Katy Perry in Vivienne Westwood at the 2014 ELLE Style Awards

Posted on February 19, 2014

Damn. Our little cartoon girl really is all grown up, isn’t she?




Katy Perry attends the 3024 ELLE Style Awards in London in a Vivienne Westwood dress paired with Christian Louboutin jeweled pumps.

We have some quibbles with this look, but we want to take a moment and pay her some respect for managing something very, very few female pop stars ever do: the transition from “wacky cartoon character with boobs” to “grown-up woman with sophistication.” Most of them fail spectacularly along the way – even Madonna, who’s something of a template for the female pop star who wants to grow up. The only ones who really managed the transition from girl pop star to chic adult woman, off the top of our heads, are Gwen Stefani and Queen Latifah. We know there are others, and we’re sure all y’all will remind us of them, but that’s who sticks out in our minds on just two cups of coffee. We can add Katy to the list – and we think it’s important to note just how small that list really is, which gives you some idea of how hard it is to make that transition successfully.

And the great thing is, she’s still free to dress like that cartoon character when she wants to. The point is, she’s effectively expanded her image to include looks like this.

Okay, quibbles: Don’t like the hem (which is generally the case with us and all Vivienne Westwood dresses) and don’t like her hair, which looks like it was cut with a pair of blunt kitchen scissors. Otherwise, she’s gangbusters.




[Photo Credit: FameFlynetUK/FAMEFLYNET PICTURES]

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  • Adrianna Grężak

    I like the top portion and the color palete of the dress, but it looks like she didn’t fix her dress after going to the restroom. Also, HATE the hair

    • CPK1

      Yes, the hair is so very very awful

  • shirab

    The hair made some random thoughts come into my head–“The Bell Jar” and then Betty Rubble. Can’t quite explain that first one.

    • Karen Belgrad

      We saw the same thing at the same time, lol

    • Wendi126

      Beauty school dropout hair…

    • Jean Genetic

      Maybe you thought “bell jar” because that hair makes you want to stick your head in the oven and turn on the gas?

      • siriuslover

        ouch. poor Sylvia Plath 🙁

      • Alloy Jane

        Oy, that smarts! But the hair is def terrible and I get the Betty Rubble thing.

        I hate this whole look and it feels like she’s trying to be Dita. Also, why are her boobs both exposed and flattened? Crimes against boobmanity.

    • tallgirl1204

      The bangs are way too short. I like them that way myself, for comfort and convenience, but they skew either childish or cray-cray grandma.

  • Karen Belgrad

    Betty Rubble hair… please do not let that be a new trend.

  • Diego!

    Mmmm… honey, should I call 911? Can you breath in THAT dress? You know, I don’t like AT ALL her hair. Too mature for her. Make up sucks and That dress is squeezing her too much. Shoes are very nice but look outshined but that ugly dress. I can’t approve. Sorry Miss K!

  • RussellH88

    That hair is truly awful.

  • KinoEye

    That hair is a crime. The bangs look worse than when I used to cut my own. Also, my kingdom for a statement necklace.

  • imspinningaround

    It’s a shame to torture such pretty fabric into such a bizarre shape.

    Two other pop stars who transitioned to looking like grownups: Victoria Beckham and Kylie Minogue.

  • Citation for cruelty to boobs on the left hand side.

    • omg_dora

      Vivianne Westwood sure loves her “embarrassing drunk aunt likes to ‘accidentally’ show too much skin” necklines.

  • LCTerrill

    Oh Dear God, that hair! Kill it with fire!

  • DTLAFamilies

    Her left breast is making a run for it. Not a good look.

  • Courtenay P

    shhh it’s a wig

    • Thank god for that. But why choose a bad wig? I have a lovely sleek black asymmetrical bob one that would be much nicer than this.

    • demidaemon

      The only good thing about this is that she didn’t do this to her own hair.

