Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Fashion Review: Grammys 2019

Once or twice a year, we get treated to a red carpet so bold, bodacious and berserk that weird is winning and classy is boring. The Grammys is one of them and is delightful! I find myself most enjoying those who look like they're living their best lives, regardless of whether their outfits are something I'd ever wear. More than other awards shows, the Grammys also have a red carpet stuffed with randos, many whom are seizing the moment to try to grab some attention. Some play their cards just right and some are trolls who are trying too hard. Let's review!

Best Dressed

It's Cardi B's world and we're just living in it. I can't even explain why this vintage Thierry Mugler look — basically a sexy Ursula vibe? A giant pearl popping out of an oyster? A flower with Cardi as the stamen? — worked for me. But I think it's her pure commitment to selling the hell out of it. And honestly, I'm a sucker for anyone who can pull off dramatic, surreal couture. Here's the backstory.

It was a big night for Dua Lipa (I was dying for her sexy duet with St. Vincent) and she traipsed around first in this glamorous ice princess Atelier Versace sparkler and later in a classic 90's-style Versace black-and-white gown secured with safety pins, like she was peak Elizabeth Hurley on her way to meet Hugh Grant for a hot date.

The hat is.....a bit much, yes? But damn, I cannot fault Jenny from the Block for always playing with us, like she's a cat and the world is a mouse she's just batting around until we're dizzy. When J.Lo wears something this out-there, but weirdly well put-together, it makes me question everything I know about good taste. The Ralph & Russo dress itself is beautifully detailed, with multicolored gems elevating the simple shift, and her makeup was reliably flawless.

I like when Gaga surprises us by trotting out classic sexy songstress without a single wacky gimmick to be seen. Her tousled hair was perfect, and I liked the sparkle of her Celine by Hedi Slimane gown. Now, I can admit that at a glance, it does look like a foil swan twisted around some steakhouse leftovers, but all in all, I liked it.

People can have their fun with fashion, but Bebe Rexha wore what I'd actually want to wear if I was nominated for Best New Artist and wanted to feel like Cinderella. She claimed she had a hard time finding a designer who would dress her, so this fluffy raspberry red Monsoori gown was the best revenge. She was dripping in the prettiest sparkly diamonds.

Camila Cabello looked sultry without revealing everything in this sparkly lilac gown by Armani Prive. I love when designers dip into their Crayola box to find a less-common color and it lands on exactly the right lovely girl.

Only Janelle Monae can don what looks like shirred toilet paper trimmed with fur, topped with what I think may legitimately be a foamcore-and-safety pin hat and look like a million bucks. The exaggerated shoulders on this Jean Paul Gaulthier dress are pure art and the sparkle on her head looked like a damn crown.

It was Kacey Musgraves' moment, and lord it was a long time coming! She can be very adventurous fashion-wise, so this Valentino was a great look that toed the line between avant-garde (the fanned bodice) and princessy tulle. I do wish the sash was not crinkled.

Chloe x Halle have burst upon the scene and even though I'm not usually super into Sister Sister matchy matchy fashion, I was actually very into their sophisticated take on sculptural, origami-inspired black and white.

I worship St. Vincent and she has a stellar resume packed with out-of-the-box fashion experimentation, which gives her license to rock something a little bold. I loved the volume on this floral Giambattista Valli dress, a mix between a kimono, a dramatic cloak and a regal 18th-century gown.

Tracee Ellis Ross could wear sweatpants with a bra and clogs and her beaming face would still sell it. She get it from her mama! I loved her dramatic long braids paired with this popping green suit wrapped with a slithering jeweled serpent, like she's the forbidden fruit just daring us to take a bite.

Quite a few guys were rocking double-breasted suits fit for 1970s Mick Jagger, but I was most into this black-and-white ensemble fitted perfectly on Mark Ronson.

I do love when an anonymous hottie steals the spotlight and has me doing double-takes with her bold fashion and that's what happened with Bella Harris. She was unknown to me, but apparently is the 18-year-old daughter of legendary producer Jimmy Jam and was at one point rumored to be dating Drake. Not many people can rock slinky sequined chartreuse, but she looks fantastic.

