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. 

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