Monday, January 29, 2018

Fashion Review: Grammys 2018

The Grammys are kind of the ultimate fashion roller-coaster. The fashions run the gamut from breathtaking glamour to rock and roll casual to rolled-out-of-bed laziness. The rules that govern good and bad taste are thrown out the window — the biggest sin, to me, is being overly simple. This year's show had a lot of super safe sparkly dresses, fashion risks that didn't entirely pay off and the straight-up crazy looks that are actually my favorite to see. Let's review, shall we?

Best Dressed

This raspberry Zac Posen confection on Miley Cyrus is what I want to wear every day of my life. Post office visits, symphonies, Target runs — you name it, I'm wearing this. It's Old Hollywood glamour fit for Hitchcock-era Grace Kelly and a delightful shock after several years of eye-popping, maddeningly crazy outfits on Miley. 

Cardi B's Ashi Studio gown is one part origami, one part "November Rain" wedding dress and one part sea creature and I'm all about it! The Grammy's are the perfect occasion to try out a wacky silhouette and for a debut appearance on the red carpet, this strikes the right note between tasteful and attention-grabbing. That look from behind is ready to be immortalized in marble.

Obviously I had a limited view of Lady Gaga's pleated tulle cotton candy performance gown, but it looks like all my Glinda the Good Witch fantasies, as rendered by a couturier. It was appropriately ethereal for her tribute to her aunt Joanne.

Rita Ora wins for very best accessorizing with the night's requisite white rose to show solidarity with the Time's Up movement by incorporating it seamlessly into her rich, black Ralph & Russo gown. That slit is dangerous, but I love how it provides just a peekaboo glimpse of sparkle. Her make-up is what Pinterest boards are made of.

Hailee Steinfeld managed to walk the line between classy ingenue and burgeoning pop diva with this simple white Alexandre Vaulthier dress that let her brilliant accessories — Lost in Space purple metallic go-go boots and green eye shadow — do the talking.

Many of the women chose the Grammy's as their one chance to wear a lot of sparkle, frou frou ruffles and tulle. I'm a sucker for ostrich feathers and this gown (which might be molting) on Karen Fairchild of Little Big Town scores points not only for being beautiful, but also looking quite comfy.

This misty lavender Paolo Sebastian gown on Julia Michaels is not the best original design I've ever seen, but paired with her arm full of tattoos and her crisp bob, it struck a cool dichotomy of soft and tough.

I thought Ashanti looked really beautiful in this gold sparkling turtleneck Yas Couture gown with an architectural skirt...but dang I do not think she did a good camera flash test when she was trying it on because I can see her nipples in literally every red carpet picture. Maybe I'm not giving her enough credit — maybe that's on purpose?

What a winning pair! I thought Bebe Rexha's La Perla gown was sexy (apparently she even had a red carpet nip slip!) and the beading has a fun art deco-meets-Elvis vibe. Only Cyndi Lauper could pull off this Moschino suit, but damn she really is pulling it off!

Katie Holmes' Zac Posen dress and 1920's hair reminded me of Blade Runner's cross of futurism and retro fashion, in a good way. I'm not really sure why she was there, and I don't know if I'd consider this "best" in any other scenario, but it was just daring enough and interesting enough to edge out some competition in my book.


I have to hand it to Bey. Very, very few people would have the audacity to show up late and sit in the front row wearing a towering church crown, black turtleneck gown and tiny '90s sunglasses that seems inspired by a Sunday afternoon cable showing of "Four Weddings and a Funeral" with a little Black Panther flair (confirmed by her stylist). It's a little bizarre but it's also adventurously glamorous, which I can appreciate.

Rihanna accepted a Grammy looking like Diana Ross on a rainy day, wearing a latex-look oxblood trench with matching gloves. It gives me very grown-up Carmen Sandiego vibes. It's a little wacky, but definitely not boring and feels appropriate for her, for hip hop and for the Grammy's. 

I just can't quite work up enough excitement over Lady Gaga's red carpet Armani gown to nudge it into my "best" category. The voluminous skirt with a long train certainly brings the drama, but the lace bodysuit seemed a little been there-done that. Still, it's got all the right elements for a good Grammy's look: drama, sex appeal, rock and roll.

