Gwyneth Paltrow in Prabal Gurung

Posted on May 23, 2013

We don’t understand what we’re looking at here.


Gwyneth Paltrow attends Goop’s party to launch the summer season in London in Prabal Gurung.

Prabal Gurung Fall 2013 Collection/Model: Ava Smith

Tom Ford Spring 2013 Triple-Buckle Sandal

Don’t get us wrong; we understand that’s current Most Beautiful Woman in the World Gwyneth Paltrow standing in someone’s hallway because she’s having a party to “launch the summer season.” That’s mostly all easy to grasp, except for the part where we apparently have to  “launch” seasons now instead of observing their passing, and that this launching is a service that Gwyneth now provides in lieu of acting. Regardless, that’s not what we’re talking about when we say we don’t understand.

It’s that thing she’s wearing; that collection of straps and clasps and parted drapery calling itself a dress. What an awful lot of effort just to obscure a pretty print. The top half’s okay, if a little too demure for our tastes, but then it all goes batshit right at the waist and keeps getting crazier on the way down. We find that the longer we do this whole judging-celebrity-fashion thing the less patience we have for the Deliberately Fucked-Up Dress.

The DF-UD occurs at least once in every collection – although sometimes entire collections are put forth from bored designers consisting of nothing but DF-UDs – and it’s nothing more than a simple, conventional dress that suddenly goes off the rails at some point because the designer had a style tantrum. Sometimes it works, but most of the time it doesn’t. And if the world was just, these dresses would remain on racks, forgotten and dust-covered. But if there are any people out there who inexplicably love the DF-UD more than bored fashion designers, it’s bored Hollywood stylists and stars. You can always count on a Gwyneth or Zoe or Rooney to pull a DF-UD off a rack and say “Let’s try this one! It’s so different!”

Thankfully, the world created bitchy fashion commenters like us to ensure that DF-UDs get the negative attention they deserve.



[Photo Credit: Getty,]

    • Patricia Gillett

      This post is giving me life. Thank you!

      I hope DF-UD gets added to the urban dictionary.

      • viridian61

        Pronounced how? Dee-fud?

        • Vlasta Bubinka

          I like def-ood (rhymes with ref- ood).

          Also the belty-drapey stuff looks like she borrowed some of Robert Downey Jr’s penile swag from his lederhosen outfit from a few months back.

    • hmariec19

      Hmmmm… I could maybe see Kristen Stewart in this.

      • NYCGlamourpuss

        Ahhhhh! Yes! And you know, I believe she could pull this off, and I have very little fashion confidence in KStew!

    • Cameron Turner

      I love it…. there is not much Prabal I enjoy, but the print here is lovely.

    • stchoo

      Oddly if it didn’t have the sleeves and I might sorta like it….sorta.

    • Lily

      I think this is mostly a case of Not Her Dress. I can think of people that I think could pull it off better than her.

    • Gayer Than Thou

      It’s only because they’re established that they can even get away with the DF-UD; if this were Project Runway (at least the old Project Runway), Nina would be quite pointed in her critique.

      • drdarke

        I didn’t know Hannibal Lecter had taken up couture as a hobby….

    • carnush

      The top half would be so pretty with just a basic pencil skirt. As it is, it just looks fucked up.

      • C. C. Winslow

        A bra would help too.

        • Griffinqueen

          My thoughts exactly.

        • poggi

          First thing I noticed too.

      • Rhonda Shore

        i’m starting to think EVERYTHING would look better with black cigarette pants!

    • Eva_baby

      “We don’t understand what we’re looking at here”.

      Heh. I have that reaction to her in general.

      • sagecreek

        Yeah, I have an answer, too, but I made a resolution to be sweet today.

        • H2olovngrl

          Shame about that resolution…

    • LearnedFoot

      Dress? What dress? I just want that carpet from the first picture.

      • filmcricket

        I’m pretty sure my folks have both those rugs – or very similar ones anyway.

