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Golden Globes 2016 - Is White the New Black?

Has the Golden Globes red carpet reached a style crossroads, an inflexion point, or simply found new footing?  Conspicuously absent at this year’s Globes were the usual (not too distant) extremes—nudity and Cinderella froufrou—replaced instead with assertive individual feminine designs.  The women of Hollywood appear to have lobbed the first red carpet design salvo of 2016.

Social scientists might call this paradigm fashion shift evidence of enclothed cognition, i.e., clothing conceived as a personal identify, as well as how you want others to perceive you.  The social graph says it all.

My NetBase analysis of a dozen Golden Globes fashion themes at last Sunday’s event reveals several color trends, convincing enough to send a potent message that Hollywood’s female artists are emboldened and confident (navy/midnight blue), and fully transparent (white) in their demands for parity. 

A strong predilection for white may easily be identified with confidence and transparency (not in the erstwhile “naked” sense). Regal and assertive midnight blue and navy were the colors of preference for many of the metallic gowns worn at the Globes, offering a decisively authoritative message of a new grip on the red carpet, if not an assertive intention that Hollywood’s female artists intend to play hard ball.

Combined, blue and the metallic thread nailed it (pun intended), eclipsed only by white gowns, which netted nearly 25% of total mentions.  Regal and authoritative, capes and trains also figured prominently in my analysis.  These and other design and color trends are analyzed in the NetBase crosstab chart below.

 

 

Perhaps a nod to the hard knocks industry women like Jennifer Lawrence and Carey Fisher have been throwing at Hollywood’s sexist, arcane pay double standard, the metallic armor metaphor could be construed as a looming bataille royale in the hallowed studio enclaves.  

Yet, navy/indigo metallic at the Globes was also a study in contrasts—Bryce Dallas Howard wore a (store-bought) Jenny Packham gown, Julianne Moore was adorned in Tom Ford couture, while nominee Melissa McCarthy wore her own label, a much vaunted indigo metallic panne velvet gown. 

Pastels and rose quartz, the Pantone fashion color of the year, also made a strong showing, according to my NetBase analysis, largely apparent in retro designs evoking a certain nostalgia for the exquisitely executed and complex classic gowns of a bygone era.

The classic demure theme was best interpreted by Cate Blanchett in Givenchy (white/rose), Jennifer Lopez in Giambattista Valle (yellow), Lady Gaga in Versace (black), Kate Winslett in Ralph Lauren (midnight blue), Julianne Moore in Tom Ford and Taraji P. Henson in Stella McCartney (white).  

 

 

 

While Stella McCartney, Versace, Dior and Giambattista Valli dominated the social red carpet in popularity, Michael Kors pale rose, bare midriff two-piece sheath worn by toned Kate Hudson garnered equal ranking among the top five designers, according to my NetBase analysis. 

Perhaps in another sign that female artists are toughening up, cutout designs such as Jennifer Lawrence’s Dior, suggest her the empowerment perceived in a strong solar plexus—nothing remotely lascivious. (For the yogi fashionista, that equates to our navel center, our power center, or third Chakra.)

While the language of color may be casting a new hue on the red carpet of lore, another graphic language has gained currency—the emoji—inculcated for the first time last year into the Oxford Dictionary.  Dominating the index of emoji’s in my Golden Globes analysis is faces, yes, smiling faces, tongue out faces, tears of joy faces. While the posts appreciated the event’s glamor, emoji language hasn’t quite evolved to portray the subtleties we can analyze in natural language. Heart eyes will have to suffice in the analysis below.

 

 

Maybe the enclothed cognitive message Hollywood’s female artists are pitching will impact their contract negotiations this year.  That is yet to be seen.  But the message is unequivocal—white is the new black, capes/trains a new authority leitmotif, metallic or cutouts new power symbols.  Let’s see which designers channel this new artistic imperative.

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