I went to a big red carpet ceremony (“The Logies”) on Sunday, and Mia and I thought it would be fun for me to self-indulgently outline the timeline of the prep, because you are off your tree if you think it’s a matter of choosing a dress from your cupboard and getting a blow dry. And I’m ONLY A PLUS ONE! (A vain one, but still.) Can’t imagine what actual female TV stars go through.
Disclaimer: Unlike Gwyneth Paltrow I did not get ready for my event with Cameron Diaz, but only because she insisted on staying at Formule 1.
Two months out: Find a dress.
General panic about what to wear begins the moment the date is announced. As I do not have a stylist, because I am an author not a TV dame, and that would be ludicrous, I find my dress myself. Last year I bought a vintage gown from Hello Dolly in Surry Hills but this year wonderful Australian designer Rachel Gilbert said she would like to dress me. This was terrific news to me as I always have trouble with my zips. Then I realised it wasn’t literal, and what she meant was she’d like to loan me a gown. I go to the showroom and try some on from her new collection. I choose a flapper-esque white beaded strapless number that stops above my knee. Very on trend, I think. Clever me.
One month out: Change mind about dress.
Remember long is the way to go for black tie. I go back to RG HQ and find ‘Audrey’, which is black and beaded and elegant and so pretty. It’s very long and cannot be shortened, but I know a good surgeon who can lengthen legs. Luckily a friend loans me her towering Christian Louboutins so I don’t need to go under the knife. “You’re strapped in, so you won’t fall,” she says optimistically.
Two weeks out: Get beauty stuff booked.
Get skin in shape. (I wrote about this on Friday.) Book hair, spray tan, and makeup artist. May I recommend Onyx in South Yarra for spray tanning? And Danni from Xiang hair for updos? (Brides, she does beautiful, modern wedding hair!) And going to counter for your makeup? (I went for Napoleon, but also recommend Bobbi Brown, MAC and shu uemura.)
A week out: Organise jewellery
Cerrone kindly offer to adorn my ears and wrists in their magnificent jewels. I head into their city store and have my first ever Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman moment. (More to do with fancy shopping, and less to do with prostitution and PVC.) I choose some extremely elegant drop diamond earrings and a bracelet that is tiny and breathtaking. “Watch the clasp on that one,” the lovely woman helping me says without a hint of jokeiness.) When I read how much these small, precious items are worth and sign a form saying I am accountable for their full price unless they are returned in the exact condition as they left the store, days of full-blown paranoia sets in.
One day out: Tan, nails, facial.
Opt for OPI Black Onyx on nails to keep a very classic dress modern. (Red would be too predictable. Nude too dull.) I opt for two VERY light coats of spray tan (St Tropez because it is green-based and I feel, looks more natural) because last time I went to the races and had two coats (from another brand) I looked dirty, muddy and orange in all of the photos. Not the greatest advertisement for someone who purportedly knows about beauty and lectures women on it constantly. I ask for some contouring on my collarbones and arms to cheat looking toned and buff and like I know what a kettlebell is. This is where the spray tanner uses the spray gun like a makeup brush, adding definition and the appearance of a sculpted bod. (I learned this trick from Kelly Rowland. No shit!)