2014 WHCA Gala Red Carpet Rundown

Posted on May 05, 2014

Darlings, once again America’s news media reveal themselves to be the opportunistic, shallow whores we all know and love, as they came out for D.C. Nerd Prom en masse. But let’s ignore them and just pay attention to the celebrities they’re so desperate to be pictured with. Journalists should sit at their desks and do shit instead of pose on red carpets. We’re old fashioned. Sue us.

Quick n’ dirty-style:


Jessica Simpson in Carolina Herrera
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It’s a really lovely dress. Everything going on north of the neck is a collection of poor styling choices to go with it. It’s Carolina Freaking Herrera. Not the time for honky-tonk head.



Julianna Margulies in Vintage Jean Dessès
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Underwhelming and disappointing.



Kristen Bell in Dolce&Gabbana
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The midnight blue looks great on her, but this is pure bridesmaid.



Diane Lane
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Julia Louis-Dreyfus in Antonio Berardi
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Taylor Schilling in Zuhair Murad
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 Surprisingly pretty and slightly interesting. We say “surprisingly” because the girl hasn’t had the most praise-worthy of red carpet histories. This stands out nicely and suits her while still being conservatively appropriate. Not loving the hair at all, though.



Darby Stanchfield in Alberta Ferretti
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 Serving up “Midsummer Night’s Dream” realness. It’s not a hundred percent to our tastes, but if we walked into that room – and if seating wasn’t already heavily fought over and pre-assigned – we’d scan the crowd and say, “Let’s go sit next to the one dressed like a wood nymph. She looks like the only interesting person in the room.”





[Photo Credit: Walter McBride/INFphoto.com , Getty Images]

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  • thecitysleeps

    Julianna is always perfect in my eyes, sorry.

    • GillianHolroyd

      And I love that dress. I just wish her RC appearances didn’t *always* feature slicked-back hair. My head hurts in sympathy.

      • Yeah, the very curly hair was the main thing that made her special. Without it, she’s just another actress.

        • mommyca

          “Just another actress”? Have you seen her show???

          • Lanus

            We old folks still think of “her show” as ER, where she had that fantastic head of wild curls….

      • Chickadeep

        I love the dress, too! Ditto the shoes. Sort of strikingly geometric and dramatic. I am with you on the slicked-down hair thing, though…my name for it is (forgive me), her “Hitler hair.”

    • 3boysful

      And I think the dress might be more interesting in person–looks like some stuff on the skirt.

    • I love that Jean Dessès dress. Sorry uncles, but I think it is so much better than Tay Tay Schilling’s Boca Raton grandma gown.

      • Chickadeep

        HA! “Boca Raton grandma gown” — yes! I can’t even with that lace-filled side cutout thing going on, either…it’s borderline “Bubbe’s sexy lingerie” to me.

      • Susan Carson

        Ditto, loved that dress too. it is in her wheelhouse.

    • Mothra

      I like how her collar bone is accentuated (or vice versa) by the pointy straps of her dress.

    • decormaven

      I love how she poses perfectly in the dress, with the shoe just peeping from the hem.

  • Counterpoint

    If seating wasn’t already heavily fought over and pre-assigned – I’d scan the crowd and say, “Let’s go sit as far away as possible from Rose McGowan.”

    • ballerinawithagun

      Where is Rose?

  • I was really hoping you would have a comment about the gown worn by Kimberly Williams-Paisley, because *I* wore the same gown (courtesy of Rent the Runway) to a black tie wedding a few weeks ago. The BK’s helped me pick it after the one I originally reserved became unavailable.
    In other hopes—perhaps this is post #1 of a series? Because I also wanted to hear what you had to say about Rose McGowan, Zooey, Freida Pinto, and a few others.

    • @Biting Panda

      CUTE DRESS!!

    • MilaXX

      Rose’s dress deserves it very own special place in hell. That was seriously fug. Just googled KWP’s dress. You wore it better.

      • alyce1213

        Rose should have been sent home. It was vulgar, without actually being vulgar.

        • KinoEye

          I just looked it up — good GOD, what an awful dress.

    • alyce1213

      Black & white dress? It’s beautiful!! It looks like it really flatters, too. I wish we could post pics, but I realize it would get totally out of control.

    • Constant Reader

      I googled Kimberly’s dress and it’s gorgeous! Different without being too tricky, if you know what I mean. I’m sure you looked fabulous.

    • Jacob Bowen

      I LOVE that dress, especially the neckline. I’m sure you STUNNED in it!

  • DesertDweller79

    I love the Herrera dress Jessica Simpson is wearing. LOVE IT! How sad that it seems to be wasted on her. Please send it to me, Jessica! I could do my hair correctly and wear the right jewelry with it! Please?

    • portlandmermaid

      And please tell me you’d pull it up. That’s way too much chest showing.

      • demidaemon

        That’s my major problem with it. The headsuit is enh, but the way it is sitting at her bust is all wrong.

    • ballerinawithagun

      Love the dress but what is Jessica Simpson doing there?

