Red Carpet

Admiring from the Backseat: 10 Best Red Carpet Looks from 2012

Diane Kruger in custom Nina Ricci at Cannes International Film Festival

From awards shows to movie premieres to fashion parties, it’s been quite a year on the red carpets. We saw new sartorial heroines emerge, like Jennifer Lawrence during her Hunger Games promotional tour, as well as established greats like Michelle Williams and Diane Kruger continue to bring their A games. With stunning look after stunning look to choose from, selecting a short list of the 10 best dressed of 2012 was a near impossible task. With much deliberation, we finally settled on the 10 that made our jaws drop and raised the red carpet bar.

What do you think of our top 10 best dressed of the year – did we nail it, or did we miss some of your favourites? Do tell!

Ginnifer Goodwin in Monique Lhuillier at the 64th Prime Time Emmy Awards

January Jones in Zac Posen at 64th Prime Time Emmy Awards

Jennifer Lawrence in Christian Dior Couture Fall 2012 at the Toronto International Film Festival

Michelle Williams in Louis Vuitton at 2012 Academy Awards

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Red Carpet

Admiring from the Backseat: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge in Prabal Gurung

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge attended a state dinner hosted by the President of Singapore tonight in quite possibly my favourite look of hers to date. Kate donned a gorgeous printed dress from Singaporean-born, New York-based Prabal Gurung’s Spring 2012 collection, and looked impeccable. This, my fellow Kate fans, is right up there with that blush sequin Jenny Packham, wouldn’t you say?

The Duchess’ choice is in line with her penchant for long-sleeved dresses, but the bold purple and ivory print is a lovely surprise. I was coveting this very dress all summer and never did end up getting my hands on it; seeing Kate step out in it is the next best thing I suppose. I have a proposition for you, Kate: sisterhood of the travelling dress?

xx, S

Images via Hello! Magazine, HRH Duchess Kate

Red Carpet

Admiring from the Backseat: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge in Alexander McQueen at Queen’s Diamond Jubilee

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge wore Alexander McQueen today, so, naturally, I had to post about it. Kate wore a scarlet red dress designed by Sarah Burton with a matching headpiece and her signature nude pumps to the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee river pageant.

As far as long-sleeved, boatnecked frocks – Kate Middleton staples – go, this is easily one of my favourites of hers to date. The brooch is a nice touch, too. Seeing this ensemble makes me miss the days of the royal tour in North America, when we got to see the Duchess in new, fabulous outfits on the daily.

Perhaps the London Olympics will bring us Kate in gladiator-inspired McQueen ensembles. I like it already.

xx, S

Image Credit: Just Jared

Red Carpet

Admiring from the Backseat: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge in Teal Jenny Packham

I was just privately lamenting the lack of blog post-worthy ensembles from Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge of late, and it seems she got the message from over the pond. Kate stepped out in a stunning Jenny Packham number yesterday at the British Olympic Association concert in London.

The teal silk dress with lace cap sleeves and a jewel-embellished belt was an inspired choice, and easily one of her most glamourous looks to date. It’s right up there with the pink sequin Jenny Packham she wore last summer to the ARK gala.

Do the upcoming London Olympics mean many more fabulous looks to come from the Duchess? Here’s hoping!

xx, S

Images via Just Jared, Daily Mail

Red Carpet

Admiring from the Backseat: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge 30th Birthday Edition!

Alexander McQueen gown at BAFTA’s Brits to Watch event in July 2011

Everyone’s favourite princess, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, turns the big 3-0 today! According to sources (a.k.a. the 6 o’clock news), Kate will be celebrating her milestone birthday with a low-key affair to which, sadly, The Backseat Stylers have not been invited. But fear not! In lieu of birthday shots with the Duchess (of tea, of course), we’re reliving our 5 favourite royal looks to date in this here blog post.

Happy birthday dear Duchess, and cheers to many more years of royal fashion blog fodder to come!

