Hit & Run: Golden Gowns

Forget all usual Hollywood waffle about the actor's craft, what some of us really care about is the actor's dress sense. Fortunately this year's Golden Globes provided us with an entertaining crop of fashion blockbusters, classics and downright turkeys. Herewith, some of the key themes.

Black magic

It was probably the knowledge that the worst-dressed list is for life, not just for awards season that led so many actresses to play it safe in black. That and the fact that it makes you appear thinner. Julia Roberts looked fresh and modern in a short, vintage jersey dress by YSL and striking gold necklace, January Jones's column dress by Lanvin was elegantly slinky, and Kate Winslet looked classic but sophisticated in YSL. However there's safe and there's staid, and Penelope Cruz's flamenco style lace dress by Armani Prive was definitely the latter.

Pale but not very interesting

Kate Hudson's dress looked like its been sculpted out of icing with a palette knife to create something that's part wedding dress, part wedding cake. However, her tacky platform shoes were more suited to a hen night.

Best in show

Drew Barrymore demonstrated that understated hair and make-up and a healthy figure just can't be outshone. Her Atelier Versace dress exuded a timeless Thirties glamour without being too retro, while her red lipstick perfectly complimented its nude colour.


Could anyone look Mad Men star Christina Hendricks in the eye or resist making whispered quips about her own, er, golden globes? Her dress would have been more sophisticated without so many fussy ruffles, but Hendricks was probably too busy being the Jessica Rabbit of the red carpet to care about that. Other stars capitalising on their embonpoints included Mariah Carey, who looked as if she had chosen to accentuate her exposed cleavage with some kind of orange bodybuilder's oil, and Fergie from the Black Eyed Peas, who hoisted up the lady lumps she's always singing about à la Marie Antoinette.

Pink ladies

The red carpet is a huge catwalk: where better to show off your fashion credentials? Diane Kruger's dress might have been a bit Disney Princess, but by opting for Christian Lacroix couture now the label has been reduced to a licensing operation, she showed she's serious abut clothes. Pink is key for spring/summer, and Emily Blunt and Maggie Gyllenhaal wore fishtail gowns in candyfloss and salmon.

The Quality Street look

Sandra Bullock might have won a Best Actress award for Blind Side but the only accolade this Bottega Veneta dress deserved is "greatest similarity to cheap confectionery". Meanwhile Leona Lewis's shiny strapless lilac dress by Roberto Cavalli looked as if she'd rented it to open a new casino.

Too much information.com

Listen up over-sharers – Blippy.com , a new micro-blogging site, allows users to update a news feed about their purchases, minute by nail-biting minute. It's like Twitter, but resembles a supermarket receipt. Those signing up have to enter their credit card details and the site updates automatically; cue lots of updates like "Dave spent $5.70 at Starbucks".

"The biggest risk is that their purchases are totally mundane and you're really boring," says the site's founder Philip Kaplan. Really? Couldn't it be lots of fun uncovering your friends' blush-inducing plans and peccadilloes? There'll be trouble when Tony's future wife discovers he spent just £200 on a ring in H Samuel. And is that Angela, boosting Boots' profits by visiting every few days? Clearly the haemorrhoids are playing up. Social networkers, ever the self-publicists, do sometimes take the biscuit (any good supermarket, 31p). Rob Sharp

Wallander, Volvo man

There are many things to love about the BBC's Wallander: Kenneth Branagh's career-defining performance as the careworn Swedish cop, the spare dialogue, the glacially paced action, those yawning silences. The Ystad landscapes are coolly beautiful, the interiors framed with Vermeer's eye. Add in the superlative Tom Hiddleston as put-upon assistant Magnus and it's the finest TV drama in years.

It does, though, like all of the best detective stories, raise knotty questions. Is it VaLANder or WOLLender? Where did Wallander get that awful ringtone from? Does he ever sleep in a bed? And, crucially, why so many Volvo shots? It may be that the only way to get those gorgeous panoramas of cornfields and coastlines is to drive through them, and all the journeys give our hero time to think and look tortured. But when Wallander pitches up at a grisly murder scene, must his Volvo always loom, unmissable as a corpse, in the background? In the last episode, when he drove with one of his late father's paintings on the back seat, didn't the cameras linger a little too lovingly on the leather interior?

The Volvo is a nudge to British audiences that we are in Sweden, ja? But it's hardly necessary. What next? Cameos for Ulrika Jonsson and Sven-Goran Eriksson? Murder behind the Billy Bookcases in Ikea? Besides, in Henning Mankell's novels, Wallander drives a Peugeot, while in the Swedish television series, it's a Hyundai.

For the next series (and, BBC, there must be another series) would it be adding too much to Wallander's woes to expect him to trudge across these unforgiving landscapes in muddied boots, icicles frosting his stubble, in the manner of a character from The Road? So much more fitting than a V50 estate. Alice Jones