What is “Best Dressed”, and how do you define it? And why does it matter? (Maybe it doesn’t, but I have my own opinions and I thought it would be fun to share them). As I have said, it is all so subjective, and it means different things to different people. For me, it can be defined in many ways and include a variety of looks and styles. It may be an elusive element but as they say, “you know it when you see it”. Last year, I compiled "The 'New' Best Dressed List of 2013" and this year, I could easily include all those that made the cut in 2013, but I wanted to add new names and some different categories. Now in random order:
The Best Dressed International Lawyer
That being said, among her sartorial signatures: she has gorgeous legs which she often shows off; she never goes out without her aviator sunglasses; she has a penchant for bold, statement making accessories (chandelier earrings and necklaces). But of course, she’s got the most rarefied, coveted and elusive accessory of all (there’s no waiting list and its priceless): George Clooney. When you’ve got that, let’s face it, you don’t need much else. FYI, he will apparently be in her ‘permanent’ collection, as the two are planning to wed later this year.
The Best Dressed “Man Repeller”
"Red Carpet personal style is an oxymoron (and only a moron would equate the two). But four amazingly talented, beautiful, and classy stars (the best and most elusive combination), always shine."
The Best Dressed Actresses
What sets her apart? Nobody can hold a candle to her on the red carpet. She is one of those lucky ones who can pull anything off because of her height, stature, carriage, innate elegance, and intelligence, all of which shine through loud and clear whenever she appears. Her choices reflect her love of fashion and appreciation of great design. She diligently does her homework, and instead of going the obvious predictable route, her selections speak to an informed knowledge of fashion. And she loves to add an element of surprise. Very often she wears a gown that is demurely covered up in front, only to reveal a surprisingly risqué back; other times, she surprises with her choice of design and/or designer. Let’s face it, who else would wear a structured and architectural Delpozo two piece pant ensemble on the red carpet at Cannes, like she did last month? (While respected within fashion circles, Delpozo, designed by Joseph Font, is a relative newcomer, rather than a household name).
What sets her apart? What doesn’t? Only one year ago, she was a veritable unknown, and now she has an Academy Award, was named Most Beautiful Person of 2014 by People Magazine, has been tapped as the face of both Lancome Paris and Prada, and graced countless magazine covers. Her look represents beauty in a diverse world. As for her personal style, which she has in spades, she ‘had me at Ralph Lauren’ (I’ll never forget seeing her in that red RL cape gown at the Golden Globes) and she has been flawless on the red carpet since. But, to her credit, she is not stuck in a style rut and her style is evolving all the time. She can be classically elegant, severely minimalistic, and all out playful and experimental. This was exemplified by the multi striped culottes ensemble she wore to the CFDA Awards which was met with mixed reviews. One can even forgive her that Prada misstep at the Met Gala last month but even then, SHE apparently loved it, had fun in it, and isn’t that the point?
What sets her apart: This gorgeous, charismatic 26 year old chameleon, has proved to be sophisticated beyond her years, can literally get away with anything, and it seems it's impossible for her to ever look anything but classy, regardless of what she wears (she always nails it on the red carpet by the way); which is probably one reason she has already graced the cover of American Vogue countless times in the past few years. She is the face of a whole new generation of superstar actors (move over Julia, Gwyneth, Nicole, etc.)
The Best Dressed Keeper of the Best Dressed List
Amy Fine Collins
What sets her apart? With her signature closely cropped hair and long lean frame, the Vanity Fair Special Correspondent and keeper of Vanity Fair’s Best Dressed List along with Reinaldo Herrera, resembles a tall, elegant and chic pixie. But there is nothing at all pixyish about her serious, museum worthy wardrobe, accessorized with a never ending cache of fabulous handbags and Manolo Blahniks. Her sophisticated yet playful sense of style favors strong lines rather than surface ornamentation and is the perfect combination of owning “the well trained eye of an art historian” and a formidable insider’s knowledge of fashion and fashion history. She understands the notion of appropriate and always dresses the part but that is the only common thread in her many visages. Her wardrobe and her looks are varied, and there is always an element of surprise.
The Best Dressed on the Social Circuit
Lauren Santo Domingo
What sets her apart? LSD (as she is known) is model tall, thin, and gorgeous; is married to a billionaire; is a Vogue contributor; and co-founder of online retailer, Moda Operandi. Needless to say, she can have and buy anything she wants. But she is a good editor when it comes to her own wardrobe, which while varied, always shows a certain restraint, and is geared to what is appropriate for each occasion. Thus, she can effortlessly tap into a classic, neo preppy look; don a perfect tailleur or little black dress; be the height of minimal simplicity; look whimsically enchanting; or go for all out glamour, depending on the occasion. And, it must be pointed out that her apartments (one in New York, and a duplex in Paris where she kept the original 18th century plaster), are as chic and perfectly appointed as she is dressed.
