Elle Fanning in Versace at the Marie Claire’s Fresh Faces Party

Posted on April 09, 2014

We feel a little bad. We’re always urging the Fanning sisters – especially this Fanning sister – that they need to stop being afraid of color. So what happens? Darlings, you know us. We’ve been down this road before many times.  A starlet does what we ask her to do and …


Elle Fanning attends the Marie Claire’s Fresh Faces Party at Soho House in West Hollywood, California in a Versace dress paired with Christian Louboutin pumps a Brian Atwood clutch.

Versace Fall 2014 Collection

… we don’t much like it.

The dress, the shoes and the bag all look too mature for her, not to mention a little dated. It’s an ensemble that would have looked perfect on Samantha Jones circa 2001. And while we’re happy to see her conquering her fear of color, we don’t get why a pale girl would put on a slinky red dress and virtually no makeup. It just looks half-assed to us. Not that she or any lady is required to wear makeup; just that this kind of dress, paired with her kind of coloring, really calls for at least a little bit more of tint on the lips or something.

We think we’re going to have to be more explicit in our critiques. Elle, sweetie? When we say to embrace color, we mean that you should embrace colors that really work for you. Stick with blues and greens – especially if you don’t want to wear much makeup. Red tones aren’t really your friend, unless we’re talking about something in the pink family, and even then we’d caution you to be a little careful on that front because, well, you’re pink.


[Photo Credit: Valerie Macon/Getty Images, IMAXTree]

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  • RussellH88

    That’s an ugly little nothing of a dress.

    • Tarquin

      But yet the classiest thing I’ve ever seen from Versace

  • kimmeister

    That massive, gaudy necklace on the model makes the look. On Elle, it’s just meh.

    • YousmelllikeAnnaWintour

      That massive gaudy necklace looks like a snake that got run over by a bus. Roadkill.

  • ballerinawithagun

    Are the seams meant to be open on the model and if so WHY? It looks like poor craftsmanship.

    • alyce1213

      Yeah, it’s intentional, for extra sexy.

      • Sophie

        It just looks like they added some extra fabric at the last minute.I prefer the version Elle is wearing.

        • uprightcitizen

          I’m with you. It looks like it’s on PR and the poor contestant’s glue gun ran out. But I do like the straps and the cut on Elle, but I may be a little biased. ; )

          • Sophie

            The cut reminded me of a 30s dress I recently saw a picture of, so I rather like it, but I think it might better suit someone older-looking.

        • Yuju Ti

          It seems to me that Elle’s dress has the same open seams. in the picture of the clutch close-up, you can see the seam line of the skirt is not completely sewn together. There is a “leak” on the top edge of the picture. Elle stands still in the picture and I guess that’s why those “leaks” are not as visible as they are in the runway picture.

    • Ventilation?

  • Maleficent

    That color is terrible for her. You don;t see her at all. She utterly disappears.

  • SewingSiren

    Very pretty slip, Elle, now run along and put on your dress or we’ll be late.

  • alyce1213

    I really hate to say this, even think it, but she looks like a victim of human trafficking with that baby face, long blonde hair, and thoroughly inappropriate (for her) dress. Shivers.

    • Kayceed

      It looks cheap. A bit mail-order bride.

    • 3boysful

      And I think you get that vibe in part because nothing about her demeanor looks like she’s happy to be there.

    • Little_Olive

      Absolutely agree. Her constitution and demeanor make it almost impossible for her to sell such an outfit. I mean looks agh the shoes, my god. Caught playing in momma’s closet is an understatement.

    • Judih1

      You are so right!

    • Fannie Wolston

      Oh dear, a victim of human trafficking?
      Her baby face and long blonde hair while wearing a red silk dress are traits she shares with victims of human trafficking?
      Mon frere you jumped the shark in that post!

      • alyce1213

        Well, pardon-moi for expressing an opinion, based on an inappropriate-for-16-boudoir dress, which is apparently shared by many others. I jumped no shark, ma chere.

  • marlie

    Another 90’s-00’s era cocktail dress. Elle’s next lesson really should be about also changing her hair and makeup to suit the event/occasion, as well. Because she never does anything different with her hair and makeup. Zhush those up a little, and this would be a far better (though still not great) look.

  • BlairBear

    Its so boudoir and the curtain trim straps are terrible. I wouldn’t hate the color if the dress was totally different and managed to be attractive.

  • Janet B

    Two days running with these bias cut dresses, they might be ruined for me.

    (Once I tried to convince a friend that she should get married in bias cut dress, although with sleeves. She rocked it, but wouldn’t buy it since it didn’t have any lace.)

