Rachel Bilson in Oscar de la Renta at “The To Do List’ Premiere

Posted on July 24, 2013

Okay, obligatory driveby bitchslap before we get to the dress: We can’t pass an ice cream freezer in a supermarket without thinking of her. We’re going to go out on a limb and say that’s NOT the driving goal of most young actresses. Could’ve been worse, though. Could’ve been tampons.

Hey, why aren’t there big-time celebrity endorsements for so-called feminine products? We’re thinking someone at Tampax headquarters should back up trucks to Amy Poehler’s and Tina Fey’s offices and just dump money on the two of them to do it. How awesome would that be?

We seem to have drifted again. Dress:

Rachel Bilson attends the premiere of “The To Do List” in Los Angeles in a strapless Oscar de la Renta dress paired with Casadei pumps.

Oscar de La Renta Resort 2014 Collection/Model: Clarice Vitkauskas

It’s a really pretty dress. We’re not loving the current micro-trend on the red carpet for this kind of silhouette because very few non-models can pull it off and it can go so wrong in pictures, making the wearer look like a turtle or like she’s back-pregnant (which is totally a thing now that we’ve said it). But the color looks absolutely beautiful on her and for once, we don’t mind the black pumps.* We do, however, mind the winged eye, because it doesn’t really suit her and it’s not at all the right makeup for a classically pretty and feminine dress like this. We kindasorta like the hair, though. Could do without the over-the-shoulder and the top of it’s a little wispy and flyaway, but it’s romantic. Also: jewelry. Oscar dresses demand it.

*About the shoes, because this is coming up again in comments: When we say we don’t like a black pump or a shoe chosen to match the wearer’s flesh tone, it doesn’t mean we don’t like those items per se; it means we think stylists are defaulting to them too much as a safe choice, and sometimes they not only do nothing for an outfit; they actively work against it. We’re all for our ladypeeps taking some style inspiration from our little dog and pony show, but you always have to remember: We’re talking about the singular world of celebrity public appearances, which means we’re looking at how things photograph, what the style choices mean for that star’s image, and how it stacks up against what other celebs are doing at the moment. In other words, wear your black pumps and silly putty pumps with pride, ladies. There’s nothing wrong with them – unless you’re attending the European premiere of your action movie or something.


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

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  • Victor Beiramar Diniz

    sweetie, didn’t you pay attention when Edna Mode, from the Incredibles, explained why she designed no capes for super heroes? well, you should have…

    • Jessica Freeman

      NO CAPES! I swear, I say that plenty of times for no good reason at all. Love Edna.

    • Fordzo

      I like to imagine that Edna would have a lot to say to Beyonce regarding weaves vs. fans, too.

  • Fordzo

    Your wish is about to come true, gentlemen. Alessandra Ambrosio is the new…face?…of Always maxi pads.

    • RebeccaKW

      Seriously, if that dancer from Dancing With Stars will do an adult diaper commercial, they should also be doing pads and tampons.

      • demidaemon

        You mean Lisa Renna (sp?)? Every time I see that commercial, I cry a little for how far her career has fallen.

        • RebeccaKW

          She might do one, but the one I’ve seen is Cheryl Burke, one of the dancers on the show. They ask her to wear one under her little dancer dress and perform in it, to show how sleek they are and how they move.

        • Cheryl Burke, one of the regular pros, is also doing the adult diapers.

  • Jessica Freeman

    Without the back cape, this would have been stunning. I would have liked a strappy something for shoes instead of the default black pumps.

  • Meg0GayGuys6

    I think it’s pretty, but I can’t help but think that she just got out of the shower and her arm pits are holding up the front of the towel.

  • Shannon Beamer

    Oh my lord, it’s all ghastly. Except for the shoes, which are inoffensive.

  • formerlyAnon

    Hmm, early indications are that y’all are on fire today with the bon mots. “Obligatory driveby bitchslap” is going to be hard to use in the kind of writing I usually do, but I will be living in hope.

    I LOVE this dress and totally admit that I’ve been seduced by the color, the fabric, and the embroidery/applique(?) or beading. I don’t think her hair lives up to it and the eye makeup is questionable. Still, nice look.

