Zoe Saldana in Jonathan Saunders

Posted on July 23, 2012

We’re a little torn on the subject of what Miss Zoe did to this look:


Zoe Saldana attends the 2012 Teen Choice Awards in top and skirt by Jonathan Saunders paired with Christian Louboutin sandals.

Jonathan Pre-Fall 2012 Collection

Christian Louboutin ‘Vampanodo’ Satin Bow Sandal

Or put more accurately: We’re a little torn on the subject of what happened to this look when it went from runway to red carpet. We love the runway version, even though we think a couple inches off the hem would make it cuter. And while there’s nothing wrong with what Miss Zoe’s doing here, the trip from cute, understated chic to belly top and bubble skirt didn’t improve the idea. It’s a beautiful fabric that looks great against her coloring and we suspect that was the primary draw. But as much as we think she can handle and pull off a belly top and bubble skirt, we can’t look at this without wondering if the runway look wasn’t a better use of this fabric.

Also, we’re not convinced those shoes go with it. She looks good overall, but when you put both looks side by side, we default to the original.


[Photo Credit: Andrew Evans, Tina Gill/PR Photos, vogue.com, bergdorfgoodman.com]

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  • MissAnnieRN

    I’m thinking that the bubble skirt is a great way to conceal the fact that she couldn’t *actually* hem it because she had to give it back. So rather than show up with the sloppy hems we’ve all been railing against, she chose to make it deliberate.

    I actually like the shoes.  My eye gravitates toward them immediately.  But maybe that means they’re focus pulling and wrong for the outfit.

    • Emily Giovanni

      but why would they allow her to cut the dress in half and not hem it? I think she should have kept it as a dress.

      • MissAnnieRN

        it appears to be 2 piece in the runway version, no?

        • Larkin21

          I agree. I think the model version looks like it’s two pieces as well.

        • EveEve

          yes, the original also looks like it is two pieces.  I like Zoe’s alterations a lot, and I think the shoes pick up the turquoise in the fabric beautifully.

          • Magatha

             I agree. I love earth tones and then a dash of turquoise, both in the fabric and the shoes. It’s like lighting it up with a dash of sky or minerals. I like the alterations, too. I know runway models aren’t supposed to emote, but the model’s posture and styling make it look like she was sentenced to wear this outfit, whereas Zoe looks like she’s having fun while looking pretty.

          • Arellys Victor Garro

            very true

      • Fordzo

        I think it looks like she just tucked ALL that fabric up to create the bubble skit effect.  

        Oops, didn’t really interpret your original comment correctly. When you said “cut in half” I thought you were referring to the skirt.

    •  It’s funny since she couldn’t hem the skirt but she could actually split the dress into two (the front part, at least). Actually I love the top until I saw the back, making it a cutouts and not two separate pieces.

      • MissAnnieRN

        Hmm.  Well, I suppose it’s splitting hairs, but it does appear to be a two ensemble in both Zoe’s version and the runway version.

  • Too DIY with the skirt hem.

  • GillianHolroyd

    hmm. What you call bubble skirt, I call hemming without cutting off the salvage so that it can be let down again later.

    How tall is she, she might not be able to carry off the longer length.

  • charlotte

    It’s a pity because it is a beautiful dress, but this way it looks much like what I used to do to my barbie dolls’ clothes with mom’s sewing scisscors.

  • Larkin21

    I like it much better the way she wore it. The length on the model was enough for me to dislike that look entirely. And while I’m usually not a fan of the bare midriff, Zoe makes it work. I agree the shoes don’t go great with the dress but I do like those shoes on their own. 

  • Yeah it comes across as a quick and dirty hem job, to be taken out later on.  As far as the top is concerned, it actually looks to me as though the top has not been changed one bit.  The is a very tiny corner of skin showing on the model shot, right at the waist, and when Zoe has her arms down, that’s just how much shows on her.

  • RzYoung

    Hideous thing to do to the skirt, makes it into a completely different dress. I’d be spitting tacks if I were the designer – looks like it’s been done with Wonderweb.

  • Meh. It’s Teen Choice. I think she looks great.

  • Sobaika

    I might have been for this if it had been actually hemmed instead if a makeshift bubble skirt. It looks goofy – not a word usually associated with Ms. Saldana.

  • kikisayshi

    I don’t mind the bubble skirt, but I wish the dress was left in one piece. Hate the shoes.

  • DinaSews

    It’s the TEEN choice awards.  She should be dressing for her tween fans.  Are we sure the model’s outfit isn’t 2 pieces?  Kind of looks like it to me though not as short as Zoe’s version.  I think she looks great.  I’m hoping the dress got a little washed out by the cameras because the bolder color would be killer.

