08 March, 2010

The Duchess Considers . . .

International Women's Day, The Oscars
(and a P.S. about Jean Paul Gaultier for Target)

Bravo Kathryn Bigelow

Today is International Women's Day, a day that is celebrated much more fully in many countries around the world than in the United States. My Russian tennis coach, for example, told me that they do not celebrate Valentine's Day in Russia, but rather honor their wives, mothers, girlfriends, etc. on IWD. The holiday, if you will, has its origins in the socialist movement but is today recognized by even our own White House (no snickering, please. The Huffington Post is over THERE.).

With great pleasure, then, we get to celebrate today the achievements of the remarkable Kathryn Bigelow, who made movie history last night when she became the first woman ever to win the Academy Award for Best Director. The Duchess, who narrated the first two hours of the Oscars last night for a youngster, patiently explained -- with the handing out of almost every award -- that "the boys win, and the girls wear sparkly dresses and hand them the prize." C'est vrai, non? Of course, of course, we have the "girls only" categories; but didn't the "separate but equal" approach to diversity go out of style in the 1950s (about 100 years to late, even still)? Then Ms. Bigelow strides in with her lustrous smile and self-confident aura and sweeps the rug right out from under the boys. Twice. And her (YSL) dress did not sparkle, nor did it need to, because she did.

Not that the Duchess is opposed to sparkle. Some women wear it very well.

Sandra Bullock

Like Sandra Bullock. Ms. Bullock took home the best actress award for her performance in a movie that the Duchess did not see. No matter, the second she hit the red carpet you knew it was her night. Ms. Bullock, in her early 40s, beat out women in their early 20s and women in their 60s for the statue. The Duchess loved that it was a very wide field in that regard.

And the Duchess loves Ms. Bullock's husband, Jesse James. Yes, yes, anyone can wear a black tux with a white shirt, and Tom Ford did so very, very well, but didn't Mr. James look like . . . himself? Esquire.com be damned, Mr. James looked mighty fine.

Clara Daniels

Clara Daniels also looked spectacular. M Andre Leon Talley dressed her in Chado Ralph Rucci and it was amazing.

Jennifer Lopez ranked at the top of the Duchess's best dressed list. She has such a glamorous, womanly figure and look that the traditional red carpet gowns fit her to a tee. Also love Mo'Nique, but who doesn't?

Finally, a post script. The Duchess visited Target about 20 minutes after it opened on Sunday morning to pick up some basics when she saw about 50,000 people crammed around 3 racks of skimpy, weird-looking clothes apparently designed by Gaultier for Target. Now, the Duchess is certainly not above donning attire from Le Target, and actually considered Libertine's designs for the mass-tailer quite adorable (not to mention comfortable and relatively well-made). But these Gaultier designs were ghastly. Target, please, stick to the basics or upgrade, but stop stradding this uncomfortable line.

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