It’s too long to hold this until Friday and we shouldn’t wait until Friday to talk about this look…because it’s such a look, from someone who keeps serving imaginative and provocative looks.
Emma Corrin showed up the Olivier Awards as a nominee for her work in the play Anna X wearing Loewe, from the recent balloon collection, one of the most exuberantly weird collections in recent memory – it’s awkward and off-balance, f-cking with shapes and proportion to the point of distortion. And there’s no better celebrity to take the pieces from runway to real life than Emma.
Here they are in a balloon print dress, with a balloon bra over top, and as you can see, even the heel of their shoes is in the form of a balloon. The balloons of course also work like breasts, with the balloon ties mimicking nipples – it’s aggressively feminine, which by convention is a contradiction because aggression for a long time was applied to the masculine. And now we’re seeing this outfit on someone who has shared openly on gender that they exist “somewhere in between” and that they are still in the process of defining their identity, if such a definition, for them, even exists.
But also? It’s just a cool f-cking look. That Emma decided to rock at the Olivier Awards makes it even cooler. This is British theatre, and while the theatre, certainly, has been a place that has pushed boundaries, British theatre for a long time, and in some ways still, was an elite environment, snobby and precious. In 2015, James McAvoy, while announcing the shortlist for the Olivier Awards, called out how artistic access in the UK had become a privilege and that the profession was in danger of becoming available only to the upper class. This too is a conversation about diversity.
So to go back to Emma’s outfit, it’s definitely not what one typically sees on the red carpet at the Oliviers. Which means it’s doing what fashion, also an artform, should do – introduce new ideas, challenge the old ones, and express yourself, always.