Leelee Sobieski, Giving Us What We Need

Posted on April 13, 2012

Sometimes, when you’re a bitchy red carpet commenter, you wake up to find that, in the last 24 hours, no celebrity wore anything worth talking about. These are the mornings when we cycle through the wires glumly uttering “No, no, no…” to an endless array of boring little black dresses or beige folded-napkin dresses.

But every once in a while, you stumble across one and shout “YES!” to the heavens. “THANK YOU, JESUS! Someone wore something batshit crazy!”

And y’know? A lot of times, that someone is Leelee Sobieski. Bless.

Leelee Sobieski attends The Paley Center For Media Presents New York Premiere of “NYC 22” in Maki Oh.

Maki Oh Spring 2012 Collection

We’ll restate exactly what we said when we first saw these pics. “I have no idea what I’m looking at here, but it’s making my brain hurt.”

Thank you, Leelee. You are a treasure. But we’re pretty sure you’re being consumed by a black hole at the moment, so we’re a little concerned.

[Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images, hautefashionafrica.com]

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  • alyce1213


    • lesmaha

      my thought exactly….

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  • She so needs to be in a movie with Helen Hunt.  Maybe something with time travel?  hehehe

    Dress is fug.

    • With Meryl Streep as their mother.

      I think I like the dress but I go cross-eyed when I try to resolve the details. Is that pleating on the block-colour sash bit?

      • Little_Olive

        It’s an attack from that Stella Mc Cartney one-sleeve we’ve been judging here.

        Great call on the Meryl addition

  • I burst out laughing thinking it couldn’t be worse.Then I imagined it as a pantsuit. On Florence Welch.

    • Laurie Bergman

      I can totally picture that….and it makes a lot more sense!

  • Miss_Led

    It looks nutty on the model, too.

  • MmmmmmmmK

    It’s as if the Statue of Liberty was angry and decided to wear a teddy bear’s fuzzy cape as an apron.

  • So,….What we have here is a tie dyed, wax resist printed, top and skirt ensemble, with a button front, shirt collar, long sleeves, and a MASSIVE slit, up the back of the full length skirt, that has this strange, crumpled, folded detail, right on the hip line, over the tummy.  Am I missing any details here?  If I am, Then they must have invented a few more, cause they are ALL present in this over thought outfit.

    • NinaBoo

      And yet it’s the white pumps that sent me over the edge…

      •  Truly! WHAT was her stylist THINKING?     I know, lets reference octogenarian women in polyester suits!

      • ballerinawithagun

        Fatal.. White Pumps!

    • Don’t forget the yoga hair.

  • Eclectic Mayhem

    The dress appears to have ripped a hole in the space time continuum…

    • formerlyAnon

      Design by Amy Pond. Inspired by her bedroom wall.

  • another_laura

    It’s not my most favoritest dress du jour, but it would be better on a woman who could wear it, rather than it wearing her.  Poor girl, whatever this dress is, she is not enough woman for it.  I also have to think she could have done better than white pumps.   

  • Valdri8

    Oh my God; I actually do not hate it, except for the shoes, which are horrible. Is there anyone else out there? Do I need to START drinking?

    • kimmeister

      I would like it if it weren’t for the blue swath in her middle and on one arm.

      • formerlyAnon

        And I think I even like the IDEA of the swath. But the Lord bless, not its execution.

    • sweetestsith

      I don’t hate-hate it either, I love the print, just not so much the rest of it…

      •  Yes, when it was just her top third, I thought, “Oh, nice, I like.” And then you hit the black hole. And then it all falls apart. The print is great though, kind of an homage to indigo sashiko embroidery.

        • musenebula

          I kept thinking of some kind of art inspiration for the print, as well. But, thought the print reminded me of Katsushika Hokusai’s famous woodblock print of Mt. Fuji with the waves in the foreground.  I think both would be a great source to pull from but this dress is not a very good use of either type of inspiration. 

        • Me too.

      • Libby Rhoman

        Actually, I straight up love it all.  Except for the shoes.  I think it looks way better on Leelee than the model.

    • birdhead

      I quite like it from the front, except for the cuffs – I don’t even mind the black hole. Terrible from the side/back though. I actually really like the print.

    • IAmJ

       I don’t hate it either! I do hate the shoes. I think it looked a lot better on the model, though.

    • M N

      Nah, I like it a lot.  At first glance I thought it looked very traditionally Japanese.  Then I saw the designer’s name and was vindicated. XD  This is a modern take on some old Japanese fabrics, patterns, and styles.  I like it a lot for the idea.  Even the weird waist detail is a reference to kimono ties.

    • Reneesance

      I kind of love the print and the color.  I think the skirt with the right top could be very striking but the blouse is a bit much…

    • You’re not alone, I kind of like it.  But the shoes have GOT to go.