    • Faerie Nuff

      Oh, thank God. I thought it was a wig, since I couldn’t see skin at the part (always a good clue). I just really hoped no one did that to her actual hair.

  • BrookeNR

    The boob squish is too much for me. Down, girls, down! As a lady forced to deal with this issue, I have sympathy pains.

  • EveEve

    Victoria Beckham and Beyonce, yo.

    • Evan

      Eh Beyonce has terrible taste and style imo.

      • But when you compare her current style with her style when she was in Destiny’s Child, you can easily see an improvement. She is wearing clothes now.

        • @Biting Panda

          No, she’s not just wearing clothes made by her mother. But all those years left their scar on her tastes.

          • I’m not saying that she has a good style now, but everything is better than the clothes her mother used to make, imo.

          • Evan

            That’s true, but it’s also not saying much. Almost anything is better than a Tina Knowles creation.

        • EveEve

          Beyonce, unlike Victoria Beckham, is still an entertainer, and her entertainment wardrobe I tend to put in a different pile (or closet) from her “meeting with the President at the White House” wardrobe.

          • Evan

            I just find most of the stuff she wears tacky, especially the things she’s worn on the red carpet.

          • @Biting Panda

            Oh shit, House of Dereon is in the house and Tina is none to pleased with our comments, Evan. LOL.

          • EveEve

            So very predictable. Evan should consider it a Badge of.Honor. And fwiw, I don’t disagree with Evan. So, do I get my own down vote now?!

          • Evan

            Beyonce stans can suck it. I like her new album, but I’ve never been a fan of her as a person or her style. Some people need to learn that criticism is ok and that just because you don’t like something about their favorite artist, it doesn’t mean you’re a hater. I have favorite artists and actors, but I’m not going to love everything they do. I try to remain as objective as I can.

          • demidaemon

            Exactly the attitude we should all have! Otherwise, we’ll end up with more tripe than we already have on TV, film, and in music. It’s exactly the reason why I refuse to watch Under the Gunn. I love me some Tim Gunn, but that doesn’t mean I am going to force myself to watch everything he is on.

  • Lesley

    i don’t know if it’s the wig but she looks 15 years older than she did in pictures from last week.

  • lunchcoma

    The dress is great, but the shoes are awkward and the hair is a travesty.

  • judybrowni

    Not crazy about the bandage on her left boob, or the hem that appears to be caught in her undies after a trip to the loo.

    Also: Katy, you shouldn’t trim your bangs with nail scissors, it never works out.

    Other than that — most of which isn’t your fault — Katy you’re a model!

  • stubbornthoughts

    That hair is ruining my entire experience with this look.

  • kategs

    I really like this look and love the hair. It references back to the 30s as does the print on the dress. It’s chic and quirky all at once which is hard to do.

    • alyce1213

      I think we’re the only ones appreciating the hair. It’s not a “pretty” hairdo per se, it’s a little wanky and edgy and totally works with Westwood. (You may have said it better with chic and quirky.)

    • formerlyAnon

      Yeah. I like the hair, not so much as a style in and of itself, but for the impact it has with this look. I can’t explain it any better than that.

      • kategs

        I think you explained it rather well meself!

        • demidaemon

          I think you guys are dipping into the cocktails early. That hair just renders me speechless form its awful existence.

          • formerlyAnon

            Net positive because that comment made me laugh.

          • demidaemon

            I’m glad! Just a bit of healthy disagreement. 😉

          • kategs

            well as long as it’s a Manhattan or a very dry Martini! I just like it. That is all.

    • Constant Reader

      I watch a LOT of movies from the 30s and can’t think of anyone who wore her hair like this — mostly because back then the curls were very controlled and “set.” This looks like wavy hair allowed to air dry naturally (although I’m pretty sure it’s a wig). So I’m seeing it as more retro in the sense of “vaguely referencing days of yore with a fun, roller-derby babe vibe” — but maybe you’re thinking of someone I’m drawing a blank on at the moment? And also, “vaguely referencing days of yore with a fun, roller-derby vibe” is right in Katie’s wheelhouse and not a bad thing. 🙂

      • tallgirl1204

        the short bangs always say “Mamie Eisenhower” to me. My mother wore such bangs most of her life– maybe that’s why they make my eyelids twitch.

