Striding to a jury photo call at the Venice Film Festival at Sala Casino on August 29, Australian actor Naomi Watts was all polished business in a white Giorgio Armani Resort 2019 pantsuit with sheer ruffled shirt and gold pumps.
Hours later, Watts, 49, was on the red carpet for the festival’s opening ceremony, and her second Venice outing was a noteworthy occasion, but for the wrong reasons.
The fluttering rose pink flounces on the Gypsy star’s strapless organza Armani Prive floor-length gown drew unfavourable comparisons with sticky Post-it notes.
Juror Naomi Watts wears a fucsia silk organza flounced gown by #GiorgioArmaniPrivé at the opening ceremony of the Venice Film Festival #BiennaleCinema2018 #ArmaniStars #Venezia75 pic.twitter.com/y3vr0gPLYR
— Giorgio Armani (@giorgioarmani) August 29, 2018
“Did I mention Naomi Watts looked like she was covered in Post-its?” asked one Twitter user. Said another, “Naomi Watts invented Post-its.”
Along with Cannes and Berlin, the Venice is one of the annual big three film festivals. Full-tilt glamour was the dress code for the gala, which honoured British actor Vanessa Redgrave (who wore sneakers) and saw the premiere of La La Land director Damien Chazelle’s new Neil Armstrong movie First Man.
Starring Ryan Gosling, the movie scored a three-minute standing ovation. Most stars on the carpet received similar props from fashion critics for embracing Italy’s insistence on understated, luxurious chic.
Pantsuits, which have lately had a red carpet moment, were largely put aside (there were notable exceptions) for classically edgy dresses.
Pink was a hot favourite. First Man leading lady Claire Foy did it via a severe, ladylike Valentino gown with red fringed cape – poncho? Handmaid’s Tale? – and metallic sandals. Confident, sophisticated, a bit like a really cool nurse.
Kate Moss’s little sister Lottie did young Eurotrash to perfection, in a hot pink confection with frothy layers and thigh-split revealing lacy undergarments and studded silver gladiator sandals.
Another First Man star, Olivia Hamilton, brought old-school class in a J. Mendel gown with sheer embellished bodice and doll-on-the-toilet-roll skirt which, in the baroque Italian setting, was fabulous.
Kicking it up another notch was Hungarian model Barbara Palvin, in a ruched floral Armani Prive mini (love it) and barely-there silver sandals (boring.) Will be on every Year 12 formal wish list by tonight.
A perennial favourite on best dressed lists, creative director Eleonora Carisi was brilliant: tattoos, a flowing mullet dress, world’s best-practice belt and ’70s-style gold sandals.
Portuguese model Sara Sampaio made her Venice debut in mixed classics – deep red lip, slicked hair, beaded sheath – with a head-turning brilliant bow. Lady, you’ll be invited back.
She was on home turf, so no surprise that model Paola Turani – in Twinset – made a fussy, layered, plunging pale blue Disney princess gown look the epitome of cutting edge.
Actor Carolina Crescentini was a little bit white witch, all incredible in an A-line gown with giant silver stars which was both restrained and Gold Coast-esque. Here’s how to do a modern smokey eye, ladies – slap it on.
Sveva Alviti looked like she’d literally dried her hair with a towel after a day at the beach, and pulled on the nearest feathered couture gown and old diamond choker. Then rocked it.
Brazilian model Izabel Goulart did tacky goddess in a plunging Alberta Ferretti metallic dress, last year’s sandals and Kate Middleton barrel curls.
Italian TV presenter Elisa Isoardi broke every old rule – don’t have a plunging neckline and skirt split up to there, sequins are for showgirls, matchy-match shoes are daggy – and was a hot contender for best dressed.
Then there were friends Alessia Bossi and Lucia Serafini, who did away with all the frou frou and went for matching tuxedo pantsuits with oversized sunglasses, careless hair, gold jewellery and innate cool. Team goals.