Stepping out at the Venice Film Festival on August 29 for her new movie Marriage Story, Scarlett Johansson set the tone for the 10-day extravaganza, which is as much about fashion as film.
Even in the first few days, the Italian red carpets were arguably the best of 2019, with stars showcasing sleek, sexy gowns, frou frou numbers and style that can’t be bought.
And, thank you gods of good taste, no gimmicks. Even the few heaving chests somehow looked more admirable than tacky.
Trends: strappy barely-there sandals, a stack of black, and dresses cut as high as they decently could be.
Johansson looked like a glamorous mermaid in shimmery strapless red with an up-to-there split, Stuart Weitzman sandals and Ana Khouri diamond ear piece with wet-look hair.
As alway, Laura Dern was eclectic, in a cinched embellished kaftan with silver platforms and Buccellati jewels. It could have gone ‘nanna’ on anyone else, but this is one woman born with chic.
Kate Upton rocked it, clearly, but apart from the Cartier-esque jewelled serpent necklace her classic look was slightly unimaginative. Cool Jimmy Choo heels.
Not so Iman, who wore a brilliant, unusual, feathered and head-turning hairdresser’s cape.
Billie Piper looked furious but shouldn’t have: her sequinned dress with oversized bow and lace hem was fabulous. Shoes needed a recondition.
Candice Swanepoel (is that Santa’s belt?) went for the Etro tizzy version of wearing your husband’s oversized shirt in a bid to be insouciant and hot.
Then the South African model did a total style U-turn in a goddess gold column and severe hair. Let me know which you prefer.
Elsa Hosk’s dress with plain black top and skirt, which looked like it was stolen from the wife of a Pacific Rim dictator in 1987, was perfection.
The Swedish Victoria’s Secret star went more complicated for another red carpet turn. Criss-cross detailing is usually best left for gladiator pantomimes but she slayed this.
Juliette Binoche had the same mermaid idea as Scarlett but her long-sleeved beaded interpretation was less obvious and more alluring.
Liv Tyler chose dramatic origami black, Cleopatra eyeliner and minimal accessories. Classy.
Ruffles are hard to do. Molly Sims pulled it off in pale lilac Zuhair Murad with pleated skirt and those bolero sleeves which made a statement without being contrived.
Martha Hunt was amazing in a not-so-basic black dress with feather-look detailing and floaty skirt. Great burgundy lipstick and natural sass.
Ruth Negga wore a sculptural and embellished white column with belt that made it modern but didn’t quite make it fit properly.
Sofia Richie was total California girl in a crop top and mullet skirt. She’s young, she’ll learn.
Here’s the sort of tiered toilet doll dress that can only be seen once a year. Which it was at the Oscars. Hofit Golan gave it a good shot but it was too late.
Eleonora Carisi also did the statement fluffy dress but with more restraint and aplomb. I feel Elizabeth Taylor once wore this to welcome an 11pm gentleman caller after a couple of cocktails.
Again, Paola Turani wanted a point of difference but veered into haberdashery territory. Still, it’s Italy so nothing is ever too much.
Madalina Doroftei gave the master class in how to wear tulle. Not in layers but a cascade from the neckline. Seriously beautiful.
Anais Gallagher channelled the rock vibe of parents Meg Matthews and Noel Gallagher in a retro floral print pantsuit and undone hair.
Alessandra Mastronardi’s gorgeous satin dress with bat belt, flounces and generous sleeves had that total European blend of sophistication and fun. Bet she tore up the dance floor and can speak 11 languages.
Farrah Abraham was a study in the curse of being unnatural. Those shoes should be drawn and quartered.
Barbara Palvin was boring and lovely.
Francesca Giuliano, whoever you are, may you have had a wonderful night and long and happy life. I abhor your dress and admire you hugely.