A performance worth watching

Admiring the dresses gracing the red carpet at this time of year shouldn't be a guilty pleasure.  After all, it's a celebration of extremely powerful, talented, successful women – and it's also an arena where men don't get a look in.


If you found yourself, as I did this month, seriously considering the merits of matching the colour of your Oscars frock to the golden statue, you may have worried that things have become a little out of hand.  At a time when we should be discussing the on-screen action, isn't this focus on the red carpet runway somewhat trivial ­– another area where women are judged on their appearance, while men are judged on their work?


There seems little doubt that if the Oscars were the Olympics, male and female fashion would be completely separate sports.  The rules are different and the stakes are, too.  With so much attention foisted onto their choice of outfit, female actors have more to lose – due partly to the potential for negative publicity, but mainly for the fact that their attire is even up for discussion in the first place.  Perhaps, though, this hugely biased level of attention means that there is also more to be gained.  As women, if we choose to use it, fashion can be yet another string to our bow – whereas, realistically, there's only so much a man can do with black trousers and a dickie bow.


If all actors, male or female, had to wear a suit to these events, it would be undeniably fairer – but wouldn't it also be horribly restrictive?  This is what men have to deal with on a daily basis, and they deserve our pity.  Frankly, in a fair world, men would wear dresses to the Oscars.  George Clooney could be judged fairly and squarely on his own golden dress, rather than his date's, and Meryl Streep's hubby could join in and wear a matching one, too.  In fact, the red carpet could be a gob-smacking parade of glamour, where men get to compete on our terms.  We could examine Jude Law's inner thigh thanks to his carefully taped dress, cut daringly close to the crotch, and wonder in awe at Robert Downey Jr.'s perfect derriere in lovely Lanvin.  We know Johnny Depp looks great in eyeliner, but wouldn't he look simply darling if he teamed that with a dropped-waist 1920s Gatsby number?  And am I the only woman in the world who'd like to see Javier Bardem in lace this season.



Read the rest of The Lady In Red, in our March 2012 issue.  Out now!

"Am I the only woman in the world who’d like to see Javier Bardem in lace this season?"

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