousands of dollars morphing themselves into catastrophically ill-judged clothes horses joined by one common quality: excruciatingly bad taste. This year’s red carpet was so bad it was breath-taking.
Literally. I could barely catch a breath through snorting with laughter so violently. One leading offender was Katy Perry, a beautiful woman with huge talent. Last night she turned into the bride of Frankenstein with a dash of Darth Vader. Her head was clamped with the kind of stuff you normally only see in a Texas execution chamber shortly before a mass murderer gets fried alive. The dress, if it can legitimately be called that, resembled a massively oversized red burka.
The split-toed boots, a pair of crimson hooves. ‘But they’re all talking about me!’ Ms Perry will doubtless be consoling herself this morning. Yes, Katy, but we’re all talking about Kim Jong-un too and it’s not because we like his haircut. ‘The joy of dressing is an art,’ her outfit’s designer, John Galliano, once famously opined.
No, sir. The joy of dressing comes from people looking at your dress and thinking ‘WOW’ not ‘WTF?’ Fortunately for Katy Perry, she was by no means the worst offender.
Pharrell Williams is a great guy, and I’m sure his wife Helen Lasichanh is lovely too. She gave birth to their triplets earlier this year, and deserves huge credit for getting out at all under the circumstances. But the gigantic, padded, hideously unflattering scarlet armless onesie she wore made it look she was hiding all three of them inside. ‘There should be no boundaries,’ Pharrell has said about fashion. I fear we now know for a fact there should.
Rihanna looked like she’d just fallen into a flower-bed and emerged splattered in random roses, hydrangeas and rhododendrons. Lily Aldridge sported a purple mesh veil so thin it was if she’d dipped her face in a bowl of pale beetroot puree. Cara Delevingne came as a tube of tin foil.
Elizabeth Banks as a psychedelic chequers board. Solange Knowles as a baggy bin-liner, complete with inflatable pool mattress. Some barely worried about clothes at all: Kendall Jenner wore a barely visible fishnet thong, Bella Hadid a body stocking and Nicki Minaj mimicked an S&M dominatrix. Others adopted an animal theme: Julianne Moore, an ostrich. Zendaya, a giant parrot-encrusted curtain. Donatella Versace, a shiny canary.
As for Chrissy Teigen, she looked like someone had blown large globules of cocaine all over her. Or as NY Mag put it: ‘A blizzard of confusion.’ I can’t even be bothered to mention what Kim ‘I’m not materialistic anymore’ Kardashian wore because it was so dull nobody cared.
And then there was Madonna, wrapped in camouflage tarpaulin after presumably getting lost in an army surplus store. She thought it screamed ‘BRAVE SOLDIER’, I thought it screamed ‘$100 if you want me to beat you up too, but I’ll take $80 for cash.’ The dress wasn’t even her worst atrocity.
Madonna opened her mouth to flash a jewel-encrusted grill filling out her mouth like a seaweed-spotted gum shield. This is a fashion item most teenagers would reject when they reach 17 on the grounds it would expose them to social media humiliation from their friends.
Madonna is now 57 and tragically, knows no such shame. ‘Ready butches!’ she tweeted, along with five gun emjois. It was entirely accurate: she looked horrifically butch and shot herself repeatedly in the style foot. I’m only glad she had a survival flask with her. Her status as any kind of fashion symbol will need one after this.
Now, before the inevitable cries of ‘SEXIST!’ that follow any kind of criticism of the way famous women dress or behave in this brave new PC-crazed world of ours – a rule that never applies the other way round, I’ve noticed – let me say that the men were just as bad. Dakota Johnson’s be-skirted male date was Austin Powers meets Caitlyn Jenner on an acid trip. Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs resembled a strobe-lit spider web.
And one of the Winklevoss twins looked like somebody had puked on him after eating too much multi-coloured candy. By the end of it all, I felt emotionally drained. The very joy of life sucked out of me by this endless procession of train wreck outfits. I come from perhaps an old-fashioned school of thought that thinks fashion, GOOD fashion, should at the very least be pleasing on the eye. ‘Fashion fades, only style remains the same,’ said Coco Chanel.
She was so right. The problem is you can’t buy a good personal sense of style. I know women who are multi-millionaires but can’t dress themselves well for love nor the oodles of money nestling in their massive bank accounts. Conversely, I know women with very little money who have an instinctive in-built style that means they always look fabulous.
None of the latter would be seen dead in any of the ridiculous garb we saw last night. Nor would any of the truly great beauties of all time. Sophia Loren, whose every pore has always exuded pure glamour, said: ‘A woman’s dress should be like a barbed-wire fence; serving its purpose without obstructing the view.’ Last night, there was a desperate race to obstruct the view… with barbed wire.
The only outfit I genuinely liked was Priyanka Chopra’s daring trench-coat, though I’d have cut the train off. Otherwise, it was all a fashion fiasco of epic proportions. Why? Because none of these stars has anyone around them in their sycophantic entourage who is courageous enough to risk a big salary, look the pampered, cossetted, arrogant boss in the eye and say the words: ‘No, you can’t possibly wear that.
Don’t be so ******* absurd!’ As a result, their preposterously over-sized egos career them down the red carpet towards instant global ignominy. Vogue magazine said this morning that the fashion on display last night was ‘wonderfully dichotomous’. In other words, it divided into two parts. I agree: it was awful, and bloody awful. If that truly is the ‘pinnacle of iconic style’, then I’m an Aardvark.