‘On the Grammys red carpet, there’s no room for good taste’
On the Grammys red carpet on Sunday night, there was no room for good taste. Literally. It would have had to get around Lizzo’s Dolce & Gabbana cape, studded with taffeta corsages, to get in.
The trend of the night for the pop stars in attendance was to turn up the volume and out-size each other in the dress department – a pile-on of trains, capes, ruffles, hoods and hats.
Sam Smith wore a scarlet, puffed-collar Valentino Couture cloak, an entourage of six identikits behind them. Beyonce’s exaggerated Gucci dress featured a waved silver skirt, while a 10 metre circumference of curled tulle surrounded Jennifer Lopez. Cardi B was wrapped in a cobalt satin helix. Adele, in Louis Vuitton, was comparatively pared back, but even her bold shoulder design boasted a wingspan of around a metre.
Yes, the Grammys is the celebrity event where taste goes out the window. To be stylish and look nice simply wouldn’t meet the brief. That has always been the point of this particular red carpet parade – you come with your stage presence and ego on full display. Taste isn’t what they’re going for. It would be offensive to say they looked tasteful. Boring, in fact.
The goal is to look as otherworldly and intriguing as Lady Gaga did when she turned up in an iridescent egg in 2011. Or to go viral, as Jennifer Lopez first did at the Grammys in 2000, when so many fans wanted to see her Versace dress that Google was prompted to create its image search engine.
This is what Pop Star Dressing looks like now. It’s a case of go big to be seen or, even better, to become a meme. Every star is dressed with the intention of becoming a talking point, and for fashion analysts and fans there is much to digest in the aftermath. I can’t wait to see what the internet does with Shania Twain’s outré look – the full Dr Seuss in a hat, corset and bell-bottom trousers by British-American Harris Reed.
They all want to achieve viral success on social media – a measure so important that the starriest names (Beyonce and J Lo) swerve the traditional red carpet altogether in favour of producing their own glossy photoshoots for Instagram. The competitiveness between artists trying to catch the most attention is palpable – culminating in a battle for the biggest look.
The danger is, though, that when everyone does Pop Star Dressing in the same way, it can serve to make more of a statement about how manufactured pop stars look now. If you or I had put on a big enough gown, might we too have been mistaken for Doja Cat in the line-up?
Harry Styles stood out by virtue of not wearing the same thing as everyone else. In the battle of who can look the most cartoonish, his Egonlab harlequin jewelled jumpsuit looked relatively understated and cool.
The takeaway from the night, for artists? Wearing enough fabric to ensure that no one else can fit on the red carpet alongside you will afford you your moment with the paparazzi. But when all in attendance are doing the same thing, can anyone be the “biggest” fashion star?