Gillian Anderson in Vintage Balmain Couture at the 2014 BAFTA Awards

Posted on February 18, 2014

“Vintage Balmain Couture” sounds so good on paper. Shame about the reality:


Gillian Anderson attends the 2014 BAFTA Awards in London in a vintage Balmain couture dress accessorized with Adler jewelry.

Maybe we’re wrong on this, but this looks like poorly curated vintage couture to us. That dress just doesn’t look expensive or even like it’s in good shape.  The bodice is probably supposed to look that wrinkled and puckered, but is the skirt? Is that piece poking up near her armpit part of the design? Or that wonky bit where the light blue meets the dark blue on her right side? Is the dress supposed to give the illusion that she has 4 breasts? Is the light blue band supposed to be the widest part of the bodice?

The body language tells the tale here. She’s trying every maneuver she can to cover up as much of this dress as possible without resorting to curling up in a ball and asking everyone to stop looking at her.

Great jewelry, though.




[Photo Credit: Famous/ACE/, Landmark/]

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  • veriance

    Her hair and make up are pure “just rolled out of bed with Duchovny because I had to show up here”

    I think the dress is pretty, but it needs tending to.

  • Patrick Cleary

    It looks like it’d be a gorgeous dress if it wasn’t so badly fitted and badly kept.

    • tereliz

      It would be better fitted if the bodice was’t TIED ON! Google pics of this dress from the back (or check the FUG girls’ site) It’s hideous.

      • demidaemon

        So glad that TLo spared us this atrocity. Poor Scully. 🙁

    • lundibleu

      Exactly, it could have been fantastic but reality let the idea down.

  • EveEve

    BAM! That’s the sound of the stick hitting this piñata.

    • Lucía Gavello

      Thanks, I couldn’t figure out what was bothering me… It’s a piñata, a sad, colourless piñata.

    • LuisaNL

      thank you for this, I needed it after the day I had.

    • DagnyReardon

      Eve, wonderful Eve! I am still smiling.

  • mcbishop

    I’ve had those facial expressions in just about every photo I’ve ever taken; pure discomfort.

  • eowyn_of_rohan

    Look, those of us who DO have 4 breasts really appreciate Gillian coming out to support our condition with her sartorial choices.

    • KinoEye

      The quadriboob population deserves red carpet representation. Also, better bras. Can’t tell you how hard it is to find one with four cups, so I just get two regular bras and go from there. The struggle is real.

      • vitaminC

        Race for the cuirass?

  • Sarah

    That dress is hella wrinkly. I cannot even judge it properly because I can’t see anything but the wrinkles. And those big, honkin’ black platforms. WTF.

    • The platforms are hideous. But Gillian is TINY, super tiny, and so I’m not surprised she went for extra height, especially since most of the time the skirt would hide the shoes anyway.

  • Jessica Freeman

    It looks like she is also wearing Lady Gaga’s shoes. No wonder she looks so uncomfortable.

  • Anna

    Yikes. Vintage Balmain couture by way of the bottom of a clearance bin at Value Village. That is one mortified and uncomfortable woman. Poor Gillian.

  • Danielle

    Is that the Heart of the Ocean?!

    • Vickiefantastico

      I thought the same thing!

  • @Biting Panda

    Dress for a prom held on a cruise ship. And Gillian, I see your ugly Minnie Mouse pumps, for shame!

  • Those are beautiful blues. And the quilting is interesting. However, the wrinkles are dreadful. And the bodice is off.

  • Josefina Madariaga Suárez

    That poor girl, let’s just stop looking at her.

  • MaggieMae

    I think the dress is salvageable. Not exactly a compliment, I know.

  • Alyssa

    Great necklace, dreadful hair, wrinkly dress. She looks super uncomfortable…not even trying to sell it.

  • mjude

    say it aint so scully

  • Vickiefantastico

    I don’t know why, but I like this. Sure, it’s wrinkly and kind of ill-fitted, and she looks very uncomfortable, but…okay, never mind, you’re right.

