Lupita Nyong’o in Lanvin at the 2013 Gotham Independent Film Awards

Posted on December 03, 2013

This girl can make so many things work that we’d normally roll our eyes at.

HORRIBLE sentence structure, but you get the idea. Check it:

Lupita Nyong’o attends IFP’s 23nd Annual Gotham Independent Film Awards at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City in a Lanvin strapless dress paired with Fred Leighton jewelry.

But we have to admit, we’re wavering on the bow. We would hate that immediately on any gal over the age of 16 or so, but she’s coming fairly close to making it work for us. That cream and white color combo looks spectacular on her, but that’s a no-brainer. Her makeup artist is a master. She comes out with these perfectly coordinated faces for each outfit she wears.

We have thoughts about the shoes. First, we kinda think a pop of color was not the way to go here. It fights all that creamy whiteness rather than enhancing it. A gold, silver or bronze metallic, on the other hand, would have elevated this look even higher than it already is. Also, because we have thoughts and discussions about this sort of thing Chez T Lo all the time…. when we were going through hundreds of pictures of Jackie Kennedy for that Camelot post, we noticed she favored shoes with a high vamp and found ourselves wondering when that look was going to come back in style. These aren’t quite as high as the early-sixties mode, but they’re higher than you see on the red carpet normally. What’s the Bitter Kitten take on the high vamp?






[Photo Credit: Jemal Countess/Getty Images]

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  • hillmad


  • RussellH88

    She’s really been killing it lately.

    • Kent Roby

      We’ve just been seeing her lately; I suspect that she’s been killing it since birth.

      • Sobaika

        This exchange has been all over tumblr. You Kent Roby, arenternet famous.

  • teensmom99

    Re bow: you’re right,normally it would be awful but it works. Part of the reason I think it works is because the fit is so great (and she has a model’s flat chest). But really, the fit is unusually great for strapless and that will forgive a lot. As for shoes–it’s hard to judge the high vamp on this because as you point out they are wrong for this dress.But they are cool and I just bought a pair of high vamped teal to wear as my business pop of color.

    • SophieCollier

      You are totally right. As small as her bustline is, she needed that bit of volume. It would look silly on a busty girl, though. This is a great look for her.

    • fursa_saida

      I get a very ballerina feeling from the dress (and her figure in it), which helps justify the bow for me.

  • gabbilevy

    I love this, unreservedly. She’s truly in a class of her own.

    It’s a shame, though, that the photographer couldn’t seem to get the exposure right for both her face and her dress, making the images harsh and somewhat difficult to judge.

    • tereliz

      White dress on beautifully dark-skinned woman in front of white back ground with harsh blacks = effed up white balance. Shame. Probably could have been fixed in post but methinks not many paps take the time to clean their shots up before they sell them off.

  • Lily

    She looks incredible. I desperately want her to become the next big thing. She deserves it.
    As for the high vamp: I love the ones I own. So yes, totally on board.

    • Spreecord

      I will sacrifice as many goats necessary to bring the high vamp back. I hate seeing people’s feet even when they’re wearing shoes. Ick.

      Also, I love the bow and the shoes. They make my tacky little heart sing.

  • SewingSiren

    Love her and especially love her in white. This dress is perfect for her. She has worn a lot of white shoes in the past and I think they would work very well here on the red carpet. The red shoes probably look better with any other color background.

  • Jessica Freeman

    I’m not a fan of toe cleavage, so I’m happy to see the high vamp.

    I think the dress is lovely, I’m not a fan of bows, but just a satin band at the top would have made the dress a bit boring, so I guess the bow is serving a purpose here.

    • AnguaVonUberwald

      Amen on the toe cleavage. I have big feet, and shoes with toe cleavage just make them look GINORMOUS. Bring on the high vamp!

    • kimmeister

      Toe cleavage baring shoes are also less forgiving if the shoes are a little big (which happens to most of us, who have one foot a little bigger than the other). They just fall right off the heel unless you scrunch up your toes.

  • Diego!

    I loved it on her! It looks amazing! What I really can’t stand are those disgusting shoes. Uuggghhh Take them off right away!

  • WildHyacinth2

    I have a hard time forming an opinion on her clothes to be honest because I get sidetracked by how stunning she is, but my initial thought is she looks pretty amazing.

    • AnguaVonUberwald

      She is amazingly gorgeous, isn’t she?

  • sojourneryouth

    LOVE this dress on her, even though I hate bows. LOVE white against really dark chocolate skin. Seeing her makes me happy that she’s doing her thing and making people eat her fabulous, but sad that the unique beauty of dark skinned women and how amazing they can make colors look is still undervalued.