    • foodycatAlicia

      “What an awful lot of effort just to obscure a pretty print” – exactly! It would have made such a lovely little bias-cut whatnot.

    • Kiltdntiltd

      I absolutuely understand the desire to juxtapose things of different natures in order to create something new. Mixing patterns, textures and cultural references for example. This is wrongheaded in nearly every respect. The interplay between that satin toile-like print, the cross hip drape, that apes panniers from the 18th century and the fetishy strappy things, is all just too much. None of the parts relate to each other well, as though they were different garments, cobbled together into a look. So wrongheaded.

    • Jessica TallGirl Freeman

      Launching the summer season in long sleeves. Yeah, that makes total sense.

      • foodycatAlicia

        It is the UK – we usually call it “summer” rather than summer. It snowed last week.

      • Dorothy Damage

        I was surprised she was wearing so little, especially since everyone has been in winter clothes for the past week.

    • SewingSiren

      I’d would respectfully add Julianne Moore to the top of that list.

    • a Studio by the Sea

      Weird grandma dress.

    • Coleen

      I want to take off the belt and hip drape and just send her to pose in front of a plain backdrop just to see if I’ll like it any better. The Oriental rugs aren’t helping me figure out whether or not I like the print in the dress any.

    • appliquer

      Odd makeup as well. At least her hair is parted on the side for a change!

    • jw_ny

      I’m all for straps and clasps being added to the right dress, for the right look…ala Michelle from latest PR season, but this dress that Gwynnie is wearing is not the right dress to add that stuff to. Totally incongruous.

    • CPK1

      A bra might be nice too. I love the print but that’s about it. The shoes are also fug. The strap hits the toes in an unattractive way.

      • sagecreek

        Don’t be silly, aren’t those The Most Beautiful Toes In The World?

      • 3boysful

        I rather like the shoes, which surprises me.

        • CPK1

          I like them on the photo but not on her foot.

    • nannypoo

      If you take away the odd styling elements in the middle and the S&M shoes and then put it on a person I can actually stand, you would have a pretty little dress here.

    • MartyBellerMask

      The easy breezy un-hair and un-makeup work better with simple outfits. Not that wackadoo styling would save this. Because it is ridiculous.

    • Tatiana Luján

      That is one ugly belt! This could have worked without the belt and if she had worn a bra.

    • annabelle archer

      Whip me, beat me and call me Susan. She looks like my five year old. She’s also going though an all about crazy patterns and way too many accessories phase. Sans gladiator dominatrix heels, of course.

      • MajorBedhead

        That’s the first thought I had, too. She looks like my little girls when they go nuts in the costume box. Or, y’know, when they pick out their own clothes. Nothing like a Stuart plaid pleated skirt paired with a hot pink hello kitty t-shirt. And flip flops.

        • annabelle archer

          My girl’s rule is as long as there is one matching color or one matching element (a flower, paisley, stripes) it’s good to go. Awesomely, it doesn’t have to be the same shade of that color. For the most part I try to let her do her own thing, as long as it is seasonally appropriate. I enjoy watching people’s reaction to her “precociousness”.

    • LaSylphide

      Definite S&M vibe about this. Too bad, because the print is nice and would have made a pretty spring dress. This is just…weirdo.

      • MajorBedhead

        It’s her magazine or online thing or whatever, that tells you how to be Just. Like. Gwyneth.

        She makes my eyes roll. A lot.

        • demidaemon

          Has she realized that “goop” is often what we want her to be. But not on our walls. ;)

    • janneyb

      Love the concept of a style tantrum. I’ll be adding that to my “witty ripostes” collection. And that dress against the wallpaper and carpeting is giving me a headache.

    • filmcricket

      Going straight from SWINTON in Chanel to Gwynnie in whatever this is – it’s like sunlight compared to a candle. Gwyneth really is an exceptionally pretty woman with a slammin’ bod, but it’s like 90% of the time she functions as an attractive hanger, she doesn’t inhabit the clothes, she just puts them on and they’re there, and she’s there, and … meh.

