Darlings, the divas of Feud: Bette & Joan sashayed in front of the cameras last night at the season premiere. We will be happy to rip through their fashion choices for you, but we really only put this post up because we saw the first three episodes last night and we want to gush in a non-spoilery way
But first, fashion.
It’s got a retro feel to it, which makes it somewhat apropos for this premiere, although this is more early 1950s, rather than early 1960s, which is when the series is set. Regardless, it’s a great look for her. Very much in that prim, rigid, retro style she can work like no other. Love the shoes, but the bag is a head-scratcher and the bow needed some zhuzhing.
We still experience this weird disconnect between her love of clowny comfort shoes and her love of a good push-up bra. Not that you can’t wear these things together; just that they’re so far apart from a tonal perspective that the juxtaposition tends to stand out all the more.
This is just okay. We’d have liked it a lot more if the jacket fit her better.
Check out Miss Jessica, serving up some serious Hollywood. This looks great on her. The color suits her and the style doesn’t fuss with her.
LOVE. Clearly, she read our recent remark that we’re suckers for black with gold accents and decided to make us happy.
Oh, honey. You almost fooled us there, but clear plastic straps are not just a NO, dear. They are a NEVER. You look like a doll still in its packaging. We can’t shake the feeling that you’re wired to the back of that step-and-repeat with a half-dozen twist ties. That is so not fabulous.
Okay, mini-review of Feud: Bette & Joan: It’s good, you guys. Very good. Make-it-rain-Emmys good. In fact, it’s not being sold particularly well by the promos, which tend to paint it as a dishy camp-fest. While it’s impossible to tell this story about these women without it occasionally becoming a dishy camp-fest (which it does, to glorious effect), that’s not at all the focus of this piece. This is no Mommie Dearest; no drag show. Knowing what we’ve read over the years about both ladies, we have no doubt they’d be appalled and furious that this story was being told, but as we watched a few hours of it, we couldn’t help thinking that in the end, they’d have both been honored and touched by the treatment. It’s no hagiography (pun unintended). You definitely get Bette and Joan, flaws and all; the sharp tongues and difficult behaviors, the vanity, shallowness and deceit, the alcoholism and questionable (at the very least) parenting skills. But you also get a nuanced look at the real women with real vulnerabilities suffering real humiliation under a system designed to disregard them unless it can find a way to exploit them further. While there are plenty clap-your-hands-with-glee bitchy moments, the real takeaway is just how sad both women were in their lives; two of the biggest, most talented movie stars of all time, alone and considered useless before their 60th birthdays.
As for the performances, both leads are good, but Jessica Lange is doing next-level work here. Neither of them provide even so much as a decent impersonation of the originals, but each of them in their own way get to the heart of their personalities. Sarandon can’t really escape her Sarandon-ness, playing Bette in a slightly too sultry way at times while lapsing in and out of her clipped Yankee way of talking. Lange does a better job of appropriating Crawford’s mannerisms and voice, but she never goes too far with it. Instead, she zeroes in like a laser on the woman’s insecurities, making them the impetus for all her actions and rendering every bitchy act and aside in a different, kinder light than Faye Dunaway’s monster-clown.
We’ll have a lot more to say on this one – including a deep dive on the eye-popping costumes, in the weeks to come.
Catherine Zeta-Jones: Rhea Costa Dress | Neil Lane Jewelry | Olgana Paris Shoes
Jessica Lange: Christian Siriano Dress
Kiernan Shipka: Oscar de la Renta Black Peplum Top and Pants with Brooch | Sophia Webster Coco Crystal Embellished Satin Pump
Sarah Paulson: Vintage Valentino Dress | Jacob and Co Earrings | Judith Lieber Clutch | Nicholas Kirkwood Shoes
Susan Sarandon: Max Mara Cream Raw Silk Pantsuit
[Photo Credit: Gettyt Images ]