Cate Blanchett in Rodarte

Posted on December 10, 2012

Let us begin our week’s work with a lesson on Workin’ It. Note that there is a difference between “WERQ!” and “Workin’ It,” as we define the terms here at T Lo Arbitrary Distinctions, Ltd. You see, “WERQ!” is an exclamation that escapes from the lips of the excitable when they find themselves faced with someone who’s got it going on from head to toe and looks damn near perfect. That is not quite what’s happening here:

Cate Blanchett attends the ‘Life of PI’ Opening Gala during day one of the 9th Annual Dubai International Film Festival in a Rodarte dress.

Rodarte Spring 2013 Collection/Model: Caroline Brasch Nielsen

You see, Miss Cate does not look perfect or even damn near it, because that dress is quite problematic and downright strange-looking. Cate, however, is Workin’ It, because she’s striking the exact pose and adopting the exactly correct attitude of “I’m stunning and you peasants all know it,” to overcome the oddness of her frock.



[Photo Credit: Getty,]

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  • I think the photography is taken from an odd angle

  • Girl_With_a_Pearl

    Yes, Miss Cate is working it.  But the dress is ass.

    • EveEve

      I think she would have rocked the hat and scarf being worn by the airline employee in the background!  The dress is fine from the beautifully rolled bateau neckline up. 🙂

    • 3boysful

       But it is even ass-ier in the model’s version.

  • I think it looked better with the belly chains, implausible though that may be. 

    •  Yes, this. Or some sort of belt. It doesn’t look like it’s made very well, considering how much it must cost. The seaming looks off and a belt would have hidden that.

      Lady is gorgeous, though.

      • Judy_S

         It’s funny–I was thinking that the sleeve seams have a kind of home-made quality. It’s like a superbly made home project maybe combining a couple of different Vogue patterns and using up that great remnant of copper lamé, but sewn with not quite the right needle or thread for the fabrics.

        • GorgeousThings

          It needs sleeve heads and a better pressing job.

          • I was thinking the sleeves needed pressing or to be sewn at a different tension or something but the construction looks better in the close up. I think it’s just that satin is the fabric of satan. Seams will always, always look puckered in strong light in satin. 

    • Reneesance

      I thought the same, the odd belt adds a certain bohemian flair to the oddness of the dress. Without, it just looks very awkward.  Despite this all Cate is a Master level dress wearer, and pulls it off.

    • Sobaika

      Agreed. It took the dress to a fascinating sort of Game of Thrones costume territory, without them it’s a bit unfinished looking.

  • It’s not a perfect dress, but there’s something I really like about it. And it helps that Cate’s acting like she OWNS the red carpet.

  • SewingSiren

    Well, at least you can’t see that her underpants match her belt….. and that right there is something.

    • TRSTL

      LOL! I hear ya…. My guess is, the agressive front slit was opted out considering the venue.  In the UAE, that would be considered an affront and offensive.  I’m wondering if the belt was ditched partly for “cultural” reasons, ie: too “belly dancer”.

  • MsBusy

    Burn this dress now.

    • sk8tfan

      I agree. She looks like an idiot.

  • VicksieDo

    I disagree, and BOW DOWN.  That is amazing.  I’m only critical of her when she wears something any other peon actress can pull off. This is PHD level dressing for me.

  • Annabelle Archer

    I’m having a problem getting past the Merle Norman make up job.  Then when I finally do, I get to a what appears to be satiny sleep shirt worn backwards over granma’s nightgown. But you’re all right, her attitude and general aura of owing it to the point of killin’ it really make the whole dreadful thing workable.  

    • bitchybitchybitchy

      The one thing that puts this problematic dress into the working category is that one of my personal goddesses, Ms. Blanchett, is wearing it. She’s giving it major attitude. 

  • It kind of looks like a peasant costume from a shitty medieval movie. She’s definitely the only one who could make it work.

    • Between this comment and the Merle Norman remark above it, I’m having trouble keeping down my coffee. *snarf*

    • Kayceed

      Yes, on the model, especially with the belt I was reading medieval, except for the small matter of satin hot pants.

  • I’m counting three dresses here where there should be one. 