  • Sorry Zoe, honey, it pains me to say it, but this one doesn’t work. I’m not thrilled with the color, belly-shirts are the work of the devil, and i don’t like the way the skirt was turned into a bubble skirt. I feel like the shoes *should* go, but they don’t.

    • Judih1

      Well said! Totally agree

  • Call me Bee

    I’ll betcha the shoes do match the blue in that plaid, but it’s hard to tell between the lighting in the photo and the color on one’s monitor.   I’ll also betcha that Miss Zoe wanted the dress to look fresher and hipper for “the young people” so it was re-designed.  As it was–it was a great dress, but a little stuffy-tea-party looking.  Re-styled, it’s cuter and youthful.

  • janetjb

    Love the fabric, but hate how the runway skirt was changed.

  • Jazzybelle2

    Love the dress on Zoe much better than the model, despite the “Cosby show Lisa Bonet, Gorden Catrell sewing disaster of a hem” she is sporting.

    • Introspective

      Not Gordon Gartrelle!!!! love that you brought up that one. about my absolute favorite ep of that show.

      as for Zoe, I feel she looks fab and can do no wrong. Seriously she shouldnt look that good given that if you described the outfit to anyone sane as a “two piece, midriff baring, brown, mustard and turquoise patterned bubble skirt and tank to match”, they’d probably hurl. But again, Ms Saldana manages to rock it….

  • quiltrx

    I’m pretty sure the runway one is a top and skirt as well (look by the model’s right elbow).  The top looks too short and unfinished on Zoe, though.  I’m not a fan of bubble skirts but it’s okay for the TCA’s.

  • M Carlson

    The shoes are sharp. That dress is just plain unattractive. I don’t like its cut or its fabric.

  • formerlyAnon

    Like it better this way, on her at least.

    (and if the alternative was, as MissAnnieRN theorizes, the piss-poor temporary looking hems that sometimes show up on the RC, this option was genius.)

    The shoes may not be the optimal color, but are 1000% better than the clodhoppers on the model.

  • What? I think she improves it, big time. LOVE it on Zoe!

  • afabulous50

    Just because you’re going to the Teen Choice Awards doesn’t mean you dress like a teenager dear….

    • sockandaphone

      shes still fairly young (or at least looks so). I mean if I had her body i would be showing it off too whenever i could!

  • I can’t say I like either version very much.  I do like the shoes.

  • Judy_J

    I have more of a problem with the bubble skirt than I do with the midriff top. 

  • Corsetmaker

    Noooo, it’s the sort of thing you did when you were 14 because your mum wouldn’t let you wear a short skirt to school.

  • AnaRoW

    The original dress looks like two pieces to me too. It also looks like it came from a McCalls pattern book. The tailoring on the dress looks rushed but I like where Zoe was going with it. Her shoes are better also.

  • jilly_d

    hum, no.  that fabric is fug.

  • Toto Maya

     I actually prefer Zoe Saldana’s version of the dress, the runway version is too heavy.

  • julnyes

    Ah, you’re torn because we adore Ms. Saldana, but she ruined this dress??

    Yes that is a dilemma.

  • ChaquitaPhilly

    Surely there was a better solution for the hem than that sloppy look. Can’t imagine anyone walking out the door like that, let alone down a red carpet. Get a hem that works or pick another outfit.

  • sockandaphone

    the dress is fine; its the teen choice awards so she can get away with a dress like this. what pains me is the shoe selection, it’s totally wrong for the dress.

  • mountainFashionista

    Hey, I wore a “formal”/”tasteful” belly shirt + bubble skirt combo to my HS homecoming dance in 1989!  The more things change, right?

  • understateddiva

    Gorgeous shoes, but they are fighting the dress. (and winning)

  • CatherineRhodes

    It looks ridiculous. Plus, the hemming job looks like it was done with a stapler.

  • She looks cute (especially in the photo where she’s walking), but I also like the runway version better (although I agree that it could stand to lose a few inches in the hem). Having the hem hit at the knee and keeping the rest as-is would have been a wiser choice (even a bubble hem that hit at the knee would be cute), but the length of the skirt on Zoe seems a little awkward and I preferred the bodice more fitted. The fabric is gorgeous though. The shoes are okay, but do feel a little off to me.

  • MilaXX

    I wouldn’t have minded this if I hadn’t seen the runway version. I prefer the fit of the top in the runway version. I’m wondering if the reason the skirt is now a bubble skirt is because they rolled the hem on the loner. I don’t mind the shoes, but if this was an IN or OUT I’d vote out, cause what is wrong with her hair?

