Helena Bonham Carter in Vivienne Westwood

Posted on December 06, 2012

We loves us some HBC, and we think she’s as close to a muse as Vivienne Westwood ever got, but even she isn’t making this work:


Helena Bonham Carter attends the world premiere of ‘Les Misérables’ in London in a Vivienne Westwood gown.

We are SO not loving the trend for two-tone lips and pinkeye makeup lately. Just need to get that one out of the way.

We’re not quite sure what went wrong for us here, since this is classic Westwood and classic HBC, but for some reason the disheveled aspect isn’t looking chic; it’s just looking sloppy. It’s all too black and adding too much volume to places where Helena doesn’t need it. She looks thick-waisted. And the point at which the hem stops isn’t flattering either. Like we said, Westwood is defined by these sorts of disheveled, volume-adding dresses – and HBC has shown a facility for making them work for her – but this time, it’s all too much of a muchness.

[Photo Credit: Landmark/PR Photos]

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  • And it looks like she knows it too!

    • Violina23

      Yeah, she looks seriously annoyed instead of the usual “aloof”

      • Mismarker

        Annoyed.  Yes! Is it the shoes, Helena? The too-tight bodice? Is it 10 degrees in London? Did Tim Burton forget to take out the trash?

        • Introspective

          All of the above.

      •  I’d use the word “rueful.”

    • rissa42210

      completely.  i was just going to say that.

    • NC_Meg

       She looks REALLY concerned about something, doesn’t she?

    • drea1755

      I actually watched the live feed of the premier and she was not feeling it.  She posed for a second and walked away, then her handler made her go back and promised her it would only be for a second.  

    • She’s thinking to herself “Girl, this is not my dress.”

    •  Which makes the whole outfit even worse. It’s like she tried it on, realized it was totally wrong, but by then it was too late to do anything about it. Just a miss all around.

    • LuisaNL

       I was just gonna say! she really does, doesn’t she?

  • Rand Ortega

    The guns are kickin’, though.

    • FrayedMachine

      Was totally thinking that!

    • kimmeister

      She looks like she wants to beat me up.

      • Mismarker

        In my best Incredible Hulk voice…”HELENA SMASH!”  

    •  The lovely arms accentuate the problems with the dress. Ms. Helena is a curvier woman, but she’s always had a great figure (as evidenced by those toned shapely arms). This dress makes her look frumpy and big bottomed. Kinda a trash bag dress.

    • Here’s something to ponder: what does HBC wear to the gym????

  • It looks like something went wrong in the bodice, so instead of the usual Westwood bodacious uplift HBC got smooshed flat and wide. Makes her look like she has shotputters shoulders, which she doesn’t normally have! I like the hair, I like the jewellery, but she needs to start over on dress and makeup.

    • schadenfreudelicious

      indeed, that upper torso look strong like bull!..not that there’s anything wrong with that, it’s likely just not the look she was aiming for…

      •  It’s certainly not her normal look. But hey, maybe she’s started doing crossfit?

    • kimmeister

      Yes, her ample bosom has been smooshed down to her ribs, apparently.

  • Melissa Brogan

    I love HBC, but lady looks like she wrapped her duvet around her and headed out for the evening.

  • Reneesance

    It’s frumperizing!  HBC should never frumperize, unless it’s for a role.  I’m lodging a formal complaint…with umm…. The Guild of Crazybitches who I Love? 

    • DeborahJozayt

      Welcome to the GCL. We just need you to sign these forms here, here, and here (You don’t need to read them. Just trust us.)  There is a duckface pose required in order to file an official complaint. It’s not hazing, we just need to reduce costs and prove that you know how to work it!

  • You’d think for the kind of profession she has chosen that she’d understand the occasional dog and pony show is part of the deal and
    she should at least TRY and have a little fun with it. *Sigh* the terrible grind of being rich and famous!

    • Kristin McNamara

      I see goth chick at the prom.

  • FrayedMachine

    She looks so unhappy here in all of the pictures like she’s just not feeling anything going on. Still love her though!

    • 3boysful

       In the first pic, she looks like a marionette whose strings are slack.