      • kategs

        I was thinking of referencing because on many levels that’s what Westwood does. I wasn’t thinking of a specific person at all, just the idea.

        • Constant Reader

          I was thinking the same kind of “vaguely retro-ish in a cute way” but one of the BKs nailed it below with Bette Davis in “A Stolen Life.” Definitely looks like that (and Katy herself looks like Bette with that hair), but the original is much more controlled and every-hair-in-place.

          • CupcakeTrudy

            Oooh, I can see the Bette Davis resemblance! I never noticed how much Katy Perry looks like her until you pointed it out and probably still wouldn’t see it if she wasn’t wearing the wig!
            And, Bette did like these complicated, low cut buntlines, though I can’t recall if that low of a bust combined with that length of skirt was popular in the 40’s. Wouldn’t the shorter skirt have called for a higher neckline or a suit jacket? It seems like at that time the low busts were reserved for gowns, but obviously, I am FAR from an expert on 40’s fashions, so I should leave it to those who are! Anyway, to you and those who made this connection between Katy and Bette: Good call!

          • Constant Reader

            I can’t take credit, it was @quiltrx:disqus below.

      • CupcakeTrudy

        Nor do I think of this hair as 30’s-40’s. This look is straight up 50’s-60’s Liz Taylor drag minus the fabulous jewels. In fact, my first thought was that she looked strangely like Kate Winslet as Liz Taylor. And I’ve never thought of her as looking anything like my beloved Kate W., but something about her face, makeup, posture, and boob wrangling is very much like the actress.
        Edit to add: The hem on that dress and the fit throughout the thighs is atrocious and is such an off note.

  • Stefanie Argudo Mackenzie

    I love this. The hem is a problem, but damn if she doesn’t look fine.

  • Betsy

    I know it’s retro but some hairdos should be locked in the vault never to be seen again.

  • Jessica Freeman

    While I applaud her ability to go from cartoon to real person, I hate all of this. Full Stop.

  • xmixiex

    I agree 100%: love everything but the hair and hem.

  • Leslie Streeter

    Liz Taylor drag. Hate it.

  • Linderella

    Dislike this look on her H2T, very much a self-conscious attempt to look grown up, like Madonna doing Shakespeare. Someone please water her hair right now before it spontaneously combusts.

  • smayer

    I dunno, guys. For Katy, this look is dowdy. The hair, the use of the print, and that front drape just make it look so boring.

  • gabbilevy

    Yes, yes, the hair looks bad. But I think the idea is good, and if it’s a new length, it will take her some time to sort out how to make it work for her. I’m willing to be patient.

  • alyce1213

    Love it all, head to toe.

  • ballerinawithagun

    The bust is WAY too tight but this is the way an asymmetric bodice should look, obviously asymmetric! Beautiful fabric. The straight part of the hem is very odd looking. I love the hair, very retro, pin-up girl Betty Page look, exactly Katy.

  • Cheryl

    I was totally loving this dress until I saw the length. Shorter, longer, either would have worked, but that length is just not flattering to almost everybody. Also the hair; I’m not hating on it as much as most, I love the idea of a asymmetrical wavy bob and short bangs, BUT I think the bangs just could have been cut a little tidier, and styled better before she walked out.

  • SewingSiren

    Cinderella realness.

  • AC Simons

    Dita von Teese would look amazing in this. Katie can do justice curve-wise, but the hair is still cartoonish.

    • Anna

      Was just about to say exactly this.