  • empath

    I’m more distracted by the messy hair, horrible color, and underdone makeup. Looks like she had a last minute invite and grabbed something from the consignment shop and went to BAFTA instead of the gym. If her head looked great she would have had more confidence IMO and might have been able to sell us on the four boobs thing.

    • Jessica Freeman

      The hair color really is the worst. Blond is not for everyone.

      • SugarSnap108

        It really washes her out. Where’s that fabulous red?

        • Jessica Freeman

          I really don’t get women who can rock red hair go to blond. Its not that easy of a color to pull off, and when you can be red, why in the world would you be blond?

          • SugarSnap108

            As a natural red-head, I would never go blond, due to the death pallor it would drape over my face.

          • H2olovngrl


          • She’s of the “natural” blondes who look better as red heads – like Christina Hendricks, Amy Adams (and me).

          • Jessica Freeman

            …and me. Used to have the brightest blond hair growing up, turned to not so pretty ash brown, and now red. Where it shall stay.

          • I went from a nice golden blonde to a dull mouse. I’ve flirted with blonde but I also think red it shall stay.

          • kimmeister

            If she were poor she would have the “difficult to maintain” excuse, but as is, not so much.

    • Rhonda Shore

      Her hair is horrific and her make-up isn’t great either. Even if the dress was fabulous, the rest would have made it not so.

  • ashtangajunkie

    Good God, Scully.

  • boweryboy

    She’s clearly questioning her dress choice, especially in the third photo.

  • Do you think she was trying to catch Prince William’s eye by wearing jewels to match his wife’s engagement ring?

  • SewingSiren

    Stayed out all night after Prom. Slept in the back seat of the car. Now sneaking in without her parents catching her.

  • 3boysful

    The colorway looks cheap. I’d never have pegged this for couture.

  • Poeta Paz

    Sometimes vintage really looks old. But my biggest problem is the hair, I just woke up and my hair looks better than hers??? I take the necklace and earrings, thanks!

  • Betsy

    The bodice looks like my son’s comforter. No joke. Her face looks pretty though. She has a lovely, healthy “the rumors are true. I’m doing Fox Mulder” look about her, doesn’t she?

  • MilaXX

    Some of these dresses looked better on the show than in still (Oprah, Cate, Emma). Sadly Gillian’s looked bad on the show and even worse in stills.

  • xmixiex

    Aw Scully. *she* looks great tho.

  • Tanya Wade

    I once had a sleeping bag like that for Girl Scout camp. But I never wore it on the RC.

  • gsk241

    Yes, the dress is terrible, but I’ll never not want to BE her!

  • lizajane1776

    I don’t know if the light blue is SUPPOSED to be the biggest part of the bodice, but, if you count the skirt, each of the three colors has the same number of sections (six). Not that I am justifying it, but, apparently counting is my thing.

  • schadenfreudelicious

    There are pictures floating around of the back of the dress which is even worse than the front (difficult to fathom i know)….

    • Nexli B

      Judging from the last picture I think I believe you. Is that a tiny train dangling down above her butt. Oh this just gets sadder and sadder.

      • schadenfreudelicious

        The Fug Girls have a shot of the rear view, it’s not pretty….a bandeau type back that does not attach fully to the skirt (so bare skin) with what appears to be a large scarf stuck into it…..

        • marlie

          That sounds *terrible.*

          • schadenfreudelicious

            My description doesn’t quite do it justice, it’s worth a look for the full effect…

        • Jessica Freeman

          I went and looked. The fug in the back just completes the overall fug of the look.

  • cleva1

    I think I get the idea of this dress, but the reality looks a lot like a costume I wore in a high school play. Gorgeous as she is, she should look spectacular.

  • Kent Roby

    This is soclose to being a nice look, with a tiny bit of fitting in the bodice and a steamer, but she would need super sleek-and-polished hair to finish it off.

