Looking at some photos from a recent red-carpet event the other night with a friend, I couldn’t help but think what a bummer it has all become. You can’t tell the women apart—there’s a stream of bland red-carpet editions of them. That same night, after my friend had browsed through these images, showing me the highlights, we watched some old episodes of Cher together. Dressed in Bob Mackie, Cher moved in a golden hue of dazzling, formfitting style unique to her.
I miss the days before actresses hired stylists, when women dressed themselves for formal events. There was personality, style— and mistakes. I loved Cannes in the ’70s, when there was a mix of European glamour, Hollywood, and hippies: Nastassja Kinski in a cotton dress with flowers in her hair. Wearing a kimono jacket could pass as black tie.
Now everyone looks the same, with perfect grooming, gowns, and brand-new jewelry, as they parade a catalog of luxury items. It’s disappointing that actresses are expected to hire a stylist along with an agent and manager. Not only do they have to be good actresses, they are also all expected to be fashion icons.
When Anjelica Huston needed a dress for the 1986 Academy Awards, she enlisted the costume designer Tzetzi Ganev to make her one. Ganev agreed on the condition that Huston bring her the fabric. In her memoir, Watch Me, Huston writes about going shopping at International Silks & Woolens, and settling on the