Michelle Williams in Louis Vuitton at the “Cabaret” Broadway Opening Night

Posted on April 25, 2014

Michelle’s got some killer dress-wearing skills, but we think even she might be having a bit of trouble balancing all these elements.


Michelle-Williams-Louis-Vuitton-Cabaret-Opening-Night-Tom-Lorenzo-Site-TLO (1)Michelle Williams attends the Broadway opening night of “Cabaret” at Studio 54 in New York City in Louis Vuitton.

Michelle-Williams-Louis-Vuitton-Cabaret-Opening-Night-Tom-Lorenzo-Site-TLO (2)

Michelle-Williams-Louis-Vuitton-Cabaret-Opening-Night-Tom-Lorenzo-Site-TLO (3)Louis Vuitton Fall 2014 Collection

Michelle-Williams-Louis-Vuitton-Cabaret-Opening-Night-Tom-Lorenzo-Site-TLO (4)

Michelle-Williams-Louis-Vuitton-Cabaret-Opening-Night-Tom-Lorenzo-Site-TLO (5)

It’s a sharp dress, but it’s way overdesigned. We think everything could be corrected quite easily be switching out the leather sleeves for fabric ones (because they don’t work at all in leather) and get rid of the bulky belt for something quite a bit thinner and more streamlined. But then we step back, cock our heads, squint our eyes, and try and picture the dress with those changes. Result? Flight attendant.

Darlings, can this look be fixed? Should this look be fixed? Your thoughts are needed here. Let’s all meet in the conference room to discuss. We’ll bring donuts.





[Photo Credit: Laura Cavanaugh/Getty Images, IMAXTree]

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  • YoungSally

    OMG is that BLUE ULTRASUEDE? My mom had a whole Bill Blass power suit out of that stuff in the late 70s early 80s….same color too.

    • Vanessa

      Exactly. This is so ’70s it is making me wince from recognition.

    • Lisa M. (ReVoir) Kramp

      Yes, but the 70s middle-schooler buried deep inside me squealed when she saw it because back then it was a chic as you could get, kittens. Especially when paired with black leather. With the exception of the beige collar and the pumps (this dress demands booties at the least), I actually really like this.

  • Kimmu

    I like the shape more on the model with the broader, sharper shoulders. Trying to decide whether I would like it on Michelle more with some shoulder pads since she’s so petite.

    • Chuck Barthelme

      I think that might be the problem on Michelle. Nothing wrong with her shape- just not ideal for the dress. If she had broader shoulders, it might work. She also isn’t really posing very well in it, which isn’t helping.

      • Kimmu

        I understand her pain cause I am also very petite and narrow through the shoulders, but I think that’s what is making the dress look more awkward for me on her.

  • ChiKat67

    I think it just needs someone taller to pull it off, because the design elements aren’t as off-putting on the model as they are on Michelle.

  • sagecreek

    I’d ditch the belt for sure.

  • kmk05

    Wow, that’s a complicated dress. If they chopped off the leather sleeves OR got rid of the light blue panels AND/OR removed that beige collar, maybe it could be saved. The leather belt is a nice touch, and the dress shape suits her, but I would recommend trashing the entire thing and starting with something sleeker.

    • kimmeister

      Yeah, the tan collar is the first edit that came to mind. Also, the vertical leather strips on either side of the zipper up top.

      • kmk05

        I think she just might be too small in stature to carry out that coat dress. It’s the colours plus the different fabrics plus the belt plus the zipper plus those stripes plus the leather sleeves plus the cuffs. I mean, that’s more than one element too many.

        And her makeup and hair is not good enough here and makes her look dated, which is not helping.

      • demidaemon

        Exactly. My eye goes straight to collar, just because it is the most egregious design element.

    • Brian G. Cox

      It looks like any one element could go or be replaced. Get rid of the skirt and it would be a sharp jacket. Dump the sleeves and you’re ready for some line dancing down at the roadhouse …

  • PlethoraofBooks

    This dress needs to be burned… next!

  • 3boysful

    Half of this look could be saved with better makeup–Michelle, those are not your colors.

    • CPK1

      yes, the make-up is doing her no favors

    • I wanted to say better make-up would help her, too.

      I think this dress would look much better on a brunette. That would bring more color balance and bring attention back to the wearer’s face.

  • jonnyf8

    Let’s just give he a pass. She had a lot on her mind that night. Are the reviews out yet? Was she good? I sure do love her!!

    • Trent

      The reviews are out, and (especially for Michelle) were mixed. Unfortunately for her the memory of Natasha Richardson’s Tony-winning performance still hangs over this show. But I still want to see it, although at $160 per ticket I’m still trying to convince myself that it’s worth it…

  • Anna

    I love the leather sleeves trend, pretty much a sucker for anything with leather sleeves. I think that stops here though. The blue suede is a needle-scratch.

  • Lori

    I think that dress overwhelms her. I’m looking at the top part of the dress instead of looking at her.

