Helen Mirren in Dolce&Gabbana

Posted on November 27, 2012

Queen Helen of the Island of Fuckinfantastica? It’s time we had a talk.

Helen Mirren attends the premiere of ‘Hitchcock in Los Angeles in Dolce&Gabbana.

Dolce&Gabbana Fall 2012 Collection

It seems to us, in reading your red carpet tea leaves (which is something we just love to do), that as your 70th birthday looms on the horizon, you’ve been trying to find a way to transition your normally admirable fashion sense into something that reflects your hard-earned maturity. In other words, you’ve been trying to find ways to dress that still flatter you and make you look good, while not making the mistake of dressing too young for your age. We’re here to tell you: this is not the way, dear. You’ve somehow settled on a look that combines flashiness with all the trappings of stereotypical old lady clothes. That is to say, you’re wearing a Dolce & Gabbana dress with a lot of showy gold detailing, but it’s also a black lace dress with a hem that hits you at a very dowdy place. The result is a bizarre melange of disco-ready and widow.

Here is what we suggest: Stick with this shape, because you’ve still got the rocking bod. Stay away from sheers that force you to wear linings that mimic a bra because your girls ladies, bless them, need a lot of support at your age and the bra silhouette underneath the lace is gigantic. Also, it’s an odd choice to make when you’re clearly shooting for something demure. And stay away from the semi-ironic modern styles that call to mind old-world styles, which is something D&G practically revel in. Two dozen tiny little fetal models walking a runway in clothes that mimic the stereotypical Italian widow’s weeds? That’s fashion. Putting it on a 67-year-old? That’s just plain old widow’s weeds. If you love the lace that much, then wear a vibrant red or blue lace. That’ll at least keep it stylish without looking funereal. But really, this would have looked so much better on you if it was simply a fitted black dress with some gold detailing and a hem that stopped just at the knee. Lose the little QE2-style pocketbooks. Get yourself a nice gold clutch. And finally: NO OPEN-TOED SHOES WITH HOSE, DEAR. Please just stop on that one.


[Photo Credit: Andrew Evans/PR Photos, style.com]

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  • alyce1213

    Did she get a bundle discount on this D&G collection? I do not like this dress on her, it’s just kind of ugly.
    Nonetheless, she is splendid and gorgeous, and as I previously opined, steals the movie.

  • She and Christina Hendricks both need to purge their shoe wardrobes of peeptoe shoes. They are so hideously unflattering on both of them. Is it because of their relatively heavy ankles? Something about the combination is so aging to them both. Pointy toes would elongate those legs, ladies!

  • Sobaika

    I’m not sure. I think a brightly colored lace is a bit tacky, and while this look is certainly a bit mature, I don’t see anything wrong with that. Or the bra, for that matter. 

    I just take issue with the stockings + open-toe shoes. Shudder.

    • mshesterp

      I’m with you–I like the dress and don’t mind the lining (demure and a little naughty at the same time)  but the length, bag, and stockings and open toed heels have GOT to go.  

      • Bethany Fairbrother

        You hit the nail on the head!  First thing I thought was the length of the dress was all wrong and way too much black.

  • MrsMaxPower

    The hem length and hair do are giving me the sads…I want sassy Dame Mirren back, please.

  • The gold of her earrings clash with the gold detailing, and this makes me sad, because she’s a queen and a minion should have been on it. Have whoever brought you your earrings beheaded, your majesty.
    But your hair and makeup look divine. Soft and ethereal. 

    • Monabel

      Why do golds have to match? (These are metal and textile, so I doubt they could catch the light in the same way.)   

      • They don’t have to match exactly. I just think the shades of gold clash. The dress has a more olivey gold, and the earrings are a warmer shade.

  • Tamara Hogan

    Hem that dress at the knee and swap out the shoes for a classic closed-toe black pump, and we have ourselves a winner. 

  • Mismarker

    Major scroll-down fug.  This looks like something the queen would wear to a Halloween party.