    • lamamu

      It is a nice dress on her. The waist detail is oddly flattering, but only on the flat-tummied. Love the cuffs on the sleeves, which suit the Hepburn-esque feel of the formal blouse/skirt combo. But the shoes must go. Replace with a chunky, strappy heel in a deep wine-colored red and we’re there.

    • Corsetmaker

      I like it too, it’s striking and different and anyway I support almost anything that isn’t bland, boring, design-less. 
      But I agree on the shoes.

  • TieDye64

    Hooray for the crazy fug! It always brightens my day, too.

  • I’m pretty sure Liza Minnelli wore this to Studio 64 in 1978.  Or the design was stolen from a bad art deco lobby from the Vegas strip.

  • Well, that’s a shame. It matches her eyes, though, so there’s that?

    I don’t mind the patterned fabric without the thang, but that’s a bit much of it. 

    • Can you really dye my eyes to match my gown?

      • mountainFashionista

        Jolly good town!  🙂

  • HomeOfficeGirl

    Oh, it’s happened again.  I actually kind of love this. 

    • slightlybitterkitten

      Me too….. The more I look at it, the more I like it.  I might need my head examined.

  • gdougs

    I don’t mind the concept, but it definitely doesn’t translate well onto pictures. Plus that satin is hiddy.

  • JasmineAM

    Bless her for not being boring. You rock that crazy shit, girl!

  • Laurie Bergman

    WOW.  All that, and white pumps too.

  • RoxieRider

    I genuinely like this dress. But I hate the shoes and the hair and the way she’s wearing it. Maybe… I don’t know, Drew Barrymore could pull it off? Or, ooh, Erykah Badu?

  • In my overactive and SciFi-filled imagination, this was a very pretty print dress that got attacked by a white fuzzy blob that is eating away the print and leaving just wrinkled purple satin behind.  Leelee had better watch out because the blob’s going to get to her skin soon, and then we’ll all have to put her out of her misery.

    • I was thinking along Doctor Who “crack in the wall” lines myself. It’s thisclose to the right shade of Tardis blue, even.

      • MoHub

         The crack in the wall was more interesting.

    • TheDivineMissAnn

      Yeah!  Like Stephen King’s “The Langloliers”.

  • I don’t understand exactly what I’m seeing. Is that blue business at the waist a print? Separate fabric but attached? A scarf tied around? Wha? 

    I like the print, actually. But the blue waist-thickener is confusing me.

  • LJoRey

    I kinda like it. I no longer see Helen Hunt. Now I see Gillian Anderson.

  • If you’re going to wear a dress like that, you need to wear it like you’re Cinderella, Tina Turner, and Aphrodite, all rolled up into one.  Otherwise, you just look pathetic.

  • LambeeBaby

    It looks like she was trying to pull off her sports bra but decided to leave it around her hips.

  • owerrigurl

    Actually, I love the dress. It puts me in the mind of African wax print (my family is Nigerian). I would totally wear that. Not with white pumps, though.

  • Ok, I’m going to be absolutely the only one that loves this, but I do. I love this dress.

  • girliecue

    Seeing Leelee Sobieski almost always makes me smile. And almost always for a different reason each time. Go on being your Leelee self, girl!

  • guest2visits

     This could have worked. Maybe. If only the skirt ended above the knee.
    Nude or navy shoes.
    She certainly looks fresh and beautiful though; even with messy hair.

  • I’m guessing this is some sort of “conceptual” dress, and we missed the presentation, so we’re not getting it. 
    Those white shoes make me feel like stabbing something.

  • MilaXX

    Looks like someone spilled bleach on  her and I dislike white shoes 9/10.  This is definitely one of those times.

  • amian3

    So disagree. This is so fabulous except for the shoes, which don’t work. It is sophisticated and chic and I love the lipstick.

  • holdmewhileimnaked

    the model looks amazing– but that isnt cos of the dress, it’s despite the dress.

    the model has a great face. LLS’s face isnt quite as dramatic, but it isnt bad. still & regardless: why would someone wear a dress that even looks wretched on the runway? i dont care how free it was. it stands to reason that wearing something under such circumstances would be a no-go-to–unless the wearer thought going there would get a whole lot of people commenting about her & thereby get herself a whole mess of page views, all of the above negatively-inspired. which i guess is what happened. so if thats what she was after, she nailed it.

    otoh, i cant even figure out how they made that dress. unless they stuck the sideways apron & its weird little ruffle & matching half-sleeves on top of the batik business. but i dont think they did that. so i guess she’s getting the perplexed bloggers & their commentariat too.