  • I don’t know if the titscrephancy is due to the cut or to the fit. It looks as if it’s hanging off of her, but at the same time makes her look bigger.  At the very least it needs a really big necklace- an old fashioned jeweled collar.

  • mjude

    i have to agreee tlo, which is sad for me, cause i normally like her look.

  • G

    She looks flat-chested – which she definitely is not .  It is just a horribly unflattering dress.

  • Her breasts have bunny ears.  Not good.

  • Maluca

    It makes her torso look like that of buff gentleman. I think she knows it and isn’t happy. She has a quite nice bosom. 

  •  weirdly, the problem may be that there is too little going on. add a crazy-hat with a big-ass feather, a lace veil, a japanese fan, and a stola made of shredded plaid, and were good. (then again, something about the proportions seems a little off, so maybe it wouldnt help.)

  • From where I sit, the tragic flaw here is where and how the bodice draping is hitting, and creating volume. It’s not the waistline that is broadening her, it’s the subtly wrong positioning of that bustline drapery that is working against her. If it were higher and more sharply angled we would have a winner.

    • littlemac8

      I agree.  I don’t know if it’s the angle of the photos that is giving her no neck but that is another unfortunate issue.

  • kschwarting

    You nailed it, TLo, it makes her look thick from the waist up–and she isn’t.  The makeup is awful.  The sad thing is that she knows none of it is working.  You can see it in her expression.

  • Yeah…I love her usual look.  This is just bad.  

  • Westwood’s acknowledged muse back in the 80s was the all kinds of awesome model Sarah Stockbridge. Sort of a punk version of YSL and Loulou de la Falaise or Lagerfeld and Ines…

  • Susan Rappenwolf

    Her breasts are looking deformed in that tortured bodice. And it looks at least two sizes too big HBC.

  • This needs the one green shoe.

  • Tatiana Luján

    This looks as if she had wrapped a satin black sheet over her body and pinned it with a stapler. Ew.
    I didn’t know that  two-tone lips and pinkeye makeup was a trend. It needs to dye.
    Also, I really hate those black platform pumps and she wears them a lot.

    • Yes, a stapled dress. That’s exactly what I thought. She lay down on a huge length of black fabric and was rolled and stapled into it.

  • Judy_J

    It appears from the photos that Ms Bonham Carter knows this isn’t her dress…she looks unhappy.

  • MilaXX

    The makeup isn’t good. As cray as HBC is, I usually like her face. The look is somehow missing that spark of light or wit I typically get from her. It’s like HBC haz a sad.

    •  Dammit, I need to read comments before I comment. I just used the haz a sad thing.

      • MilaXX

        great minds  and all….

  • I think she could make it work if she gave it more of the HBC treatment. I think she looks like she hasn’t bothered.

  • crash1212

    I think it might be too simple a look! Where’s all the frippery and several layers of stuff and a crazy clutch? There’s no netting in her hair…this is way too refined. Also, she just looks sad. Not her best…but even ‘not her best’ is better than some folks. Love her!

  • The lip…oh pray for us. That is like in the 90’s when you would do the dark outline with the liner and then the “matching lipstick” and approximately 20 minutes later the lipstick was gone and you would have the HBC lip. Say it ain’t so.

    • MilaXX

      Slightly different variation of that. This too is called the ombre lip & I Think it looks hideous. Personally I think it only works in pictures where you can apply/blend and photoshop if need be.  In real life it becomes and unblended mess.

  • UglyTalents

    God she looks miserable. Like … tears? Are her eyes welling up? Is it because her dress is actually hurting her? It looks pretty heavy and bunchy. Love her and love VW, and you’re right: this should work so well. But … what? Also, the hair is all wrong. The add-in pieces are the wrong color or something.

  • H3ff

    It doesn’t exactly look fabulous, but on anyone else it would look ridiculous.

    Also, “much of a muchness” usually means there is no real difference between two things. Was there a pun there?

  • HBC should never look like this. It makes me haz teh sads. 

  • YoungSally

    Poor HBC…the look on her face says “Me back ‘urts”

  • j_anson

    Looks about usual to me. She’s always basically doing “frumpy goth.”

  • Julie Fountain

    Yeah that dress doesn’t do her justice, she’s a lovely woman, but it looks like she’s wearing a bedazzled Hefty bag here. 

