Three years after the demise of trailblazing 90s teen magazine Sassy, founding editor Jane Pratt published a book dedicated to exploring the role that beauty plays among teenage girls. Following the Sassy ethos, Beyond Beauty sets out to represent a vast range of modern teenagers (or rather, what was modern in 1997), interviewing 25 girls from different nationalities and backgrounds. Pratt does what she does best in giving a voice to young women. She presents each girl’s perspective without judgement, letting them tell their own stories.
With all the different things I love about fashion, over-groomed starlets wearing expensive dresses is not usually at the top of the list. I’ve usually already seen their clothes at preceding fashion weeks, and so there is generally very little exciting about seeing them again on unnaturally shiny celebrities. I am more interested in the Met Costume Institute exhibition than I am interested in who wore what at the gala that opened it (well ok, with the exception of Chloe Sevigny).
However, as things tend to happen following an event of this sort, the entertainment blogs and mags like to divvy up the looks into the thoroughly scientific categories of what is “hot” and what is “not.” The best dressed lists seem to consist of those who were the most traditionally pretty: buzz words like “flattering” and “feminine” get thrown around. Which, naturally, leaves everything else to the worst dressed list. Perhaps it is my inner contrarian that needs to defend the honour of the riskier pieces, perhaps I just like to cause a fuss with my clothes (like that time in the tenth grade I went to school wearing leg warmers over flared jeans in order to prove a point to my mom – a point which I cannot remember, but it was important, let me tell you). Yeah, yeah, we all know Marion Cotillard and the legions of ladies in sparkling floor length gowns looked nice, but they’ve gotten enough praise already.
Here are my choices for looks that got unfairly slammed by the critics:
I decided I would put Kristen Stewart (wearing Chanel Haute Couture) first because 1) it was probably the most universally panned by bloggers and 2) got your attention, didn’t it? MTV says: “Her outfit last night looked like a prom dress gone wrong. Essentially, the cut and shape were totally unflattering.” Maybe it’s just because the girls who covered teen magazines when I used to buy them a long time ago (read: 2004) tended to be impossibly sunny and dressed in technicolour poufs (you wanna talk prom dresses gone wrong?) Either way, I can appreciate the existence of a teen queen who prefers to wear a sheer skirt on the red carpet and who doesn’t know how to fake a smile if her life depended on it. I swear I’m not just saying that in an attempt to get page hits from Twilight fans.