  • Katie Agnew

    No doubt the dress was chosen because it has no cleavage, shoulders, or legs bared. Dressing for the venue. That said, it is a strange color combination. I think it would be quite stunning if those side panels were less contrasting.

    • greyhoundgirl

      Good point about needing coverage.  I was rocking on the woman in the back with the hat, scarf, and the fantastic suit.  Kind of refreshing –they really need to bring their personalities instead of their skin.

      • LearnedFoot

        That fantastic suit is the uniform for the staff of Emirates Air! You have to appreciate a professional uniform that allows the wearer to look put-together and stylish, and not frumpy.

      • l_c_ann

        I’d also bet money that the UAE air hostess slits in the front of her skirt are full fabric kick pleats, not slits.

    • kimmeister

      Agreed – bronze and dove gray just look weird together.

  • Under most circumstances, I would loathe this dress as being too many elements and oddly proportioned. However in the hands of Queen Cate, it becomes a beautiful dress on a beautiful woman of commanding presence.


    I wish she had done the belt thingy or some dramitic belt.  The dress looks incomplete without it.  But she looks complete. Completely in charge!

    • TRSTL

      And I notice lately she is choosing dresses with some focus detail in her midsection. Interesting….. not sure what it means but interesting…..

  • Aurumgirl

    I think her facial expression is more, “Take the photograph, then get me the hell out of here so I can get out of this hideous garment” than it is “I’m stunning and you peasants all know it”.

  • GorgeousThings

    “Rodarte” and “WERQ” are mutually exclusive.

  • It’s making me bonkers that the silver trim around those contrasting insets doesn’t match up in the center. Or maybe it does and is just blocked by the construction in the front. Either way, I can’t look at this without wanting to organize paperclips. 

  • My love for her, it never stops. The model looks like she could be Guy Pearce’s twin sister, no?

  • nannypoo

    Not many people could wear this dress, but she is the one who can and it looks great on her. I love the weird colors.

  • Anathema_Device

    It is a tribute to her that she can distract me from that dress. She is sublime. Thee dress, however, not so much. It looks like a shirt dress worn backward. I love that copper color on the insets, but why use it with that icy gray?

  • schadenfreudelicious

    its a silly dress, (though i do love that bronze color at her waist), however as Cate is no mere sartorial mortal she glides through unscathed as usual..

  • miagain

    but boy oh boy… does she look better than the model!

  • I am of the belief that Cate is just one of those people that walks in a room and all heads turn, she just has that ”

    it” factor. She could be in a trash bag and Keds and we’d all be snapping and shouting WERQ. This dress is silly, and it needs a belt (though I’m not so sure about the one on the model) but Cate here just brings such a presence I hardly see the silly dress. 

  • BayTampaBay

    I like the runway version.

  • Judy_J

    It’s a WERQ in my book!   I think that strange looking dress is dynamite! 

  • Introspective

    “Im stunning and you peasants all know it” needs to be my morning mantra when I take my last look in the mirror before leaving the house. I will conquer my day (and the world) with that on repeat in my head…

  • I like the color combination but not crazy about the design of this dress, it looks better with the belly chain.

  • Trisha26


  • m0r0

    Wish she was wearing that beautiful belt the model was rocking. She could certainly work that accessory. 

  • pookiesmom

    This may be the weirdest, most unflatteringly hideous dress I’ve ever seen. It looks like cheap fabric glued together from the Michael’s craft section. It also looks like she has it on backwards and got eaten by a Disney princess machine but clawed her way out before the transformation was complete.

  • blah blah cate, i am all about the sassy well dressed lady in the background. granted shimmer hose are no one’s friend but the rest of it is adorable

  • joancarol

    She looks like she is presenting her pelvis.

  • I appreciate a bateau neckline but I can’t get on board with that long peplum-eqsue thing.

  • guest2visits

    Cate deserves an award for saving a dress that belonged in the trash.  
    She took a weird mess (why-how?) and gave it elegance and beauty. 
    I still can’t tell if the dress is silver, grey, blue, or white.  The foggy color is one of it’s problems.

  • quiltrx

    This definitely needs a belt to cover up the sheer oddity of the seams coming together at the waistline.  I actually like the chain championship of the world thing the model has going on.

