Friday, March 18, 2011

Rookie of the Year: Hailee Steinfeld

I know that it's way way too late to be posting ruminations on award season style, but I have to put my two cents in on perhaps the most impressive show of formal dresses by a singe person I've ever seen. And to make the feat even more astonishing, it was delivered by a fourteen year old girl, True Grit star Hailee Steinfeld. I don't know about you, but I'd kind of hate to be expected to choose red-carpet worthy dress at that age. Or rather, I would have loved to, and then years later would have looked back in dismay at my choices. 

Usually when a young teenager or preteen is thrust into awards season, they end up being stuck in something that looks very mall/promish. Parents or stylists seem afraid of getting too close to sexy territory, lest they be lambasted in the press. All future female actresses in Hailee's situation should print out these photos as a guidebook on age appropriate, fun, modern, and classic. First off, her Oscar dress is simple and sweet with lovely beading, and the netted material that takes the stapless silhouette to a more modest sleeveless is the perfect touch. I love the headband, which is at once youthful and sophisticated. 

Her Golden Globe look was equally successful. Her hair, though different in all three looks, is always simple and sleek. She's not showing too much skin, nor does she feel the need to cover up her bare arms with an awkward shawl. The clutch and bracelet are perfectly minimal-it would have been ridiculous to put her in diamonds. She isn't caked in makeup, and the slightly stronger eye is balanced by a nude lip. She doesn't look like a child who got into her mother's makeup, but rather a lovely fourteen year old.

My personal favorite is also the most imperfect of her choices-the orange and pink Prada dress she wore to the SAG Awards. There's something a bit off about the color combo, and I simply cannot decide if the gathered hem at the bottom is good or strange. But of all the dresses I've seen so far this year, this one is the one I have remembered. It's a bold choice to be sure, but for a relatively unknown actress who isn't even eligible for a driver's license to step in front of millions of people wearing it, I can give her nothing but respect. Most established actresses are so terrified of being criticized that they opt again and again for beautiful but safe dresses. Few would have the guts to step out in bold, bright, stripes. She plays the rest of her look perfectly, no accessories except a single ring, hair smooth and wavy. She must have known that people would be inclined to hate what she was wearing, yet she shows not a hint of uncertainty in expression or stance.

The more I look back on this dress, the more I love it. While all three looks are fantastic, I can't see the first two making a lasting impression. But whenever I watch award shows, the third will always serve as a sort of standard by which I'll judge how willing the attendees are to take risks. If only red carpets were filled with more color and pattern and daring and with less diamonds and draping overly-hairsprayed updos. Well played, Hailee Steinfeld. Please do more award-winning movies, because I can't wait to see what you wear next year.


  1. Oh MAN that Prada dress is just fantastic. I can't help but love this little lady.

  2. Seriously, this girl has serious style (or a seriously awesome stylist?). I totally agree that they are such a sophisticated example of dressing her age. And, yes, I totally agree that I'd rather see more actresses take risks like wearing that Prada dress!

  3. I totally agree, she is such an icon! Just having fun and being young. I love all three dresses, but the first one has to be my fave. The length is genious. I want to get married in that dress :D

  4. Love love her looks. Young and fresh. i'm totally following you, I hope you will too.

    And don't forget to follow on Twitter for all the latest celebrity fashion news, from an LA stylist.

  5. I'm basically in love with her first dress. It's amazing. I can't believe she's so young!