  • bitchybitchybitchy

    Yes, Vintage Balmain sounds so much better than this gown looks in reality. The color combination is what I like best about it. Is the fabric used in constructing this the problem? Was it not properly cleaned and pressed before being stored?

  • Kathy

    May Scully find a better gown for her next RC appearance… It’s out there.

    I couldn’t resist.

  • I rather like it, but then again I’ve been sick with the flu for 3 days. I think the main part of the dress needs ironing and they should have taken a link or two out of the necklace, so it hung a wee bit higher on her chest.

    • marlie

      Welcome back to the land of the living. Yesterday was the first day in ~4 that I didn’t feel like I’d been run over by a bus.

  • FrigidDiva

    That poor jewelry. What did it ever do to deserve being paired with such a horrid outfit?

    • marlie

      And we (TLo) are always begging for necklaces and other bold jewelry. We finally get a couple of lovely pieces, and they’re paired with THIS look.

      • demidaemon

        Well, beggars can’t be choosers, I guess.

  • Glam Dixie

    This is all just very unfortunate.

  • Janet B

    Sometimes “Vintage” just means “old”.

    She looks as if she’s in front of a mirror and has decided not to wear this particular dress.

  • marlie

    First thoughts:

    1. The fit in the bust is really unflattering, especially from the side.
    2. Yoga hair.
    3. What in the holy hell is she wearing on her feet?
    4. Her makeup is unfinished.

  • rarero

    That dress is the difference between “vintage” and “second hand”

  • omg_dora

    Really curious what year the dress is from and how it was MEANT to look and fit. If it’s from the 1980s, that explains a lot.

    I like the necklace. I like that there’s a necklace. It was cute and refreshing when they started not wearing necklaces with strapless gowns, but now I just miss the sparkle.

  • Stefanie Argudo Mackenzie


  • RussellH88

    In a lot of these pictures she’s doing the “God, I ate too much” pose.

  • ThaliaMenninger

    How can something that dull and awkward be vintage Balmain couture?

  • amanda siegelson

    man, that’s one ugly bedspread.
    she looks amazing tho – and i do adore her.

  • B_C_J

    This should have been left in the attic trunk.

  • GorgeousThings

    Man, silk duchesse satin just does NOT age well. Those poky things by her armpits are badly done boning, it looks like.
    And I do love GA, but I’m not crazy about the hair. At first I thought she was Toni Collette.

    • J. Preposterice

      I feel like the dress has been badly altered in order to “fit” her. It’s almost like that dress was made for a woman who was 5’8″ and a size 6 and Anderson is 5’2″ and size 2.

  • Shawn EH

    She could give Cate Blanchette a good one on the natural beauty front, if only with the right clothes. And blue is such a good choice for her, but not this retro wedding cake look. Even if the dress were all navy …

  • TLJezebel

    Hair and makeup don’t help the situation either.

  • Jacqueline Wessel

    This dress is beautiful in theory, but sadly lacking in execution. Ruffley boobs are sad.

  • samo_samo

    The top of that dress is reminiscent of a bedspread my mother had back in the 70’s. So many issues with that dress that could have been fixed with a little TLC.

  • housefulofboys

    I wonder if the back-ties were originally designed to do something other than tie the dress on. Like maybe a halter arrangement around the top. I like the colors, but that’s about it, Her makeup is less than stellar also.

  • Gatto Nero

    This is Balmain?? It looks so cheap.
    And she looks apologetic in half these shots.

  • Ashleigh

    Her body language is screaming “I am uncomfortable for many reasons”. How does this happen? How do things go so far that she has no choice but to wear this one dress??

  • unbornfawn

    She should have said NO to this dress. I can’t believe those bodice pleats were suppose to be all crinkly. They look like poor construction and/or shrinkage at the dry cleaner.

  • jen

    I want to know what she and Sandra Bullock are doing because they are aging fabulously!