  • MissusBee

    A bit obvious maybe, but to my eye the black pumps are okay with this outfit because there’s black detailing in the embroidery and also/ergo an evening feel to the piece. The ScarJo dress was 100% summery pretty, which does not accessorize well with black. As a mere mortal who doesn’t have the luxury of a shoe for every outfit, I find this a real stumper in the hotter months. Also finding colour-complementary cardigans or jackets for sundresses should the air turn chill. It is difficult! So difficult!

    • conniemd

      Not to mention that the black pumps match the black clutch, black nail polish and eye wings.

      I can’t get past the awful hair and eyes. The hair’s not just flyaway, it really dull and fried looking.

  • Adrianna Grężak

    So are capes a trend now?

  • fringebenefit

    Gee, I think she looks adorable. Winged eye, not so much. But the rest…adorable.

    • Spicytomato1

      Agree. The eye makeup looks like she was experimenting with her mom’s makeup kit but everything else is lovely.

    • RebeccaKW

      It’s a bit too much winged eye. If it was just a little flip, I think it would be fine. This is heading to Cleopatra territory.

  • Fordzo

    I’m more offended by her heavy, black eyeliner than her basic, black pumps. It just seems so heavy for summer.

  • ChaquitaPhilly

    Nooooo! The cape and the fly-away hair are bad enough, but when you add the EYES… total destruction!

  • Darren Nesbitt

    This is a shape Dior used a lot right?

  • AmeliaEve

    Comb your hair right now, young lady!

    Jeez, I feel like a crank when I say that, but it just looks messy and stringy to me. It might work with a more casual outfit, but this dress is so sleek that it needs a more formal style or at least a smooth one. I don’t much like the makeup to start with, but it would work better with different hair. I can see giving this dress a Streisand-in-the-sixties kind of mod treatment, in which those and those lips would work with a sharp A-line bob or a big chignon and lower-heeled shoes.

    • demidaemon

      “Sleek” was not the first word that came to my mind when I saw this dress. More like “awkward” and “voluminous.”

  • Don’t like the mini-train/cape on the back. It just looks stupid to me. The heavy eyeliner, ugh. The hair? Let’s just not talk about it, mkay?

  • I doubt “Oooft” is the desired reaction. But that’s all this got out of me.

  • Michael_Jones

    With the Joe Manganiello ads also promoting Magnum ice cream bars, I’ll never think of Rachel Bilson first…

    • I saw a billboard today with him and what I thought was Mila Kunis shilling for Magnum (and it had some weird vague story-line like “The best thing we ever stole” as if we were supposed to think they’d committed a big heist and ran off with a truck full of… ice cream bars? I don’t even know). Now I’m wondering if it was Bilson and not Kunis at all.

  • JP

    Why is she holding her arms so stiffly at her sides? Is she afraid it’s going to fall down?

    The fabric is beautiful; don’t like the dress itself, though.

  • GillianHolroyd

    Very cute dress and the color suits her. If only she wasn’t posed so awkwardly, like our Kate, always clutching her hands together in front. The eyeliner is a huge mistake and the lip color as well (at least in the close ups).

    Too bad because she could wear that dress. Right now, it is wearing her.

  • filmcricket

    The colour is utterly stunning on her, which surprises me because I always think of her as a red person, not a blue person. The detail on the bodice is exquisite, and she is adorable. Everything else is godawful. Hair, make-up, silhouette – ugh!

  • PeggyOC

    I like it on her, but she doesn’t look like she likes it on her. Stand up straight, girl! Hunching your shoulders, clutching your bag like a life preserver and looking like you want to disappear only makes us try to figure out what is wrong.

  • SewingSiren

    If you’re going with the Ronette eye, you need to commit to the Ronette hair. Love the dress.

  • Janet B

    Pretty dress, the color and flowers are lovely.

    Is she afraid the dress will fall down? Or that it’s too short? Un-clutch the clutch.

    • demidaemon

      Well the only thing preventing that is her bust, so I can understand the fear.

  • Introspective

    hate the dress (that silhouette must be stopped), hate the raggedy hair, hate the winehouse-lite makeup, hate the business shoe.

    let me find something nice to say… um, the clutch aint bad?

  • Warrior89

    Hate the winged dress and the winged eye. Ugh.

