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Lupita Nyong’o burst onto the scene in 2014 with her amazing Oscar-winning performance in Twelve Years a Slave. But her image was definitely heightened by her fashion choices along the way — chic and understated, often in strong colors, like her red Ralph Lauren cape dress at the 2014 Golden Globes (so regal and statuesque) to her “Lupita blue” dazzling Prada chiffon goddess gown.
However, come the 2014 Met Ball, she was loyal to Prada, a label who’d made her lovely subtle looks up until then, and we’re not sure who can take credit — or blame — for that flamboyant green net-beaded and feathered 1920s weird dress with a flapper headband, which she matched with a plum hair tint. Was this Prada’s idea? Miuccia is known to go a little out on a limb. Or was it the plan of Nyong’o and/or her stylist Micaela Erlanger to go way, way, way over the top?
This is the problem for being hailed for your taste and style and chicness — when you want to jump off a cliff dress-wise, or even mildly change it up, you risk a rash of disappointments, bad reviews and worst-dressed lists. When you’re Cate Blanchett or Rooney Mara or Natalie Portman — or Lupita Nyong’o — you’ve got a high standard to live up to. Another major misstep: Nyong’o’s Suno striped shorts outfit at the CFDA awards in 2014.
If you look at Nyong’o in 2015, she wore two amazing (and simple) chiffon Gucci gowns at Cannes — one cream and one green (above) — but since then, she’s been all over the map, even with her hair and makeup. She has worn designers from Roland Mouret to Lanvin to Jason Wu to Dior. Most of the looks have been pretty chic, though the hair and makeup has been a little severe. With her gorgeous bone structure and skin tone, Nyong‘o just doesn’t need much gilding the lily.
So was her Star Wars: the Force Awakens premiere look — an Alexandre Vauthier spring 2015 couture gown with silver and green encrusted with black strips at the open waist area — one of the greats? Or one of the fails? Of course there are mixed opinions — but ours is that it’s far from her best.
The dress is severely tight — a common problem with couture gowns. After all, designers can’t whip them up overnight. So unless it’s the Oscars, an actress has to wear the sample that’s cut for a super skinny flat-chested model on a runway. It doesn’t fit particularly well over the bust and hips, and teamed with bright red lipstick and diamond chandelier earrings, it’s just a bit, well, Vegas. And it’s quite sheer from the top of the thigh down.
Sure, it’s Star Wars — intergalactic — but she’s more of a sci-fi character on the red carpet than she is her usual ultra-chic self. Kudos for taking chances, but not for the results. The website Red Carpet Fashion Awards has this to say: “I should be foaming at the mouth with excitement, but I’m not, as those black bands around the waist are so unforgiving. It would look better on someone with a longer torso.” And no insult to Nyong’o’s figure — there are no bad bodies. There are only not-so-great dresses that don’t flatter them well.
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