  • Nancer

    Oooh! Donuts! I’m in…. :]

  • Nancer

    This looks more like a bomber jacket over a skirt than a dress. It’s kind of a bomber-dress…..

    • Jackie4g

      Lose the beige color of the collar and it would make a fine bomber jacket. There are too many textures competing for the eye’s attention.

  • thecitysleeps

    I just hate coat dresses or simil-coat dresses so no, is my answer.

  • Wendi126

    I see a crash test dummy

    • K. Hampton

      Actually, I see a jalapeno on a stick. I swear it’s Pedro.

  • @Biting Panda

    Our usual complaint about season/weather appropriateness stands here; this is so not a nearly May dress. It’s too heavy and too “unconventional materials challenge” looking.

  • Remove the sleeves all together. Keep the size of the belt, but a differently shaped belt.

  • ChelseaNH

    Turn the top into a jacket, find a skirt that doesn’t have a zipper down the front, put it on someone with bolder coloring and a va-va-voomier figure. Then you might have something.

  • Too many design elements. Someone needs to push the edit button a bit more often. Marc Jacobs, can you hear me?

  • JauntyJohn

    The more I look the more I see… yes…
    The face of one of those Transformers.
    It’s a Transformer Face Dress.

    Also: It looks terribly uncomfortable to sit through a show in. Hot and bunchy in all the wrong places once you’re in those tiny theater seats.

    • Kimmu

      wow now that you say that, I cannot unsee the Autobot logo, which sadly makes me like the dress more

  • stellamaris73

    That collar says Starfleet uniform in Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan.

    Yes, I am a nerd.

    • Kbear

      OMG yes, the collar with the moving blood spot – right?

  • ojosazules

    She looks likes she’s planning a commando raid on Macy’s make-up counter.

  • j_am

    She’s adorable. The dress… HIDEOUS.

  • Danielle

    I don’t know how to feel about this. Maybe if she had it zipped up to the level the model’s is? I dunno.

  • Janet B

    Too many elements for one garment or one woman.

  • Gatto Nero

    The dress has too much going on, although it works on Michelle — with her pared-down make-up and hair and lack of bling — as well as it could work on anyone.
    The top half might make a cute jacket.

    • Qitkat

      I agree. At first I thought it was a jacket. Cut it off and send it to me.

      • Gatto Nero

        The bottom looks like cocktail scuba wear.

  • MilaXX

    The dress does have a lot going on but I think she’s making it work. Bonus points for dressing season appropriate;

  • Jessica Freeman

    It looks so heavy, literally.

  • barbarienne

    Not sure this can be saved. It’s too complicated, but simplifying it will just make it boring. The silhouette is very simple. The dress depends on all the embellishment and varying textures for interest.

    I rather like the leather sleeves, but then I want the skirt to also be leather and the bodice to just be the blue without all the piping/pocket things. Perhaps instead of black leather make the sleeves the same color as the skirt (but both still leather, because one thing mainstream airlines will never do is put their FAs in leather).

    • demidaemon

      That would be an interesting airline if all the FAs (including the men) had leather outfits.

  • I think she is too short for this dress. Wrong body type?

  • It doesn’t matter what she looks like, she’s Sally Bowles! I’d kill to see this on Broadway! (Please ask me to kill.)

    • sagecreek

      I like MW but I sure am having trouble seeing her as Sally. I hope she proves me wrong!

      • I’m hoping she takes the Dame Judi Dench route – from accounts (became I’m that nerd), her Sally was better than Liza as it embraced the side of Sally that wasn’t so talented and more of a “femme failure” than fatale. It’s hard to say that Sally has no talent when she’s portrayed by Liza in her prime.

  • Constant Reader

    I really dislike the proportions of this dress on her. I think the only thing that could fix this dress is to take it right back to the drawing board and make it into the 6 good-looking dresses the designer had in mind.

    • Jackie4g

      LOL! Good one!

  • Glam Dixie

    That sleeve length makes my eyelids twitchy. Burn it. Start over, it cannot and should not be saved.

    • decormaven

      Yes- the creative effort should be aimed at designing something new, not trying to reconfigure this mess.

  • NMMagpie

    Girl from U.N.C.L.E.

  • Imasewsure

    It would be cute (although a bit dull) without that collar… “bomber dress” as BK Nancer called it… just not working

  • ashtangajunkie

    The dress is the epitome of “too much,” but I don’t think it’s wearing her. It’s kind of ugly but I think she looks pretty great anyway.

  • FibonacciSequins

    I don’t think that dress is worth saving.

  • In_Stitches

    This looks like a Tina Knowles original. They’d give it to the other Michelle Williams and put Beyonce in a two piece denim bikini.

  • chipwitch

    Make the sleeves fabric and the collar more mandarin-inspired and I think she’d be fine. As it is, the collar is too big for her petite shoulders and not-freakishly-long neck.

  • YousmelllikeAnnaWintour

    All the dresses she could have picked for opening night and she picks this one?