Camila Cabelo's red Vivienne Westwood gown is very, very lovely and the bodice is working overtime to sculpt the best figure imaginable. I especially love her disco ball purse. On the whole, the look needed a little something else, I felt, but it's certainly a good showing.

I don't 100% understand the shawl-mockneck situation happening above Miley's velvet jumpsuit, but this is chic as hell. It manages to be just rock-and-roll enough and just classy enough. Plus, it's a little understated, preparing us for the POW of her amazing performance gown.

A lot (A LOT) of the ladies walking the red carpet wore silver sequined gowns along these lines, but SZA's was one of the most interesting, looking like a sparkly nervous system criss-crossing her body. It's definitely fit for Ginger Rogers and makes me wish she'd had a ballroom dance partner glide down the red carpet with her to help us really appreciate its movement. 

Lana del Ray's custom Gucci also had Old Hollywood vibes and looks really easy to wear and comfy. It's very suited to her style and music, but I feel like the styling needs to be turned up a little bit. 

Chrissy Teigen wore her usual sexy sparkles. I don't think this Yanina Couture gown is entirely successful (there are a lot of ideas happening here between the draping, the belt, the Morticia Addams sleeves), but it's different enough to be eye-catching.


The best-worst category is reserved for people who, under normal circumstances, would definitely be the very worst dressed. But because it's the Grammy's and I want it to be a little bonkers, I have to pay tribute to those who dare to wear crazy ensembles.

It is ostensibly a bad idea to wear a Valentine's-themed ode to Ab Fab's Patsy Stone to the Grammy's and yet...if someone told me that's what Andra Day was doing intentionally, I'd throw her a parade. This is terrible and wonderful. God bless her.

There are very few among us who would choose a marigold and fuschia brocade bell-bottomed tuxedo to wear to the Grammy's, but Ava Max here means business. She's here to get noticed and if a truly heinous color-combination won't do it, what will? Here's the weird part: I think this is almost working!! I could imagine Mick Jagger wearing it in 1977 and who can argue with that?

Janelle Monae looked positively statuesque in her Dolce and Gabbana mariachi tuxedo, equally appropriate for an Elvis tribute or a quinceanera. This look takes some serious cajones, but Janelle somehow manages to pull it off! I was not, however, a fan of her hair situation. Streaky blonde highlights on only half the head is not a trend I want to see trickling down to the masses.

In any normal realm, it would be very much the worst idea to do a homemade version of one of the costumes from "A Wrinkle in Time." But at the Grammy's, I can appreciate someone showing up wearing Mom's robe over a tie-dyed prom dress with neon orange eye shadow. Kudos to you, Li Saumet.

Most Extra Award goes to DJ Khaled and his main man Asahd, wearing matching red velvet tuxedos. #goals. 


I get what Kesha is going for here with her (I assume vintage) honky tonk suit by rhinestone cowboy king Nudie the Rodeo Tailor, but it just appears to be a little ill-fitting. Her posture is telling me she's uncomfortable and I think a slightly more feminized cut — tapered at the waist and flaring out to the hips with a flared leg — would make a world of difference. Such is the risk with vintage. 

Anna Kendrick has tried SO HARD over the years to perfect the mix of sexy, quirky and edgy for the Grammy's, but Madonna Starring in Working Girl is not it. This Balmain suit looks truly thrifted, and not in the good way.

There are five too many things happening with Kelly Clarkson's dress. There's a belt, a cape, fringe, much. I'd cut the cape and fringe, but then you'd have something very boring. Maybe lose most of the gold lace?

Kimberly Schlapman (of Little Big Town) wore this mostly pretty pink-purple Raisa & Vanessa gown with delicate ruffles and a great fit. But I cannot shake the idea that this borders very close to being a saloon girl costume on Westworld. It just didn't sing for me, plain and simple. 

If I'm honest, I don't think I'm really a fan of Maren Morris's Julien MacDonald gown at all, but it does seem well-suited to the event and isn't bad, per se. It's not very special, ultimately. 