    • formerlyAnon

      “[W]hy would someone wear a dress that even looks wretched on the runway?”
      For the same reason people buy mail order clothes that make the catalog/Internet model look dumpy?
      It seems like the height of insanity, and yet . . .

  • marilyn

    Why does she look like a waitress?  The sideways peplum (with feathers or fur, or whatever)  looks weird.  Is it a blue Christmas tree skirt turned sideways?  Without the wacko peplum, and the color carryover to the sleeve, it could be a good dress for an older woman.  The print  is spectacular, and the eye would focus on it, not the distracting peplum.  If it did not have the wacko peplum, Leelee would need dark wacko shoes with this and not white ones.  The white bridesmaid pumps make it worse by making her look too clunky.  Those shoes are dowdy.    I think an older woman could carry this look off (sans peplum), but Leelee is too young and fresh to do so.  She is an attractive woman who needs to wear younger clothes.  It’s the dress, not her.  Come to think of it, I don’t think anyone could make this dress look good in its present form.  Thumbs down to the designer and her stylist.

  • buildmeatower

    She looks like she’s from a future where we don’t wear real clothes anymore, just gizmos that project images of clothes onto us and hers got stuck partway through changing. I like that they were thoughtful enough to match the sleeve to the rest though. Actually the part of this that really confuses me is the top: what’s going on up there and why is it happening? I think it looks better buttoned up like on the model. 

  • Megan Patterson

    I almost like it,  because it’s heavily referencing kimono, but there’s something a bit off about the proportions. 

  • VicksieDo

    LOL, I actually like it. hehe

  • vmcdanie

    Does this notion of creating some kind of visual effect that encompasses different parts of the body ever work? Designers need to reign in some of these impulses and remember rule #1 is still has to be wearable.

    I do think the base print is pretty.

    What the hell happened to her career? 

  • She’s coming apart at the seams!  “Capt’n, I can’t hold her together any longer!”

  • jw_ny

    I agree that it hurts to look at this dress, but I’ll at least give Leelee credit for consistently trying to be different, interesting, and for expressing herself/her own sense of style…as misguided as this and previous RC looks have been.  

  • Jess5628

    I dunno, it makes me a little dizzy to stare at it too long, but I kind of love it on her.

  • Spicytomato1

    She seems a little less than enthusiastic about it. But I like certain elements of the look — basically everything but the middle of the dress, which looks sort of like a bleach and/or Rit dye accident. The shape/cut is interesting and flattering and her hair and makeup compliment it nicely.
    And yes she is Helen Hunt 2.0.

  • nannypoo

    I like it a lot. I wonder what that says about me?

  • The top, with just the pattern (without the bit of weirdness on the sleeve) would be gorgeous.

  • i actually liked it the dress! i mean the shoes and hair have to be different and that middle part with the blue is just weird but still, you know? meh. 

  • Andrea Rossillon

    The pattern is stylized ocean waves and the middle part is the surf breaking–it’s two styles of representing water, and it definitely references that famous Japanese woodcut print of Katsushika Hokusai. I like it.

    • In_Stitches

       That’s what I saw and it made me love it.  Granted, the big chunk of dark blue that isn’t really ‘resolved’ in the middle of the design isn’t doing the best things for her, but I love the idea behind the look.  Maybe it the top was paired with a different skirt or vice versa…

    • Zi Jie Tan

      Leelee is just a long, lean stretch of waves and the sea. I like it! 

  • Monabel

    I could sew a wonderful dress out of that fabric….

  • DCSheehan

    I actually like it in a kooky way. White shoes would not have been my choice though but somehow this crazy thing works for me.

    Yes, I am mad.

  • quiltrx

    I guess I’m the only one who likes it.  My eye can’t find the necessity of the ruffly bit at the top of the navy waist portion, but other than that, I like it.  Probably because I’m a quilter and love textiles, period…but the fabric reads Japanese (and kind of sashiko-ish) to me, and the middle portion reminds me of waves.

  • It’s one of those dresses that, for the fifteen seconds it was probably on the runway, looked arresting and interesting, but standing still on an actual human person? Weird.

  • i like it.  insert shruggy dood here.  
    not loving the shoes, but whatever.

  • lojoso

    What is with the laundromat hair?

  • formerlyAnon

    I ADORE that fabric. 

    Well, the stripey part. The deep blue ‘black hole’ might be nice as a band of contrast in a swath of fabric, around her hips & midsection it reads lumpy and unflattering and ruins the highly mannered elegance which I expect was intended.

  • EEKstl

    In a last-ditch attempt to find an apron, our LeeLee ripped the Santa suit off some unsuspecting bearded gent and hastily dyed it blue. Yes, that’s about as sane as this looks.

  • LP

    Love it.  I kind of don’t see whats *so* crazy about the dress other than the waist part.  The dress fits her well, but the styling is awful, especially the shoes and hair.

