Hayley Atwell in Holly Fulton at the 2013 British Fashion Awards

Posted on December 03, 2013

There’s a big part of us that would really love to know the thought process behind the choosing of a dress like this for a public appearance.


Hayley Atwell attends the 2013 British Fashion Awards at London Coliseum in London, UK in a Holly Fulton dress.

Holly Fulton Spring 2014 Collection

Is there never a moment when someone says, “Gosh, that’s an awfully busy dress. I wonder if I’ll be able to pull it off? I wonder if it looks good in pictures?” On the other hand, we have to admit there’s a part of us that’s impressed by choices like this. You can’t fault her for going the safe route, that’s for sure. But as much as we want to commend her for her boldness, we’re ready to say that this dress, while fun in its own way, is WILDLY overdesigned and could do with the editing out of at least two or three elements.

Are we the only ones suddenly dying for candy?






[Photo Credit: INFphoto.com, i-Images, PacificCoastNews, IMAXtree]

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  • zenobar

    It’s like a Dolly Parton special come back to haunt us.

    • Now I wish her hair was huge! And her eye shadow, blue.

      • zenobar

        And her eyebrows plucked into terrifyingly precise tadpole shapes.

    • teensmom99

      I’d say it’s the child of that Dolly Parton special and the Lawrence Welk show.

      • zenobar

        You’re exactly right! You can practically hear that jaunty accordion…

        • ballerinawithagun


          • sojourneryouth

            Yes, but it’s also Lawrence, so it’s pronounced “Yolene.” 🙂

      • formerlyAnon

        I do think you’ve nailed it.

      • Ginger

        YES!! Throw in a little (okay, a LOT) of Loretta Lynn, too.

        • Karen Belgrad

          It’s so a Loretta dress… Let’s ask Hayley to say “Stop yer growlin’, ya sound like a big ‘ol bear”!

          • zenobar

            Best line from that movie, hands down!

      • Danielle

        Now showing in Branson! Combine your tickets with an exciting tour on the DUCKS and save!

    • formerlyAnon

      Though only a guest or background singer. Ms. Parton would have had more polish. Both literally and figuratively. Bigger hair, nails and makeup.

      • Ginger

        Remember…it takes a lot of money to look this cheap! Oh how I do love me some Dolly Parton!

        • formerlyAnon

          Me, too. Smart lady. In my imaginary personal Cathedral of the Good Things, she is a prominent figure in the Ladies’ [plural intentional] Chapel.

          • I love the idea of a Cathedral of the Good Things!

          • formerlyAnon

            Best thing is that it is so easy to build one’s own! (My mental landscape is sadly shallow but very, very cuttered. It’s a rich, full life.)

          • Ginger

            Abso-friggin-lutely! She’s one of those people that just exudes goodness. You never hear a bad thing about her (either that or my Dolly filter weeds out the bad stuff).

        • ballerinawithagun

          Best quote ever!

    • MoHub

      I was thinking early ’70s Loretta Lynn.

  • Karen Belgrad

    Candy buttons… for the love of bitter kittens, can someone please get me some candy buttons!!!

    • MikeW_Vegas

      That was my first thought when I saw the thumbnail picture.

      • GeoDiva

        Me too!

    • Bebe

      Chewy sprees.

  • Huh. I didn’t realize Rainbow Brite was a sister wife.

    • Sarah

      Ha! Sister wife hair, that’s fo sho. Nay, missy.

  • cmb92191

    It looks like someone went crazy with a dot marker set.

    • zenobar

      Or hit the bargain bin at Rick Rack City.

  • Diego!

    What the f…? Lauga Ingalls is a trend on the red carpet??? This is too much. I’m dizzy now.

    • Little_Olive

      Ha! I thought Laura Ingalls on acid. Which is not necessarily a bad thing :p

      • Diego!

        It seems that acid was due a long time ago… 😛

  • snevhead

    It’s making my teeth melt.

  • Lily

    I love that she chose to go so bold and I think the dress is Wonka Chocolate Room but in a good way. I just wish they had done something different with her makeup and hair.

    • conniemd

      Yeah, it looks almost wearable on the model because of her hair. It looks stupid with this hairstyle. I’d love to rip the sleeves off the dress, tear out that middle section of the skirt and cut the dress to above the knee and then it would look bold and daring. But with that length and wonky material in the middle of the skirt and being so long, the description of Laura Ingalls on acid is so perfect. It looks straight out of the 1800’s in design.

  • The unearthly marriage of a hanbok, a sarafan and my mum’s year 10 formal dress.

  • Dowdy *and* Twee? That’s an impressively bad combo.

  • Jen

    I actually kinda like it, i just don’t know why. Maybe because she’s so pretty I just let her off with it.

    • muelonil

      Me too! I wouldn’t say the dress is perfection or anything but somehow it’s really working for me (or her) when I feel like it shouldn’t. I dig that it has a 70s vibe, and also that it combines pattern without looking like a frankendress.