  • nannypoo

    If you take the goofy megaruffle off the back this is a really awesome dress.

  • Danielle L


    • tinyredlocks

      Thanks for the Edna Mode reference! That made me giggle 🙂

  • poggi

    It’s hard for me to see anything but the eye makeup. Too much for this dress, for her hair hair and for her face.

  • decormaven

    Gorgeous color and interesting detail on the dress, and not a sparkling piece of jewelry in sight? For shame. And there’s no real style to the hair. The stylist missed an opportunity here to really make a statement. Right now, it’s just a’right.

  • aplomb

    So…are the “link ads” the new thing? I did not know about those. I’m used to clicking on your links to get something other pertinent page, so I was surprised to be taken to a commercial. No likey.

    • Tess Danesi

      Are you talking about the ice cream commercial on YouTube? If you are, it is pertinent and the reason T-Lo associates ice cream and Rachel Bilson. I got scared for a second, I thought maybe T-Lo had implemented ad words. The horror.

      • aplomb

        No, not the ice cream commercial. I was talking about an ad link on the word “work” in their post. Now I’m thinking that I’m the only one seeing it. Is it because I’m using Chrome? The same link ad showed up in a post on another blog this morning. It is horrifying and I am not sure how to get rid of it. I do *keep up,* generally speaking, but I suppose I haven’t been paying attention to Google Ad news. *sigh* I will get to the bottom of this!

        • aplomb

          Just found it. “CouponDropDown” adware. Geez. I’m on it. Thanks for the reply Tess. It helped me realize this was my problem.

          • Tess Danesi

            Stupid adware! Glad to finally be of some help 🙂

  • Tess Danesi

    I love the dress but I think it’s because it reminds me of a work where the artist made a wall sized piece of cherry blossoms out of layered buttons. And it was beyond amazing. So there’s that. I’m trying to ignore the cape part and just focus on that lovely front.

    The makeup doesn’t suit her at all. T-Lo often talks about stars whose face can just handle a ton of makeup, Rachel is not one of them. In the close up she looks nearly clown-like and much older than her years.

  • Diego!

    She should have sticked to hair, dress and make up of the Magnum commercial. This is ugly!

  • SugarSnap108

    Her makeup and hair are the definition of “hot mess.” The dress would be cute without the silly kinda-sorta cape. But, yeah, great color on her.

  • MilaXX

    Don’t like the makeup, and she needs earrings us anyone tried the ice cream?

  • zenobar

    This sounds wonderful! In the world of my mind, I can just jet out to the Bay and have cocktails with the local BKs and discuss things like the Watteau Sacque Resurgence of ’13.

  • Lilithcat

    Cute dress, but I do think the proportions could be improved by a slightly longer skirt. Hate the make-up! “Young lady, you are not leaving the house until you wash your face!” Seriously, who thought two circles of pink on her cheeks looked good?

  • Carol

    Excuse me Ms. Bilson, but there appears to be a large blue growth on your back.

  • formerlyAnon

    Jealous not to be a Bay Area BK! (& not able to plan travel any time soon.)

  • DamH

    It’s kind of work on her, she looks pretty good.

  • Jacqueline Wessel

    I like the eyeliner, but only in the first picture,in every other shot it’s too much. The dress is pretty and I don’t mind the shoes but the hair is awful to my eye.

  • Rand Ortega

    Fins? She’s wearing fins? When did “Sharknado” dictate fashion trends?
    The color & the detailing are really beautiful, but I just can’t with what’s going on in the back.

    Looking forward to this book: “It Could’ve Been Tampons: The Rachel Bilson Story”

    • demidaemon

      The first part of that title is awesome!

  • 1964edithgrove

    Signed up at once!

  • quiltrx

    The embroidery really makes this lovely. I don’t like this “a second skirt, on my back” trend either–if it were a bit more reined-in and shaped, I might be able to go for it. As it is, most of the ones we’re seeing look like an afterthought on a PR dress.

  • Rand Ortega

    That’s completely awesome!

