Red Carpet: Star Wars Premieres

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This one time, I wore my hair in Princess Leia buns for a whole year.

The first time I saw Star Wars I was 12, and it hit me like a ton of bricks. You can chart my childhood through my fixations – movies, shows, books that I became obsessed with for years at a time. Star Wars was the first I can really remember vividly, perhaps because it was coupled with my first real crush – Han Solo.

I was so in love with Han Solo, and so enamored with imagining myself as Princess Leia that, like most childhood fixations, it bordered on unhealthy. Hence the Princess Leia buns. For the entirety of 5th grade, I painstakingly pulled my hair into an approximation of her infamous cinnamon buns. I wrote Mrs. Han Solo with little hearts around it in my diaries. I slept every night in my Princess Leia costume. And I dreamed of the day Han Solo would come and rescue me from my dreary earthbound existence.

This too-rich inner fantasy wasn’t just about Harrison Ford’s scoundrel-y sex appeal, but also Carrie Fischer’s essential appeal as the epitome of badass feminism. Even as recently as the 90’s, feminist icons were hard for young girls to come by. But Leia was different. Leia was a Princess who got her Prince, but she was also a rebel, and a leader, and superbly brave. And for a neurotic kid from upstate New York, that was magic. Arguably, from the beginning of the franchise, Leia has suffered disproportionate loss. In one fell swoop at the outset of “A New Hope”, her entire planet is wiped out, everyone and everything she has ever known. For my particular brand of childhood anxiety, this was THE nightmare, the worst case scenario. But Leia hardly shed a tear, and picked herself, and kept fighting. That was powerful, transfixing, perplexing, and enviable for me. Both she, and Star Wars, left a very lasting impression on me.

All of this is somewhat mortifying to think about now – although a tad less so since everything “nerdy” has come back around to “cool” again. Over the years, my obsession with Star Wars faded, making way for other fixations, and eventually a healthy, fixation free adult life. But I still think about that time in my life every time a new Star Wars comes out, half with horror and half with nostalgia. I’m looking forward to seeing the new movie tomorrow, but not without just a little trepidation.

But enough about me. FASHION!

Daisy Ridley

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Daisy is the heart and sole of the recent reboots, and she has a hit and miss sense of style. Understandable, seeing as she was a virtual unknown just a few years ago.

Look 1 is a sleek suit from Mulger. This is great on her – she’s been wearing a lot of menswear inspired looks on this press tour, and they work on her. The star brooches are a nice topical touch. I can’t with the black tights though. The shoes are great, but this whole thing would be more streamlines without the tights.

Look 2 is Calvin Klein and it looks like she Scarlett O’Hara-d some garbage bags into an approximation of a dress.

Look 3 is Monse – an quite the departure for them. They built their brand on deconstructed menswear, so I was surprised to see something this coherent and almost cutesy from them. The star motif here, unlike in look 1 where it’s more restrained, is a bit on the nose for me, but for Monse it’s a career best, so I’ll take it.

Laura Dern

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I am usually a huge fan of Laura’s red carpet choices, but this press tour has been rough.

Look 1. Laura. Laura, Laura, Laura. You are SO much cooler than a see-through shirt. You are Laura God-Damned Dern. You don’t have to resort to the sheer tactics of It Girls and starlets. The Rodarte skirt is phenomenal, and if the shirt was lined, this would be an A+ for me.

Look 2 is Vivienne Westwood and I hate it. Sincerely, Laura has incredible taste most of the time, but this is such a drab dud. Visible boning is a pet peeve of mine, so I was never going to like this, but the construction and drab lining leave a lot to be desired as well.

Look 3 is better although it needs to be hemmed. This suit is custom Gabriela Hearst, which makes it even odder that the pants simply DON’T fit. This is such a strange recurring issue in Hollywood – is there a dearth of tailors in LA? I’m a chronically poor short person, so I am constantly confronted with too-long pants and the frustration of shortening them, but I always cave and have them hemmed before I wear them. Get it together, Hollywood!

Look 4 is Alexander McQueen, and the styling kills this. I get the impulse to take a “princess-y” dress and give it some edge with heavier accessories, but the tall black boots her are just discordant.

Gwendoline Christie 

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Gwen is a tall drink of fashionable water, and has had the most hits on this tour so far.

Look 1 is Iris van Herpen and is absolutely ethereal. It’s so unique, and like most of van Herpen’s work, is stunningly constructed to walk the line between garment and art. I’m always thrilled to see her work on the red carpet, and this is a perfect match of dress-wearer-event.

Look 2 is a stellar custom Gucci. She has legs for days in this, and the vampy 1940’s style really works on her.

I don’t have a designer credit for either Look 3 or 4, but both are fine. I much prefer the white suit to what looks like a blouse missing the requisite pants.

Kelly Marie Tran

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Kelly was apparently about to quit acting before she was cast, and has subsequently been adorably excited and emotional on the red carpet. For her first time at this, she did pretty well.

Look 1 was her grand debut in custom Thai Nguyen and it’s a home run. I might have pulled her hair back in a low up-do, but this is overall great.

Look 2 is Bibhu Mohapatra and I’m undecided on it. I think I like it, but the gray beading on the top is odd and feels superfluous. If you zoom in, the whole top is beaded with small pearl, and the effect is really lovely. I guess I just wish the design was a bit more ombre and less “weird gray plateau”.

Kelly didn’t pose alone in Look 3, which is probably for the best because it’s overwrought and heavy on her. It’s a rare miss from Christian Siriano.

Lupita Nyong’o in Halpern

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I’ve so missed Lupita’s presence on the red carpet. She doesn’t always get it right, but she is rarely boring. I don’t love this, but the color is spectacular on her, and it’s unique as hell. And just look at her face – she simply radiates.

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