      Also, this dress is stupid. I do love the idea of GOOP launching the season, though, it’s as though Jane Austen heroines are going to start eating brown rice and following the Tracey Anderson method.

    • decormaven

      Love that she’s there to “launch” the season. Soon she will be pinning back the curtain of night to let the sunbeams peep in. On a fashion note, that is the epitome of the DF-UD. Add the photo and definition to the OED, immediately.

    • Kathy Granzow

      The dress would be okay, without the distracting sleeves. Again, it looks so different on the model – not that bad. It just isn’t working on Gwyneth.

    • Jeff Warhurst

      This is gorgeous. I’ll take her over any of the other trashy “divas” any day.

    • marlie

      The whole thing is a travesty, but the fact that the belt isn’t centered is making my eye twitch.

    • Carrieanno

      Why is she “launching” the summer season in a dress from a fall collection?

    • Susan Collier

      She appears to go with the house at least.

    • Alyssa

      I don’t understand why she’s attending her own party, instead of hosting it. She is Goop, so if Goop is having a party to launch summer (which is insane in and of itself), shouldn’t she be the host? I just can’t with this one.

    • Janet B

      Last time she wore something I thought suited her was April 2012 when she was launching Fall by wearing a brown Burberry Prorsum.

      The lack of effort from the neck up continues to give the impression she’s trying on clothes, not wearing clothes.

      DF-UD, indeed!

    • In_Stitches

      “Illusions of a Fanny Pack” by Gwynny

    • twocee

      I think Gwynnie’s just trying to mess with us now.

    • CatherineRhodes

      Well said. Just because it’s “different” doesn’t make it good.

      Also: sheer white sleeves.

    • formerlyAnon

      The problem with being/wanting to be fashion forward (or at least fashion savvy) is that one apparently begins to believe that if it walks the runway with a respected name attached, it is suitable clothing for *some* occasion, somewhere. And the challenge is to find or create that occasion. Silly celebrities.

    • julnyes

      To launch the summer season of what? Or is she really launching Summer??!!? That is so ridiculous on the face of it that I absolutely believe she would do it. I can’t with this one and her wallpaper dress.

      • Angela_the_Librarian

        And on top of everything summer doesn’t even start for almost another month! She should have waited and had a summer solstice celebration complete with GI tract cleansings and offerings to the GOOP goddesses.

    • YoungSally

      Karen Walker would have a few choice words — “Honey, what IS this??”

      • marlie

        Thank you for that reference. :)

    • Bert Keeter

      Way, way to gimmicky a design!

    • GoAwayKardash

      She needs a nice supportive bra under this dress. I mean really.

      • marlie

        Seriously. You can tell that she’s not wearing one.

    • l_c_ann

      The door in back of her rates it a “4”, but doors are known to be generous.

    • MishaFoomin

      I like it, and would wear it, because I’m weird, but the buttons being askew/not in a straight line is annoying me sooooo much. Gahhhhhhhhh!!!!!!! *OCD meltdown*

    • MilaXX

      I love you guys! Seriously there is nothing more I like than waking to see a celeb and/or designer being taken down a peg or two for being ridiculous.

      This dress is indeed crazy. Oddly enough it somehow manages to look to young for Gwynnie despite all the various straps and what not. So not only is the a DF-UD, it feels like it’s a Not Your Dress/DF-UD combo. Gwynnie needs to pack this up and send it to Elle Fanning. At least on her we can laugh it off as a youthful indiscretion.

    • alyce1213

      Your DF-UD rant this morning was just what I needed. There really is an “awful lot of effort just to obscure a pretty print,” especially lately, and everything else you said. Bravo for your astute take on this.

    • JP

      The dress has schizophrenia: it doesn’t know whether it’s afternoon garden party or edgy leather club wear.

    • jetpackdino


      Also, she needs to wear a bra.

