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The carpetbraggers

Gorgeous women showcase their gowns

Berlin is not a warm city, we all know that. It’s urban, it’s avant-garde, it’s a bit rough around the edges and it’s only beginning to develop its own elegance — which is probably why so little genuine elegance featured on this year’s Berlinale red carpet.

The three great robes of the festival were Cate Blanchett’s breathtaking Givenchy dress, Marion Cotillard’s Gaultier gown and Jennifer Lopez’s stunning Galliano creation.

There were a lot of gorgeous women around this year, according to German stylist Sasa Thomann, who picked the Galliano gown for Lopez, but the problem with many of the Berlinale’s other red-carpet outfits is that “there’s always a tick too much — either too much hair, too much makeup, or, the ultimate fashion faux-pas, the shoes don’t match the handbags. Glamour is big right now but in Berlin you can’t turn up the volume as much as in Cannes or the Oscars.”

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Some — like Veronica Ferres, Emmanuelle Seigner and Sibel Kekilli — thought that they could warm by wearing a cardigan. While others, like Julie Depardieu, seemed like she wanted to pull off a Bjork, but instead of kooky and whimsical, she just looked very loud.

And what were Robert De Niro and Matt Damon thinking? While their female co-star Martina Gedeck looked beautiful in a simple black dress combined with a striking gold necklace, they appeared to have mistaken the preem of “The Good Shepherd” with a lunch meeting at the Polo Lounge. In contrast, Mr. Elegance himself, Karl Lagerfeld, turned up true fashionista style wearing his current trademark cut-off leather gloves. The gloves are a bit gay-Berlin nightclub but at least he got the city right and he’s not making anyone else wear them.