    • alyce1213

      Bias-cut dresses can be so beautiful and body-flattering, but designers tend to default to lingerie looks/fabrics for dresses, which is unfortunate. A lot of fabrics, other than silk charmeuse, look so good made up on the bias: crepe, velvet, fine woolens, etc.

      • Janet B

        That sounds lovely.

        Silk charmeuse is the default apparently, which is a shame considering even Versace has difficulty getting the seams and hem sewn nicely.

  • Angela_the_Librarian

    If the bust was made of crushed velvet and the length was just a bit longer this would be my homecoming dress from circa 1998 (gold chain straps and all). Anyway, I think it’s the satin/silk fabric that makes this look dated (echoing the 90’s lingerie dress trend). The color is also just a bit harsh for her coloring. I think she should go for blues/greens instead.

  • hughman

    She looks like a bridesmaid at an Adams Family Wedding.

    • demidaemon

      I thought the dress code for that was black. Looks like she didn’t get the memo.

      • hughman

        Blood red was also a delicious option.

  • Fannie Wolston

    She looks great! hate the shoes on her feet, too small, needs a feathered boudoir slipper…

    • alyce1213

      She’s 16. You think she needs more floozy?

  • MarissaLG

    I think the color itself looks great on her, but the styling is so off the mark. The accessories are awful.

  • Tina Crawford is caught playing dress up again. (That Brian Atwood clutch looks like a clearance eyeglass case at Ross.)

  • JauntyJohn

    Here’s your one chance Fancy don’t let me down.

    • Kitten Mittons

      Save the baby, Fancy!!!

      The giggles, I have them.

      • Sarah

        Be nice to the gentlemen, Fancy, and they’ll be nice to you!

      • Anna

        I made myself this solemn vow, that I’s gonna be a lady someday.

        • Kitten Mittons

          Now the guffaws, I have them. All y’all are too much.
          Guess Mama didn’t feeling like curling her hair or painting her eyes and lips.

          • Anna

            Hahaha, the dancin’ dress fits her good, I suppose.

            Guffaws=story of my life at work. My co-workers are nice enough, but I don’t have much in common with them and I think they’d be shocked if they even had a hint of what my sense of humour is like.

          • Kitten Mittons

            Tell me about it. Samesies.

    • Glam Dixie

      John, you have single-handedly saved my day from the waste basket with this. I heart you.

    • Leah Elzinga

      you win the internet. *bows down*

    • schadenfreudelicious

      We’re not worthy, touche sir!

  • Jessica Freeman

    I’d hate this dress in blue and green as well. It’s hard to make a satin dress that doesn’t look like a night gown.

    I covet the shoes. So hard.

  • Evan

    That shade of blonde is not her friend.

  • Sarah

    Not only is it another bias nightgown, but this one comes complete with totally superfluous thigh vents! So weird. And so totally GTNYD. Or anyone who’s not flying over from Ukraine to meet & marry her online sugar daddy.

  • IMNAngryLiberal

    I’m not someone who screams “kiddie porn” every time a young actress wears something a bit too revealing/old for her, but this, on Elle, is coming off kind of baby hooker to me. I get that she is tall and slender and there are international models not much older than her walking down catwalks pretty nearly naked, but this just seems wrong for her.

    • boweryboy

      Right? It would be perfect if she were playing Iris in a re-make of Taxi Driver (something that should never happen, just saying…).

  • Betsy

    I’m letting her great performance in Super 8 color my feelings. I just think she’s so hauntingly beautiful. I love a pale blonde in big reds too. That said, the dress is not so flattering and way too mature for her. Would a princess cut have been too cliche given the Sleeping Beauty connection?

  • Beardslee

    Agree that is too mature. And also agree that the red is just wrong. My daughter has the same coloring and a dark winey red looks great on her.

  • SayWhaaatNow

    Targaryen trying to be a Lannister (sorry, couldn’t resist)

    • Allison Angier


  • Am creeped out most of all by her total lack of expression. Who knows if it could have worked better if she’d tried to pull it off, to give us anything but that blank stare. That’s why everyone keeps saying “child bride,” I think. You’re not supposed to look so blank in a dress like this.

  • teensmom99

    All I could think of was how nice this would have been in a green or blue. And how I usually like what the uncles call a wonky hemline but this one ain’t working.

  • Kelly Sowers

    That is a negligee. Not a dress.

    • Can we coin a phrase for when celebrities wear nightgowns or slips on the carpet that unsuccessfully translate as “high fashion” – negligeent?