    • lizajane1776

      Me, too. I would have liked a color next to her neck, like that coral/pink row of flowers at the neckline, then it wouldn’t have faded into her skin as much. I think it is a brave, fun choice.

  • Lisa M. (ReVoir) Kramp

    Holy sh….wow. If that’s not a “FMO” dress I don’t know what is. It’s fun and colorful, I’ll give her that. Losing the sleeves, 5″ off the hem and the underskirt would have made this more wearable for her. And what’s with the cheerleader hair and no makeup? I understand you don’t want much competition with a dress that busy, but ‘Just back from the Gym’ simply will not do.

    • marlie

      This is one of those dresses where I don’t mind the simple makeup/nude-ish lip, because the dress has so much going on and is so colorful, I don’t even mind the ponytail, but I wish the top of her hair wasn’t so high/pouffy.

  • NMMagpie

    This is one of those looks where you can’t help but think: “I bet she’s besties with designer and attempting to do them a favor.”

  • sagecreek

    Ugh. Carol Brady at the company Christmas party, 1970.

    • Laura F.

      Yeah. I totally got a 1970s key party vibe.

  • I can’t imagine it looking good in a private appearance, either.

  • TippiH

    I LOOOOOOVE how these little clutch purses look like library books. Don’t you think once they get inside the screening/fancy event they pull out their CVS readers and pick up right where they left off? Like they couldn’t wait to find out if Zhivago meets Lara again…

    • jif

      There was a Zhivago Olympia le Tan a couple of seasons back. 🙂

  • Emily Giovanni

    It’s a Project Runway candy challenge!

  • Jessica Freeman

    Willy Wonka Dress. Do the schnozeberries taste like schnozeberries?

  • oklund

    A little nonsense now and then, is relished by the wisest men. I like this.

  • Jaeda Laurez

    I like it. But I prefer it on the model. She’s a bit too…wholesome looking.

  • formerlyAnon

    My first two thoughts were : “Babes in Toyland” and “Truly Scrumptious.” Even though this falls short of the correct period costume, it has that candylicious feel.

  • Emily Smith

    Candy dots on paper was my immediate thought. Does anyone eat those anymore? They were pretty awful in hindsight…

  • crash1212

    I don’t hate this. Actually, I kind of like it. I like the colors and they all look good against her skin tone. I don’t find it busy, but I like mixed prints. I think the minimal makeup was the way to go with this much color and pattern and I think her hair is pretty. Love the clutch. Nicely done!

  • MilaXX

    Candy Dots! Ugly dress.

  • GillianHolroyd

    I like the skirt but the top looks upholstered and therefore makes her look thick. I’d rip off those sleeves and rework the fabric into a bodice.

  • Kelly

    I don’t care for the dress. But it’s the hair that really sinks this look for me. If I were a costume designer for a Dust Bowl epic, I’d say, “Yes! This is exactly the Walker Evans look I want for the beaten-down prairie farm wife who is struggling to keep her family together as the endless, sand-filled wind blows through the chinks in her cabin walls and straight into her yanked-back-to-get-it-out-of-the-way-because-who-the-hell-has-the-luxury-to-care-about-it hair.”

    • Qitkat

      And it would look perfect in black and white for the era of Walker Evans. Double like for mention of this iconic photographer.

  • And then the 2nd part of the question is, once picked, why did they decide to send her out without a bit of makeup? Looks like all the color from her face drained right down into that skirt.

  • It’s kind of a hostess look. Simplify it here and there, make it fit right, and throw in some pearls and it would be perfect for Kitty Carlisle to come down her stairs in.

    • formerlyAnon

      Kitty Carlisle. I will admit to an extremely irrational fondness for her. Mostly because my mom loved her.

      • Then both you and your sainted mother have excellent taste. The woman could do no wrong.

        • alyce1213

          Very classy and philanthropic lady, indeed.

  • Carleenml

    I think this would work at a wife-swapping, 1970’s cocktail party, starring Sigourney Weaver.

    • ballerinawithagun

      Ice Storm?

  • nannypoo

    Well it’s just ugly. And here is proof that even a pretty woman should not appear on the red carpet without makeup. And that hair – well it’s all just ugly.

  • marlie

    TOTALLY looks like candy. I *LOVE* the bottom of the dress. If it had a different, simpler bodice, this could be gorgeous. As it is, the candy-ish bodice is too busy AND makes the dress seem a bit juvenile.

    Also, designers, can we please stop with the too-high waists, please? PLEASE? It’s flattering on exactly noone.

    • Deac82

      I think that this might-could-maybe work without the sleeves?????

  • Deac82

    It like those candy strips where you lick the dot. Only last time I did it…….not candy.

  • Lesley

    she looks like she rolled around in button candy

  • Phyllis Lyndstrom from Mary Tyler Moore.

    • formerlyAnon

      Ooohh! Very apt. She hadn’t occurred to me.

    • boweryboy

      A huge “Hi! Hi!” yes!