  • jw_ny

    Really dislike the bubble skirt, but also think the length of the original would not have worked on Zoe either…perhaps it’d been overwhelming and almost dowdy on her.  Looks like she slapped on some fusible webbing moments before running out the door because the original wasn’t showing off her legs.  I like the shoes.  

  • SpcilK

    This is a wrong! The dress is cute in it’s original state, there was no need to dissect it. The color washes her and and makes her look a bit sallow. This was not her dress to begin with!

  • L.

    Disagree!  You guys are always encouraging color, she does a perfect color pop with the shoes and you shoot it down!  The shoes in runway original are UGLY.

  • Zaftiguana

    I’m okay with the cropped top, but that tragedy of a bubble hem really ruined it. Maybe someone was trying to make it more fun for the event, but bad, bad idea.

  • SophieCollier

    Looking closely, the original IS a two piece set, but the shirt comes all the way down to the waist.  Not sure why Zoe’s is so much shorter.  

  • formerlyAnon

    You know, this forces the question I’ve been wondering about for a while: what ARE “the rules” about altering loaned dresses?

    Does it vary depending on how big a name the actress is, and how sought-after the designer is? Is it something a stylist negotiates for all their clients? Is it completely arbitrary, depending on the source of the dress?

    Because it doesn’t seem to me to serve either celebrity or designer when a dress looks like hell because it doesn’t fit, and I always wonder if it is just time pressures or if it’s to protect the garment, that sometimes they flat out don’t fit.

    Anyone able to answer this question?

    • l_c_ann

      I was about to nominate this skirt as #1 evidence that a skirt is a loaner…..that you don’t iron the temporary alteration to the hem length.
      I could be wrong, but that barely folded hem just reeks “I’m gonna return this tomorrow”

  • Candice Richardson

     Being that it was uber hot that day and it was a teen award show, I think she looks chic and summer/venue appropriate.

  • I give her credit for trying to work the hell out of it.  But it’s down right ugly.  And while I love the shoes, they seem too dressy for this dress, and venue. 

  • kimmeister

    I just don’t like the print/color period.  Reminds me of the tile you’d find in a Middle Eastern hallway or something.  Not that anything is wrong with Middle Eastern tile, I just have different color/pattern tastes when it comes to clothing vs interior decorating.

  • olsonam

    It looks like she took a dress obviously meant for fall and tried to make it appropriate for summer.

  • unbornfawn


  • LesYeuxHiboux

    She could easily have rocked the runway length, but I think the hem was bubbled to skew it younger for the “teens”. I like that the shoes pick up on the blue in the fabric, and they are cute without being cutesy. She looks good, but I wish she’d left the hem alone. She would have been more “cool, funky older sister” than “cool mom”.

  • That’s it baby! Show me your teeth! That’s a proper photo smile right there! 

  • fungstyle

    the shoes definitely do not go with this, that jewel tone fights all the earthiness of the fabric. and yes, the hem looks diy. 

  • Leslie Streeter

    Oh, dear. It’s something Afro-tragic that Jada would have worn on “A Different World” while teaching the unenlightened about black women and the struggle. I know, because, in college, I owned that top. And that skirt. And I was an Afrotragedy, but you couldn’t have told me anything because, you know…blackness and stuff. Miss Zoe has a stylist and should know better.

  • I think the purple shoes would have been more fun…?

  • guest2visits

    At first I thought the runway version was one piece; which I think is a lot nicer looking than the 2 pieces.
    I don’t like what she did to the proportions of the dress; it didn’t make it fit her better, at all.  Boxy. Doesn’t show the fabric well.
    But I LOVE her teal shoes; and I agree they don’t really go with the outfit.

  • Renaissance_Man_ATL

    Zoe looks smashing!

  • i think she looks great in motion and from the back, but it’s just awkward still from the front.

  • H3ff

    The bitch really can pull anything off. Could you imagine how awful this would look an anyone else?

  • Candigirl1968

    The bubble skirt looks cute and makes it more playful, and it’s a more interesting thing to do to temporarily raise the hem than the typical tack (although it is drooping in that first picture).  Not feeling the cropped top.  And, while the pattern may look pretty in person, the colors of the outfit don’t seem to photograph well (except in closeup) on Zoe.  

  • LilyPad

    I agree that the belly shirt (cutout?) was a bad idea and distracts from the look. I think the nipped waist and flared skirt would have been much more flattering. 

  • Cousin_Rose

    Should have been a werq!

  • ccm800

    mmmmm…no. This is a miss for ZS