  • StellaZafella

    I just thought Dame Helen was trying to be edgy and her stylist missed the mark…I’d still lover her for trying.

    As to the shoes + hose thing: I understand the edict but, at my (and Dame Helen’s) age, I have foot problems that are only solved when wearing heels of any height by opting for the added comfort and toe flex offered with open toes…and NOBODY wants to see MY legs unsheathed…so, perhaps the rules need to be reconsidered – unless anyone’s got a viably fashionable alternative, or Jimmy Choo starts making orthopedics.

    •  For a long time Ms. Mirren didn’t wear shorter skirts. Maybe this is part of why.

    • I can understand why older ladies opt to wear hose (my lovely mother complains about “spots” that have appeared on her legs with age). I just think the Grand Dame should choose lighter shades of charcoal and sheer black. The opaque black tights she’s been wearing lately weigh her took down and draw the eye downward. She should keep the focus up on her lovely face, and, as TLo decreed, show off her beautiful figure to better effect.

      If Jimmy Choo starts making orthopedics, I will weep tears of happiness and figure out how to rob a bank.

  • TieDye64

    PLEASE stop with the hose with the peep-toes. I’m begging you!

  • Without the lace (if it were all black) and a higher hem, this would have been a killer dress, I think.

  • Rand Ortega

    I want my sexy Queen back, Dame Helen. Forget all those stupid rules re: dressing for your age & start making boys do Oedipus double takes again. Please?!!!

  • Pants_are_a_must

    I don’t know, she’s awfully fierce for widow’s weeds. I think Queen Helen of Fuckinfantastica can still werq black lace. It’s the peep toes with the hose that make my eyelids twitch like that. She and Empress Judi of Badasslandia need to stop doing it, or I’ll stop wanting to be them when I’m their age.

  • decormaven

    Spot-on comments, TLo. She deserves a much better look than this. I halfway expect to see a hankie tucked in one of the sleeves.

    • Mismarker

      Yes, with the hankie! I’d bet that little pocketbook is full of hard candies.

      • bitchybitchybitchy

        And maybe a dog whistle to summon the corgis as well?

  • GorgeousThings

    I’d also suggest losing the black sheer hose. Combined with those shoes, it reads cankles. And Helen of Fanfuckingtastica does NOT have cankles.

    •  I’m so late to the game that there is no point in my typing this but… Helen of Fanetc. DOES have cankles, she is just a fucking genius at hiding them. I first discovered she had cankles in the 80’s when she was interviewed about her outfits in Prime Suspect and she talked about her big butt and thick legs. Ever since then she has been my Spirit Guide in dressing around cankles.

  • kayleymaybe

    Loving her from the neck up.  Yay women who allow themselves to go grey and wrinkle!  She looks gorgeous and (unlike many aging ladies in Hollywood) human.

    • kschwarting

      My husband and I have bickered about whether she’s had work done or not.  His thought is that she had a small amount of high-quality work done, and thus looks fresh but still ages.  I’m starting to think he’s right, damn it.  I was firmly in the no work camp.

      • alyce1213

        I’m looking very hard and I don’t detect any place on her face where there is surgery or even fillers.  I still am firmly in the “she’s had no work” camp. I just don’t see any telltale signs.

      • formerlyAnon

        I think she’s periodically had some very good and subtle “work.” (ETA: Though not much.)

        It is quite noticeable in her “Prime Suspects” series shot in the 2000s that while she is more wrinkled, she no longer has the under-eye bags that she had more than 10 years earlier in the episodes shot in the early-mid 90s.

        I vaguely recall that if you go back and re-watch the first run of the series (from about 1991 or 1992 through
        1996) there is a point (I want to say in 1995 or between the ’95 and ’96
        seasons but I could be wrong) where she suddenly looks very

  • Ugh, how is this an adaptation of the D&G collection? Someone just bordered every edge and her waist with some gold trim. It looks home-sewn.