Alexander McQueen gown at her wedding to Prince William in April 2011

Erdem Pre-Fall 2011 dress at Quebec City Hall during the royal visit to Canada in July 2011

Jenny Packham Spring 2011 gown at the ARK gala in June 2011

Alexander McQueen velvet gown at the Sun Military Awards in December 2011

xx, S

Images via IBT, Celebitchy, A Chic Direction, CBC, Liviviry

Red Carpet

Admiring from the Backseat: 10 Best Red Carpet Looks from 2011

January Jones in Carolina Herrara Pre-Fall 2011 at the 17th Screen Actors Guild Awards

The end of a year always brings about an overabundance of ‘best of’ lists, so of course we had to contribute one of our own. Putting together a list of the top ten red carpet looks of 2011 was a surprisingly easy task. These 9 women – 8 actresses and 1 real life princess – and their 10 ensembles (Emma Stone is listed twice!) were clear standouts in our eyes. So much so that we’re not even going to bother to explain our choices – these stunning looks speak for themselves. Plus, we’re still recovering from our holiday turkey feast.

From Anne Hathaway‘s sequin Armani Privé to Cate Blanchett‘s lavender Givenchy, these are the types of clothes that make us wish that we too were Hollywood actresses or fairy tale princesses whose job descriptions included gracing red carpets in couture. But, alas, we are not…yet. So until such day that fact changes, we’ll settle for daydreaming about strutting our stuff in January Jones‘ gold lace gown by Carolina Herrera and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge‘s blush sequin dress by Jenny Packham instead.

Cate Blanchett in Givenchy Haute Couture Spring 2011 at the 83rd Academy Awards

Emma Stone in Giambattista Valli Fall 2011 at the ‘Friends With Benefits’ New York premiere

Evan Rachel Wood in Elie Saab Fall 2011 at the 63rd Primetime Emmy Awards

Ginnifer Goodwin in Topshop at Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute Gala

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge in Jenny Packham Spring 2011 at the Annual Absolute Return for Kids (ARK) Gala Dinner in London

Emma Stone in Tom Ford Fall 2011 at the ‘Crazy, Stupid, Love’ World Premiere

Anne Hathaway in Armani Privé Fall 2010 at the 68th Annual Golden Globe Awards

Mila Kunis in Elie Saab Spring 2011 Couture at the 83rd Academy Awards

Sandra Bullock in Alexander McQueen Spring 2012 at the ‘Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close’ New York premiere 

xx, T & S

Images via Celeb WhereaboutsVogue UKJust JaredJust JaredZimbioCelebitchyJust JaredtlfanCelebrity-ParadiseCelebitchy

Red Carpet

Admiring from the Backseat: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge in Alexander McQueen at BAFTA Gala

As the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, affectionately known as Will and Kate, take their North American royal tour to Los Angeles, the fashion world continues to wait with bated breath for each of Kate’s many daily outfit changes. While her recent ensembles have been pretty but safe, the Alexander McQueen lavender gown she wore to the BAFTA Brits to Watch gala last night was breathtaking, and right up there with that pink Jenny Packham she wore last month.

With glittering embellishments at the waist, similar to her wedding reception gown (also by Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen), and metallic Jimmy Choo clutch and stilettos to match, Kate’s look had just the right amount of sparkle. Her colour choice was right on trend, too, given the beautiful lavender gowns donned by Cate Blanchett and Mila Kunis at the Academy Awards earlier this year. In fact, the Duchess looked right at home on the red carpet next to some of Hollywood’s biggest stars, including Jennifer Lopez, Nicole Kidman and Blake Lively.

xx, S

Images via

Red Carpet

Admiring from the Backseat: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge in Jenny Packham

Over the month and a half since the royal wedding, you’ve likely become either obsessed with the new Duchess of Cambridge and her sister Pippa’s respective styles or completely turned off by the incessant reporting of their grocery-shopping outfits. Whichever side of the fence you happen to be on, Kate’s ensemble to the 10th annual Absolute Return for Kids (ARK) Gala Dinner yesterday at Kensington Palace is definitely worth a gander.

The Duchess looked absolutely stunning in a Jenny Packham Spring 2011 sequin-embellished gown and matching LK Bennett bow sandals. Evidently, I wasn’t the only one to think so, because the dress, which was still available on sale for $3,515 (regular $5,015) yesterday at, has now since sold out. And no, sadly, I wasn’t one of the buyers.

xx, S

Images via TFS

Red Carpet

Admiring from the Backseat: Royal Wedding 2011 Edition – Kate Middleton in Alexander McQueen by Sarah Burton

After months of speculation, Kate Middleton married Prince William today in a breathtaking gown designed by Sarah Burton for the house of Alexander McQueen. Details from the Official Royal Wedding website:

Miss Catherine Middleton’s Wedding Dress has been designed by Sarah Burton at Alexander McQueen.Miss Middleton chose British brand Alexander McQueen for the beauty of its craftsmanship and its respect for traditional workmanship and the technical construction of clothing. Miss Middleton wished for her dress to combine tradition and modernity with the artistic vision that characterises Alexander McQueen’s work. Miss Middleton worked closely with Sarah Burton in formulating the design of her dress.

