Eurovision contestants who want to win need to bring a voice. They need to bring a song. And, as any fashionista knows, they need to bring an outfit that turns heads and matches their LED backdrop. This year Conchita dazzled with a golden, hip-hugging gown set against red flames. Pollapönk channelled mod 60s glamour with their rainbow-coloured suits. And Suzy Guerra took us to Carnival with her fierce samba dress and golden shoes.
But in the end one woman out-classed the competition, not just on stage, but also with her promotional photos and general sense of fashion. She barely missed out on a spot in the Eurovision’s Next Top Model Hall of Fame, but our readers are making it up to her now. After counting 3,081 votes, we’re pleased to announce that Ukraine’s Mariya Yaremchuk has won the 2014 Sabina Babayeva Award for Best Dressed.
Anna Osmekhina, the Ukrainian designer and fashion editor for Cosmopolitan, dreamed up Mariya’s sexy gown, which featured black ropes that rolled down from the waistline. “We wanted to show the great symbiosis for every women – power and tenderness of femininity,” stage director Olena Koliadenko said during Eurovision. “We searched for something that could bring this symbol to every viewer, to underline the special part of Mariya’s song Tick-Tock and her character itself, to bring magic to the stage in every bit of stage presentation.”
Osmekhina and Koliadenko drew up the first design on a plain napkin. They thought the dress should be black. Then Mariya chimed in and they decided to go for the “more noble color” blue. The dress was made from scoured silk that gave it the appearance of being covered in dust. Drama, honey!
Of course, Mariya brought amazing looks all Eurovision season. Her high fashion promotional photos screamed KABUKI CHIC.
When we spoke with her at her hotel in Copenhagen, she looked stunning in a blue dress with a yellow coat. She kind of looked like the Ukrainian flag with a head sticking out.
When she walked down the red carpet a few days later, Mariya came dressed in black to honour the dozens of Ukrainians who died during skirmishes in Odessa. She was articulate. She was demure. She was beautiful.
Sabina Babayeva Award for Best Dressed — Results
1. Mariya Yaremchuk: 1,250 votes, 40.57%
2. Conchita Wurst: 748 votes, 24.28%
3. Pollaponk: 344 votes, 11.17%
4. Suzy: 260 votes, 8.44%
5. Softengine: 256 votes, 8.31%
6. Kasey Smith: 223 votes, 7.24%
The Sabina Babayeva Award recognises the contestant who most turned Eurovision into a runway. Azerbaijan’s 2012 Eurovision contestant wowed us in Baku with her technologically advanced stage dress, but also with the stunning creations she wore at press conferences, promotional events, and when hobnobbing with stars at EuroClub. From on-stage glamour to off-stage elegance, she knew that fashion has a place in every setting.
This award is just one of a dozen awards that make up the second annual Valentina Monetta Awards. Our 12 categories—from best dressed to most most wronged at ESC—identify the contestants who left the biggest impression on Eurovision fans, regardless of whether they won the contest or not.