  • BrooklynBomber

    I don’t love the dress (over-designed is the perfect word for it), but I do love that she sort of dressed down for this.

  • Kbear

    Louis Vuitton should stick with luggage design.

  • Shawn EH

    The only solution: let it be the jacket it so desperately wants to be, and wear something else underneath.

    • Gatto Nero

      Like a pair of skinny black pants.

      • Shawn EH

        Yeah, lop off the skirt or do it in more leather, plus black jeans, white t-shirt. Then the color and textural interest in the coat would make sense.

  • elirt

    Chic country western? I think not.

  • Synnae

    That was supposed to be a dress? I thought it was a – rather nice – coat. In fact, are we even sure this is a dress?

  • Suzanne Moore

    I thought she was wearing a zippered coat until I saw the runway version! Maybe because it’s longer on Michelle? The model’s skirt seems more of a fluid A-line and Michelle’s seems straighter, but that could be because the model is walking. But the dress seems stiff and HOT.

  • Perhaps if the bottom (neoprene?) section were leather as well the whole thing would work better? It would be awfully heavy for Spring, though.

  • crash1212

    I don’t love this and I don’t think it can be saved. This is a go home and start over situation…but keep the head, because it’s fantastic.

  • Looks like something a trucker would wear. Yikes.

  • littlestars

    I think it can be fixed. Change all the black to leather, and change the collar to black leather as well. And only wear in fall/winter.

  • Vtg Fashion Library

    Shortening the skirt to the model’s length would help. In that length, it’s too heavy for such a tiny girl as Michelle Williams.

  • Monabel

    Can’t be saved.

  • marlie

    I want to like it, I really do. I think the high-end twee look really suits Michelle, and this is a great example of it, but there’s something a little off. I think it’s the combo of the light blue panes, the arched (?) waist detail, the black leather + navy satin, AND the belt. At least one (maybe two) of those elements needs to go.

    The simple shoes are the right way to go, and her hair and makeup look cute.

  • Froggae

    It’s the blue… suede? that’s the problem. Replace those blue panels with more of the black leather and this becomes a sharp little dress.

  • AzSportsGirl


  • Ginmaru

    Looks like they were trying to cut out the middle man by grafting a motorcycle jacket to a skirt

  • ThaliaMenninger

    How very Carol Brady.

  • melanie0866

    I’m worried about her face. She looks exhausted. Is it just a bad makeup job?

  • Millions

    1) Her shoulders are definitely not broad enough for this dress. Plus the collar and blue suede pattern bring them down and make them look slumped. And the belt looks awful. Too big and clunky for her small frame (at least for this dress). 2) Where’s Alan Cumming??? He must have been at the opening night.

  • irielle

    You had it in two words: flight attendant.

  • somebody blonde

    Either the little v-shaped attachment between skirt and bodice OR the leather belt. Not both. One must go. I vote for the belt, personally.

  • Make it a coat, not a dress.

  • ktr33

    I love the shape, fit, and length. What I do not like are those blue suede (or is it “suede”?) panels. That’s the WTF element of this. I don’t even necessarily mind the leather sleeves — sort of superhero — but the bodice needs a redo. Same materials as skirt?

  • Leah Elzinga

    The beige collar is the worst part for me. I… can of like the rest? My issue is that this is not a look for a colourless girl. This needs a brunette at a minimum or better yet someone with much deeper skin that the alabaster of Ms. Williams.

  • Jacob Bowen

    I think I would change the skirt and shorten the sleeves…and maybe then it would be cute?

  • LadyVimes

    Girl that’s not your dress. I want to see it on Princess Kate or Tilda Swindon.

  • kerryev

    I think the only problem is the tan collar. Get rid of that color and the ribbing (& the eye makeup that ends up echoing the beige-blue/black colorblocking thing) and she’ll be fine.

  • random_poster

    I’m hoping someone will read this since it’ll get buried way down. I saw a production of Cabaret in NYC back in 2001. It starred Debbie Gibson, Neil Patrick Harris, and Tom Bosley, among others. Does anyone know if that was also held in Studio 54? The theater was cute, and my friend and I were very surprised that we had floor seating at one of the cabaret tables–we’d bought our tickets from the Tix booth earlier that day and totally lucked out.

  • Bill Curtis

    She looks as comfortable in that outfit as she did onstage as Sally Bowles.

  • That dress is hideous. Also the styling makes her look like Leanne Rimes.

  • sk8tfan

    I don’t like her makeup, it’s too aging, and the hair is too brassy. And she’s too tiny for that much busyness on the dress. But notwithstanding that, Michelle, where have you been? Get back on my tv screen, I miss your presence there.

  • demidaemon

    I think if the pop-up collar was removed and replaced with a scoop neckline, this would be much, much better.

  • LambeeBaby

    Yikes! Way too many ideas. Toss it.

  • kt

    the coat is fab, its her “grandma on the sauce” makeup that is throwing you off.