  • teensmom99

    I love this dress so much. I think my major departure from T Lo is that I love fiddly hems; I know it’s wrong, but I think it’s genetic because today I am wearing a skirt that my late mother gave me before she died and it has a wacky hem. Anyway, back to Westwood and Perry: usually I am the first to call out shmooshed breasts, but I think somehow Westwood manages to make it work. They don’t look shmooshed as much as large breasts covered in an unusual way that still works. If not for the hair, I’d call this perfection.

  • @Biting Panda

    Dita is doing this better. I hear you Uncles, but this feels like just another fashion persona. As opposed to true style evolution. Kill that hair.

    • Daisy Walker

      EXACTLY. On all points!

    • Madam Von Sassypants

      I got a little more of a homemade Elizabeth Taylor thing going on there.

  • Danielle West

    Kind of feels like a poor-man’s Dita Von Teese.

    • Eve Farren Farber

      Who is this Dita Von Teese you speak of? And what is her talent, pray tell?

      • formerlyAnon

        Search her name (in the search box at the top of this site’s pages) and you should pull up a variety of posts featuring her. Someone else will have to answer to her talent – I’d say she is the most consistent celeb ever at appearing immaculately turned out in her persona – which is, I’d guess, ’40s-centric, though she’s flexible.

      • Jessica Freeman

        She is/was a burlesque dancer.

  • LuisaNL

    i hate the hair with the fire of a thousand suns. the rest? fabulous!

  • halleygee

    I agree about the hem and the hair and also do not like those shoes at all.

  • decormaven

    Hair is between Dorothy Kilgallen and Loretta Young. Do love the print of the fabric, though, and her cosmetics are flawless.

  • ovarB

    Having just watched “A Place in the Sun” and being totally enamored with all things Montgomery Clift and Elizabeth Taylor, Katy Perry is in full on Elizabeth Taylor early 1960’s glam. You work that Butterfield 8 shit Katy!!

  • she looks waaaaay uncomfortable.

  • Coralie

    Getting a Kimbra vibe.

  • Tatiana Luján

    The hair makes her look like Lizzy Caplan’s character in Masters of Sex: Virginia Johnson.

  • kimmeister

    Wow, that hem is extremely stumpifying on her.

    On a side note, does anybody else think the Canadian Ice Dancer Tessa Virtue looks exactly like Katy Perry when she’s in her performance makeup?

  • Pennymac

    Those bangs remind me of what a kindergartner does with scissors when no one is looking. Other than that, LOVE!

  • luludexter

    I love everything about this look except the hair – it truly is awful. But everything else is great and the dress and makeup are working well together.

  • conniemd

    It really is a beautiful fabric, but the dress design is just too tortured. Her ladies say a prayer of thanks for boob tape.

  • Garcia Loca

    I love the dress. But Miss Katy should beware of the twin villains The Armpit Boob and The Halloween Wig Hair.

  • julnyes

    I definitely agree – the hair and hemline do not work, but everything else is pretty fantastic.

  • B_C_J

    The fabric is gorgeous. The draping is lovely. I am not crazy about the hem. the hair is hard to accept. However the overall impression is undeniably pretty

  • marlie

    The dress isn’t perfect, but it manages to toe the line between being sophisticated and elegant, while still matching KP’s style and personality. I love the way the bodice fits, but the hem hits at an awkward place, and I don’t like the way it hangs. And I sincerely hope that’s a wig, and not KP’s real hair. Her makeup is pretty, and from what I can see, I think I love her earrings.

  • Sam Smith

    Dress is lovely, I don’t mind the idea of the hem but the actual result falls flat for me.

  • ElaineMarie34

    Gorgeous dress, good eyebrows! I’d love to see different shoes and i can’t stand her in general, but good eyebrows.

  • Betty Rubble……Cannot. Unsee. Not happy about it.

  • suzq

    Kudos to that brand of fabric tape for enabling this outfit to be presented without a major wardrobe malfunction!

  • Anplica Fiore

    Not the biggest fan of the fit – I shouldn’t be able to count the ribs on her corset. Otherwise, a v solid look!

  • flamingoNW

    Man, hate the hair, but the dress is mostly good except the hem.