Worst Dressed

This person named Kali Uchis managed to somehow combine the signature jumpsuit and hair of Selena with a pattern and color fit for Romy and Michele's high school reunion. If it were revealed to me that this was an elaborate tribute to "Groove is in the Heart" (one of my favorite music videos of all time), I might be able to forgive this sin.

I've written before about my dislike of Muppet Murder Couture, but I guess Pink isn't a devoted follower of my musings about red carpet fashion because she could not resist an opportunity to wear Armani's pelts of murdered Muppets. Her face and hair are GORGEOUS, but I will never love this look no matter who wears it.

Rachel Antonoff is one of my favorite cheeky designers (and favorite people to follow on Instagram), but I can't quite abide the aggressive ugliness of this ensemble. It's like a grocery store clerk's shirt combined with a dressy crosswalk attendant's jacket and a Swan Lake costume. I'm not picking up what she's putting down.

Sarah Silverman tried wayyyyyy too hard to hit that sweet spot of quirky and edgy and event appropriate and landed somewhere closer to Bellatrix LeStrange's Big Night Out. Her Maggie Marilyn dress looked about a size too small in the bust and yet somehow work appropriate, and her hair was teased into a windblown pile that looked like it was styled with a can of compressed air keyboard cleaner.

Finally, Alessia Cara committed the greatest sin of having literally no fun with the night. I have no problem with dressing comfortably or wearing a suit, but this is a snooze fest. Make the suit red, green or aubergine and BAM! — more interesting. Make the tee a graphic tee and BAM! — more interesting. This is basically what Whoopi Goldberg wore in the movie "Eddie" and if ever there were a movie NOT known for its fashion, it's "Eddie." I wouldn't wear this to the post office, an office meeting or a school play, much less to collect the "Best New Artist" Grammy I've been dreaming of my entire life. 

Monday, January 22, 2018

Fashion Review: SAG Awards 2018

The SAG Awards have become one of the most fun red carpet events for fashion. Since it's a looser event that honors both movies and TV, we get treated to some sartorial adventures. Some are extremely successful, and you get to see someone try on a new persona for the night. Some are shockingly bad. A few trends emerged: sequins, halters, florals, white and blush gowns. But praise the lord, we also saw the entire rainbow of colors. Let's get into it!

Best Dressed

Mandy Moore looked flawless in this disco-ready custom Ralph Lauren in the most delightful shade of periwinkle. Her soft curls and nude lip were the perfect complement. She looks like she's planned cocktails at Halston's apartment, followed by a night at one of Bianca Jagger's birthday parties at 54.

Yara Shahidi is just impossibly beautiful, chic, smart and elegant — so much so it's unfair. Her black Ralph Lauren jumpsuit with a train looked effortless when paired with her berry lip and glorious Diana Ross curls. Looks like she's learned a thing or two from TV mom Tracee Ellis Ross.

There are few among us who could rock a Miu Miu halter gown with a midriff of fluffy ostrich feathers, but Margot Robbie is a rare bird, indeed. The silhouette looked very glamorous from the side, and the delicate cascade of the skirt is just dreamy. She looks like Grace Kelly for the 21st century: classic with an edge.

Allison Williams appears ready to take over the Cyd Charisse role in a remake of Singing in the Rain (do NOT greenlight that, Hollywood) in this platinum Ralph & Russo gown. Every girl wants to look this classy, elegant, sexy and fun once in her life. Her burgundy lip and glowy skin were the perfect accessories for such a showstopper gown.

Grecian goddess Tracee Ellis Ross has become a master as showing off her curves. This beautifully draped Ralph & Russo gown is one of her all-time best, and utterly timeless.

Allison Janney is here to be the robot queen of the future and I'm ready for it! This quicksilver sequined disco ball of a gown by Yanina Couture was edgy, sexy and ready for its close-up when the moment came. I'm excited to see her getting so celebrated this season!

The vintage-loving, ballet-obsessed girly girl in me is a complete sucker for Madeline Brewer's pearl-covered Reem Acra gown and flawless make-up. Her rosy cheeks and red-orange lips matched perfectly to her shoes. She's incredibly beautiful but her acting roles in Orange is the New Black and The Handmaid's Tale haven't usually called for this level of glamour. This is a NOTICE ME look.