  • Mary229

    I hate the dress but agree with TLo.  She is a queen and we are simply the lowly peasants.  Love her to pieces.

  • selianth

    I can’t get behind that neckline. The collar makes it look like the dress is on backwards.

  • SophiaPehawkins

    The girl and in the back and I, are admiring her beauty.

  • bertkeeter

    First I agree on both points with Gabriella, #1…looks better w chain, #2…cant’ believe I think that! So much of RODARTE looks like “Loving Hands at Home” workmanship or a first sample that hasn’t been executed correctly….what gives?

  • amaranth16

    This breaks my heart because I never knew the line between KILLA and frumpy was so thin.  The color combination works better than I could have imagined.  It’s certainly nontraditional, but in this case (no doubt in part because of her attitude of Workin’ It) I really dig it.  Her makeup is gorgeous.  That peplumesque ass-cape, however, is another matter, and I dislike the sleeves – I wish they’d shaved the sleeves off just from the edges of the bateau.  Keeps a modest sensibility without descending into frumpiness.

  • EEKstl

    Strange frock indeed.  Methinks it would have been better without that hiddy Betty Draper collar and sleeves.  A strapless, simple bodice would have rendered this much more interesting and successful a design.   But in her own inimicable fashion, Cate is indeed working it.  

  • bertkeeter

    We can thank fashion editors for stuff like this getting the attention it doesn’t deserve….and stylist who just follow like f n sheep!

  • bertkeeter

    All it needs is the Jumeriah flight attendants hat w half veil to finish it off completely!

  • Shortern the skirt to knee-length, the dress may work for her. well,  the dress may not fit her, but the dress perfectly fits city Dubai where the photo was taken.  she should wear a white or gold turban. lol.

  • kschwarting

    The dress is a total miss for me, but THAT FACE!  I feel like she’s an object lesson in aging gracefully without the need for Botox, etc.

  • Pants_are_a_must

    She probably had to tone it down, due to the local. That said, I find it hard to imagine Cate Blanchett flashing a leg a-la Jolie. She’s  too classy for that.

  • She is a super-hero and her super powers include being able to pull off a strange, cheap-looking dress like that. Mere mortals could not manage such a feat.

  • MilaXX

    I appreciate Cate’s love for wearable art, but this isn’t quite working. Perhaps the peplum or whatever that is should be a softer material and extend to the bottom of the dress. Maybe it needs the wack-a-doodle belt to pull it all together. Either way she is posing like it’s the best invention since sliced bread.

  • marilyn

    This is a very conservative dress, and I assume that she is wearing it because of the location.  Dubai is a very conservative country, and she is trying to cover up enough to avoid causing a scene.  Even with that, she should have picked a more attractive dress.

  • erinbinek

    It looks like it’s on backwards.

  • snarkykitten

    Galadriel gives no fucks

  • librarygrrl64

    She is one of the few women on the planet who could wear this. Stunning.

  • CeeQ

    ” Don’t even think to doubt this is fierce.” 

  • No way, this dress is freaking gorgeous!

  • She’s working it a lot better than the model.

  • Allison Woods

    Mommy, why is that nice lady wearing her dress on backwards?

  • Also, she loves that shade of gray.

  • Lilithcat

    That is one ugly dress.

  • Derek_anny

    I see a nod to that other movie she’s involved with.  There seems to be a bit of Lothlorien to this. (please excuse my lack of diacritics.)  Possibly more than would be prudent at the relevant premier.  Expect hints of oceans or jungles during the second half of the month.

  • pulpytomato

    I love it. Different, interesting and very Cate. I love the color combo on her.

  • formerlyAnon

    One assumes that the relative modesty of the dress was a factor in its selection. But something more was needed than her stunning attitude to make this a good choice.

  • She makes that awful dress look quite stunning. 

  • decormaven

    Without the chains at the waist, it’s missing an important decorative detail. Wish a necklace or more embellished earrings had been chosen. The watch (or is that a bracelet?) seems a little too bland for the look. 

    • I agree. There’s something about the belt that makes this look a little less confusing. I’d like to see the back. It might be gasp-inducing. I hope so. 

  • Definitely Working IT. I might even change that to Owning It.