To take home a Critics Choice award, the film community has to reach a consensus on your work, but that doesn’t mean the ceremony’s fashion is a by-committee affair. As a precursor to the Oscars, BAFTAs, and all the events yet to come, Critics Choice allows the stars in attendance to test drive new trends and step outside their comfort zone. Years past have yielded daring, now-classic looks—Angelina Jolie’s uber casual white blazer and Cassavettes t-shirt in 2000, Nicole Kidman’s semi-transparent lace slip in 2003—and the experimental vibe lives on. 2021’s virtual ceremony allowed for a greater range of looks, presented in multiple venues as celebrities tuned in from home.
The night belonged to style rebels who went against the grain, offering new twists on the familiar and wild pieces from the runways. In a custom Vera Wang, Cynthia Erivo brought a touch of fantasy to the proceedings. Her black and cream gown’s puffed sleeves and delicate lace embroidery seemed culled from a fairy tale. The Crown’s Emma Corrin continues to reject the idea of “princess dressing,” despite playing Lady Di to rave reviews. Her Schiaparelli Haute Couture mini-dress was a surrealist surprise with a bite. With a décolleté embellished with the Maison’s “tooth-pearl” motif complete with gold teeth, the ensemble honored Elsa Schiaparelli’s irreverent spirit.
Bridgerton’s leading lady, Phoebe Dynevor, smartly left the Regency behind in favor of Louis Vuitton’s futuristic sensibility. Audiences may know her for period drama, but Dynevor’s leather and crystal halter dress, designed by Nicolas Ghesquière, banished all thoughts of her Netflix alter-ego. Equally effective was Yara Shahidi’s fanciful Dior Haute Couture skirt and blouse combo. Embellished with pastel shapes and mythical creatures, it kept with the night’s unconventional theme and Shahidi’s love of risk-taking couture.