I can't get over the offbeat ease and elegance of Holly Hunter's Paule Ka gown. The rich gold, the clean lines and her breezy styling are just a master class in red carpet dressing without trying too hard.

The hostess of the evening, Kristen Bell, shined in this raspberry J. Mendel gown. An underutilized color, beautifully tailored, and impeccably accessorized = a winner in my book.

Nicole is a best dressed Hall of Famer at this point. So much so, I almost didn't recognize this hypnotic shimmery Monique Lhuillier for how beautiful it really is. It's not any one color at all — it's all of them!


I don't 100% love Brie Larson's Gucci dress, but I appreciate that it's different, it's pretty and of the many floral gowns on the red carpet, it was one of the best. Her make-up is the look we should all be stealing.

Odeya Rush wasn't familiar to me at first, until I saw she played the popular girl in Lady Bird. But I have to give kudos to her for the cool architectural lines of this Dior gown. It's a bit of an awkward hemline and I'd definitely do something different with her hairdo, but I appreciate how interesting it is when she could have played it really safe.

I'm like a magpie for silver and black and leafy patterns, so I could not ignore Olivia Munn's Oscar de la Renta gown. It's event-appropriate, a little bit disco and a little bit art deco. I feel like it's a dress I could easily dislike, too...but that's the fun of fashion, no?

Lupita Nyong'o's Ralph & Russo feather-trimmed mermaid gown is obviously quite beautiful and looks luminous with her shimmery skin. For me, it was a little too been there-done that to really move me, but it's definitely lovely.

Dakota Fanning just looked like a very pretty ballerina in her delicately detailed Prada gown. Simple, elegant. It's not daring or showy, but its subtle wavy sequin lines are certainly beautiful.

I feel like this Elizabetta Franchi was one of the more glamorous gowns my girl Connie Britton has ever worn. I wish her posture was a touch better to really sell it, but she looked sexy and cool and the color feels fresh.

Not one but two actresses donned celestial gowns that made me smile. Natalia Dyer, of Stranger Things, wore this horoscope-inspired Dior gown that is a little bit distracting (sue me, but I'm definitely doing a double-take when I see a sheer bodice cup) but fun. I give her a B+ for effort.

Samira Wiley also wore the sun, moon and stars with this Tadashi Shoji gown. I think I would like it better if the straps hit the corners of her shoulders, rather than forming a halter neckline. For some reason, I didn't love the lines of the gown as a halter.

Sadie Sink, of Stranger Things, managed to pull off not one but two style challenges: dress age-appropriately without looking like a baby doll and successfully rock Chanel couture off the runway. This looks sweet and chic.

Susan Sarandon has mastered the off-the-shoulder slinky gown for the 50+ woman, and this navy Zac Posen is one of her better entries in this style canon.

When I saw Reese on the red carpet, I was delighted to see her having a little more fun with details than she's been having recently (ESPECIALLY her emerald earrings), but when I saw the actual stripe detail on this Zac Posen gown, I was a little less in love. It reminds me a little too much of a saloon girl at an Old Timey Photo Booth or a roll of Christmas gift wrap. But it's not bad!

I just like the elegant sportiness of Marisa Tomei's simple long-sleeved column gown. She is barely aging, always sexy and this seems effortlessly chic. She looks like a French chanteuse. 

Close, But...

I could easily be swayed toward hating or loving Alison Brie's Dundas gown. On one hand, it's bold and interesting and seems like a perfect tribute to her character on GLOW. It's very superhero chic. On the other hand, it looks like Vegas clubwear you'd buy at a store in the mall for $25 if you needed a bachelorette dress. I think the homage to GLOW is the saving grace here. 

The more I look at Saoirse Ronan's lilac-pink Louis Vuitton, the more it grows on me, but when you really examine it, there's no reason it should be working. The metallic flaps seem like something you'd see on a deep sea fish, and the tied belt is straight out of a monastery. But the color, combined with the sparkle and topped off with her gorgeous face is working just enough for me. 