    Agree about the shoes fighting the dress. Love the dress on her, but I think it is a bit too long, as it is swallowing her a little. She is just so flipping gorgeous, though! It’s hard to critique her.

  • Latin Buddy


    First, as fierce as she is…I feel guilty thinking she automatically looks edgy in her outfits because 1) her hair and 2) dark black woman. Even as a gay latin man, I hate that long flowing blond hair is considered “soft” while this girl’s look is inherently “edgy” or “fierce”.

    Second, the shoes don’t go…actually, they should go. She should burn them. She needed something to balance the stark white on top. I would have liked to see gold or copper but isn’t that too on point for the holiday season?

    • KateShouldBeWorking

      I agree with your first point. If I had to use one adjective for her, I think I’d go with “lovely”.

    • ms_kat

      Totally agree with your point, but I don’t think of her as edgy or fierce at all. She’s in a princess dress (which reminds me of New Look Princess Grace or almost-Princess Audrey Hepburn). I’d be more apt to say that she is ethereal and otherworldly (it might because she is so obviously tiny).

      • Kimbolina

        When I got to the second picture, the first word that popped into my mind was “regal”.

      • fursa_saida

        I was thinking ballerina. Swan Lake.

      • tereliz

        She reminds me of Audrey with her bearing and the sheer class she exudes. The hair probably helps.

    • Constant Cat

      Oh, I was just thinking how lovely and soft she looks. And her features and perfect skin, everything flows. But I know what you mean. I love seeing a variety on the red carpet. Maybe we’re all starved for it!

    • fursa_saida

      The shoes are a nightmare. Even if it is on point, I still think silver would look amazing.

  • Educating! I wonder if a high vamp will come back – what I see on the streets is a “foot liner” effect where the idea of the shoe is cover just enough of the foot.

    • ConnieBV

      Hate high vamps. They make footchub, and I don’t need another part of my body to muffin top. NO.

  • I’m not loving this. She has gorgeous, athletic looking shoulders, and I’m not liking the (admittedly perfect) fit of the bust on her less than ample bosom. She’s looking a bit draggy. I do love the contrast of her skin and the wintry dress and I agree, she should match the her shoes to her sparkly nails.

    • marlie

      I was just about to add something about her shoulders… she has *perfect* shoulders, which I though were a perfect way to show off a relatively simple white sleeveless dress.

      • I’m just getting a vaguely masculine feel from the waist up. Not even in every shot, but as an overall. Not to say that it’s gotta be all tits and ass to be girly, but the bow seems to make her appear completely flat chested. I hate that I don’t adore this, because she is simply stunning.

  • marlie

    Love the dress, full stop. LOVE. I don’t have a problem with the style of the shoe, but I wish it wasn’t the same red as the red carpet, and I would have preferred a metallic color anyway. Her eyes look great, but I will always hate brown-ish lipstick on a brown-skinned woman. ALWAYS.

    • tereliz

      Something plummier would have been nice, I think.

      • marlie

        Yes! This lipstick looks like it might have *some* purple undertones, but I wish it was full-on plum. That would be really gorgeous on her.

  • Mrs. Julien

    I like the shoes and I will be happy when the ballet flat trend is over. Apparently, I require a lot more “vamp” than many people in a closed toe shoe. No toe cleavage!

    • Terri Ellis

      Same here! Ballet flats without a high enough vamp make me have foot cramp issues an hour into wearing them.

  • I for one am happy with the return of the high vamp. I dig the vintage-y vibe it gives, and I love round toe pumps, which like the ones above generally look better with a higher vamp. I don’t like hers, however, since they seem to be made of the same material as the carpet.
    Ok dress, I veto the bow. Gorgeous face o’ paint.

  • Clueless_Jock


  • Sam Smith

    Do not like the shoe choice at all! Especially on a red carpet where it gets lost. The dress is lovely, she is lovely, I don’t mind the bow but the dress does come off as a bit bridal.

  • hughman

    I like the bow because let’s face it, without the bow there ain’t a lot going on in “that area”.

  • Qitkat

    Shoes that eliminate *toe cleavage* are more elegant and classy. Though for some may feel more old-fashioned, which is why I like them I suppose.

  • Daenyx

    Re: High vamp – yes please. A thousand times yes please. They’re substantially easier to wear, and I hate toe cleavage.

  • lunchcoma

    I wouldn’t mind seeing the high vamp come back at all.

