At the Golden Globes, a Relaxed Return to the Red Carpet
“It never rains in LA — except on the Golden Globes,” quipped stylist Ilaria Urbinati a few hours before the 80th Golden Globe awards commenced on Tuesday evening.
However this year, the torrential downpour that descended on Los Angeles struck a stark contrast to the sentiment surrounding the actual event, which according to industry insiders, had been uncharacteristically calm compared to awards seasons past, with fewer pre-show events. The fact that the show aired on a Tuesday rather than its usual Sunday time slot also contributed to the more low-key energy.
Urbinati, who had five nominated clients including Donald Glover, Adam Scott and Diego Calva, added that the relaxed nature of the lead-up to this year’s awards allowed her to focus solely on the clothes. That comes after a two-year red carpet hiatus for the Golden Globes: Last year’s ceremony was cancelled due to controversy around a lack of diversity at the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the Golden Globes’ governing body and host, and Covid-19 kept the ceremony virtual in 2021.
The less hectic run-up certainly came through in the creative, joyful and fashion-heavy ensembles seen on the red carpet. Sequins as well as anything bright and reflective was the overwhelming trend of the evening, including Sheryl Lee Ralph in shimmering purple Aliétte, Angela Bassett in a high-neck, silver-sequined Pamella Roland gown and Jessica Chastain in an Oscar de la Renta gown adorned with a sparkling silver crystal and sequin spider web-like design.
When it came to designers, Margot Robbie shut down rumours that her relationship with Chanel is over, stepping out in a pink custom Chanel Couture sequin halter neck gown. Dolce and Gabbana continued its consistent presence on the red carpet, dressing Niecy Nash and Jennifer Coolidge, who took home a trophy for her role in “The White Lotus” and gave the Italian house while presenting. Louis Vuitton created custom looks for nominee Barry Keoghan, who wore a powder blue tuxedo, and Ana de Armas, who wore a black strapless crystal encrusted gown.
Gucci dressed several women including “Wednesday” actress Jenna Ortega who wore a floaty taupe gown with cut-outs, Michelle Williams in a white pleated ruffled dress and trophy winner Julia Garner in a candy pink number with a crystal-detailed bodice. Armani, which usually has a large presence on award show carpets, dressed noticeably fewer celebrities this year, though Michelle Yeoh, who won the award for best actress in a comedy/musical, wore a deep blue strapless sequin Armani Privé gown.
Men took more fashion risks than in years past. In addition to Keoghan, Seth Rogen wore a Pepto-pink monochromatic tuxedo and Eddie Redmayne sported a chocolate brown Valentino tuxedo with an oversized sculpted silk rose on the lapel. Glover wore a white YSL robe beneath a black tuxedo jacket citing “comfort” as his priority for the evening.
It was a fitting return for the Globes, which are known for their party atmosphere and historically have struck an upbeat and optimistic tone with looks that teeter into editorial territory. Consider the black Lanvin pantsuit with strapless bodice covered in silver beads worn by Emma Stone in 2015, Lady Gaga in voluminous periwinkle Valentino or Cynthia Erivo turning out in a structured neon green Valentino gown in 2021.
While the Golden Globes may pale in comparison to the Oscars in terms of viewership and prestige, its red carpet has long been a platform for both burgeoning and established celebrity style stars to cement their status in the eyes of the public, as well as for fashion houses to scout their next campaign star. Zendaya and Jennifer Lawrence, for example, both nabbed major fashion contracts swiftly after proving their chops on the red carpet.
In 2018, the Globes’ red carpet also became a stage for activism when the majority of female attendees including A-list actresses Reese Witherspoon, Issa Rae, Amy Poehler, Tracee Ellis Ross and Michelle Williams wore black in solidarity with Time’s Up and their work combating gender-based discrimination. Several men including Ewan McGregor and host Seth Meyers also showed their support by wearing Time’s Up pins. Actress Connie Britton took a more casual approach, sporting a Lingua Franca sweater that was stitched with the words “Poverty is Sexist.”
Soon after the statement-making red carpet of 2018, the Golden Globes garnered headlines due to allegations of questionable practices and a lack of diversity within the HFPA, which is composed of journalists and photographers for publications outside the US.
The controversy came as the Golden Globes’ viewership was dwindling. Only 6.9 million viewers tuned into 2021′s virtual ceremony, compared to 2020′s 18.4 million, according to Nielsen data. (All award shows, however, have seen viewership declines over the past decade, and saw lower numbers in 2021 for pandemic-hampered ceremonies.) The HFPA’s woes ultimately led NBC to not broadcast the ceremony in 2022, which effectively cancelled the year’s event.
This year, while the Golden Globes are back, it’s something of a cautious return. Though the fashion glittered, events held by brands, publications and movie studios both before and after the ceremony, were dramatically slimmed down.
“We did not have one person going to a party,” said Urbinati. “Which has been so much better because a lot of the stress of awards season is the random parties. Brands don’t get particularly excited about dressing for parties because there is not as much coverage.”
Tu Tran, owner of Lit Agency, a celebrity and VIP PR showroom based in West Hollywood added that he has fielded little to no dressing requests for the parties that have happened in years prior. Tran speculates that the absence of pre- and post-show events is likely a side effect of the backlash.
“People are waiting to see how things pan out,” said Tran. “It’s probably a combination of the first year coming back, and brands saving their budget to see how the show shapes up moving forward.”