The recent 80th Golden Globes was the most-watched edition as far as Filipinos are concerned, primarily because one of our own, Dolly De Leon, was making history as the first from the Philippines to be nominated for her performance in Ruben Ostlund’s Triangle of Sadness, also nominated for Best Picture.
Although she did not take home the award for Best Supporting Actress, Dolly paved the way for further recognition of Philippine performing artists and creatives on the international stage. Her outfit made news, too, promoting Filipino talent in the global fashion scene. Harper’s Bazaar listed her as one of the top 14 Best Dressed Stars at the event. Tara Gonzalez, senior fashion editor, wrote: “Dolly De Leon starred in Triangle of Sadness, which received an eight-minute standing ovation at the Cannes Film Festival. And we’d give this leather gown with matching gloves an eight-minute standing ovation, too, if we could.” The editor also called Dolly’s wearing rings over her gloves as “our new favorite red-carpet accessory styling.”
It embodies her character in the film: a strong woman—a dominatrix, even—but with a touch of femininity.
Dolly’s gown was by Filipino designer Norman De Vera, design director of AZ Factory, the Paris house founded by the late Alber Elbaz. She chose him together with her stylist LJ Perez, another fellow Filipino, “after a collaborative process, which included finding out the actress’ preferences and non-negotiables,” reports Celine Mallari of Vogue Philippines. The New York-based stylist has worked with the likes of Lizzo, Doja Cat and Shawn Mendes. De Vera, who has dressed Jennifer Lopez and Heidi Klum and worked for Celine, Lanvin and Louis Vuitton, created a corseted, off-the-shoulder, full-length gown with ruched tulle straps as a soft counterpoint. It embodies her character in the film: a strong woman—a dominatrix, even—but with a touch of femininity.
Black leather and Gothic glam were actually big trends. Regina Hall wore a one-shoulder version by another Filipino designer, Monique Lhuillier. Jeremy Pope also did leather in a Dolce & Gabbana suit. Rihanna, nominated for her song in Black Panther, opted for black velvet couture from Schiaparelli. Jamie Lee Curtis had a cape of lace over a strapless jumpsuit from Valentino.
Meanwhile, Jenna Ortega, the Goth character in Wednesday, veered away from black in Gucci’s nude pleated floaty number. The Italian house’s feminine, fantasy looks were, in fact, showstoppers on the carpet. The Fabelmans’ Best Actress nominee Michelle Williams was be-ruffled all over in cream organza, while Ozark’s Best Supporting Actress winner Julia Garner’s was in pink hemmed with three tiers of flounce.
Bold statements were made with color and shimmer. The Crown’s Elizabeth Debicki was in a hot pink strapless gown from Dior, while The Menu’s Anya Taylor-Joy’s piece from the same house was in a sprightly yellow. Lily James did both color and volume in a red Versace. In Letitia Wright’s Prada white silk column, the drama was in a trompe l’oeil splash of orange that was stunningly artsy.
The sparklers also made waves, from silver sheaths worn by Angela Bassett and Salma Hayek to the dazzling gold mirror mosaic that covered Jessica Hudson. George and Tammy nominee Jessica Chastain’s Oscar de la Renta had a jewel-encrusted web that radiated light and glamour.
For many, black and white with takeoffs from the tux were safe bets. Jean Smart wore a tuxedo dress, while Hannah Einbinder wore a strapless black tea dress with a big white bow on the bodice. Donald Glover was still in lockdown mode in a lounge-y white silk Saint Laurent pajama and robe set under his tux.
Ironically, the tux was worn in all imaginable colors and incarnations by the men. Eddie Redmayne did his in chocolate with a giant cabbage rose, Babylon’s Diego Calva’s was in forest green, Seth Rogen’s in salmon, Adam Scott’s in teal with a skinny bow tie, and Barry Keoghan’s in powder blue. Billy Porter, of course, donned his signature tux and ballgown hybrid with a sweeping train, but this time in magenta, the color of the year.
If Porter can wear the tux with a skirt, who says you can’t have the best of both worlds by wearing it with both skirt and pants? Reece Feldman did just that with pleated skirt and flares, while House of the Dragon’s Emma D’Arcy did her version in an oversized number chosen because “nothing says nonbinary like wearing both skirt and trousers.” The gender-fluid outfits were an indication of how times have changed and the Globes, being accused of bigotry and ethical lapses in the past, has made efforts to reform by having more diversity in the organization as well as among the winners.
The very fact that a Filipina was nominated for the first time indicates a form of renewal that the Malaysian Michelle Yeoh, who won Best Actress, acknowledged in her acceptance speech: “I turned 60 last year. All of you women understand this. As the days, years and numbers get bigger, it seems like opportunities start to get smaller as well. And I probably was at a time when I thought, ‘Well, hey, you really had a good run, you worked with some of the best people… then along came the best gift: Everything Everywhere All at Once (the movie she was awarded for).”
Ryan Murphy, who was awarded a Carol Burnett Award for career achievement in television, used his speech to recognize openly gay or trans performers he worked with like MJ Rodriguez, Jeremy Pope and Bill Porter, calling them “signs of hope and progress.” The director and producer advised viewers to “use them as your north stars,” in case they may not see themselves reflected on the screen or if they may feel under attack because of their race or sexual orientation. Dolly may very well be a north star for Filipinos and other Asians in the industry who can see that they are now more visible and their work is being recognized.