    But while I like shoes with color in them, shoes that match the red carpet are a bad idea. And, yes, bows should be out for women who are past puberty. Many dresses can look acceptable with bows on them, but few are improved by their presence.

    • kimmeister

      Yes, these shoes blend in so much with the red carpet that she looks like she’s walking around on nubs.

  • Sara Hottman

    I like a little toe cleavage, personally. Lupita really is lovely.

  • somebody blonde

    I’m not very fond of high vamps because they make my big feet even more difficult to fit in shoes.

    • fursa_saida

      Yeah, if that happens me and my wide feet are gonna be screwed.

      • kimmeister

        At the same time, I find that many shoes, particularly flats, have the vamp stop right against the big bones of my wide feet, and they chafe terribly.

        • jilly_d

          Girl, I hear that.

        • conniemd

          Yeah, my daughter and I have wide feet and any shoe that cuts right at
          the top of the foot is impossible to fit or hurts to wear.

  • Rand Ortega

    Can’t get beyond her gorgeousness. She’s perfect. I know I’m being stupid. I don’t care. I haven’t had this reaction to a model/actress/goddess since I saw Tyra Banks for the 1st time in George Michael’s “Too Funky” video.

  • filmcricket

    LOVE the dress. The shoes are wretched. Besides being the wrong colour and matching the carpet, they also look cheap. Not sure how I feel about the high vamp. Might need to see a more attractive pair of shoes to see if it works. Her head is amazing.

    • zenobar

      Agreed re: cheap-looking shoes. Their cut and fabric put me in mind of bedroom slippers, actually.

  • alyce1213

    I like the vintage look of a high vamp, but they’re not for everyone. They can look dowdy and stumpify legs if the skirt length isn’t right.
    Also, I have a high instep and arch so shoes like she’s wearing would cut into my feet something awful.

  • Jackie Kennedy was trying to make her feet look smaller, from what I understand.

  • Eclectic Mayhem

    Let me just Google ‘high vamp’…

    OH! I’m all for it! I have really long toes and I’m not overly fond of ‘toe cleavage’ so hoorah to the return of the high vamp and thanks to you chaps for telling me what it’s called!

    • Sarah

      Oh, I knew what it was, and I totes agree. I hate toe cleavage. HATE IT. I’m all for it, although it kinda looks weird in contrast. I say trot it out more often, so it looks default again.

  • Coleen

    She should just send those shoes to me and try a bronze or gold metallic pair.

  • Jaeda Laurez

    Love the dress, hate the shoes.

  • ballerinawithagun

    She is regal! That 3/4 angle in the second photo is stunning! I’m normally not an extraneous bow person but this one doesn’t bother me. Too bad the shoes match the carpet and you are correct, not right for this dress.

  • MilaXX

    I don’t like the shoe. A metallic would have been a better choice.

  • MikeW_Vegas

    I had to go google “vamp” as it relates to shoes.

    (as always, I’m educated when I come to this page!)

    But I agree with a higher vamp. I don’t like seeing everybody’s toe cleavage!!

  • ms_kat

    The pop of color is too reminiscent of the red carpet itself so they get lost. She looks amazing.

  • JDreesen

    in true british style, my vamp comes all the way up to the hearty ankle line of my telephone-pole shaped legs.*

    so i greet this particular shoe trend with arms wide open, ready and willing to accept not seeing any more desperate toe grappling or pinky toe smooshing for a good while.

    * seriously, i’m fairly certain a kindergartner drew these things.

  • MGMcD

    I love a high vamp because it is way better than poor little sausage toes sticking out of the shoe. I do think, however, it is best suited to the long legged, otherwise it could have a stupefying effect.

  • J. Preposterice

    I love a high vamp — both visually, and because low ones fall off my feet. (I cannot, for example, wear ballet flats at all — a shoe expert once, upon hearing this, said “oh, do you have a wider toe than you have heels? Ballet flats will fall off that shape of foot.”) So all my good heels are either strapped in some way or have a high vamp. More options in the glam shoe arena, please, fashion world.

  • BrooklynBomber

    She’s gorgeous. But what bad luck that the dress blends with the wall and the shoes with the floor.

    High vamp shoes are fine for long legged gals. For shorter women they can shorten the look of the leg when worn with a dress. I’m not in favor of toe-cleavage low vamp shoes, but there’s a happy medium. High vamp shoes are fine with pants, though.

    • kimmeister

      Totally agree about high vamps working fine with pants. Then we’re almost getting into loafer/oxford territory.