      • Constant Reader

        I was wondering the same thing. My first thought was “Is she still famous?”

        • decormaven

          She’s the current “talent” for Weight Watchers. Not sure how that plays into this event.

        • BlairBear

          She is pretty crazy sucessful with her fashion line and she is/was on fashion star on one of the big three

      • DuBey2

        As a lifetime WW member (meaning I’ve stayed at my goal weight for years, maintaining it through WW etools) I was so happy to see Jessica there and in a gown that showed off her weight loss without being in any way “Dukes of Hazard”. I quite liked her look, but would’ve also loved her hair up. As to the “why”, maybe since FLOTUS/Michelle O. is so into nutritional eating for America?? .. a similar goal of overcoming obesity?

  • kimmeister

    Taylor’s dress is great, but I wouldn’t have gone with different shades of blue for the earrings and clutch.

  • NinjaCate

    The look of disdain I had on my face while scrolling through these photos…

  • crash1212

    Since when does Jessica Simpson – of all people! – rate Carolina Herrera? GAH! Lovely dress wasted. Also, was there a memo sent out demanding that all women pose awkwardly with one arm akimbo?

    • kimmeister

      Well, it is a great way to show off a toned arm.

  • Danielle

    Who wudda thought Jessica Simpson would be the best dressed in the room! She looks super uncomfortable but that dress is DIVINE.

    • wisdomy

      It’s a shame that honky-tonk head is the only head she has. 🙁

  • gayle

    Kristen Bell’s dress is tragic and I want Jessica Simpson to pull hers up a couple more inches.

    • demidaemon

      Tragic is an understatement.

      • Lori

        I agree with TLo that it’s very bridesmaid. What makes it so much worse is that it looks like it was intended for a different, taller, bridesmaid and Kristen was a last minute sub. That’s not a good look.

        • demidaemon

          Oh, I agree. I also think it’s a dress that needs some curves to properly fill out. She really is swimming in it.

    • formerlyAnon

      I don’t think there’s enough presence there to call it tragic – it’s worse, it’s “eh, fine, whatever.”

  • Malia C.

    Jessica looked beautiful in spite of her styling (I completely agree with your assessment). Although, maybe it’s ’cause of my time in D.C., I thought Julianna Marguiles looked smashing and would have been my pick for best-dressed guest :/

    I don’t know who Darby Stanchfield is but that is a beautiful color on her.

    • holla

      yes it is because of your time in DC that you picked Jules. I thought she look perfectly suited for the occasion. Not too brassy, not too sassy. plus, you can’t be outshining the FLOTUS.

  • alyce1213

    That gorgeous Carolina Herrera gown needs a good hoik on Jessica, as well as a necklace (and of course that hair has got to go).
    “Midsummer Night’s Dream” was exactly my reaction when I saw Darby Stanchfield on a news website earlier. I love that she wore this dress, but I think it looks big on her (which makes it more costumey).

    I think Julianna Margulies looks absolutely exquisite, as she does 99% of the time. I think we can’t appreciate that dress in this photo, there’s a lot of beautiful dress there. Her accessories are classic and elegant. One of the best dressed IMO.

  • ashtangajunkie

    I feel like the Carolina Herrera was a bit wasted on Jessica Simpson.

  • MilaXX

    Meh, I was underwhelmed with most of the fashion I’ve seen from this. So far besides Lupita and Shelly O, I think I’ve like Katy Lowes and maybe Mindy Kaling. Everyone else just seems okay.

  • teensmom99

    I think that when some of the ladies (Julia, Julianna, for example) heard “nerd prom” they thought that meant that they had to dress a little nerdy.

  • shopgirl716

    Taylor Schilling’s dress looks like it came straight from Jane Fonda’s closet. And I think Julianna looks chic and beautiful.

  • quiltrx

    Disappointed! This was the time to give those nerds something to talk about…and they mostly defaulted to conservative and boring. Sigh.

  • Julianna…WINNER! Seeing something chic and correct …a rarity these days!

  • BellaLuv

    I was looking through photos of other attendees of the WHCA and couldn’t help but notice Adrianna Huffington’s eye makeup. Did anyone else happen to see a pic? Any ideas of what happened? Could that have really looked ok in person but photographed that white?

    • Lori

      Saw it and was flabbergasted by it. It’s not like she’s never been photographed before so I have no idea how she ended up with that glowing reverse raccoon thing going on. She must have been horrified when she saw the pictures. If she had professional help with her make-up that person will never work again. If she did it herself she’ll hire someone next time.

  • ballerinawithagun

    I love the Alberta Ferretti gown, definitely my color, but I am the only one who sees a giant merkin?

    • Kelly

      Hahaha! I see it, too. Or something. I’ve been trying to figure out what’s going on under there.

    • Elizabetta1022

      I see it now! It looks like one of those fur purses men in kilts carry…

  • BlairBear

    Julianna should never be photographed without her gorgeous husband

  • Judy_S

    Kristen Bell seems to be illustrating the concept “She’s not wearing the dress, the dress is wearing her.”