    • Sheneve Butler

      For some reason I like this DF-UD.

    • Ros

      It’s not launching ‘summer’, it’s launching ‘the Season’. Which is a completely different thing.

    • sugarkane105

      I’m just glad she didn’t pull a Goop and expose her upper thigh again a la the runway version. Thanks to her recent red carpet appearances, I’ve seen more of Gwyn than I care to admit.

    • Ros

      She’s not launching summer, she’s launching ‘the Season’ which is a completely different thing:

    • Monzerrat Ontiveros

      I love this dress! :(

      • marlie

        The runway version is interesting, and I wonder if the model’s movement plays a part in it. But on Gwyneth, it looks haphazard and half-assed.

    • lizlemonglasses

      Vagina hammock? Chastity belt? I do love the print, though.

    • Judy Julian

      When you are The Most Beautiful Woman In The World, it is your duty to launch the seasons…..all of them. And thank you boys for adding a new descriptor to my lexicon. DF-UD is a phrase I will put to good use.

    • jen

      Word, you guys! There is so much WTF going on with this picture! The dress! The make up! The…needing to launch a season via GOOP. What does that even mean??? This bitch is serving up delusions of grandeur realness in spades!

    • Tracy_Flick

      It makes her boobs look saggy. And I’m sure they’re not.

    • TheAmericaness

      It looks like she’s been let out of her cage.

    • judybrowni

      Has she recently broken free in Cleveland?

    • Aniela Marie Perry

      The deliberately askew buttons and s&m belt are giving me the eye-twitch.

    • NYCGlamourpuss

      Oh, gurl…. just, no. No. I’m sorry, didn’t you hear me? NO.

    • Caterina Maria

      I’m seeing Gwynnie’s last desperate clutch at fitting in with a much younger set. No, honey. You are forty. Quit dragging it up like you’re twenty-five.

    • Lilithcat

      S/M garden party.

    • H2olovngrl

      The DF-UD is out there waiting; always ready for its next fashion victim.

    • Anniebet

      Dammit, I really like this dress. With a different neckline, and on someone else.

      • conniemd

        I like the print. If you took away the BDSM looking belt and that bunch of material fuckery at the waist, you’d have a tolerable if a bit prim dress for a luncheon engagement.

        Use the material in a sexier way and you might have a really interesting day-time dress up dress. However as TLo so aptly praised it, it’s now a DF-UD.

    • Aurumgirl

      It’s just an ugly dress. She’s looked a lot better.

    • tereliz

      DF-UD, I love it. This one definitely passes muster. Harness straps AND crotch swags? No.

    • PLH

      Screw her Most Beautiful Woman designation; maybe she should be feared as a super-villainess who controls the weather. The world of celebrity will use any Christ-bitten excuse to have a party, opening, anniversary celebration, launch, or any kind of social gathering for the uber-privileged. Can you imagine the swag they have piled in their closets and garages??

    • demidaemon

      Indeed. Though it does seem like there has been a particular swarm of the DF-UDs lately. Case in point: the recent Whiteboard post of Paz Vega.

    • Gaby

      She’s looking very… refreshed. Especially despite wearing a swaddled bondage device.

    • Contralto

      That thing at the waist looks like a fanny pack.

    • guest2visits

      I understand that this is pretty crazy.

    • Sing4yursupper

      Sad, confusing, ugly dress.

    • Rosalie Rinaldi

      What happened to her in less than a week? This is a sad look.

    • ailujailuj

      omfg —- i just piddled. Yes. YES. ALL YES. I get so annoyed at the gwentification of herself – so that post just helped it all go down a little more quietly.

    • marshmallowjane

      At first I thought this was a dress with a silly chain coming from the belt. but there’s something weird going on with the runway look, as though the belt thingie is purposely holding up part of the skirt to reveal more leg. Now I can’t tell if this is a dress or a skirt and blouse.


      her boobs are as middle-aged as mine here!