  • tereliz

    It has no waist, and the dark fabric just swallows her up. Plus the consumptive makeup and messy hair on top of the posture that screams lack of confidence is all adding up to fug. 

    Sorry, HBC, I still love ya!

  • YousmelllikeAnnaWintour

    Is she sad because she saw Rose McGowan’s new hair color?

  • Trisha26

    It’s really Les Miserable.

  • E D

    I can’t believe it, but the top makes her look like a linebacker.  And that lip color is terrible on her.

  • formerlyAnon

    Girl looks tired. Dress was overwhelming her and she went down in defeat.

    • meowing

      Yup–she’s tired, but she put up a hell of a fight with the dress.  Dress won.

  • Yep, she’s looking beefy in the shoulders and arms too.

  • Corsetmaker

    Oh something went wrong somewhere! she’s worn umpteen variations on this style and successfully. But there’s something up with the shaping and the positioning of the draping. I love Westwood but this isn’t good.

  • snarkykitten

    it looks more like Tim Burton tried to play fashion designer with their bed sheets. And she looks pissed!

  • It’s the mule-ear bodice that really ruins the look.

  • ThaliaMenninger

    And now, from Vivienne Westwood, from her very special Frump-a-Dump collection…

  • jw_ny

    Blocking off her head, it looks like a burly man in a dress…no boobs, thick waist, bow legged, high heel issues….

  • Call me Bee

    Yikes.  It’s that odd neckline that’s making her look like a linebacker.  It’s just not flattering at all. 
    The length would be fine if Miss Helena would have worn a more delicate shoe. That waltz length can be very flattering for the ankle.   But here–the hoof shoes are making the leg look thick. 
    All-in-all, Miss should have started over. 

  • pdquick

    Somehow, this evokes plowing a field with a mule and plow. I think it’s the stance in the first pic.

  • She’s making it look cheap. Which, of course, it is not.

  • marilyn

    It is fine if HBC decided to not be model thin.  But those exposed upper arms don’t help at all.  She needs to go to sleeves if she is going to stay this way.

    • This is an unacceptable comment. Body-snarking gets you banned.

  • Agree with everything, but on the flipside, her HAIR looks fabulous! 

  • YourBaloneyDontGotNoSecondName

    It’s not crazy enough for The HBC and that is obviously making her sad.  

  • bluefish

    Too much ugly dress on a petite woman.  And nothing that hasn’t been seen before.  Would love to see her just once in a really well-fitted and sharp looking suit. She looks suitably miserable in this one.

  • aquamarine17

    i usually do like her look but agree that the black is too much. she needs an interesting day look, something fun and in a color and not strapless…

  • quiltrx

    This is way too sack-like.  Vivienne usually has just the right ‘nip here, tuck there’ that will give the dress a beautiful shape.  Whether it’s the fabric (it looks a bit heavy and body-less) or the design, this isn’t cutting it.

  • x

    Looks like vw was going for a Charles James vibe but ended up with lumpy comforter instead.

  • It looks like the gown is all twisted. Yikes, really bad and yes she does look like she knows it

  • yulaffin

    Helena Bonham carter is one of my favs and I usually love anything she wears but that dress is too awful.  Does absolutely nothing for her.

  • She’s so not selling it either.  Looks sad.

  • This makes me sad. Westwood usually puts out stunningly beautiful clothing, but this one is a bit off the mark. This dress makes HBC look too broad-shouldered and almost masculine.

  • barbarienne

    Miss Helena usually manages to make disheveled look eccentric and artful. Here she just looks as if she was attacked by cats.

    Wasn’t that lip-liner-contrast thingy in fashion like 15 years ago? I still think what I thought then: it always looks as if the wearer ate something sticky and didn’t wipe her mouth. I just want to hand her a napkin.

  • the boobywing the fit

    she looks stumpy and frumpy

    plus her expression and pose takes away.


  • holdstillnow

    Am I the only one who didn’t know Lewis Carroll didn’t make up “much of a muchness”? I just looked it up and now feel kind of dumb.

  • siriuslover

    I think it’s also due to the fact that she clearly doesn’t look happy in these shots. Maybe she’s unhappy because she knows that not even she can make this work.

