At the Golden Globes: empathy chic?

Reese Witherspoon at the 2007 Golden Globes
Reese Witherspoon’s gem-free neck from ’07 looks oh-so-2009.
(Mark J. Terrill/ Associated Press)

The red carpet, much like the nouveau riche, has never been known for its restraint. But actors love to feel, and the name of the game in this sullen economy is empathy chic. “No one wants to look too elaborate or overdone,” says hairstylist Ted Gibson, who will tend to Golden Globes nominee Debra Messing’s titian tresses for tonight’s show. “You won’t see flashy up-dos.”

Nor will you see actresses flouncing about in Marie Antoinette-worthy gowns festooned with yards of tulle. Word has it that cocktail-length dresses could be trendy tonight. (What this country needs right now is a glimpse of some A-list gams.) I foresee starlets opting for slender, recession-apropos silhouettes too -- especially ones that show off their underfed physiques. Vintage dresses also telegraph a pseudo-frugality, so expect to hear someone coo, “This old thing? It’s vintage Dior.”

When it comes to baubles, smart stars will bypass the Brussels sprout-sized gems for less showy accessories. Pavé diamonds -- thousands of minute stones feels less haughty -- on cuffs will make a showing. Brazen statement necklaces are going the way of the dodo. In this recession, vulgarity at the neckline could get us have-nots thinking, “Off with her head.”

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