      • alyce1213

        That’s perfect. Thank you.

  • Judy_J

    My feet hurt just looking at those shoes. Ouch!

  • YousmelllikeAnnaWintour

    How old is she?

    • alyce1213


    • Alexis Wenceslao

      36, apparently.

  • Alexis Wenceslao

    Works for me. She looks elegant.

  • ashtangajunkie

    Why are celebrities so anti-zhush?

  • YousmelllikeAnnaWintour

    Belle Watling. The Early Years.

    • SewingSiren

      She was such a Pretty Baby.

  • Grumpy Girl

    I am not incensed by the minimal makeup, or the color of the dress. But those shoes just look painful–it makes my eyes water to look at them. And the dress itself . . . just no. The dress is just a nightgown in a beautiful color, with a butt-ugly hem to boot.

    • alyce1213

      So cheap looking, I can’t believe they finished the hem that way. A fine garment — Versace! — should have a hand-rolled, hand-sewn hem.

  • deelup

    I’m just going to say it. That dress is shit. Elle, you are too gorgeous to wear this pillowcase.

  • Stella Zawistowski

    WHY are nightgowns back on the RC again?

  • Shrimani Jade Senay

    Elle Fanning is a fresh face? Isn’t she 40 yet? I feel like I’ve been watching her for decades.

  • Laura Poehlman

    I feel like the necklace styled on the runway is necessary for the look to have balance and impact.

  • Imasewsure

    What’s with the ugly satin today? Gotta say she is such a beauty though. Hope she takes our dear uncles’ advice to heart for the future!

    • alyce1213

      Shouldn’t they all? The world would be a much better place.

  • B_C_J

    I don’t think this is the right dress for a 16 year old. However, that fresh, lovely face of hers is absolutely glorious.

  • decormaven

    It’s a Fresh Faces event, so why not wear something that’s not so… boidoir?

  • TerryMarie

    Rather to my surprise, that dress looks much better when paired with that huge, clunky necklace.

  • butterflysunita

    Yes, that dress is totally wrong for her. Given the season and her coloring, a lovely blue or green would have been so much better on her.

  • Karen Belgrad

    She looks like she’s wearing Carrie’s dress… post pig blood!

  • Trickytrisha

    Well, shoot me, ’cause I like this on her. It’s simple, elegant, fits beautifully and she’s pulling it off, IMHO. That color on pale blondes is striking.

  • Qitkat

    She is still so very young. Someday when she is much older, she will appreciate how her youth carried her through years when others the same age got older looking long before she did. But when you’ve been in the spotlight as much as she has, and have couture tossed at you like rose petals at a wedding, and probably, normally, just want to appear more mature, it isn’t too surprising that she has tried out this look. She will probably try out a lot of looks before she really comes to know who she is. I don’t particularly like critiquing her, and other young women in the industry. They aren’t fully baked, barely more than children, many of them can probably be easily influenced by others’ opinions.

    Which is not to say that I don’t find everyone else’s opinions on her valid; of course they are, and often make me laugh. I’m just going to give her a pass on this one. She always looks like a fragile beauty, and she probably is closer in truth to a Steel Magnolia (based on her acting abilities).

    Hoping I’m not shoving my foot into my mouth again.

    • Sarah

      You’re not. You are very sweet, and of course it is all true what you said. I give her a pass, too. I just don’t like the dress 🙂

    • demidaemon

      You are definitely right. However, one would hope there is someone steering her away from things that are…not flattering, in the least. I’m more apt to lay my criticisms at her team and her family, if they are involved or not.

  • MommyMitzi

    It’s interesting that nearly every time, the woman in question chooses an entirely different type of shoe than what was worn on the runway. Sometimes that’s a good thing, but usually not. This time, an interesting shoe like the model is wearing, along with a statement necklace, really completes the whole look. With a neutral pump and no jewelry, this look like lingerie. It still may not have been right for Elle, but at least it would interesting! (Though I disagree with T&L that she should avoid reds. I think the color is gorgeous on her.)

  • LUV the dress on her…but the accessories? Give em back to the matron who loaned them to you!

  • Gatto Nero

    I actually don’t mind the color on her, though I agree that a green or blue might suit her better. But this looks like a bias-cut nightgown, and the diagonal hem isn’t helping.
    That said, I think she’s still finding her way, sartorially speaking. And her hair and face are beautiful.

  • Mary Elizabeth Poytinger Baume


  • Lindsey Romain

    I think she looks pretty great? I’m a pale blonde girl and I WANT that dress.