The Best Dressed Musician, Composer, & Performers
What sets her apart? She is blessed not only with a God given talent, but with looks. In fact, she could easily model (at 5’10”, she held her own at the Victoria’s Secret Runway Show this past February). To her credit, she never looks inappropriate or overtly sexual and regardless of whether she is performing on stage, walking the red carpet, or hanging out with her friends, her selections are right on and appropriately youthful or glamorous, depending on the occasion (she can also be old fashioned/retro at times).
The Best Dressed "Reality Check"
Melissa Kuba Lederer
What sets her apart? Let other women dapple in the trends du jour. Melissa Kuba Lederer, Director of Design & Manufacturing at Verdura, is more than happy to stay with her signature uniform, one that exemplifies the forever appeal of menswear components translated for a woman: an impeccably tailored blazer, a crisp button down shirt, natty two tone lace up flat oxfords, accessorized with classic leather bags and belts. She always looks smart, comfortable, effortlessly chic, and pulled together in an easy, natural way (down to- or should I say, up to- her sleek cropped hair). Not surprisingly, her fabulous consistent look (which always includes narrow white jeans and aviator sunglasses) has also caught the eye of one famous iconic street photographer whom we all know and love (Bill Cunningham), who has religiously captured her going to and from her 5th avenue offices over the past few years. In “Reality Check”, his portfolio following on the heels of New York Fashion Week for spring 2012, she was featured 9 times. This past winter, she was photographed with a fabulous striped mink poncho coat worn over- what else- her signature wardrobe staples. Now, that’s what I call consistent).
The Best Dressed Fashion Director
The Best Dressed Luxury Goods Department Store VP
The Best Dressed Fashion icon/ Fashion Stylist/ Beauty Entrepreneur
The Best Dressed Couple
David and Victoria Beckham
(You didn’t really think I was going to say, Kim and Kanye did you? LOL)
Pharrell Williams and Helen Lasichanh
The Best Dressed at the Met
Sarah Jessica Parker
What sets her apart: As the Metropolitan Museum Costume Institute Ball becomes more and more high profile each year (thanks to Anna Wintour), one can argue that it deserves its own category. And without a doubt, nobody 'owns' the moment more than Sarah Jessica Parker, who painstakingly does her homework and research, and has brought her A Game to this event in the past few years. The only problem is that now, the expectations are so high, one has to wonder how can she top last year, or the year before? I don't know, but it will be fun to see how she does it (and I'm sure she will, regardless of what the subject of the exhibition will be!)
"The Best Undressed?"
The Best Dressed Mothers and Daughters
Sally and Chloe Perrin
What sets them apart? Mother and daughter Sally and Chloe Perrin are proof that the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. They are Creative Director and Brand Director of Perrin Paris, a family owned luxury line that dates back to 1893 and is now undergoing a renaissance thanks to the duo, and family head Michel who serves as CEO. Dividing their time between Paris and New York, both are the epitome of French understated chic mixed in with New York pragmatism. Favoring neutral colors, minimal yet dramatic lines, and a penchant for avant-garde labels (like Rick Owens) the tall, lithe duo (Sally is a former model) always accessorize with one of their fabulous simple, chic, distinctively shaped Perrin bags, making them the perfect walking advertisements for the luxury accessories label that they oversee.
Anna Wintour and Bee Shaffer
What sets them apart? It can't be easy being the daughter of arguably the most powerful woman in the world of fashion. But luckily, Bee Shaffer has no desire to compete with or follow in her mother's footsteps. While she is always stylishly turned out, the beautiful and brainy Columbia University grad (whose father is Anna's ex husband Dr. David Shaffer) has her own sense of style, independent of her famous fur loving mom (actually, I don't think I've ever seen her wear fur), and she is currently working as a segment producer for Seth Meyers' "Late Night" on NBC.
- Marilyn Kirschner
Photo credits: guestofaguest.com, goofeminin.de.com, nysocialdiary.com, getty images, vogue.com, style.com, elle.com, harpersbazaar.com, Bridget Fleming Photography, Andrew Zaeh Photography, streetkeeper.com, wonderfurs.it.com, fabover50.com, taylormarsh.com, guesswhatgirls.worldpress.com, nytimes.com