The dress epitomises timeless British craftsmanship by drawing together talented and skilled workmanship from across the United Kingdom. The dress design pays tribute to the Arts and Crafts tradition, which advocated truth to materials and traditional craftsmanship using simple forms and often Romantic styles of decoration. Ms Burton’s design draws on this heritage, additionally giving the cut and the intricate embellishment a distinctive, contemporary and feminine character.

The design

The lace appliqué for the bodice and skirt was hand-made by the Royal School of Needlework, based at Hampton Court Palace. The lace design was hand-engineered (appliquéd) using the Carrickmacross lace-making technique, which originated in Ireland in the 1820s. Individual flowers have been hand-cut from lace and hand-engineered onto ivory silk tulle to create a unique and organic design, which incorporates the rose, thistle, daffodil and shamrock.

Hand-cut English lace and French Chantilly lace has been used throughout the bodice and skirt, and has been used for the underskirt trim. With laces coming from different sources, much care was taken to ensure that each flower was the same colour. The whole process was overseen and put together by hand by Ms Burton and her team.

The dress is made with ivory and white satin gazar. The skirt echoes an opening flower, with white satin gazar arches and pleats. The train measures two metres 70 centimetres. The ivory satin bodice, which is narrowed at the waist and padded at the hips, draws on the Victorian tradition of corsetry and is a hallmark of Alexander McQueen’s designs. The back is finished with 58 gazar and organza covered buttons fastened by Rouleau loops. The underskirt is made of silk tulle trimmed with Cluny lace.

The Fabrics

French Chantilly lace was combined with English Cluny lace to be hand-worked in the Irish Carrickmacross needlework tradition.

All other fabrics used in the creation of the dress were sourced from and supplied by British companies. The choice of fabrics followed extensive research by Sarah Burton and her team.

The Royal School of Needlework

The Royal School of Needlework (RSN), based at Hampton Court Palace, assisted the Alexander McQueen team in accurately cutting out the delicate motifs from the lace fabrics and positioning the lace motifs with precision into the new design. The lace motifs were pinned, ‘framed up’ and applied with stab stitching every two to three millimetres around each lace motif. The workers washed their hands every thirty minutes to keep the lace and threads pristine, and the needles were renewed every three hours, to keep them sharp and clean.

The RSN workers included existing staff, former staff, tutors, graduates and students, with the youngest aged 19.

The RSN’s work was used primarily for the train and skirt of the Bride’s dress, the bodice and sleeves, the Bride’s shoes and the Bride’s veil.

Veil and Jewellery

The veil is made of layers of soft, ivory silk tulle with a trim of hand-embroidered flowers, which was embroidered by the Royal School of Needlework. The veil is held in place by a Cartier ‘halo’ tiara, lent to Miss Middleton by The Queen. The ‘halo’ tiara was made by Cartier in 1936 and was purchased by The Duke of York (later King George VI) for his Duchess (later Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother) three weeks before he succeeded his brother as King. The tiara was presented to Princess Elizabeth (now The Queen) by her mother on the occasion of her 18th birthday.

The Bride’s earrings, by Robinson Pelham, are diamond-set stylised oak leaves with a pear shaped diamond set drop and a pavé set diamond acorn suspended in the centre. Inspiration for the design comes from the Middleton family’s new coat of arms, which includes acorns and oak leaves. The earrings were made to echo the tiara. The earrings were a personal gift to the Bride from her parents for her Wedding Day.

Robinson Pelham have also designed and made a pair of diamond earrings for Miss Philippa Middleton. These earrings are more floral in nature to compliment the headpiece worn by Miss Philippa Middleton during the Service.

A tourmaline and diamond pendant and matching earrings have been designed and made for Mrs. Carole Middleton. Two gold stick pins, one with a single gold acorn at the head and the other with an oak leaf, are also worn respectively by the Father of the Bride, Mr. Michael Middleton, and the Bride’s brother, Mr. James Middleton.

Wedding Shoes

The wedding shoes have made hand-made by the team at Alexander McQueen and are made of ivory duchesse satin with lace hand-embroidered by the Royal School of Needlework.


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