We’re beginning to think someone’s putting something in the water: Only a month into 2011, it seems like everyone in Hollywood is knocked up — not just Natalie Portman, but also Kate Hudson, Selma Blair, Ivanka Trump, Jane Krakowski, Marion Cotillard, Alicia Silverstone, Jennifer Connolly
even two Spices, Posh and Baby. If any of those expectant mothers are getting nervous about dressing a burgeoning bump, we recommend looking to the past for advice — and cautionary tales. Ergo, join us as we revisit celebrity pregnancies of yore and rate the ladies’ red-carpet hits and misses on a scale of 1 to 10, from frumpy to glam. But don’t feel bad for them: At least you know these stories all have happy endings.
Where: Oscars, 1983
What: Meryl allegedly wore this to disguise the fact that she was six months pregnant (with daughter Mamie Gummer). As if gold beading and pleats would stop people from asking, “Why is Streep wearing Ma Ingalls’s special-occasion nightie to the Oscars?”
Glam Factor: 3. She gets points for the sparkle, but it’s still a shroud. In fairness, this was a different time — Meryl may not have had that many other decent options, or been comfortable going public — but if nothing else, it’s a splendid reminder to own your pregnant figure. After all, you may never again want to point to your gut and be like, “Check out how huge this is!”
Where: Hudson Hawk premiere, May 1991
What: Does this look like a woman who was about to appear totally naked on the cover of Vanity Fair in one of the most iconic photo shoots ever? Because to us, it looks like a woman wearing a formal velvet housedress.
Glam Factor: 1. Maybe by draping herself in something this dismal, Demi was overcompensating for the fact that was the same month she shot the infamous cover, which would run that August. Or maybe it inspired her to pick up the phone and make the call, thus arguably paving the way for other expecting celebs to wear their bumps more confidently. Let’s hope it’s the latter, so that something good can have come from something so dour.
Where: Oscars, 2003
What: Zeta-Jones dazzled — and, mind-bogglingly, even performed — in this gorgeous chocolate Versace, refusing to let an eight-months-along pregnancy keep her from sparkling on the biggest night of her career to date.
Glam Factor: 9. CZJ easily stole the show from anyone else. Do you even remember that was the year of Nicole Kidman’s victory for going ugly in The Hours, or Roman Polanski’s controversial win for The Pianist? We didn’t; we only recall being impressed that she didn’t go into labor during her acceptance speech.
Where: Venice Film Festival, 2003
What: This two-piece monstrosity, which takes the concept of belly dancing to distracting new levels, is Chanel — and that sound you just heard is Coco rolling over in her grave.
Glam Factor: 4. Some say a gestating lady should wear something sparkly around her face to distract from the swelling happening down below, which would at least explain why Kate’s top is trimmed in tinsel. But nothing explains why Kate decided to bare-bump it. That’s ill-advised when you’re not pregnant, but pulling it out when you are is just too much information.
Where: Oscars, 2004
What: A fabulously hued royal blue, Grecian-inspired Badgley Mischka that makes the most of what having twins did for Marcia’s, er, twins.
Glam Factor: 7. This whole look is pretty great, especially the awesome beehive hairdo, which takes the whole look a step closer to sixties glam without tipping her over into parody. Or tipping her over, period.
Where: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory premiere, 2005; Teen Choice Awards, 2006
What: Nothing says “this marriage to my random and skeavy-looking backup dancer was a great idea” like a tacky novelty tank top overtly alluding to what we’re pretty sure K-Fed thought he’d found in his new baby mama at the time. We’re also baffled as to why in 2006, a month before having her second son, Jayden, Brit wore a dress so short that the front row of cheering teens could probably tell how dilated she was.
Glam Factor: 0. Ugh.
Where: 2006 Oscars
What: Rachel allegedly had several custom Narciso Rodriguez gowns to choose from before picking this joyless black shift.
Glam Factor: 2. This dress has the unfortunate coincidence of being a hollow echo of Zeta-Jones’s Oscar glory before it, and worse, Rachel paired it with bad shoes. But its biggest offense is being so awfully drab for a specially made gown, especially on someone as gorgeous as Weisz. If this is what she went with, we shudder to imagine what she rejected — a nun’s habit?
Where: Golden Globes, 2006
What: A very costume-y Balenciaga, last seen at a Jane Austen–themed shotgun wedding.
Glam Factor: 7. It’s both crazy-twee and exactly the kind of deliciously highbrow statement we always expect — and look forward to — from Our Lady of GOOP. That Gwynnie didn’t arrive by horse-drawn carriage seems like a massive oversight.
Where: Emmys, 2006
What: Klum has long favored red for the Emmys (in part because of her affiliation with the Heart Truth, a charity focused on heart disease in women), and this Michael Kors is just one in a long line of similar gowns.
Glam Factor: 6. This is beautifully draped, the color (thankfully) works nicely on her, and the neckline is quite flattering. The slit is also conveniently nearly gynecological in scope, which would have come in handy if she’d gone into labor. No need to change!
Where: American Music Awards, 2006
What: Exactly: What? It feels like Tori wanted to wear something she already owned, unspeakable bump-created shortness be damned.
Glam Factor: 2. Do we think the translucent overlay is actually a sanitary liner for when she decides to sit down? For her baby’s sake — and the sakes of us all — we hope so.