  • Tatiana Luján

    I hate the high vamp and hate satin shoes.
    And that red is fighting with the creamy elegance and serenity of the outfit.
    WERQ from the ankles up.
    (the dress looks like it’s made of vanilla icing)

  • Jumpingjacks

    When is Lanvin going to stop putting freakin bows on everything.. they used to do overly draped satiny dresses, now it’s bows yuck

  • boweryboy

    Ahh! She’s back. Her past few style choices had me worried.
    I don’t mind the bow. It’s those terrible orange shoes I hate. And yes to a high vamp. Toe cleavage was not, is not and never will be sexy.

  • another_laura

    Re the high vamp, I’m happy not to see tortured toes so count me in for a highER vamp than most of what we see. This particular shoe, with this particular dress, not so much….

  • sagecreek

    I hate the high vamp, but I have short legs as it is, so I don’t want my shoes working against me.

  • MoHub

    I’m fine with the bow, but the shoes need to be replaced.

  • rkdgal

    As an occasionally high vamp myself, I approve.

  • Nika E

    Its like she was dipped in the smoothest sexiest chocolate that ever existed.

  • Candice Booth

    It’s her effervescent beauty

  • SophieCollier

    I think part of Lupita’s magic is that she just looks so comfortable in whatever she’s wearing. Also, being thin but sculpted and absolutely beautiful does not hurt a bit.

  • Kent Roby

    It’s a law of physics that Lupita and Fan Bingbing cannot be in the same room at the same time; each is too awesome with way too much gravitational pull.

    • Rand Ortega

      There should be a physics law like Pauli’s Exclusion Principle called the Lupita Bingbing Exclusion Principle that states identical particles of perfection can’t inhabit the same space or they will destroy surrounding less perfect particles.

  • bertkeeter

    Woman is stunning! Yes on the BOW…not loving the point popping out on skirt front over stomach. N the shoes… agree…a soft metalic silver or gunmetal!

  • RoseJB

    This lady is a stunner! I don’t care for the shoes, but everything else is so lovely I don’t even have to look at the feet (they kind of blend into the red carpet anyway).

    To answer the uncles’ vamp question, though, I hope the high vamp never returns!! It should be just high enough to prevent toe cleavage.

  • Jennifer Peters-Ahnberg

    LOVE a high vamp. I’m not in love with these shoes paired with this dress, but she’s making it work. The girl’s got fashion skills.

  • ashtangajunkie

    I don’t mind the high vamp – they certainly worked for Jackie – and I think they still work on the right person with the right outfit. Ms. Lupita here is wearing the wrongest shoes I can think of for this dress, but otherwise she’s looking lovely. Those shoulders are spectacular.

  • tereliz

    She’s gorgeous! The dress is so simple it keeps the bow from veering into Twee-town, and I love the shoes with it for December. LOVE heels with a high vamp because they stay on my foot better. I have a high instep, so they need to be good quality, or my delicate foot skin will blister. (Band-Aid friction block is a life-saver!)

  • mickiemonkey

    She gets to wear all the high vamp, bows and pockets she wants because she is clearly a goddess.

  • Trickytrisha

    I hope to hell this delicious young woman has a whole string of films in the can so we can see her non-stop at premieres, award shows, late night talk shows, etc. for the next 40 or 50 years.

  • Violentcello

    Except for the shoes, this is perfectly Audrey. Clean lines, sweet and sophisticated, even the poise and posture. Love it.

  • JuliaInBlack

    Serving up Degas ballerina realness.

  • Aaminah Khan

    I wore ballet flats instead of my usual Converse yesterday, and within an hour my toes were hurting from the way I had to scrunch them to keep the shoes (which fit as perfectly as they possibly can) on my feet as I walked. Bring back high vamps!

    Miss Lupita looks lovely, but that goes without saying.

  • Danielle

    I can get on board with the bow, but a different shade of red for the shoe would have been wise.

  • Esz

    I’m all for the higher vamp thing to come back in fashion – especially if it means more 40s styles will be easier to access outside of the limited reproduction brands!

  • Tanya Wade

    The higher vamp is more comfortable to me, so there is that.
    This woman has the perfectly shaped head. Seriously. Artists should study it.

  • KT

    So true — this would be Twee As Fuck on so many other ladies, but she looks totally adorable and gorgeous.

  • nannypoo

    I’m all for the high vamp, but she has cankles here and I don’t know why. Maybe the high vamp? Maybe the length of the skirt? Anyway, she is beautiful and this dress benefits from having her in it.

  • Ann VerWiebe

    Something that simple really shows off her beauty.