  • Imasewsure

    If I ignore the wings (and the eyes), I think she looks adorable… come to think about it, a dress with wings would be perfect for a Carefree commercial….I think it was Carefree that gave us pads with “wings” (ha… wings, yeah right)

  • NoveltyRocker

    It seems like some celebrities like wearing something a little more classically Hollywood but don’t want to look too antiquated or veer into costume. Hence a scruffy something—hair, “off” accessories or color accents (or lack thereof), beard/moustache, short hems and low, low necklines—in an attempt to modernize the whole look. I really love the energy mixing things up can inject when it’s done in a way that honors the classicness of the main garment but a lot of times the balance isn’t there and it negates the entire look. There’s something so interesting about the back of this dress. It really looks like it wants to work with the right compliments. Maybe mussed up hair OR high-impact makeup, not both. Needs some kind of jewelry to make it feel complete.

  • LaSylphide

    It took a couple of tries, but now I’m really loving the dress. I think the problem is the way she’s standing, like she’s embarrassed, or afraid the top will get caught in a gust of wind and blow up over her head and put her girls on display. This is a look that really need to be worked for all it’s worth. On the right person, it would be stunning.

  • Candigirl1968

    The makeup looks like something a high school girl would have done to look sophisticated. The nails seem more discordant than edgy here. Not feeling the hair – it looks like someone started braiding and then got tired. And, some earrings and/or a ring would have definitely stepped things up.

    All of the unfortunate details are too bad, because RB is doing pretty well with a lovely blue dress in a virtually impossible silhouette.

  • CMSmith1848

    Ugh. No. This looks like a maternity dress and because she did not want people to think she was pregnant, she pinned it back and now she looks like she has a cape – or wings – or both. Very pretty, but . . . no.

  • Just Me

    She looks lovely. I would have preferred the dress with less “cape” but that is a quibble. The color is divine.

  • demidaemon

    This is a really stupid dress. I’m sorry, it really does nothing for her, except for the color. And that’s not enough, in my opinion.

  • i go back and forth on the odd silhouette. the color and the floral embroidery are lovely, and the fit is perfect, on the part that’s supposed to fit. the eyeliner seems to be attempting to channel amy winehouse, but honey, this is not an amy kind of dress. and i agree about the jewelry. i am sending out a memo:

    to all starlets: if you have holes in your ear lobes, you must stick something in said holes before entering the red carpet.

  • marlie

    GREAT color! I’m not 100% sold on the dress, but it most works for her.

  • SEPA_Q

    Now I know I’m older than dirt. I can’t tell this starlet from Selena/Vanessa/fill-in-the-blank whoever. Shoot me now.

    • LaSylphide

      LOL. Shoot me too!

  • snarkykitten

    since y’all brought up tampons, it looks like she’s wearing a pad with that mystery blue goo.

  • Anniebet

    Oh noes! Did Uncles TLo just give every celeb in the universe the go ahead to wear silly putty pumps? Quelle horreur!

    The dress – I do adore it! I might even marry it if bigamy was legal. There have been some absolutely stunning dresses on TLo recently that have structure and impact, which is very refreshing in a world of black sheer lace and flowing gowns. She could do without the eyeliner though, but looks great here.

  • Sweet jeebus that’s not her makeup.

  • d4divine

    back pregnant…yeah…that’s about right. Also, some of these dresses should come with a height requirement…just save the ladies the trouble

  • Trisha26

    Hate the hair, winged eye, shoes, and back cape. Simply hate. She’s adorable and the dress is cute – sans superhero attachment.

  • amber.

    I think Emmy Rossum would have slayed this, just saying. She looks like she’s uncomfortable.

  • DebbieLovesShoes

    “making the wearer look like a turtle or like she’s back-pregnant (which is totally a thing now that we’ve said it).” Once again, TLo, you made my day w/ that one!

  • I love the dress from the front; don’t like it from the back. Smashing color. I hate the eyeliner wings. Been there; done that.

  • Peeve

    Strangely enough (for me), I kinda like the back cape on this dress. Love the color on her, too. But, I’m with the other BK’s about the hair and makeup. Her hair looks fried and not smooth enough for a dress this formal. The eye makeup makes her look both cross-eyed and like her eyes are too close together. Wow, I’m really bitchy this morning! Bodes well for the rest of the day…

  • calbear97

    I was hoping I wouldn’t miss this link! I’m all signed on, thanks so much. Would love to meet up with other BABKs sometime!