Most Dolly

Often imitated, never duplicated. There's only one Dolly and only she would squeeze that frame into a frock decked out with every single trimming available on the shelves of the fabric store. It's all there: jewels, ruffles, feathers. Long live the queen!


I'm a recent convert to the Jada Pinkett Smith's School of Emotional Vulnerability and Random Wise One-Liners thanks to her Red Table Talks, and I wasn't mad at her borderline roadkill gown. It's dramatic and eye-catching, but maybe a little gamey?

Katy Perry posted a hilarious meme in which someone compared her Balmain dress to a paint roller and now I can't unsee it, but I like the cotton candy-meets-futuristic robot vibe of it. It's just the right amount of drama for the Grammy's and for her personality.

Anna Kendrick joked on Instagram that she and Katy looked like Skipper and Barbie and she's not wrong! This is like the little sister version of Katy's gown, and is maybe one of my favorite looks she's worn to the Grammy's.

I didn't know who Amber Mark was (Pitchfork says she's an up and coming soulful pop singer), but I like the general idea of her shimmery red gown. It looks a little bit underaccessorized, but I like the cut and color.

Kelsea Ballerini's nude Jenny Packham gown is a little snoozy, but I did like the ruching in the waist and there's not much a red-orange lip can't elevate. 

Margo Price's dress by Kimberly Parker was a little bit country, a little bit rock and roll, and very lovely (and maybe comfy) to accommodate her bump. It gives me 1970s Loretta Lynn vibes, in a good way.

Don't hate me, but I kinda like Ashlee Simpson's bejeweled and bedazzled and befeathered Georges Chakra pantsuit fit for Cher. I don't necessarily love that she gets invited places based on her proximity to Diana Ross, but I would like just once to wear this with full confidence out in public.

You might think this entry is about the ageless and seductive Ricky Martin, but no, this is for dapper young Matteo Martin, that mop top stealing hearts and taking names in his turtleneck and moto jacket.

I am a fan of this royal blue suit on Shawn Mendes. It looks sexy and timeless, even if I find him kinda boring.


Alicia Key's button down dress is ok, and it fits very well, but it just felt forgettable.

H.E.R wore this fitted purple and blue brocade pantsuit by Coach that just feels kind of mature and blah to me. Not particularly fashion-forward or interesting.

I am on board for most of Maren Morris's gown — especially the silver belt — but the neon yellow flower felt like a little overdesigned embellishment afterthought, tacked on to keep it from feeling boring.

If you ever wonder how you can make your entire body look shorter and squatter than it is, try a wide-legged jumpsuit with aggressive linebacker shoulders.  I just feel like this jumpsuit is not being very kind to Meghan Trainor at all.

Our girl Miley is back, having sowed all her wild oats, and now this married woman is unfortunately a bit boring on the red carpet. Her oversized black suit just didn't do anything for me, but she does look like she is LIVING.

Bear with me, but I am classifying this pink Muppet ensemble on Tayla Parx (apparently a mega successful songwriter behind "Thank U Next" and "High Hopes" by Panic at the Disco) as a "meh" because it's falling just shy of being a successful avant-garde look and just shy of being true blech and so it is in the squishy middle. It looks like something That's So Raven would wear to the Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards, not the Grammy's.

Toni Braxton decided to pull a Kardashian and show off her goodies in a mostly nude dress with minimal actual design concept beyond lightly concealing her privates. I just find this concept boring and a little desperate at this point.

Worst Dressed

I almost hesitated to put this look in the worst-dressed section because it's too obvious, right? Like of course this is insanity. But it's kinda Bjorkian and I will give Bjork a hall pass to be as whackadoo as she wants because she's a true artist and inspiration. This is not Bjork, however. This is Du Yen (no idea) and she decided to make an outfit with Dollar Store art supplies and Fruit by the Foot, and she's just trying way too hard.

Tierra Whack's look is a more successful spin on the lucid fever dream acid trip motif, but it's still the pelt of Animal (the Muppet) draped over what might be a painting of an Edvard Munch nightmare. Apparently this was designed by a Philly local, so I'll at least grant some kudos for sticking to her roots.

