— On a best-dressed list that gives nods to the Obamas for being as fashionable as they are powerful, cites Lady Gaga for being a true original, and lauds NBC’s Brian Williams for becoming a sartorial luminary, it’s still Kate Middleton who takes the clothes cake.
In revealing her magazine’s 72nd annual Best-Dressed List on TODAY Wednesday, Vanity Fair’s Amy Fine Collins told Ann Curry that new bride and newly minted Duchess of Cambridge Kate led the way among the fashion insiders who vote for who makes the prized list.
“Kate Middleton is the hands-down winner this year,” Fine Collins said. “She got so many votes — she is the style leader for 2011.”
Middleton also made the list in 2008, which led some Brits to scratch their heads at the time because she wasn’t generally seen in her homeland as being fashionable. In the end, however, Middleton proved to be on the right side of history in a year in which she’s become the most-watched woman in the world.
“Kate has brought back items we never thought we’d see again in fashion, including hats and nude stockings,” Fine Collins told Curry. “She also knows how to combine clothes that are mass market, off-the-rack with real designer clothes.”
Entertainment royalty too
The always eagerly awaited Best-Dressed List, created by fashion publicist Eleanor Lambert in 1939 and the domain of Vanity Fair magazine since 2004, includes a host of first-timers from Hollywood. While past honorees such as Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie didn’t make the cut this year, the likes of Johnny Depp, Colin Firth, Justin Timberlake and Armie Hammer all received their first nods.
Firth, who claimed the Oscar for Best Actor earlier this year in portraying King George VI in “The King’s Speech,” has stepped up his game in the fashion department, and Fine Collins believes his association with renowned designer Tom Ford, with whom he worked in the 2009 film “A Single Man”, had a lot to do with it.
“I think Colin is sexy and he’s masculine and he’s learned a lot about clothes from Tom Ford,” she told Curry. “He cleaned it up, he slimmed down and he’s is very, very quietly elegant.”
And it was no surprise that an entertainer who wears meat and pops out of embryonic eggs would also make the Best-Dressed list in the “originals” category. Lady Gaga appeared on the list for the second year running, joining Depp, his long-time girlfriend Vanessa Paradis, and singer Janelle Monae on the originals list.
“She knows about fashion as self-expression,’ Fine Collins said of Gaga. “She is an individual and she has created the new normal in her outrageous way … just making it a little crazier, more fun.”
Along with Middleton, the Vanity Fair list was well-represented by global royalty, including Prince Charlene of Monaco, Qatar’s Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, and Greece’s royal couple, Nicolas Mirzayantz and Princess Alexandra. But, as with previous editions of the Best-Dressed List, France first lady Carla Bruni-Sarkozy stood out, making the cut for the fourth time.
“[She] knows how to wear blue jeans and ball gowns with equal ease,” Fine Collins told Curry. “She has that European ability to be both ladylike and sexy.”
But U.S. first lady Michelle Obama has an even longer run than Bruni-Sarkozy, making the Vanity Fair list for the fifth year running. This year, she took husband Barack along for the ride, with the pair entering the couple’s category for the first time.
NBC’s own Brian Williams will no longer appear on future Vanity Fair lists, as he is being honored — and retired — into the magazine’s fashion Hall of Fame after four appearances. Fine Collins lauded the “Nightly News” anchor for marching to his own beat in a rugged yet dressed-up way.
“Brian deserves to be in the Hall of Fame because he represents male glamour,” Fine Collins said. “He’s dashing, he’s manly.”
Still, Curry smiled and said she “finds it insane” that her co-anchor Matt Lauer, a previous honoree, didn’t make the grade this year. “I’ve got to sit next to that guy every day and try to keep up with him,” she said.
Fine Collins replied: “Now that Brian has been elevated to the Hall of Fame, there’s room for Matt to get back on.”