  • littlemac8

    when BKs say we don’t like her hair do we often mean we don’t like her wig? I’m confused!

    • MilaXX

      Whatever is sitting on top of her head. Celebs so often wear weaves/wigs/extensions and various & sundry hair enhances that the only reason people complain is when they aren’t working.

  • Alyssa

    She does look all grown up…although I do still enjoy when she dresses for fun! The wig is dreadful and should never been seen again.

  • jay

    It is a very strange day indeed when we can call someone “grown up” who probably just got engaged to freaking John Mayer. She does look lovely, though, fit issues aside.

    • Eve Farren Farber

      Oh, no! Katy couldn’t see the light when Jennifer and Taylor could?

  • padma sallah

    My boobs are protesting in sympathy but with Vivienne Westwood, it kinda seem par for the course. Overall, it is a pretty look tho.

    Somebody pls tell me the hair is a wig. Because those bangs are tragic and an abomination unto bangs themselves.

  • mrspotts66

    love the dress! and the shoes.
    but what’s with the hair?! did she pay someone to do that? ugh.

  • MilaXX

    Agree about her fashion choices and the transition from cartoon-y pop to grown up couture. I almost like this dress and really don’t mind the weird hem, but I dislike the hair and hate the shoe. Also getting a bit of a young Liz Taylor vibe from her.

  • Sarah

    I think its looks like a costume, just a classy lady costume instead of her usual porn star on acid costume.

  • Gatto Nero

    This is (almost) a rousing success. Great fabric; great silhouette and fit on her.
    But the hem (half draped tulip thingy and half a straight edge) just looks unresolved, as though Ms. Westwood got bored and stopped designing the dress before it was finished.
    And the shoes are too big for her.

  • formerlyAnon

    That is the look of someone who’s famous for being famous – in the good(?) or rather, non-Kardashian way – having transcended being a mere singer, actor, etc. I wouldn’t have said she was quite at that level (not that MY fingers are on the pulse of such things), but the look says otherwise.

  • JaCory Deon

    It works from the neck down but that hair, er, wig is a bit crunchy. No girl no.

  • I love that fabric, omigoodnes, I love it. But I’d love to adjust that dress so it’s on right (right in my opinion, that is)

  • Fordzo a.k.a. Fancy Mukluks

    That looks like Barbie hair after a child has cut it.

    Also, I’m not impressed with the fit up top. I don’t like how her foundation seems to be pushing her breasts into her armpits. I wish the force had been applied in more of an ->in<- direction.

  • Imasewsure

    She has sort of a Jane Russell thing going on here

    • bitchybitchybitchy

      And as Howard Hughes said in The Aviator, who doesn’t like tits?

  • shopgirl716

    Drooling over the shoes.

    • 3boysful

      They are nice, but do we really think they are the ones for this dress? I am tending toward “no.”

  • ‘Becca’lise Deveaux

    Don Draper mistress.

  • quiltrx

    I’ll tell you what this is…it’s Bette Davis hair! A combination of ‘A Stolen Life’ and ‘Dead Ringer’ (two movies in which she had almost the same hair, and in which she played twins, several years apart…), just a little wilder. If she knows that, points for her, but I doubt it.
    And I love the dress…I like all the Vivienne’s in these rose prints.

    • Constant Reader

      Aha! I was just asking another Kitten who she was thinking of when referencing the 30s. I asked and you delivered! I’m seeing it now, although, as I said below, the curls are definitely more controlled and every-hair-in-place in Bette’s look. Katie even looks a lot like Bette did in the stills I found from “A Stolen Life.”

  • TwiddlyStun

    I’m getting a serious Kathy Griffin vibe on the first photo.

  • crash1212

    This is a fabulous look! She should kill her wig wrangler.

  • Sally Spannagle

    I don’t care for the hair length on her given her well endowed chest and small shoulders (IDK why) and I think her chest should be covered a little more, but that’s just me — I’m more modest!