Where: Met Ball, 2007
What: A velvet Balenciaga — and flats, we hope, because the idea of navigating that long staircase in stilettos with a bump that robust is giving us a soap-opera paranoia of falling.
Glam Factor: 6. The dress is a bit disappointingly straightforward for Balenciaga, almost like a bored afterthought created with leftover fabric on one lazy afternoon. But it’s Salma’s hair that really makes us sad. She’s got fantastic hair even without all those magic pregnancy hormones making it extra-luscious, and a righteous bump deserves to be crowned with the proper head-suit.
Where: Oscars, 2007
What: A butter yellow Escada that didn’t exactly hide Naomi’s pregnancy, but didn’t totally flaunt it, either — appropriate, since she hadn’t yet gone public with the news.
Glam factor: 8. This is lovely on her — if maybe a wee bit snug in the bodice — and the color is divine. But its real glory lies in the fact that when we first saw it, our reaction was, “Naomi Watts looks nice … hey, wait a minute,” and not “I hope Watts is up the duff because otherwise this thing is a hot mess.” A good lesson for all the pregnant ladies: Look gorgeous on your own terms and not just gorgeous considering.
Where: Palm Springs Film Festival, 2008
What: A kicky little cocktail number that, honestly, would look just as cute on Halle if she weren’t pregnant.
Glam Factor: 6. This is what Britney and Tori before her (and anyone coming after) should have done: sported a shorter dress that flaunts the legs without giving us a front-row seat for what’s happening between them.
Where: Marchesa fall 2008 presentation (February 2008)
What: Presumably a Marchesa (and in a vivid peacock shade), although we wonder if Keren and Georgina previously imagined it deployed in this context: a woman two or three weeks away from giving birth to twins.
Glam Factor: 10. The dress itself is pretty basic. But we happened to be at that presentation, standing two feet behind J.Lo, and there was something undeniably majestic about a woman that pregnant in a designer gown and shoes that dangerous. Jennifer has said she wants an Oscar; we would hand it to her just for pulling this off, acting credits be damned.
Where: Oscars, 2008
What: A floaty and feathery Marchesa that would have looked just as nice on her if she hadn’t been pregnant. With fewer alterations than you’d anticipate, too.
Glam factor: 9. It was nice to see nature force Alba into wearing something that wasn’t as aggressively body conscious as the things she was prone to wearing pre-pregnancy, and the aubergine hue is fab. This may, in fact, be one of the nicest looks she’s ever sported — and certainly, it was well-timed. When else are we ever going to see Jessica Alba at the Oscars? Actually, why was she at this one?
Where: Oscars, 2008
What: A purple Dries Van Noten, over a seven-month bump.
Glam Factor: 8. We can’t tell if that’s a necklace over the halter, or part of the gown, but we don’t entirely care — either way it’s the kind of cool, unusual detail that only Cate Blanchett can pull off with aplomb. She makes everything look so easy, gestation included, and her accessory is just enough punch to keep us fixated on how great her face looks.
Where: Oscars, 2008
What: A rather basic black dress by Kidman fave L’Wren Scott, accessorized with major bling and barely any bump at all, even though she had confirmed she was about five months along.
Glam factor: 5. It’s hardly Kidman’s fault that she is petite, but this dress marks the only moment in the history of the world where the reaction from the general public was, “I just wish she looked bigger.” Maybe that’s why Nicole decorated herself with that insane diamond cobweb: It’s one thing to draw the eye up (like Cate); it’s another to do it and then punch it square in the cornea.
Where: A December 2009 screening of A Single Man
What: A strapless shift she bought at Grandma Edith’s Quaint Home Valance Barn.
Glam Factor: 3. The takeaway here is very simple: Ethereal can be nice; looking like you and your fetus are on the VIP list for Club Ethereal is not.
Where: Cannes, 2008
What: A stunning pleated, custom Max Azria. Please, remind us why Angelina hardly ever wears color anymore? This green in particular is breathtaking.
Glam factor: 10. Seriously. Angelina and Brad. At Cannes. The Chosen Twins marinating away. As pregnant red-carpet moments go, it’s basically a perfect storm of awesome.
Where: Golden Globes, 2009.
What: A silk tent from Ralph Rucci. Rachel hadn’t announced her pregnancy yet, so maybe the skirt wrinkles in this caftan — seriously, was she making origami with it in the limo line? — was her way of distracting the eye.
Glam Factor: 2. It didn’t work. About as subtle as a jackhammer, this gown is a master class in how to get people speculating. Rachel may have decided that was better than having people think she’d been hitting the doughnuts, but personally, we think the donughut rumors would’ve been a better choice.
Where: Oscars, 2010
What: A silky midnight-blue number by Philosophy di Alberta Ferretti. The empire waist is kind of predictable on a pregnant woman (with good reason — that being, your rapidly expanding and hard-to-fit midsection), but the pleated detailing makes it special.
Glam Factor: 7. Some actresses are just really cute when they’re pregnant, and it turns out that Amy Adams is one of them. This dress won’t set the world on fire, but she looks lovely, comfortable, and confident in it. Which, in the long run, is all any woman can ask of her wardrobe, anyway.