Award season is quite the big deal in Hollywood. It is hard to understand the appeal here, especially considering how dismally local celebrities perform on the red carpet and how rare these events are.
We simply don’t know how to give good red carpet. Which makes sense. After all, when our own awards ceremonies roll around, we don’t have fashion designers rushing at us all at once and pleading with us to wear their stuff.
There are no make-up hampers that appear in pretty packages at our doorsteps, nor are there stylists pitching to dress us. We won’t get a surprise package containing Spanx just to try out, or several pairs of heels made with our foot size, status and glamorous lives in mind.
No one sends bags full of stuff to anyone, nor are there publicists who wrestle these deals, citing visibility and the perfect merger between celebrity X and designer Y. Jewellers don’t send security along with a necklace worth Sh1m for one to wear and get photographed in. That kind of synergy is yet to exist.
But that does not mean one can’t be stylish, trendsetting or memorable on the red carpet. We just need to learn how.
Why? Because it grows the fashion industry, creating opportunities for stylists, hair and make-up artistes, fashion designers, jewellery designers, accessory suppliers, media — providing content for TV and fodder for print — celebrities who aspire to break into the industry, celebrities who are making a comeback and veterans who need to reaffirm their status and place on the A-list lest they slip to the D-list. Red carpets rope in underwear manufacturers, especially those who provide shapewear, and they make for entertaining viewing. It is a pity that we are not there yet.
To be red carpet ready, the bulk of the work is done before you put on the dress. It starts with skin care.
Red carpets require soft, fresh, luminous skin and a photo-ready finish. Your back, décolletage, arms and legs in particular are prime areas more often than not exposed. Too much coverage easily ages you and too much skin lands you on the Worst Dressed List. Go to the spa and exfoliate, steam, get a deep massage and use anti-cellulite treatment to tighten and lift.
No facials prior to a big event. If you have skin condition, find a make-up artiste who knows your skin and understands the art of air brushing. Camouflage to the point of flawlessness.
This is one of those instances where get what you pay for. Red carpet make-up is full on glamour, illuminating your beauty and framing your pretty points.
Feet are constantly overlooked by a lot of Kenyan women. Jettison childish nail art. Instead, introduce a whole new kind of manicure from cartoons, velvet finish, new nail colour trends and solidify your reputation. Are you edgy, classic, a fashionista or a barely there sophisticate? Red carpets call for open-toed sandals and even when you do not think your feet are visible, they are. Prettify them.
Underwear is critical. It can make or break an outfit. Most women will wear shapewear. This is designed to complement the dress as well as allow it to lie flat and define your silhouette. Don’t buy, and wear, the shapewear for the first time that night. Break it in. Give your body time to accustom itself.
Shapewear also hides a multitude of sins, flattening the tummy, holding in the love handles. Kenyan women favour short little dresses on nights when that is precisely what we should not be wearing, then make it worse by layering ill-fitting underwear with an ill-fitting dress. Check yourself. Acquire smooth, clean lines because angles you had not thought of before will be picked up on.
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