  • Janet B

    From the knees down she needs a makeover: Shorter dress length; sheerer hose; and killer pumps (lower heel would be okay).

  • On the plus side, that’s a damned beautiful face. On the minus side, everything else. She needs Color! And something to show off that rockin’ bod.

  • PeggyOC

    This is the SECOND ugly D&G she’s worn recently, unless the other photo I saw was a jacket or cover over this. It’s terrible, and she’s so much better than this.

  • formerlyAnon

    I think her hair, here, is fantastic.

    I didn’t much care for this D&G collection, and while I dislike this less than the one she wore the last time, still don’t like.  Your criticisms are apt.

  • teensmom99

    YES!!!! Everything you say.

  • Getting rid of the sheer hose and shoes would go along way to improving this look.  She’s so awesome anyway.

  • unbornfawn

    I hope she takes your advice. She’s been slipping on the fashion front lately and I need her in top form! 

  • Puck Thornton

    The Minx is back! Face and hair = sexy. Earrings, dress, shoes are not doing her any favours, but she is just there to have a really good time with Tony at the free bar!    

  • SewingSiren

    This Dolce and Gabbana collection really suits her. I think she looks fantastic. I saw a picture of her making a daytime appearance in one of the floral ones that is similarly cut and she looked a riot in that one too.

  • She and I might be wearing the same nail polish:

  • I love black tights with open toed shoes, especially if the shoes are a hard contrast.  She looks amazing though; from the neck up.  What a gorgeous woman!

  • One of the reasons that Sophia Loren has continued to look so amazing in her old age is that (a) she has great genes, and (b) she understands the importance of good foundation garments.  So I have no problem with Dame Helen going the same route.

    She still needs to shorten that dress, though.

  • Judy_J

    I feel that had she ditched the dark hose and worn sheers instead and taken about 5 inches off that hem, we’d be singing a different tune about this look.

  • Hem length and accessories are the biggest problems here.  

  • Honestly, with this dress and the last my only issue(besides the shoes) is that they’re all too long.  If she would just embrase the knee length, I think it would give her the impact she’s aiming for.

  • Cathy S

    I don’t know. I would like it if it were shorter and she wore different shoes. Damn, but she’s a beautiful woman.

  • Corsetmaker

    I’m not getting what you mean about the lining mimicking a bra, that’s just a standard lining slip shape and there’s a decent bra under that from the looks of things. But maybe I’m just being daft and missing something.

    I’m inclined to give her the benefit of the doubt that the things we would change she might have some justification for. The tights are a little too dark and heavy and the shoes aren’t good. But, perhaps her legs need covering and maybe she doesn’t like pressure on her toes. I don’t know, but at 70 there are things going on with a body that can’t be got around or put up with for a night.

    Oh and disagree on bright coloured lace instead, she’d look like the mother of the bride! (or grandmother).

  • As I said with the last one, I would have been happier if she’d worn the granny panties version. She has the body to Cher it up.

  • Dhammadina

    Hear hear. Fantastic advice that I hope she reads and takes to heart. Meanwhile, just the radiance of her beautiful, character-filled face makes the widow’s weeds not such a big deal. For me at least. 

  • I absolutely see TLo’s point on all of these issues, and yet perhaps because I like the idea of a Disco Widow, I’m going to give her a pass on this one. Also, I love that her nails are always impeccably, and tastefully, manicured.

  • YourBaloneyDontGotNoSecondName

    i cam’t be the only one who read ‘disco-ready and widow’ in michael kors’ voice.

  • nannypoo

    If it stopped at or just above the knee, and if she had better shoes and hose, and if that bag were more interesting and attractive, then I would think it’s fabulous. That’s a lot of ifs for a woman who usually gets it right.

  • librarygrrl64

    Yeah, this collection is NOT her friend.

  • jilly_d

    Gurl, step AWAY from the D&G! It didn’t work for you last time and it’s not doing shit for you here.