  • PaulaBerman

    Has she ever played Helen Hunt’s daughter in anything? Because I swear she is Helen’s CLONE. 

    • I totally see that now that you point it out. Crazy!

  • BigWhiteGrannyPanties

    I weirdly like it.  Perhaps not the shoes – but I weirdly like it.  

    • Anathema_Device

      I refrained from commenting on this one because I couldn’t figure out whether I liked it or not. I like the concept. I like it on the runway, but it doesn’t look right on her. Not sure whether it is a “concept only” dress, or whether it could work on the right woman.

  • lrhoff

    Last night I watched (again) the movie she so beautifully starred in — “Joan of Arc” — and have an immediate soft spot for her.  She doesn’t look that bad to me here.  After all, the dress makes her shape look amazing with the body hugging, etc.  Her back end is pretty solid, you guys, which you point out on others regularly.  I’m thinking this was an intriguing fashion choice for her, but it wasn’t completely wrong…at least not to me.

  • real talk though, that’s the best her make up has ever looked. now go wash your hair and change your clothes, leelee.

  • Rand Ortega

    1st gown I’ve ever seen w/ taste & bleach issues.

  • I like Leelee but she is obviously uncomfortable in that dress.

  • Love the dress, burn the shoes

  • I hate her face much more than I hate her outfit.

  • Scarlet39

    Oy vey

  • FashionShowAtLunch

    The thing is, it has potential!  It just went wrong in so many ways.

  • ballerinawithagun

    I haven’t looked at anyone else’s comments. I thought it was a different play on the Stella McCartney dress that has been everywhere.

  • She looks fab.

  • chitowndg

    She needs to button one more button, like the model.  Maybe even then she is just too short waisted to pull this off.  Otherwise, I like the patterns and color.

  • ArrEssJay

    I like it.  The color, the print, the shock of lightning sky in the middle.  It looks cool and comfortable and feel-good-against-the-skin.  

    Her hair and fresh, dewy skin are nice too.  

  • Candigirl1968

    I feel like she tries to be Tilda and just fails miserably.  

  • You know in the small photo, it looks rather conservative, but then, I got hit with the scroll fug.

  • Stubenville

    The main pattern is a classic Japanese woodblock print pattern. The dress might have been nice if Maki Oh had just used that all over. But then we’d have a grumpy TLo with nothing to blog about.  =)

  • dschubba

    I like it slightly more now that I can see that that silvery stripe isn’t fur/feather like I’d originally thought. That shoe is really stinking the joint up.

  • Susan Crawford

    Aside from those terrible white pumps, she looks great. I like the dress, I like her hair, I like her make-up . . . but the shoes have to go.

  • siriuslover

    I kinda dig it, actually, though the white shoes are tragic.

  • TheOtherChristina

    I’m with everybody who likes the dress (separates?) but finds the shoes deplorable. Her makeup is pretty nice, too. I don’t even mind the hair.

  • unbornfawn

    I’m with TLo here. This is one strange dress. That blue apron thingy? 

  • MoHub

    Reminds me of the days when I was a kid, and my mother would run out to catch the bus to work still wearing the apron she had on in the kitchen.

  • KathKo

    I kind of like the print on a purely artistic level.
    I went on an art fair yesterday and fell in love with a couple of paintings with loud japanese vibes. The artist happened to be japanese as I found out. I’m doomed. I’m a sucker for cherry trees and yutaka prints.
    So this, I like.

  • Judy_J

    I’m kinda digging it. That dress is cracktastic!

  • Judy_J

    I’m kinda digging it. That dress is cracktastic!

  • I think it’s beautiful and she looks great. The print reminds of fabric I saw in west africa.

  • Call me Bee

    I always knew she’d grow up to be Helen Hunt.  (That is a crazy-ass dress…) 

  •  The key to every man is his thought. Sturdy and
    defying though he look, he has a helm which he obeys, which is the idea
    after which all his facts are classified. He can only be reformed by
    showing him a new idea which commands his own.

  • PeaceBang

    OOooh, I quite like this! I think it’s snappy and for some reason it feels like a 21st century Carole Lombard look. The shoes, though. My God. The humanity.

  • Renaissance_Man_ATL

    I like it, except for the white pumps.

  • suzanne77

    I know I am in the minority here, but I like it. I think it looks interesting and sharp. Not “pretty” exactly, but certainly eye catching. I think the shoes were a mistake, but she looks great overall to me. Her makeup is lovely too.

  • TheOriginalLulu

    The look on her face in that third pic is saying, Yeah. I know. It’s insane isn’t it?

  • Warmheartedgirl Seattle

    The dress is hideous, but those shoes are a crime!

  • RzYoung

    I’m shocked but I actually love it!