    • Carleenml


  • cocohall

    This is a multiple personality dress. Covered up enough to wear in a church or nunnery, heavy enough to wear through a Dr. Zhivago-like snow-swept tundra, and twee enough to wear as an extra to the wedding in Nanny McPhee. I like the colors and the skirt would be pretty with a simple, sleeveless bodice. I’m with the uncles – this is too much of a muchness.

  • KinoEye

    Not to mention that arrow pointing straight down to the netherworld.

  • Clueless_Jock

    It’s fun and crazy and she’s young enough to wear it without looking ridiculous.

  • kayleymaybe

    I’ve been playing too much Candy Crush saga to like this dress. I keep waiting for the dots on the bodice to start exploding and moving.

  • Nicholas

    The facts were these: Hayley Atwell had decided to craft a dress made entirely of candy.

  • Alexis Boucher

    Two words: Candy Buttons.

    • boweryboy


  • Karen Belgrad

    I think Holly Fulton must be at level 310 on Candy Crush.

  • boweryboy

    The bottom half of the dress is all kinds of fabulous.

    The candy button psychedelic Laura Ingalls hot mess of a bodice leaves me speechless. The designer is punking us, right?

  • Eclectic Mayhem

    Oooh Agent Carter, that’s….. not a good look.

  • tereliz

    Why the EFF would you wear your high school home-ec project to the British FASHION Awards?!?!

  • Erica Woods Tucker

    She looked like Marsha Brady.

  • Eric Stott

    That’s a nice dress for a cocktail party next to a pool

  • ThaliaMenninger

    “Hey, Mom, guess what? I got a gig on Match Game 2014 and they gave me one of Brett Somers’ groovy old dresses to wear!”

    • alyce1213

      Laughing very hard.

  • SophieCollier

    That is some serious 1970 Loretta Lynn going on there. The hair doesn’t help much.

  • bertkeeter

    Pointless dress!

  • Tatiana Luján

    I swear my sister’s American Girl doll has a very simmilar dress.

  • MannahattaMamma

    Dinner party, 1974. Terrifying then, worse now. Needed to be worn with a HUGE dollop of irony, which is missing entirely here.

  • kimmeister

    From far away, the top definitely reminded me of candy, but upon closer inspection it looks like practice rows in cake decorating class.

  • ashtangajunkie

    I appreciate this, but only for all of the Dolly-Loretta comments that have come with it. Delightful. Otherwise, so very bad.

  • Imasewsure

    I’m not dying for candy but I am having a problem getting Lawrence Welk’s voice out of my head right now “Polka Polka Polka”
    Ugly not bold.. no points from me

  • Kathy_Marlow

    Where is her face? I see no makeup on that face and she needed to do something and not rely on that dress!

  • Yup. Urge for candy buttons. I don’t really like this dress for anyone. Even the runway model looks odd in it.

  • YousmelllikeAnnaWintour

    The pattern on that dress looks like Vera Bradley threw up.

  • alyce1213

    Oof. Marion Cotillard looked like good candy in the Dior yesterday. This looks like cheap candy.

  • jen

    I loooooooooooooooooove that dress! It’s totally 1970s mashed with a candy shop and it makes me inexplicably happy.

  • Not applicable

    Bedspread chic?

  • Sam Smith

    I was drawn to the top in the thumbnail, but could do without the yellow dots in bib formation. And I really dig the skirt, but all together and its too much in my mind.

  • Tracey Magyar

    She looks like a couch from the 1960s. I love it.

  • Kate4queen

    I kind of love it 🙂

  • YoungSally

    Marcia Marcia Marcia!

  • Lilyana_F

    I cannot imagine anyone pulling off that mess of a dress for any kind of occasion ever..

  • dschubba

    Brady Bunch shower curtain

  • Qitkat

    The model’s pose and styling make this work. Cate Blanchett might make this work. Hayley is cute, but this requires some attitude and better hair.

  • Madam Von Sassypants

    Rip off the sleeves!

  • Jai Piper

    it’s a Skittles Drindl Dress

  • Jacqueline Wessel

    Too much pink and too many pinks.

  • “Gosh, that’s an *awfully *busy dress. I wonder if I’ll be able to pull it off? I wonder if it looks good in pictures?”

    “Gosh, that’s an AWFUL AWFUL dress. I wonder if I’ll be able to pull it off? I wonder if it looks good in pictures.” The end.

  • DominoEstella

    I think this is fantastic.

  • tinyredlocks


  • If this was a premiere for “Walk the Line”, I might be able to get behind it.

  • LeelaST

    Looks very Megan Draper to me.

  • mrspotts66

    the dress looks like it’s on backwards.
    or something.
    and candy dots.

  • The standard by which all future ‘For Models Only’ dresses will be judged.

  • Isana Leshchinskaya

    sisterwife meets sgt pepper

  • velomango

    Hello Carol Brady.

  • French_Swede

    Maybe the designer is her sister-in-law or something?

  • BigWhiteGrannyPanties

    Polygamist Wife Runs Into Candy Store…