I bet Kylie Jenner thought she was sooooooooo cooooool when she got strapped into this pink pleated straight jacket-rubber gloves combo by Balmain and pulled out her perfect Michael Jackson curl. But GIRL I have not forgotten your sweet original face and I cannot be fooled into thinking you've got the fashion goods. Can you imagine how incredibly annoying it was to have literally no range of movement all night?

There's a tiny infinitesimal part of me that is actually on board with a tattooed nerd flashing the peace sign in a baby pink leather cowboy suit fit for a Dixie Chick. But the other part of me is SO DISTRACTED by Post Malone's moose knuckle situation and also, I cannot tell where his pants end and his boots begin. They look like the over-the-shoe pants figure skaters wear. No bueno.

Andra Day is a lovable and reliable kook on the red carpet, and part of me isn't mad at it, but the other part of me wishes she didn't go all-in with this outfit that is more costume than it is fashion. It looks like she was invited to a Scooby Doo anniversary celebration and tried to find a Sexy Daphne costume.

Charlie Puth looked less than thrilled in every single red carpet photo and I cannot blame him, because someone made him wear a poop brown UPS for Men double-breasted suit (actually by Prada) that was wrinkled and rumpled and mysteriously unbuttoned in just one spot. The red shirt underneath looks equally unkempt, like he had to steal this whole ensemble off a mannequin in a hurry.

I like to imagine Ashanti sitting down with her designer, pulling out a sketch pad and doodling this, saying, "I would like the top to be crushed black velvet, exactly like a competitive gymnast would wear, and then for the bottom, I'm hoping you can capture the effect and movement of spray foam insulation."

I like a geometric illusion as much as the next person, but this graphic futuristic robot look on Jeannie Mai (who?) felt so desperate to me. It also gives me Figure Skater Gone Bad vibes.

Hennessy Carolina, sister to Queen of the Night Cardi B, tried to give her sister a run for her money in this exaggerated orange blazer worn with....I hope underwear, at least? It's like a fashion interpretation of the circus, blending the ringmaster's frock with the silhouette of an elephant's head and the fabric of a big top tent. 

This Pentatonix vision in khaki looks like it came from the Troop Beverly Hills troop leader fashion collection, and as much as I do dream of one day having such a collection, I am not a fan of this group effort.

This is a person named Victoria Kuhne (apparently a producer), whose gold Gucci dress has a country granny collar that looks like she insisted on wearing her sorority's color stole post-graduation. The color story here of purple and Gustav Klimt-gold and turquoise shoes feels ill-conceived.

Sweet Ella Mai swathed herself in a shapeless blue bomb of tulle with truly the most unflattering hemline. Her straight lob just felt very casual with this conceptual fashion take on Willy Wonka's Violet Beauregarde.

There's a thin line between wearing a fun butterfly-inspired frock and full on wearing a Halloween costume and Saint Heart crossed it. I think she could have made this work with better styling, but the pink streak in her hair and general motif made this feel like what I expect Jojo Siwa will be wearing in five years.

This pairing of producer Shawn Everett and Belgica Vargas might be borderline fun whacky, but once I got it into my head that he looks like he made a homemade Nights Watch costume by spray painting football pads and buying a rubber suit, I couldn't unsee it. Her look...well, there's more happening there than my eyes can process. Both of them add up to a system overload for me.

Linda Perry has a schtick and she's sticking to it: a hat with the height of a stovepipe and the brim of a hillbilly cartoon and a collection of flotsam and jetsam draped over a bunch of black fabric. But it's the dramatic kabuki deathbed makeup that somewhat sent this over the edge from predictable kookiness to why-are-you-like-this kookiness.

And last but never least, the Grammy's invited this Joy Villa woman and this Ricky Rebel person again. Both are basically professional MAGA trolls who use every opportunity to try to advocate for the policies of the Trump administration through extraordinarily literal fashion (see the barbed wire collar) and little ability to voice support in a cogent manner based in truth. Thank u, next. 

No comments: