How Important is a best-dressed list, really? It's a great publicity tool for whoever put out the list, and a fun excuse for readers to evaluate how everyone on it looks. The public is seldom prompted to ponder the sartorial worthiness of a curated group of famous people, outside of a few award shows. However, Vanity Fair's best-dressed list, which came out this week and garnered a great deal of attention — partly because it included Kate Middleton — gave everyone the excuse to do just that. New York Times fashion critic Cathy Horyn reflects seriously on the selections:
The B.D.L. committee seemed to make an effort to broaden the list, not quite banishing obvious socialites and actresses but nearly so. I was glad to see, among others, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge; Christine Lagarde; Jenson Button; Colin Firth; and Shala Monroque. But Princess Charlene of Monaco was a stretch. Her style to me is something of a flat pancake, despite (or perhaps because of) the effort she applies. It’s hard to say the B.D.L. isn’t relevant in a style-shaping era, but does it ultimately offer us enough information?
That has to sting. Horyn may have a point — there is something slightly harsh and armored about her preferred, very structured pieces. But let her enjoy the win — she probably just dresses in order to please everyone around her anyway. And maybe when she found out she made the list, she smiled, and looked as happy as she does when she swims.