  • Mchurch

    Miss Havisham, the disco years

  • Jillaine13

    I flat out love Helena BC but she does not look happy one bit.  She looks woeful, pissed, disappointed and defeated.  I don’t know if she could have pulled off this dress with a different mood or even if it’s the dress that’s causing her distress.  Whatever the problem is it’s out of the usual for her.

  • I like Helena, and she’s got very distinctive facial features, which the make-up, unfortunately attenuated rather than enhanced. I don’t like the hair. She’s got nice hair, but this hairstyle is wrong-wrong-wrong: it likens her hair to the fake, clumped together hair of cheap dolls. The dress is, for the most part, atrocious. While I appreciate the striations/seam-work (that’s typical Vivienne Westwood), I abhor the drapery. It’s so stiff and sloppy. The neckline? Gross. Utterly gross. It’s like stuffing used to give shoes and bags shape got shoved down her boobs. The waistline? Yo… that’s beyond ugly. It’s so poorly rendered, so tortured, so bulky it makes a curvy woman look gigantic. Bad design, poor and unflattering execution.

  • Hideous, and her facial expression tells us that she knows it too.

  • librarygrrl64

    She looks like a head-to-toe unmade bed.

  • RzYoung

    Uh! TLO do you have an ID on her bunny rabbit ring? I NEED that in my life!! xx

  • decormaven

    When HBC looks thick-waisted, you know it’s a flaw in the fit. Too bad!

  • Cathy S

    This dress makes her look enormous. Also she looks disappointed. Understandable.


    Oh, dear!  And can I just say, at first glance, I thought this a was a drag queen homage to Marie Osmond?

  • She looks pissed that someone replaced her red carpet dress with a cheap prom dress that’s too small.

  • afabulous50

    God that dress is horrid, and it makes her look huge.

  • mmc2315

    Disappointment from two of my very favorites!  HBC and Solange!

  • Yeah, she’s not looking super happy in this photo.  I think the embellishment killed it.  It makes the whole look very prom-y which is so not either VW or HBC.  What happened??  Let’s chalk it up to momentary lapse of reason.

    P.S.  Please someone kill these shoes.  Kill.  The.  Shoes.

  • RocknRollmom

    This is not a happy woman.  Whether it is the dress disaster or she had a fight with Tim before hitting the RC is hard to say.  I have had that look from both situations.  Too bad.  Completely agree re the makeup. 

  • guest2visits

    Agree. The material is very pretty but it’s just not cut right for her in the bodice area. I still like the length. 

  • ShayShay

    I’ve never ween a Vivienne Westwood dress that I liked.  This one is no different.  Black is not Helena’s color.  Someone needs to tell her that.

  • Between this and Katie Holmes the other day, I’m already all done with the dead-gray-purple makeup. It looks all wrong. Just a *touch* warmer and we’d be in business, but this is more costumey than anything. (Which I could believe on HBC, but on Katie Holmes, not so much.)

  • bitchybitchybitchy

    Belletrix has definitely done better than this. It’s a lesser Westwood, for sure.

  • She looks like the fat girl who was forced to go to the dance in her mother’s old prom dress. It’s all terrible and clearly she knows it. Perhaps the biggest offense is the way the neckline wings out and makes her whole upper body look very wide. This dress turns her into a rombus. The makeup is beginning to stray into Tammy Faye Baker territory.

  • Patricia Gillett

    I don’t think the fabric was supposed to be worn directly off the roll like that. You have to stitch it together some. 

  •  I think my comment was pulled because it came out sounding “body-slamming” when I didn’t intend it to, so let me try this again. In looking at these photos she looks like she’s been forced into wearing something that embarrasses her. In fact, I can’t imagine this dress looking good on ANYONE. It’s makes her look dowdy and thick when I really don’t have that impression of her, otherwise. The way the neckline wings out makes her look very broad shouldered in an unflattering way. The length makes her look short and wide. The good is that she has gorgeous skin and flawless bone structure and she’s one of the coolest, most talented actors out there. It’s frustrating to see her in a garment (and makeup) this unflattering because there’s so much to work with, appearance wise. There. Apologies and I will choose my words more carefully in the future.