Do some celebs wear unappealing fashions to get noticed? In Hollywood, is there really no such thing as bad publicity?
—Henry P., via the Answer B!tch inbox
As for Lady Gaga's Grammy getup, first things first:
It was a look, not a dress. There was a Cirque du Soleil body stocking in there, and a fencing cowl with a wig on top in there, and a lavender corset with its own solar system in there, and a handheld piece of Sputnik in there, and a pair of shoes whose heels had been consumed, in one gulp, by the terrible Galactus, eater of worlds.
Gaga, I'm told, likely knew exactly what kind of reaction she'd get when she wore that ensemble. But she's largely the exception, stylists tell me. Most stars, honest-to-Michael-Jackson, really have no idea that the dresses they select might bomb on the red carpet. How can this be?
Well, blame that good old Hollywood-heartland disconnect.
"I honestly don't think Drew thought it was that bad," says Art Conn, who has styled several singers for red carpet events.
Why? Because he himself kind of liked the dress, for one.
"Most of the time, celebrities will put on something and think it looks great and don't realize that once they leave the house, the public might not agree."
Stylists may not foresee disaster in those instances either, simply because they travel in circles different from those of most Americans; some outfit that looks completely insane to the folks in Terre Haute may fall under "ho-hum" category for a cutting-edge stylist like Conn. Take the nude dress trend that took off on Hollywood red carpets a few years ago.
"People railed against that, asking how could someone wear something that so closely matched their skin tone, Conn recalled. "Now, a year and a half, two years later, you are seeing so much more of that."
And, may I add, quite a few of those nude-colored dresses are ending up on the best-dressed lists.
So a couple of water wings stuck in strategic places may seem merely innovative to a world-weary Barrymore; to the rest of us, they remain water wings.
When an abomination hits the red carpet, our Fashion Police are there.