Fug or Fab: Andrea Riseborough


I am very, very curious to see W.E. — not only because it’s Madonna’s directing debut, but because I think it’s an inherently fascinating story that should be hard to screw up, and yet it’s getting terrible reviews. Also, every time I see the title, I think of A.I. and the WE network, as if Madonna has made a movie about fembot bridezillas who live in a house with Sinbad. (No, really, Sinbad has a WE TV show. This is happening.)

Anyway, it’s my understanding that Andrea here is somewhat beloved for various roles before this one — I have not seen her in any of them, but last time I featured her and referred to her in vague terms, there was an uprising in the comments — and this dress will certainly do a lot to make her more memorable to me and others who aren’t familiar with her resume. Why am I starting with a photo of the back? Well, all the fun is in the reveal, isn’t it? Nobody wants to see Mr. Hyde before they’ve met the good doctor.

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[Photo: WENN]

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Comments (52):

  1. laziza

    I actually love the dress – but I love your typing of “man dress” even more. :)

  2. Annie E

    If it didn’t have those awful buttons, it would be a little bit better.

  3. Heather

    I think Madonna’s directorial debut was actually “Filth and Wisdom,” which also got terrible reviews, and which I haven’t seen. I do love this dress.

  4. Sierra Delta

    Um, her nipples look armor plated from some angles. And the front of her dress is oozing navy Rorschach test patterns.

    • Mooshki

      What a great way to describe it. I could get behind the tulle and the color changes, but that giant splotch on the front is inexcusable.

  5. Becca

    I was super excited when I saw the back, which I think is absolutely stunning and kind of reminiscent of a ballroom costume (not an insult. Then the front happened and ewwww. It looks like another dancer got jealous of her fabulous costume and attacked it with a torn-up trenchcoat and last halloween’s leftover black tulle.

  6. amy

    Edgy and cool, even with tulle.

    Except for those fugly buttons. They bring a big touch of JoAnn’s notions department.

  7. Elise

    this looks like a project runway failure.

  8. OracleKath

    I think that had it not had the mullet hem but graded from nude to navy (front to back!!) it would have been SO much nicer. It looks a little clumsy. But huge props to her for wearing something different on the red carpet!!

  9. Gretchen

    I like it a lot; it’s very steampunk and I think she could have pulled it off with a bit more aplomb if she’d done something a bit less glam with her hair.

    • Claire L

      YES! THAT is why I like it! I was trying to wrap my mind around why I liked it in spite of it all. Granted, I don’t like where the larger buttons fall, but I’m a fan of buttons in general. I just don’t like Borg style nipples ( on anything).

  10. Colleen

    The back needs something, some little echo of the front. I actually really like it, except for the boring-ness in the rear.

  11. Zuzzie

    It’s a good idea but looks poorly/cheaply made.

  12. Fawn

    I love it! I want to wear it! With all that tulle. you’d get to feel like a princess without looking like you’re 12.

  13. Shereen

    I Love this dress and [all] the shapes it’s making, even if it looks like a different dress at every angle. And the crazy buttons are oddly exactly right in a juxtaposy feel kind of way. Military tulle….who knew?

  14. Lynne

    I’m not sure how I feel about the mullety nature of it but it’s interesting and strangely appealing. I’m distracted by how insanely beautiful her skin is.

    • Mary

      My first thought, too. Beautiful skin and lovely collar bone/shoulders. The first shot, from behind, is just stunning. And even though I don’t like the buttons or the mullet, and think the color mix could have been better deployed, I don’t hate this. As Lynne said, it’s strangely appealing.

  15. Susan

    I can’t see anything beyond her amazing shoulders and gorgeous skinny.

    • Susan

      I meant, gorgeous SKIN. She is skinny, but that’s not shocking, she is an actress.

  16. Leah

    Filth & Wisdom was actually Madonna’s directorial debut and it was train-wrecky goodness. So bad, you guys! Anyway, this dress is meh, but Riseborough is an amazing actor so she’ll pretty much always get a pass from me.

  17. Eliza Bennet

    What even.
    Why couldn’t it have been long in the front? I’d still hate the oil spill on her torso but at least I wouldn’t have to squint to look at it.

  18. Sam

    The runway version was light blue and nude, with flowers covering a lot of those GIANT buttons. Still nothing I’d have picked, but better than this ill fitting Mr Hyde mess.

  19. Sandra

    …tulle shed…

    Wipes tears of laughter from eyes. Heather, you are a genius with the language.

    As for the dress, I’m not feeling it. The idea of a color fade is an interesting, but navy blue and beige/pink doesn’t work. It would also be improved by having the lighter color on the front of the dress. The mullet HAS. GOT. TO. GO!! It looks just as wretched on dresses as it does on hair.

    I don’t know anything about this young woman’s work or about the film in question. But films involving Madonna are generally pretty bad.

