ESSENCE magazine September 2009 cover girl Gabrielle Union knows when her red-carpet look rocks—and when her looks hit rock bottom. Get the scoop on Union’s best and worst fashions moments.
As Told to ESSENCE West Coast Editor Regina Robertson
“Now you see where my stylist Tara Swennen entered my life! [Laughs.] I love, love, love this dress. I love the bold necklace. I love my hair and I love my makeup. In my normal life, I don’t really wear a lot of color, but this was fly.”
“Meet Dave” premiere in Los Angeles, July 2008.
“With Derby fashion, they always use it [against you]. When in Rome, you wear the freakin’ hat. There’s not a lot of ways to make a ginormous hat look reasonable. It is what it is. But you’re not going to see me with a big ol’ Derby hat walking into [L.A. restaurant] Mr. Chow. But I didn’t think the $25 dress was that bad. That hat was expensive, but for $25, I pulled off this dress, beautifully.”
Kentucky Derby 2008, Church Hill Downs, Kentucky.
“I wanted a really timeless, Hollywood-classic look when I did all of the “Cadillac Records” press. With this one, the hair came together, the makeup came together, and the dress was beautiful.”
“Cadillac Records” premiere in New York City, December 2008.
“OK, it’s bad—I’ll give you this orange, pseudo-crop top madness. I don’t know what was happening with the shirt…both shirts and my little belly poking out. I don’t understand how I put this together…or was I coming from running errands? I don’t know what I was thinking. This was bad.”
Malibu Most Wanted premiere in Los Angeles April 2003.
“This dress was the favorite my stylist had picked; I didn’t have to try on anything else. When I left the house, the hair was dope and the dress was just sick. I loved the bold neck piece. But it’s funny because as I got out of the car to walk the red carpet, my dress broke—the big, silver thing snapped. My girlfriend pulls a bobby pin out of her hair and rigs up my dress. Literally, we were standing there at the drop-off, trying to shield myself from the paparazzi and the camera people, and I am panicking."
BET Awards in Los Angeles, June 2008.
“I distinctly remember this slip dress because it was in. I wouldn’t wear it today; it would look like a slip.”
“Original Sin” premiere in Los Angeles, July 2001.
“For this look, we did the hair down and we had the cuff. I loved the cuff but I got paranoid I would lose it. I’m not a big jewelry purchaser. But when you borrow the really expensive stuff, sometimes they have the people there following you, which is a little weird. And when they don’t, you feel even worse because sometimes the clasp will slip off. It’s more nerve-racking than anything, so as soon as I got off the carpet, I gave that cuff right back.”
BET Honors in Washington, D.C., January 2009.
“I remember the dress because I remember how much I loved it. I would wear it with these high boots and I wore it as often as I could. I loved that dress. And I thought the weave that day was fine.”
The book launch of “Effortless Style” by June Ambrose at Tenjune in New York City in 2006.
“For this look, we did the hair down—and I loved the hair," says the star about her relaxed look.