The Golden Globes Red Carpet Flowed With Bows, All With Something To Say
The Golden Globes red carpet featured a barrage of bows. It was a cute fashion trend, and maybe something more nuanced.
Alison Brie stepped onto the 2019 Golden Globes red carpet in a powder blue Vera Wang gown with a velvet bow on her shoulder. The dramatic appliqué was almost as long as she was tall. It trailed behind the Glow star, requiring an entourage. Brie's intrepid publicist stood guard like a Mother Bear, making sure no one stepped on it.
It could have been a bow to end all bows. Then came a barrage.
Dakota Fanning had not one, two, or three bows, but five lining the back of her Armani Privé dress. Sofia Carson tied a black satin one across the waist of her Giambattista Valli. Kaley Cuoco, Constance Wu, and Heidi Klum also belted their gowns.
Julianne Moore wore hers on the back of a white Givenchy. Charlize Theron, Gemma Chan, and Penelope Cruz affixed theirs on the back of respective halter necks.
At first glance, Nicole Kidman’s look—a sequined, skintight Michael Kors frock—appeared to go against the trend. Then she turned around, revealing a velvet tie on the back of her bun. According to Twitter critics, it was an audacious choice. Quoth bloggers Tom & Lorenzo: “Nicole Kidman’s hair bow is a tragedy, but her dress looks like sex.”
What’s behind a rise in celebrities turning themselves into walking, talking birthday presents? Jenna Rosenstein of Harper’s Bazaar theorized that the bow’s comeback could be courtesy of Kate Middleton, who wore a black J. Crew bow in her hair last November.
While the Duchess may have been the most royal celebrity to have knotted up, she was not the absolute first. During the 2018 award season, stars like Margot Robbie, Christina Hendricks, Kate Hudson, and Emily Ratajkowski all threaded ribbons through braids and updos.
This winter, the hair accoutrement went south, ending up on actress’ gowns. Bowgate 2019 suggests an evolution from last year's all black dress code and the hyper-masculine suited silhouettes on the likes of Lady Gaga, Julia Roberts, and Evan Rachel Wood.
Putting actresses in menswear can sometimes read as an overt attempt to remind us all at home that Hollywood women are strong. But of course, we don't need to see Julianne Moore in pants to know that.
Stylist Leslie Fremar, who dressed Moore and Theron (both members of the Bow Brigade) for the night, told The Daily Beast that the accessory can be a more subtle way to re-appropriate masculine dressing.
“I was inspired by tuxedos and menswear,” Fremar wrote over email. “They were both different interpretations on the tux. It was a coincidence [that they both had bows], but it definitely became a trend.”
Ties aside, bows have long been considered a traditionally feminine style. Historically, the accessory served as a marker of respectability. Think of the black satin Givenchy midi Audrey Hepburn wore in Sabrina, its bateau neckline dotted by two bows on each shoulder. Or First Lady Jackie Kennedy cinching her waist with ties via designer Oleg Cassini. Grace Kelly would jazz up her skirt sets with an oversized ribbon.
But when not worn by midcentury fashion icons (and also many non-famous schoolmarms), bows were also seen on outsiders who knew how to wield their womanhood.
Madame de Pompadour, Louis XV’s mistress, infamously lined her corset with a row of five pink bows—then tied another around her neck for good measure. Jean Harlow wore a few in the 1935 film Reckless while portraying an impressively wanton woman. Audrey Hepburn as Eliza Doolittle pinned a black-and-white bow to her chest for a day at the races. (So did Laura Dern as Audrey Hepburn as Eliza Doolittle in Big Little Lies.)
This year's bows fuse both connotations. The appliqués on the Golden Globes red carpet were not overtly sexy, but not staid either. Most were just delectably over-the-top, requiring quite a lot of chutzpah from whoever wore the look.
Take, for instance, the head-sized bow Danai Gurira wore on the shoulder of her Rodarte gown. The mass of fabric did not hold anything together. Rather, it existed to take up as much space as possible.
If last year's all black dress code was a symbol of actresses coming together in solidarity, Bowgate implies that this red carpet season will be all about standing out and using fashion to proudly occupy as much space as possible. Bows are a seal of control, and also a symbol of presence. All they require is an awards show of their own.