  • Janet B

    I would have liked to see Julianna in the Carolina Herrera

  • bitchybitchybitchy

    Mr. B3 wondered if TLo timed their afternoon party to coincide with the WHCA celebfest/dinner. I told him that TLo’s gathering was way cooler.
    Taylor Schilling’s dress is good, the Alberta Ferretti is giving off a woodland nymph vibe, isn’t it?
    Not that this is over for another year, perhaps the journalists could stop chasing the celebs and go back to business? I know, how silly of me.

  • Jessica Simpson always has honky-tonk head. It’s the vacant clown-water-balloon-race eyes. She can’t help it.

  • Be Arthur

    Pure Jessica McClintock realness, Kristen Bell.

    • GeoDiva

      Visions of my prom 30 years ago….Plus it looks like it is 2 sizes too big on her.

  • titaness25

    I ADORE Darby’s dress. She looks like a woodland fairy, and I feel like that’s a theme that’s under-represented in fashion. Bleh bleh bleh everybody else.

  • Mothra

    Are hairbrushes out this season, again!?

  • ShaoLinKitten

    Taylor Schilling looks, in the immortal words of Michael Kors, very mother of the bride.

    • Gatto Nero

      With beachy hair.

  • demidaemon

    Kristen Bell: Swimming in an ugly dress.
    Jessica Simpson: Needs a solid hoike and a new headsuit.

    The only two I remotely like her are Taylor and Darby. Taylor hit the exact right event style note without being boring, and Darby is wearing a fabulous color that just draws your eyes, even if the silhouette isn’t perfect.

  • ktr33

    I’m with the uncles all around. Especially the wood nymph dress. It’s got some charm. JLD should and could do much better. She’s in *great* shape as you can see by the superfitted dresses she wears on VEEP.
    I actually liked Julianna’s look, and I dislike her intensely.

  • understateddiva

    Well, now Miss Darby can say that the president has seen her granny panties, if that was on her bucket list.

  • Pablo

    The dress Taylor is wearing is the uggliest of the bunch, seriously that fabric does her no favors. Also, love the one on Julia.

  • thatch pheasant

    butt ugly all of them. Its too bad. All the posts recently look like Fellini’s basement.

  • LadyVimes

    I think I’d like the Wood Nymph dress a lot more if I could take a pair of scissors to the boob curtain.

  • lunchcoma

    Of this bunch, I’d sit next to the wood nymph too.

    But I know that Miss Dita is there and knocking it out of the park, so I’d actually go sit next to her.

    • decormaven

      Where’s her photo? Hope that appears on TLo today. Bring on the fabulous!

  • katiessh

    aight, this is just blasphemous. Can’t believe the criticisms for both JLD and Julianna- they are perfect, always and forever. Meh, taylor schilling’s look always screams old for me and there is something very odd about derby’s dress but I can’t put my finger on it.

  • Qitkat

    Ha, Nerd Prom!
    Darby’s dress needs to be a little more fitted, not much, but nipped in the waist, or bodice, as she is very slender, but I love the MND reference.
    The Carolina Herrera dress is gorgeous, love designers taking on deep and contrasting grays with white. I’d have liked Jessica to hike it up a bit, and tone down her styling as TLo said.
    Everyone else is just kind of meh.

  • Gatto Nero

    I think Julianna Margulies looks stunning.
    But you’re right about the wood nymph.

  • Vee

    Ok people, did someone shove Jessica’s head lower onto her neck? What is up with that picture?

  • Fred Vaughn

    Julianna as Alicia Florrick, as opposed to Julianna as herself?

  • formerlyAnon

    Except for Diane Lane, all of these dresses are “just fine” or better. Most of their heads & jewelry could be more interesting except, as noted, Ms. Stanchfield. If she’d done anything more “interesting” they’d have directed her to the nearest Renaissance Faire when she tried to gain entrance. And Ms. Margulies, who I think is pretty good and better jewelry wouldn’t have helped.

  • Julianna looks beautiful and that dress is gorgeous. Not one thing about that is underwhelming.

  • Alfred Cox

    Jessica, Jessica, Jessica, what are we gonna do with u? You’re wearing CAROLINA MUH’FUCKIN HERRERA and you done did you’re face and hair up like Daisy Duke. Sigh….

    LOVE Darby’s look. Very dream like and ethereal, which is a theme done to death, but in a sea of mediocrity, at least this is very interesting and notable.

  • Juan Rodriguez

    lol “wood nymph”!!!!!!! yassss

  • withbreaththatisbated

    Wow, I love Jessica’s gown! I agree the head doesn’t match it, but a lovely gown!

  • Sweetvegan

    “Let’s go sit next to the one dressed like a wood nymph. She looks like the only interesting person in the room.” Then I’m going to flatter myself and tell myself that you guys sat next to me at the premier of Jay McCarroll’s film because you liked my vintage 1950s cocktail dress that I wore that night! 😉
    <3 the wood nymph dress!