Chic, elegant, but still packing a punch

PUBLISHED : Friday, 29 July, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 29 July, 2011, 12:00am


These past few weeks have heralded ups and downs for stylish women in the limelight. Emma Watson, once a frizzy-haired, geeky, pre-teen Hermione, officially solidified her status as superstar style icon with yet another Vogue cover, as the Harry Potter film series comes to a close.

The sun is also rising on the fashion house of actress Emma Stone. With an Elle magazine cover under her belt, several films coming out, and a much-praised pink peplum Giambattista Valli skirt on the red carpet at the Friends with Benefits New York premiere, this 22-year-old is also knocking it out of the park.

Queen Elizabeth didn't mince her words about the display of Kate Middleton's wedding gown, the centrepiece of the Buckingham Palace exhibition, on a headless mannequin. While the queen was heard to call the headless display 'horrid' and 'creepy', the chic Duchess of Cambridge opted for more diplomatic wording, describing it as a '3-D effect'.

One of the most notable style coups was by pretty-in-pink Wendi Deng Murdoch. That now famous lightning-quick smackdown of her husband's shaving-cream-pie assailant had her stealing the title of 'tiger mum' from Amy Chua and winning fans all over the world. And all this in a fetching pink number.

If the run of kick-ass women in mainstream action films has told us anything, it is that the public like to see a tough woman in action - as long as she's attractive, and stylish to boot. See Chinese epics like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, or Angelina Jolie as an elegant Evelyn Salt or a sporty Lara Croft. There are the superhero-suit-clad girls of X-Men, Milla Jovovich in Resident Evil and Maggie Q's well-heeled Nikita. It's no surprise, then, that Deng has been labelled a 'Charlie's Angel' after the fighting, hair-flicking, lip-glossed 1970s trio.

Cyberspace exploded with messages of admiration for the stylish and statuesque ex-volleyball player. Her protective reflexes towards her octogenarian billionaire husband (words not often used in succession) have even made Deng somewhat of a hero in her homeland of China. Her instinctive, quick-handed shot was all the more thrilling because slender, attractive Deng wore a feminine pink jacket and black polka dot skirt. Many Chinese internet users even said that stylish 'Whup-Ass Wendi', as she has been called in the US media, just raised the profile of Chinese women, who are suddenly considered feisty with a passion for fashion.

Women in power have had their signature outfits. Michelle Obama has her contemporary gowns, Hillary Rodham Clinton has the blue trouser suit, and Sarah Palin has that dreaded red skirt suit. Deng might have just found her defining colour.

When the shaving cream was launched, it was that pink jacket in a sea of dark grey that first leaped to defend her husband. The media clearly loves a fashionable woman with athletic fighting skills. If News Corporation share prices are anything to go by, this killer combination is not only good press fodder, but good for business, too.