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Newcomers reign in Vanity Fair’s Best Dressed List

It was all about the newcomers in this year’s highly anticipated Vanity Fair Best Dressed list, writes Emily Gook.
Photo courtesy of Jennifer Su via Wiki Commons

In the fashion world there’s only one thing more important than the Vogue September Issue: Vanity Fair’s coveted International Best Dressed List.

Each year the magazine battles for September supremacy by choosing from a legion of well-heeled celebrities. These include models, movie stars, designers, and royalty who have been dressed to perfection in couture Valentino, Chanel, Celine and Prada, to name a few.

Not surprisingly, Kate Middleton, Beyonce, Giselle Bundchen and Victoria Beckham all made the exclusive list, but they were all trumped by actress Kerry Washington who came out on top.

The 36-year-old ‘Scandal’ star has become a red carpet fashion icon whose bold use of colour, structured bodices and effortless style has made her the envy of every fashionista in tinsel town.

From her coral mui mui Swarovski embellished gown worn at the 2013 Vanity Fair Oscar Party, to her white equestrian print Giles Deacon ball gown worn at the Django Unchained London premiere, Washington has been turning heads every time she walks out her front door.

Justin Timberlake chimed in at number two for the boys, proving he’s officially burned his boy band distressed denim suit and matching cowboy hat look from the noughties, and exchanged it for a chic and sophisticated Tom Ford masterpiece.

Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards was competitive in the fashion stakes, surprisingly coming in fifth, and so too was Miami Heat forward Lebron James who polled in number eight. Don’t feel sorry for him though, it’s the only award he hasn’t won.

The difference this year, besides Keith Richards, is that members of the public had the unique opportunity to feature in the list by posting their picture on They were then considered in a weekly slide show that determined one woman and one man to be featured in the ultimate list come August 2013.

This rather democratic approach was brought about by Graydon Carter, the editor of Vanity Fair, in a bid to make fashion original again since celebrities had become so beholden to stylists who make their decisions for them.

Hallie Swanson, a fashion blogger from California, and interior designer Darren Henault from New York were this year’s winners, as they impressed the Vanity Fair judges with their classic, vintage-style looks.

Swanson wowed with her bright blue 50s inspired asos skirt and classic black Gucci shoes, while Henault brought a touch of class with a Lord Willy’s jacket and Ascot Chang shirt.

Hallie Swanson creator of
Photo courtesy of Hallie Swanson at

Achieving fame almost overnight, Swanson has become a fashion blogging sensation in China with her website reaching 1.2 million page views, from over 415,000 visitors. She’s now styling for luxury Nieman Marcus online — just a week after the coveted list was revealed.

For Hallie, being selected by Vanity Fair for “style and approach to fashion especially in the company of all of the royalty and celebrities who have almost unlimited fashion wardrobes” is a “huge honour” and like “the Oscar award for fashion.”

“Despite the fact that most of the influential people in the list are given their outfits, I pay more attention to what pieces they choose and how they style them. For example, I enjoy H.R.H the Duchess of Cambridge when she wears Whistles dress which most of us can afford,” says Hallie.

Since starting her blog in 2010, Hallie has used the platform as an outlet to showcase the style and fashion principles she has learned over the years to show her readers how you can look and feel great on a “normal budget”.

With fashion’s most prestigious accolade under her belt, Hallie hopes to see many more doors opening in the future in either celebrity styling or fashion writing in L.A or in her home country of China.

While this year’s list gave celebrity status to exciting new fashion personalities like Hallie, it also skipped a few sure-fires like first Lady Michelle Obama, and style sisters, Kourtney and Kim Kardashian.

If there’s one thing that’s for certain, the editors really did scan through every celebrity and personality out there, with China’s first lady Peng Liyuan making an appearance, and even funny man David Walliams, from Little Britain, and his model wife Lara Stone getting a mention. Go figure!

Check out the full list here.


Emily-GookTHUMBEmily Gook is a third year Bachelor of Journalism student at La Trobe University and a staff writer for upstart. You can follow her on twitter here @EmilyGook


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