In Hollywood, what you wear on the red carpet usually depends on where you fall in the celebrity hierarchy. The most sought-after designers want to dress the stars who will get the most exposure. The bigger the star, the more she’ll be photographed and interviewed, and the greater the odds that what she wore will be discussed by both professional and armchair fashion critics in the days, weeks, and sometimes years to come.
So if you’re not, as Modern Family‘s Julie Bowen once told me, “famous enough,” good luck getting the dress of your dreams.
For the Golden Globes, Hayden Panettiere reportedly took fashion matters into her own hands, wearing a $10,000 black-and-white Tom Ford gown that she bought off-the-rack.
“It’s the first time I’ve ever worn him, because I’ve been begging,” Panettiere told E!’s Giuliana Rancic on the Globes red carpet. “I feel sexy in it, I feel comfortable in it, and I’m in Tom Ford. I would wear a plastic bag if it was designed by him.”
The actress’ gushing remarks were certainly complimentary of the designer, but was paying retail for her dress a major fashion faux pas?
Though Ford provided Liev Schreiber, Bradley Cooper, Michael Fassbender and Nicholas Hoult with tuxedos, the designer only lent out one gown from his eponymous label — a chain collar column dress worn by Naomi Watts.
After Hayden’s E! interview, fashion journalist Jim Shi tweeted, “Tom Ford confirms to me he ONLY dressed #NaomiWatts tonight. Hayden Panettiere BOUGHT her Tom Ford dress at RETAIL. Tsk, tsk.”
Despite the catty tone of Shi’s tweet, apparently Ford was touched by Panettiere’s enthusiasm. On Tuesday, the actress sent a tweet of her own, posting a picture of a bouquet of flowers along with a message from the designer thanking her for her kind remarks.
Panettiere wasn’t the only celebrity who shelled out some major cash for a Globes dress.
Asked about her gown, Nurse Jackie star Edie Falco told EW that she’d gotten it the old-fashioned way — by shopping for it herself.
“It’s Lanvin, as I have been instructed to pronounce it. I walked into Jeffrey on 14th Street in New York City and a woman named Chantal said, ‘I have just the dress for you,’ and this is it,” Falco said. “She handed it to me, I bought it, and that’s the story.”
Tell us: Do you think it’s tacky for a celebrity to buy her own dress for an awards show? Head down to the comments to weigh in. Oh, and if you’re in the market for a new dress — and you have $7,000 to spend — click here to buy Lupita Nyong’o’s ahh-mazing Ralph Lauren number.