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Friday, January 06, 2006 - Last Updated: 8:21 AM 

Fizzles and Sizzles

A look back and ahead at red carpet fashions

The Record (Hackensack N.J.)

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2005 was the year of the ill-fitting gown, says DeBora Rachelle, a Minnesota-based red-carpet dress designer and celebrity stylist.

She recalls for us these 2005 fashion bloopers:

--Reese Witherspoon at the premiere for "Walk the Line" and at Couture Cares: A Benefit for Breast Cancer. "At Couture Cares, she obviously didn't - she wore a grandma dress with a huge bow. And she looked like Little Bo Peep at 'Walk the Line.' Bows, if used properly, can be great. On Reese's latest dresses, they made her look like a teeny-bopper."

--Melanie Griffith at the Academy Awards. "I didn't even recognize her until I saw Antonio Banderas next to her. That dress was kind of just draped on her, and she wore those spiked cat-eye sunglasses."

--Renee Zellweger, also at the Oscars. "I know she looked smashing on TV in that red gown, but when I saw her in person, it looked so tight, I was afraid she'd pass out. It didn't help that her skin was so pasty. I hope she gets a tan before she wears red again."

--Nadia Almada had trouble reining in her decolletage thanks to the skimpy dress she chose to wear at the "House of Wax" premiere.

--The garish striped gowns that Liz Fuller wore to the "Miss Congeniality 2" premiere and Jennifer Alden to "The Wedding Crashers" premiere "looked like '70s shag carpets painted on.

This look can work for you only if you have the right complexion."

But there were also high-fashion high points on the red carpet.

--"Hilary Swank's (Academy Awards) dress stopped right at the top of her derriere and was really well-fitted. I wondered what held it in place all night, because it still looked great at the Oscars party afterward.

--"At the 'Miss Congeniality 2' premiere, Constance Marie wore a long bluish-aqua gown. At the premiere for 'The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl' she wore a bluish dress with aqua beads. Wearing the same colors over and over is OK if that color works for you.

--"Queen Latifah, at the 'Beauty Shop' premiere, had on a fitted suit that looked great on her body type. Sometimes bigger women (mistakenly) think they should wear bigger clothes to hide their figures. For instance, Alfre Woodard wore big and sloppy tentlike clothes to the same event.

--"The lace dress with the big red rosette was perfect on Catherine Zeta-Jones at the opening for 'The Legend of Zorro.' She always looks stunning in everything she has on.

--"Sandra Bullock wore a smashing red dress to the premiere of 'Miss Congeniality 2.' The color and simplicity made her stand out, which was appropriate because she was the star. At the Teen Choice Awards, she wore red with a black jacket, perfect for the occasion. And at the ninth Hollywood Film Festival gala, she was wise to choose a classic black dress because it wasn't her turn to stick out. She looked so movie-starish."

'06 red-carpet predictions

What will we see on the 2006 Academy Awards red carpet?

DeBora Rachelle says there will be lots of satin and iridescent taffeta along with a little lace. Watch for brilliant colors: turquoise, fuchsia, reds, yellows and orange-pink (aka "pineapple sunrise").

--"I would be surprised if Charlize Theron wasn't up for another nomination for 'North Country.' She looked great in 2005 with a light and airy layered ball gown. Once again, I'm sure she will stick with pastel colors, and the top of the dress will be more fitted.

--"Angelina Jolie will be in black with a V in the front. She is always in black or white, and V necklines always look great on her. I had a dream that I was able to dress her for the Oscars, and I put her in a deeper, rich color. I would love to see her in some color.

--"If you see Halle Berry, she'll be wearing something hand-beaded. She is my favorite dresser. I have never seen her on the red carpet without looking perfect.

--"Dakota Fanning may be up for an Oscar. I think she should be wearing something angelic, like an empire tulle-bottom dress with roses inside the tulle to make it stand out. From what I have seen her wearing in the past, she needs help with her styling. Dakota, call me!"