  • AuntHo

    Personal overanalysis on vamps: Toe cleav is a bit sexy and trendy to me, and I work in an older-white-male-dominated industry, so I stick to higher vamps for work. Lower vamps for personal life or fancier work events. I like both, but they both have a message, IMO. For some industries/companies, it wouldn’t matter; I’ve worked in more progressive spaces and wore man-eater spikes otr.

  • Aurumgirl

    I love the way she looks and I love high vamped pumps.

  • pookiesmom

    WOW. Breathtaking. I might ping a mere mortal for the bow, but goddamn if this isn’t WERQ-worthy on Lipita.

  • Jacob Bowen

    I don’t think I’ve done this before, but I am saying YES to the…TITBOW!

  • Pennymac

    I love this, all of it. She’s gorgeous.

  • Anne

    My only problem with the shoes is that they’re the same color as the red carpet.

  • Leah Elzinga

    Natalie Portman is seething that Lupita got to this dress first…

  • Just breath-taking!

    And y’all are absolutely spot-on in regards to her makeup artist–she just glows!

    I’m not a fan of the high vamp on a heel–it shortens the leg line terribly. However, it does make some folks’ feet feel more secure in their heels, so it’s really a matter of preference. As a Person of Little Leg, I’m sticking to low vamps.

  • LeelaST

    I have a high arch so high vamp shoes are a huge no for me – impossible to get a good fit.

  • RedRaven617

    The vamp is too high. I don’t like too much toe cleavage, but this makes her look like she has “cankels”.

  • GillianHolroyd

    Vamp schmamp, those shoes look satin to me which is a much greater crime.

  • Love. Love everything. The bow. The make-up. Love the high vamp. Just love it : )

  • jangma

    I think the high vamps can make a shoe look a little too heavy and a little too precious. However, if they put an end to the strin of tortured toes we’ve seen lately, I will sing their praises.

  • gksp

    So lovely. The dress is perfection! As for the shoes, I don’t love them, but at least we aren’t seeing many of those ridiculous platform hooves, I mean shoes, on lady stars these days.

  • I don’t like high vamp shoes because I find they almost always dig into the top of my foot. But that’s me. I don’t know how I feel about them as a style.

  • lillyvonschtupp

    I love the bow!

  • I find I prefer a high vamp to the more common toe cleavage. It will be interesting to see if it makes a full comeback, and how it will be interpreted to look more modern.

    (Also, the fashion world is missing out on a supermodel here. I haven’t yet seen Ms. Nyong’o look anything less than spectacular. What a stunningly gorgeous woman.)

  • KC

    Do you think the shoe color would work if she wasn’t on the red carpet and had something else to balance them? I like the idea of them, but they kinda fade away in this setting.

  • Kathy

    She has such a sweet smile and tends to make clothes look better than I thought they could look. I think I’m getting a girl crush. Still, I’d lose the shoes.

  • kaycem

    i kind of like the high vamp look on a pump tbh. if you’re going to take away platforms and studs (please god, take them away) there has to be something to elevate the basic pump.

  • DB Ruberto

    Can anyone identify that GORGEOUS lip color?!

  • amaranth16

    Love her. I hate toe cleavage – I think this vamp is a little higher than I’m partial to, but I don’t like the really low-slung ones of recent years.

  • MannahattaMamma

    When I see toe cleavage, it always makes me think that the shoes are too small. The arch of a foot is sexy, ankles ditto, maybe even toes themselves (MAYBE). But the squished-together bits where your foot splits into toes? Blech.

  • Mona_Visa

    Oh wow. She looks like joy and beauty and the sunrise… What a beautiful woman.

    The shoes: I totally get the ambivalence. They don’t work with the dress, but at least they aren’t boring.

  • judybrowni

    Yes, to everything but the high vamp, which looks matronly in the here and now.

  • I don’t like the high vamp, mostly because I can’t wear that. Bad feet.

  • Sweetvegan

    She looks fantastic! It’s just bad luck that her shoes match the carpet.

  • ThaliaMenninger

    Love the dress on her, bow and all. Hate the high vamp, although “high vamp” sounds like something I would like in everyday conversation.

  • julnyes

    I don’t like the color of the shoe, but that is probably heavily influenced by the fact that it blends into the carpet. She is lovely and working a titbow dress – impressive!

  • Gorgeous. And her skin in luminous. She’s perfection.

  • BigWhiteGrannyPanties

    High Vamp shoes make your legs look shorter. Only a few can do them really really well. But I still like they way they look.

  • edlee

    Could anyone tell me which year, season, and collection the dress came from? Thanks in advance!