  • bertkeeter

    Is she playing a Sicilian granny in mourning? Yikes!

  • j_anson

    Seriously, though, have those D&G black and gold dresses been flattering on ANYONE outside the runway models (if that)?

  • she looks flawless. 

  • BrooklynBomber

    God save the queen.

  • bitterk

    Perfect for the average 70 year old.  Way too matronly for Miss Mirren.

  • I am rather over this particular collection; whenever I see that group runway shot, I just think, “oh, this again.”

  • Judy_S

    Hate the shoes and the skirt length, but if the skirt was shorter I would curtsey to her as who she is, Q of the I of F. But then I wouldn’t get to read this great post. Hmmm….

  • julnyes

    J’Adore Dame Helen and whoever encouraged her to walk out the door wearing hose and open toed shoes should be shot.

  • Trisha26

    Totally agree, TLo. But she still looks amazing!

  • e jerry powell

    Check, check and check.

    I personally think that there were quite a few shorter looks in the collection that would have worked much better.

  • margaret meyers

    I understand the crits, but I feel she looks better than the criticism implies. 
    And I’m really surprised by how much I like her soft, natural hair and how well it is working with the dress.  We see so much fake hair here that it takes real courage to appear on the red carpet with just your own hair.

    • formerlyAnon

      Yes, I like the hair and it’s an impressive accomplishment (especially if that look lasted to the end of the evening.)

  • bitchybitchybitchy

    I did not think that I would ever see the Queen of Fuckinfantastica looking dowdy.   She is usually one of those ladystars who nails dressing age appropriate but still making the right fashion statement.  Please, Madame Mirren, heed TLo’s words of fashion wisdom.

  • Banner day for TLo, both Queen Helen and Mr. Pitt got schooled! 

  • quiltrx

    This dress is just bizarre to me, and probably not the dress for anyone.  It simultaneously has too many elements and big expanses of nothing.

  • Giustina Pileggi

    Questionable dress choice aside, she looks lovely

  • I think you guys expect too much from her. She looks fantastic. Chic, elegant, and very age-appropriate.

  • RzYoung

    I quite like this, I think the neck line is really flattering and makes her shoulders look teeny.

  • you guys nailed it. i love granny-style, but it doesnt work for actual grannies.

  • Contralto

    She’s wearing another one of my dresses, only a couple inches longer than it needs to be.  Still, I LOVE HUH.

  • I suspect- from close study of her shoes and hose over the past year- that she’s in search of a combination which fits her habitual style while helping with the problems fighting gravity eventually give to us all (I also suspect she’s on a BP med that causes some degree of peripheral edema, but I may well be projecting). And good luck to her: if anyone can marshal the forces of money and good taste to figure out/underwrite a solution to thickening ankles for the good of all top-heavy women of a certain age, it should be Queen Helen of Fuckinfantastica. If we can send a man to the moon, we can damned well come up with hose that trims the aging ankle!

  • Jessica Goldstein

    I maybe would have been mostly OK with the lace had the whole thing been lined, the hem shorter, and a non-peep-toe shoe deployed.  With her gorgeous face and hair and enviable figure, I’m thinking fitted but streamlined is her friend. More boots. More solids in bright colors to play against her face and hair. No dowdy mid-calf hemlines. She can do this. A riff on Anna Wintour would do nicely.

  • EEKstl

    Excellent points, all.  

  • The shoes can die, but the rest of the look is killing it for her body type.

  • ShayShay

    Shorten the dress to just at the knee, ditch the hoisery and shoes and rock this little number with some ankle booties and a bare leg.  Ditch the old lady handbag; slap on a bright red lip and give me a nude fingernail and Lady Mirren would be good to go.  She’s such a hot number though, I aspire to be her one day.  If at 70 all folks can complain about is that my “old girls” aren’t bouyant enough and I’m wearing the wrong shoes, then SHIT, I’ll take that!