  20. Penny

    The fourth photo looks very Cruella de Ville. But wow she is gorgeous.

  21. Dazie

    I like it, I’d like it better sans buttons and with about 1/3 less foof though.

  22. acake

    This is what Helena Bonham Carter would look like if she had restraint. Instead she looks like she scavenges Vivienne Westwood’s trash bins . Whatever. Andrea Riseborough is talented and looks quite nice here.

  23. Erica

    Logically, this should be batpoop insane. But I like it. Is it my love for pale pink and navy harming my reason? Is the combination of structured navy and fluffy tulle such a fun contrast that my brain has shut off? Why do I like it? Whyyyyyyy?

  24. Bevvie Hedstrom

    “Here, it looks like she shoplifted a bunch of it and it’s falling out of her pockets.”


  25. yeahandalso

    I don’t like it, but I’m glad it exists. I’d never suggest a friend wear it, but it is interesting and we need new shapes and ideas from time to time.

  26. vandalfan

    I love every inch, buttons included, except the “Look at my shoes!” mullet hem. The tulle does not give me pause.

  27. Jen S 2.0

    I wasn’t sure until the last photo, which looks very unfortunately like tulle culottes.

    Some friends and I have a joke about how some call pants of unfortunate length (oooh, are those like “rodents of unusual size”? Ahem. Sorry, carry on) culottes, and some call them gauchos. We’ve decided to combine the name and call them “coochos.”

    So, tulle coochos. No.

  28. Lina

    Ooh, I like the lighter hair. I’ve always thought black hair was terribly stark on her, but this red-brown-gold shade softens her look nicely. I don’t care for the dress and she looks terribly uncomfortable in front of the crowds — which makes sense given she’s never been in anything with this level of hype attached.

  29. amys

    Goddess skin. So pretty. Not loving the tulle though, and I detest the button execution.

  30. SKGD

    I love tulle! To paraphrase, you can never be too rich or have too much tulle. But really get rid of those buttons, they’re too big, too ugly and wreak the fit of the bodice, and lengthen the front of the dress, mullets are not flattering whatever they’re made of.

  31. Kim

    no – because the front is so ill-fitting – baggy in all the wrong places

  32. MonicaC

    I actually kind of like it. Mostly because if we saw Helena Bonham Carter wearing it, we’d think it was awfully normal.

  33. Leni

    Damn, voted before I saw the front!!!

  34. Callie

    There was a photo, on the Guardian I think, where Laurence Fox was practically on his hands and knees trying to organise the tulle for a photograph while Andrea and Madonna looked on. Like, if your dress is so out of control that in the space of walking up the red carpet your co-star is wrestled to the floor in an attempt to get it into shape, there’s something wrong. Having said that, Andrea is both very pretty and very talented so I guess she rightly doesn’t much care.

  35. Carolyn

    Not a fan of the dress but just wanted to say that my sister was at this screening and said the film is dreadful, a complete mess which had them laughing in places.
    She thinks Madonna is not very bright after witnessing the Q and A and realised just how controlled and edited her interviews and appearances usually are.

  36. Clara
    • vandalfan

      Oh, boy, I don’t think the ankle-revealing mullet hem is flattering even on the Immortal Audrey. She can pull off the fabric explosion at the hips, but the straight front high water mullet is horrifying to me. Excellent link.

  37. Jen

    I might be able to accept this if it were gown length all the way around, and none of this mullet-with-long-bangs.

  38. Sajorina

    I say FAB because it’s edgy, it’s elegant and it suits her! She looks GREAT in it! I like innovative design when it works and here it works! BRAVO!!!

  39. Clare

    SHE looks shiny and pretty, but swap the shoes for something far less black and clunky, ditch the buttons, and then we can talk.

  40. Isabel

    I can see the appeal, and it’s different in a pleasing way, but it’s not all the way there yet. But if a lady (yes, she is one) can look this stunning and graceful in a not-entirely-there design, I say well done!!

  41. Audrey Jo

    I donĀ“t even see buttons, I get lost in awe at her beautiful face. Ando OMG SHOES!!!

  42. ChaChaHeels

    Wow, that’s ugly. The shoes are nice, but they’d look a hell of a lot better with a simple day suit than they do with a gown.

  43. Marise Villeneuve

    I like it, it look very nice on her, and I want her shoes….

  44. Hagerty

    Tulle Shed! Fantastic.

  45. Caroleena Stantonova

    I love the whole kit and kaboodle! She is rocking this ensemble!

  46. Jerika Coleman

    In my head, I “wore” this to the Oscars this year. Meaning, when I was going through the new collections (this is actually an older dress), I was like, “if I was going to the Oscars year, THAT would be my dress!” But the one I saw had a different shade of blue.

    Anyway, it’s fabulous, I’m jealous, it’s awesome to see it on someone other than a model and I still love it.