  • JauntyJohn

    It must be a special kind of feeling awful to do your final mirror check before getting in the limo to head over to the RC and think “Ugh, this is a mistake. Too late now…”
    Nothing fits and nothing looks comfortable and nothing looks fresh.
    Except that sapphire. Jesus, Mary, Lucy and Ethel that is some rock.

  • filmcricket

    Hand over the jewels, Gillian, and no one gets hurt.

  • Blair Sylvester

    That face screams “yeah I know right”

  • Ruth Preston

    Target for dorm rooms. But holy cow, that jewelry…

  • Saturnine

    Wow. I’m sure I’ve missed a whole bunch, but don’t think I’ve ever seen someone look so uncomfortable on the red carpet. She either hates the dress or she’s going to hurl.

  • colorjunky

    Her lack of hair styling doesn’t help!

  • Akemi

    It’s…not horrible. But not great. Why does she look so confused, I wonder?

  • Well, there’s a waste of some lovely jewels.

  • TheGap

    She should just ditch the dress and let someone paint her like a french girl, she’s go the necklace after all…

  • KT

    That looks like a contender in the bottom 3 looks of a Project Runway episode, and she clearly knows it. Just say no, Scully!

  • suzq

    I want to steam out those wrinkles.

    • livesarah

      I thought you were referring to her face, and I was thinking “What wrinkles? She clearly already has!”.

      • suzq

        Those I don’t mind.

  • Trickytrisha

    Bless her heart….

  • kimmeister

    Her boobs look huge but well supported from the side view! And her face looks like Kate Winslet and Emma Thompson morphed into one.

  • fursa_saida

    WHAT IS THAT HAIR. She should hire whoever was doing her hair on Hannibal, because it always looked incredible.

  • bertkeeter

    All couture apparently is not created equal!

  • ShaoLinKitten

    Gillian Anderson has been on my irrational love list since The X-Files. I find it hard to see past that gorgeous face to criticize her at all.

  • nowlo

    Strange bodice. It looks okay from the side, but like it’s collapsing from the front.

  • formerlyAnon

    Summer gala fundraiser at the club. The boating one near our summer home.

  • GillianHolroyd

    How I LOVE that color combo and it looks fantastic on her. I like the wispy hair and relatively clean face which matches the simplicity of the dress. I like the volume of the skirt. Sadly, the bodice is a train wreck. I’d demand a do-over.

  • Fred Vaughn

    Too beachy colorwise…

  • Heather

    This is a bummer. Have you seen her dress at the William Vintage Dinner? It was much better than this.

  • Carrie

    I’m a fan girl from way back. Considering her red carpet history, this isn’t all that bad. Typical hair and demeanor. Never change Gillian. This is why we love her. The old-timers simply shake our heads, roll our eyes and say “Bless.”

    • H2olovngrl

      I agree, she has some seriously awkward red carpet photos floating around out there! Even though she is 4-ever Scully to me, she is really good on Hannibal, if anyone else is watching.

  • quiltrx

    This appears neither Balmain nor Couture. It does appear vintage, as in ‘in the back of someone’s closet.’
    Does anyone else see “piñata” when they look at the bodice? Total tissue paper mess.

  • Veronica1022

    Dear Lord, thats where my summer bedspread went.

  • Diego!

    It’s too wrinckled but had this dress been ironed, she would have looked amazing. She looks great, what a pitty that dress is in that state 🙁

  • She looks like she is about to cry out of shame. She does not want to be photographed in this mess, obviously. Darling, why go to the red carpet dressed like that then? Think twice, and you avoid having nervous breakdowns after being ridiculed.

    • martha

      I agree. Also, the bodice of the dress needs to be properly fitted.

  • NOLA_gal

    Honey, the 1980’s isn’t vintage.

  • I think I decorated my son’s birthday party with this once.

  • Clash D

    Wrinkled prom dress. Sad wrinkled prom dress. Even the jewelry looks sad.