  • If the dress were blue to pick up her eyes (and she dressed up her eye makeup a bit) this would be incredible. The red picks up on all her ruddy tones and just makes her look faintly sunburned.

  • Judih1

    Without the necklace and a powerful presence to pull it off, this dress looks like she is trying on her mom’s nightie.

  • KinoEye

    Well, I can’t think of any makeup more suitable for a “Fresh Faces Party.”

  • MilaXX

    The thing is the makeup is age appropriate, the outfit is not. I guess nightgown dresses are a micro trend these days. The look itself is not the worse of this look we’ve seen. On someone over 21 my only complaint would be the shoe, which by the way, is not bad on it’s own considering Elle’s tendency for clunky shoes. So I think for me her critique goes in sections.
    1)Hair and face: pretty good. No shine or ruddiness on face, hair not too yellow, slight tint on lips.
    2)Neck to ankles: dress fits, they wisely closed the seem that is open in the runway version. bag has a bit of interest that pairs well with the straps on the dress. On the downside, no 14/15 year old should be wearing a glorified nightgown on the RC.
    3) Shoes: Again, the one time a naked sandal would work and they go for a pointy pump. It’s a step too matchy. On the other hand she seems to be getting over her clunky shoe phase.

  • Alfred Cox

    Yow. I’m all for someone trying to appear surprisingly mature, but this just sucks. Why use your free pass to maturity on a basic red dress with drab accessories. She needs help.

  • Sam Smith

    I do like the color and I like the gold accents, but the dress is bleh. And the shoes are horrible.

  • demidaemon

    It also doesn’t help that she basically put on an overdesigned nightgown. I believe that is not what anyone wants. This dress is horrid, flat out.

    • conniemd

      Nailed it.

  • Linzenberg

    Elle. You have a head. Style it.

  • bitchybitchybitchy

    TLo are correct-this dress is most definitely a Samantha Jones look. It is more mature, and no, this shade of red is not working well for Elle. Listen to your uncles T and Lo, find something in a gorgeous blue or green that plays up your slim figure and youth.

  • Haley Buchanan

    Speaking from experience, red is the greatest natural enemy of the pale, rosy-cheeked blonde. Get thee to some cool-toned greens, purples, and blues. I promise.

  • elemspbee

    ugh slip dress–die die die.

  • Lizzy

    Nothing is gonna help until she stops dying her hair that HORRID NOT MADE FOR HER COLOR!!!

  • ShaoLinKitten

    It’s too slinky for her, but she is so very pretty, I can forgive a lot.

  • Mrs. O

    Ouch. Little girl goes out in mom’s nightgown

  • Fuchsiaforever

    She should hire Kiernan Shipka’s stylist

  • livesarah

    I was just so glad to see that it’s not pastel or beige. It may not suit her particularly well, but her usual looks make my eyeballs peel. A step in the right direction!

  • holla

    what’s with all the night gowns are dresses lately? Is that a THING now?

  • Jecca2244

    good fit though.

  • styrch

    If she’d gone for boots it would have been a throw back to Milla Jovovich in Resident Evil.

  • MM4321

    I don’t mind the dress, and the color would work for her if her hair wasn’t so bleached. It’s the hair that’s washing her out.

  • Kent Roby

    That’s a pretty undergarment; I can’t wait to see what she puts on over it!

  • FancyPhilly

    As someone who is also all pink already I related to the criticism. The hot little red number is just something that doesn’t work for our skin tones, sadly.

  • lalahartma

    I like it!

  • GinnyThePainter

    I am a proud Pink-American. I wear maroon or pink, never red.

  • She looks so cute and appropriately fresh faced until you get to that dress which looks like her mom lent it to her saying ‘Oh, honey all the boys at the disco loved me in this.”

  • Morales Mike

    I’m kinda digging the late 70’s- early 80’s disco fabulous Michelle-Phieffer-in-Scarface of it all.

  • Fannie Wolston

    Damn she has gorgeous skin, good job with SPF Elle! Love your dress!

  • GillianHolroyd

    This looks like a very blue-red to me and is wonderful with her skin tone but it could be my crappy laptop monitor. The model’s dress has more yellow in it, ugh, but both shades could be an effect of the lighting. The dress itself would have looked more presentable if it were floor length but agree that she is too young to wear it.

  • Guest

    I really like this on her.

    She just needs stronger makeup.

  • French_Swede

    *blows air out of cheeks*

    I really like this dress on her.
    I’d just amp up the makeup.

  • Uncle Bob

    it’s a beautiful dress! the bias cut is amazing, straps beautifully embellished and a gorgeous colour. i think she looks great