Belfast Telegraph

Duchess dazzles, Laura rocks, while Anya and Jessica are just shocks

By Frances Burscough

Laura Whitmore, the Irish TV presenter, was one of the first to arrive to the event and it just so happened that she was one of the shining stars of the night in my opinion. She took chic simplicity to another level, wearing a body-con dress in luxurious all white satin-backed crepe which hugged her like a glove. It featured two of my favourite trends for this season, fitted long sleeves and an off-shoulder Bardot neckline which complemented her hourglass figure. I also loved her gold platform sandals. As for her ash blonde hair, she chose a simple centre parting with soft waves, while her matte scarlet lipstick provided a perfect finishing touch.

Nicole Kidman rarely puts a step wrong on the red carpet and last night was no exception. She strode out confidently in a really stunning creation featuring a plunging bodice in black velvet encrusted with sparkling crystals atop a long straight skirt in gleaming silk velvet, cinched at the waist with a satin belt and diamond clasp. Meanwhile, she wore her strawberry blonde hair in a simple style, loose around her shoulders in gentle waves. But the piece-de-resistance was the priceless diamond necklace which cascaded down from her neck to her waist.

The Duchess of Cambridge was the very height of sophistication, wearing a really fabulous black and white gown by Alexander McQueen. This was made (appropriately, I thought) in Duchess satin, embroidered all over with ivory silk daisies and dainty floral posies, while the off-the-shoulder bodice, tiny waist and voluminous tiered skirt were reminiscent of a Spanish dancer. Ay Caramba! Her hairstyle also added to the effect, with her glossy brunette locks swept back into an intricate pleat. Dangling chandelier diamonds and a matching cuff bracelet - no doubt from the royal portfolio of priceless jewels - added sparkle to the very dramatic and romantic ensemble.

Emma Stone, who was up for Best Actress for her role in La La Land, wore a really stunning and very eye-catching Indian sari-inspired outfit. This was an unusual combination of capri pants which were worn with a midi-length prom dress, in black silk tulle embroidered all over with glittery silk threads and foils. Her auburn hair was secured behind her ears and ironed poker straight, while the finishing touch of a pearl anklet and silver pointed stilettos tied the exotic look together brilliantly.

Thandie Newton is a beautiful actress with utterly impeccable taste and her choice for the BAFTA awards was my all-round favourite of the evening. This black taffeta gown featured a daring ribbed bustier corset (as tight as any she would wear in Westworld) with a plunging décolletage and straight floor-sweeping skirt. It was perfectly formed and perfectly simple apart from a single detail of embroidered cherry-blossoms at the hip. To complete the drop-dead gorgeous effect she wore her long raven hair divided into a centre parting and cascading glossily over one shoulder. All perfectly accented with smoky eyes and deep plum matte lipstick. However, In an evening with some catastrophic fashion fails, my award for the very worst has to go to...

Anya Taylor-Joy. Although she is undoubtedly beautiful, with a perfect face and enviable figure, this 20-year-old rising star looked like she was wearing something designed by a five-year-old for her favourite doll. Barbie Does Bulgaria? For a start, the colours of powder blue, baby pink and gold do not work together anywhere, ever. As for the tumultuous tiers of sunray pleats that hung rigid from her tiny frame; well, what was she thinking? Add to that the full-on pleated cape sleeves and the bodice with a (bizarre) snarling dragon appliqued in heavy gilt, well, words fail me. Other than, simply, WHY?

Jessica Brown from Downton Abbey swapped her exquisite period costumes for this truly terrible work of sartorial madness. It doesn't fit. It's in a horrible garish colour that clashes with her complexion. It has so many arbitrary pin-tucks and pleats that serve no purpose whatsoever except to add more chaos to the mix. Meanwhile, the pinafore bodice and thick leather rucksack-type straps just don't work. Breathtakingly hideous. SACK THE STYLIST! Actually, she can't possibly have one, because if she did her roots would match her hair at least.

Daisy Ridley from Star Wars clearly meant well with this matchy-matchy patchwork concoction, but it's just too much of everything all at once. Blocks of colour + embroidered panels + waterfall jabot + flared midi-length skirt + embroidered blouson jacket + colours that don't really work well together = a memorable outfit for all the wrong reasons.

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