SAG Awards is a prime place for sartorial experiments, of which there were many on the red carpet tonight (including several actresses refusing to use the “Mani Cam,” one of the more dreaded parts of E!’s red-carpet coverage). The best looks were textural, like Keira Knightley’s eggplant lace Erdem number (artfully concealing her baby bump with an empire-waist peplum) or the stunning emerald Givenchy Haute Couture dress Julianne Moore sported while collecting her award for best actress. Claire Danes turned heads by wearing one of Marc Jacobs’ cabochon-embellished dresses from his Spring ’15 collection, and Tatiana Maslany looked elegant in a striped Oscar de la Renta number. Even Julianna Margulies, ever the red-carpet classicist, tried out a cobalt frock from Giambattista Valli with a slit up to there.
While the bright and the embellished looks were fun, the real conversation was the reemergence of the color black on the red carpet. Julia Roberts in a custom Givenchy jumpsuit and Emma Stone in a double-breasted Dior Haute Couture jacket with a sheer underlay had the two best and most unexpected looks of the night. Naomi Watts went for understated too, in a simple Balenciaga. Meryl Streep, Amy Poehler, and Kelly Macdonald (she’s the one in the vintage Moschino mini, FYI) also went for dark, somewhat casual ensembles. Whether actresses are reacting to sobering current events or are maybe just over the enforced glam code of these red-carpet parades, the return to simple elegance was a refreshing change from the sparkling mermaid gowns that ruled for the last decade.
Some, though, didn’t get the memo. Jennifer Aniston missed her McConaissance moment in a clinging vintage Galliano dress, while Lupita Nyong’o chose a busy Elie Saab number that didn’t read well on camera.
With all the usual suspects picking up Actor statues this evening—Eddie Redmayne, Julianne Moore, J.K. Simmons, and Patricia Arquette—the scene seems to be set for the Oscars. Although seeing the well-clad cast of Birdman on stage at the end of the show to receive the Outstanding Performance by a Cast award gave us some hope that the Lupita theory (red-carpet wins translate to wins on stage) could prove true again this year.
—Steff Yotka, Style.com