by Maura Brannigan
George Pimentel/WireImageHayden Panettiere has been a red carpet staple since her child actress days (Raising Helen, anyone?), opting for ladylike designs from the likes of Roberto Cavalli and Marchesa for her recent awards show appearances. But never before had she worn Tom Ford-until last night, that is. “It’s the first time I’ve ever worn him, because I’ve been begging ever since,” Hayden described to Giuliana Rancic during E!’s Golden Globes red carpet show. “I feel sexy in it, I feel comfortable in it, and I’m in Tom Ford. I would wear a plastic bag if it was designed by him.”
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Who knew the 24-year-old star had such an affinity for the storied American designer-one who, customarily, dresses only one woman per awards show? Last night, that woman was Naomi Watts, and Naomi Watts only, in a silver gown complete with strategic side cut-outs. Meaning? “Tom Ford confirms to me he ONLY dressed #NaomiWatts tonight. Hayden Panettiere BOUGHT her Tom Ford dress at RETAIL,” read a tweet by fashion writer Jim Shi, and brought to our attention via the eagle eyes at The Cut.
Let’s get one thing straight now: Hayden, with a net worth of (approximately) $10 million, can certainly afford to buy a (roughly) $10,000 gown if she wants to wear it enough. And while the rest of Hollywood is equally as well-endowed as Hayden, every single gown you see worn throughout awards season is borrowed, immediately to be returned to a showroom the next morning. Of course, the more respected a designer, the pickier they can be when it comes to who they may dress; in this case, Tom Ford is of a certain caliber where he can virtually have his pick of whom he outfits.
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It’s a weird, hierarchical tradition in a myriad of ways, so it makes quite a statement when a certain Nashville actress overrides Hollywood and fashion’s pecking order. What’s so horrible about a star who, much like Hayden, absolutely adores a certain designer, and accordingly, buys one of their looks to wear off the rack? Frankly, it’s how retail works, and we do salute Hayden-and her very sexy, black and white Tom Ford gown-for reminding us of that fact.