I truly appreciate the art of accessorising well. I don’t always achieve it in my personal life (over the long weekend I unintentionally left the house on three occasions without wearing any jewellery whatsoever because I was running late and had forgotten) but I appreciate the art. Most importantly, I know that no matter how beautiful the accessory, it will not rescue a hideous outfit - a dull one maybe, a hideous one, no.

Unfortunately Victoria Beckham and Katie Holmes don’t seem to be aware of this fact.

Victoria Beckham with husband David Beckham and Katie Holmes with husband Tom Cruise

Victoria turned up for the annual Costume Institute gala in New York last night wearing a largely see-through white lace dressing gown. Her great shoes and mancessory (husband David Beckham) didn’t come close to pulling it out of the hideous realms, particularly as they were hindered by the addition of severe make-up, making her look like the victim of a dodgy plastic surgeon.

Similarly, their good friend Tom Cruise, clad in Armani, could save/distract from most fashion atrocities but not Katie Holmes‘ horrible red gown, which looks like red shrunk-to-fit plastic bags. I like the idea of her contrasting shoes in theory but it’s all too much. She has though, unlike the rest of Hollywood, somehow manage to get an inverse bobblehead thing going on. She looks a million miles tall, with a suitably large bum to ensure a low centre of gravity, but the tiniest, sleekest bobbed head at the top of it.

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Other stars took the ‘Costume’ bit of the event more to heart.

Maggie Gyllenhaal, Thandie Newton and Eva Longoria Parker

Maggie Gyllenhaal looks as adorably pretty as ever, just here, an adorably pretty can-can dancer. Thandie Newton went one country over for her mini-Flamenco outfit while Eva Longoria Parker combined their frill obsessions with structured pleats which somewhat drowns her petite frame despite the pleasant shape.

Pleats also featured heavily elsewhere.


Naomi Watts looked dazzlingly white and a little uncomfortable (like it would feel like she was wearing a high-starched griddle pan) but overall the look was flattering and looked lovely combined with her glamorous big curls.

Jennifer Lopez also went for big and bouncy in the hair department - and glam in the gown, topping her pleats with a sparkly bead assymetric neckline. I love the colour too - which is handy since…


..that greeny-bluey-grey was pretty popular.

Emily Mortimer went similar assymetric and grecian, but with giant solid belt buckle which I suspect could cause serious boob pain if you sat down too quickly. Eva Mendes also probably had to take care sitting down, but aside from looking a bit too .. foamy, it’s a nice gown and her hair and make-up are fab. Zoe Kravitz’s severe hair do though makes her look younger than her already tender years and that, combined with the ill-fitting dress makes her look like she’s playing dress up.

Speaking of which…


Mischa Barton’s gown looks like it was designed for someone about a third bigger than her in every way … and wasn’t that nice to start with. Michelle Tratchenberg ruined a nice (if dull) black assymetric top with a gold lamé skirt and Mary-Kate Olsen woke up in a bed in Southfork Range just minutes before the start of the ceremony, grabbed the nearest housecoat then flung herself onto a private jet without even stopping to comb her hair. (Her sister Ashley Olsen meanwhile looked very sleek in black.)


Mischa, Michelle and Mary-Kate ruined gold but silver fared a bit, just a bit, better. Anna Wintour looked spacy with her padding but she pulls off the high priestess of another galaxy look. Venus Williams’ gown (and general figure and happiness level) would have been wonderful in a fabric slightly less Bacofoil and Hilary Duff’s sparkles would have worked a little better if she had been able to breath (also I suspect she spent the evening pulling up the dress over rumoured to be enlarged boobs).


Plenty of others played it safe with black. Blake Lively enlivened (ha) her basic gown with a feathery skirt and Ziyi Zhang & Liv Tyler joined in the assymetric fad, with subtle glitz.


Mary J Blige and Rachel Bilson went for less sparkles but were both general nice, if unexciting. Sarah Michelle Gellar just went for really unexciting.


At the other end of the scale, Janet Jackson went for dull, brilliant white and looked rather bridesmaidish, as did Beyonce Knowles in pale pink.


Kate Moss‘ white gown could have gone the same way - maybe it’s just because it’s her but she pulled it off and it looks pretty and simple. Sex and the City’s Kristin Davis had a similar gown in cream - but the more beaded top made it look cheaper and frumpier.


Finally, two people who generally look a bit odd at these types of things - Kate Bosworth and Christina Ricci - took chances and in my opinion, those risks paid off. Kate Bosworth’s retro gown could easily have been too much and too garish, but I thought it looked fun and interesting - and highlighted Kate’s long-missing curves. And Christina Ricci’s red satin bodice surrounded by pink chiffon is very fun too, despite it makes her look, on first glance, like she’s bleeding from numerous torso injuries. The long sleeves are a bit weird but it looks so pretty around her shoulders and upper arms.

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