LOS ANGELES — It is approximately three hours before the red carpet opens at Sunday’s Grammy Awards , and up in her hotel room at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel, Colbie Caillat is experiencing her first real catastrophe of the day.
It seems that, through some miscommunication or sleight of hand, she’s managed to dump a half-pint of cream on her Raisin Bran, a move that won’t exactly aid her in her quest to fit into her canary yellow Cynthia Vincent dress.
The situation is compounded by the fact that she’s currently 30 minutes deep into her makeup session, getting smoky shadow applied to her eyes and being covered in body shimmer.
But in an instant, she pushes the soggy cereal aside, orders another bowl and is back to toggling through an iTunes playlist (Bob Marley, Coldplay, Jack Johnson) and sitting perfectly still while her makeup artist continues her work.
All in all, it’s a fairly remarkable display of levelheadedness for a 22-year-old in the midst of her first awards-season blitz. But that’s how Caillat approaches pretty much everything, from dress fittings to touring to this evening’s Grammy telecast.
“If I wasn’t sitting here right now, I’d probably be calling people, trying to get everyone together to have lunch on a beach or something,” she laughs, looking skyward as more eyeliner is applied. “I’m generally pretty easygoing. But this is a really complicated procedure. When you see those girls on the red carpet in their beautiful getups, it’s not like they just fell out of bed that way.”
No kidding. In Caillat’s case, the Grammy transformation actually began 24 hours earlier, when her stylist wheeled a rack of dresses, plus cases of jewelry and shoes, into her hotel room, and they began the selection process. From an initial field of “around 100 dresses,” Caillat selected 15 that fit her style and went from there.
“It was sort of this process of elimination,” she explains. “I wanted something that was more beach style, nothing over-the-top or crazy. But it’s got to be a little short, because it’s the Grammys. And I wanted it to be yellow, because I’ve always loved that color.”
Of course, pretty much everyone in the room — a rep for her label, the makeup artist and the just-arrived hairstylist — would like to see the dress, but it has still yet to arrive at the hotel (turns out a seamstress was still working on it), which brings us to catastrophe number two.
Caillat is due to arrive on the Grammy carpet in less than two hours, and without her dress, she’s sort of stuck. But rather than panic, she sits still while the stylist works blond extensions into her sandy-brown hair — he calls them — and ponders her Sarah Hearey clutch, a beautiful, exotic, near-$2,000 piece of red-carpet excess.
“You don’t understand — nothing goes in here. Like, it holds my lip gloss and my ID, and that’s it,” she says. “I have another bag over there, but it’s huge, and it’s for being on the road. It’s definitely not red-carpet approved.”
Still, neither the size of her clutch nor the absence of her dress seems to bother Caillat one bit. Rather, she’s content to sing along to Marley’s “Exodus” and pick at a chicken Caesar salad (there was much room servicing going on). And this is due in part to the aforementioned levelheadedness, but also because she’s sort of an old pro at this.
“I’ve been to the Grammys twice before, really. I went last year, and I went to the show with my dad [producer Ken Caillat] when I was, like, 15,” she says. “Of course, back then, I picked out my outfit from my closet, and I remember looking at all the glamorous people and thinking, ’Where did they buy that dress? When did they do their makeup?’ Now, I understand.”
Speaking of the dress, it has finally arrived — exactly 55 minutes before she’s due on the carpet. And to say that it was worth the wait is an understatement.
The dress is flowing and elegant, but also young and sexy. And when it’s paired with golden Elizabeth Showers jewelry and gold René Caovilla heels (plus an orchid in her hair), it’s a look that’s both refined and funky, equal parts ballroom and beach.
The best part? It’s hers to keep.
“I feel great,” she beams. “I love it. I really love it.”
And, as luck would have it, just as the finishing touches are being applied by her stylists, her ride arrives downstairs. With a final check in the mirror, Caillat’s off. Levelheaded and glamorous as ever.
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