Carey Mulligan has changed red carpet fashion.
I say this on the day after the Golden Globes not because she wowed me last night--she wasn't even there. It's because ever since Mulligan wore that Prada dress to last year's Oscars, the red carpet has gotten a bit more interesting.
Of course there were risk takers before she the pulled it off: Maggie Gyllenhaal, Kirsten Dunst, Michelle Williams, and Sofia Coppola have looked pulled together and cool over the past decade. But here's why Carey's different: She's not cool. She's pretty and smart and admirable, but she's not particularly slick or hip. She's made not wearing a nude, sparkly dress okay for non-hipsters. She's even made it necessary.
Last night, there were more than ten dresses which I thought, even if they weren't perfect, were good. And interesting. Usually, I'd say the number is more like three. Of course January Jones was a standout in Versace. Claire Danes and Emma Stone made the money Calvin Klein is spending on tv commercials seem a bit more sensible. And 14-year-old Hailee Steinfeld was stunning--without appearing childish or inappropriate--in a Prabal Gurung column gown and Ferragamo shoes. I can easily wax on: Julianna Margulies in vintage YSL couture (courtesy of Decades, natch). Heidi Klum in Marc Jacobs. Leighton Meester in Burberry. Robert Downey Jr. in Prada. Jennifer Lawrence in Louis Vuitton. They all looked, well, awesome.
I even admired Michelle Williams' 1960s-inspired Valentino dress, despite the fact that it came off as just a bit too referential.
Everyone might not agree with our choices for best dressed, but I have no doubt fashion lovers found something to appreciate last night. So thank you, Ms. Mulligan. (Or maybe we should thank Anna Wintour, who suggested she wear a tea-length dress to the Oscars in the first place.)