  • murt

    Love this look – the shoes especially are awesome!

  • Trickytrisha

    Love the dress fabric and draping, not so much love for the wonky hem. Yeah, the hair is weird.

  • Lizzy

    Don’t like the hair, and her poor boobs…. that just doesn’t look comfortable. Otherwise, I think it’s pretty decent.

  • MsC

    Hate those stupid Amelie bangs with a white-hot hatred.

  • ShaoLinKitten

    The nearly exposed boob nearly ruins what could otherwise have been a sophisticated look.

  • AuntHo

    Vicky spice is another one. She went from cartoon/pop tart/footballer wife to rich bitch couture. LUV HUH.

    ETA: couture might be a stretch, but still.

  • nannypoo

    “Grown-up woman with sophistication” and boobs. I hate her hair but I love this dress and the fabric is absolutely gorgeous.

  • Columbinia

    The hair and odd hem do look like Ms. Perry is a mid-1950s character actress up for a “Best Supporting” Oscar.

  • Myra Amler

    Don’t like the dress length and I am really hoping that is a bad wig.

  • alyce1213

    Jessica Simpson. Okay, everyone can stop laughing now.
    I’d hardly call her a “grown-up woman with sophistication,” but she has quite the fashion empire, and considered herself a fashionista, in spite of dubious level of sophistication.

  • DominoEstella

    worst hair ever for her

  • demidaemon

    Agreed on all points. That hair is really atrocious, though. It looks like a modified bowl cut. Just say that to yourself and you’ll see how wrong it is.

  • KayEmWhy

    Odd boobage dress. Hate the entire look, nice try.

  • Carly Clement

    I think Vivienne is the way to go for her, and they always manage to make her boobs look great! and I think it is a great way of meshing together pretty materials in a slightly kooky way. But not digging the hair!

    • kerryev

      I’m a little concerned she’s headed too directly towards HBCdom.

  • Nonnah

    I would like to see this dress on Miss Dita.

  • Peeve

    It looks like she has a leopard-fabric corset on underneath the dress, and if so, WTF?

    • kimmeister

      I think those are leaves, not leopard spots. The dress wraps, so it’s just the print of the inner layer showing through the white part of the outer layer.

  • That hair is crime against humanity, but at least it goes with the “rumpled strumpet” theme of the look.

  • Qitkat

    A little too long in the skirt, and the hair is all kinds of wrong, but damn girl if you couldn’t step into a 40s film with the best of them.

  • Thom

    “1960, I am *so* over you.”

    I love this, full-tilt (for the above-mentioned connotation).

  • MM4321

    Did my 5-year-old cut HER hair, too?

  • MM4321

    She still looks like a cartoon character.

  • Charles

    I don’t understand the different shoulder effects. One areola is vying for freedom and the other is very demure.

    • Gatto Nero

      Westwood loves to do this: the random boob asymmetry.

    • It’s escaping out the side door! After it!

  • Kate

    I feel like the whole runaway left boob thing could be solved by sizing her UP a number and then custom tailoring. She’s consistently wearing clothes that are too small! The lady seems to be absolutely comfortable being a not-stick-skinny girl, which I wholly and completely applaud. She’s shaped like a normal woman (with a phenomenal hourglass) and is in gorgeous shape, but she’s gotta be a C cup or better and she’s got the rest of the curves to match. Please, please, Johnny Wujek, hire a seamstress, swallow your pride and cut the size label out if you must – stop stuffing her into her clothes!

  • elemspbee


  • shelley514

    Will Nicki Minaj ever attempt to transition from cartoon character? That’s the big question.

  • Clash D

    Love the dress but Girl, that is not your hair.

  • Susan Bigler

    I don’t like anything about this look. Actually haven’t cared for anything she’s worn in the past month. I hope she gets back on track.

  • dschubba

    That deeply conspicuous corsetry is giving me sympathetic boob pain.

  • *gouging my eyes out*