Vanessa Kirby plays Princess Margaret on The Crown and she seems to have internalized that woman's bad girl glamour. I love her Valentino gown, but her floppy wet blonde hair is just not achieving its intended look. It's a close-but-no-cigar attempt at messy hair that's ruining an otherwise really good ensemble. 


I enjoy Greta Gerwig's fashion moxie and the studded detail of her Bottega Veneta gown is fun and different. The color is...tricky. Chartreuse is a hard color for any mere mortal, and it's especially hard to photograph accurately. I'd be interested to see if I really liked this gown in a different color.

Elisabeth Moss's slinky Adam Selman halter dress is cute and sexy, but felt a little underwhelming for such a fun night. She also tends to shy away from experimenting with color a lot and I'd love to see her in a bright blue or green when she goes to a more fashion forward event like the SAGs.

I cannot pinpoint what I don't love about Laura Linney's J. Mendel gown. I like the color, I love a good cape and normally I like a feather motif. But on TV, I couldn't tell if it was feathers or just random lines or eyelashes or what. And it's pulling and wrinkling in weird ways that mar an otherwise perfect column. It's not bad by any means...I just can't seem to get the small thrill I need to nudge it to the "best" column.

Halle Berry in sparkles and black tulle is about as expected as me showing up in black flats and a black sweater. It works, it's fine, whatever. Sometimes her trusty nude sparkles and black tulle combo is inspired and fresh. Sometimes, like this one by Pamella Roland, it seems slipshod, like someone trying to wing a cake recipe. I imagine an inner monologue like "Lemme do a nude...ok...and maybe some sequins and beads...alright...and like, tie a bunch of tulle around the back of it...ok." And then you slather some icing on your half-risen confection and just send it out the door.

On the plus side, Gina Rodriguez's Rasario dress is different, it's interesting and it hit the floral trend right on the nose. On the downside, the corset-inspired bodice seems extremely forced and the straps veer a little bit away from sexy and more toward a practical bra designed to relieve shoulder/neck strain. I think back to the corseted Dolce & Gabbana gowns of the 90s that had spaghetti-thin straps and that just feels like a slightly more refined approach (assuming your boobs can stay up with that small amount of support).

I love when tweens enjoy being tweens and, for the most part, Millie Bobby Brown's ensemble is pitch-perfect and on-trend. It struck me as being basically half the Spice Girls personas combined in one outfit, which seems right on target with the current resurgence of everything I loved when I was her age! My only quibbles are that the train seems truly tacked on and the Calvin Klein by Appointment halter gown reveals quite a bit of skin from the sides, which makes me anxious when I'm looking at a 13-year-old girl.


I've been trying to stretch my imagination to imagine a scenario in which I would not hate Sally Hawkins' hypnotic Dior jumpsuit, but I think possibly only Ziggy Stardust-era Bowie could pull this off. There's so much to dislike here that I need a bulleted list to cover all of it:

  • The color scheme inspired by an afghan your grandparents had in the 70s
  • The leading lines hypnotizing you into looking right at her belly — good for her that it's in good shape!
  • The choir robe cut of the neckline
  • The impossibly wide tent-sized culotte cut of the pants
  • The styling of this INSANE outfit with the hair of a Senator's wife
  • The demure red pumps disappearing into the red carpet, making her look like she's sinking into a pit of despair

Kate Hudson's "Age of Innocence" meets "Prom in 1979" Valentino is not working for me on any level. I like to think of myself as generally open-minded to most fashion, but I don't think there's any scenario in which I would see this gown and think YES. It feels especially jarring with her modern and sleek short hair, like she's starring in a Hallmark romance about a Victorian woman who had to sell her hair in order to afford medicine for her true love afflicted with cholera. Don't worry, he'll survive and she'll get to wear this to the Valentine's Day Ball.

Yvonne Strahovski's lace Ester Abner gown looks like a very formal doctor's coat mixed with a pilgrim's collar mixed with a pair of lacy curtains. The pocket placement is not ideal and the fabric darting out from the waist is just bizarre. I have a hard time imagining flipping through a rack of gown options and seeing this bridal version of a postal worker's uniform and saying, "YES! I have to wear this on one of the most fun and fashionable nights in Hollywood."

That's it for me, folks! See you here same time, same place for Grammy's fashion next week!