Perhaps it’s the red-carpet drought caused by the writers’ strike , or the stars’ recent field trips to New York Fashion Week, but one thing’s for sure: This year’s Grammys were all about the new Hollywood glamour. The fashions were just as diverse as the nominees, from sweeping dramatic gowns to sparkly minis for the women, and men dressed up in black or dressed down in jeans. Though there were plenty of stunners, there were also the few “What were you thinking?” moments that make any red carpet complete — even without Amy Winehouse or Britney Spears present.
(Check out the list of 2008 Grammy Award winners right here; and don’t miss these sizzling snaps of Beyoncé, Rihanna, Miley Cyrus and more. )
Like the Best New Artist category this year , the red carpet belonged to the women. Bold, jewel-toned colors and sculpted hairdos worked wonders on stars like Alicia Keys, who wore a deep-blue Armani gown with a Mohawk of curls, and Natasha Bedingfield in a violet strapless belted dress by Reem Acra. Rihanna took the currently overexposed bob to a new length and made a fashion statement in her bright-blue sculpted Zac Posen number, which boasted feathers peeking from under the skirt. Nelly Furtado picked a similar shade for her long, draped Arthur Mendonça number that was unfortunately overpowered by her extreme slicked-back bob and gold coil necklace. Fergie, who departed from her usual overstyled look, went for a light-yellow Calvin Klein number and framed her face with soft, loose curls.
Newcomers to the red carpet brought a youthful, fashion-forward approach that meant shorter hem lines and sparkles. Taylor Swift ditched her iconic cowboy boots for a custom Sandy Spika dress covered in sparkles and a gauzy skirt of appliqué flowers. Sparkles have also become a fashion staple for Miley Cyrus, who dressed beyond her years in a white Celine sheath dress and Sergio Rossi stilettos.
Paramore’s Haley Williams brought her punk sensibility with a sheer, belted black-and-plum fitted dress — of course it was her bright-red, layered hair and the ankle socks under her heels that brought the attitude Haley’s fans adore. Here’s hoping that Cyndi Lauper, a punk legend in her own time, doesn’t become a fashion inspiration for Haley down the road. Her black lace bust and flared cocktail dress may have been a vintage throwback, but the gloves were decidedly, well, awful.
Age was nothing but a number for the men, who dressed to impress in all categories. This year seemed to be dominated by two fashion choices: black and accessories. Ludacris and John Legend sported head-to-toe Armani, while Jay-Z looked flawless in a Tom Ford pinstriped suit. Akon took a risk by pairing Prada with his own design, a long, black fur-trim coat that made him seem more “pimped” than “primped.” Ne-Yo, who wore Ferragamo, also chose a dark gray suit with a black shirt and tie, and a brown fedora.
While sharp hats seemed to be having a moment for the men, sunglasses were everywhere. Musiq Soulchild, The-Dream, and Will.I.Am all went for thin wire aviators. Marc Ronson went for hipster-darling Ray-Bans. Heck, even Ringo Starr was wearing his mini colored lenses. At least the majority of them decided to stay in the boundaries of good taste and not write their name on their glasses — a look as overplayed for Soulja Boy Tell’em as “Crank That.”
Kudos should also go to the men of rock for ditching their tight jeans and old T-shirts for coordinated separates. The Foo Fighters all sported casual suits and shaggy hair. Panic at the Disco went fresh and young by matching traditional suits with outdated plaid sports coats. Wilco and the Plain White T’s looked especially dapper in a mix of tuxes, suits with pocket squares and dark, well-tailored suits.
Kudos should unfortunately be taken from Daughtry, however, who proved that not all “American Idol” finalists have undergone a style evolution. Chris Daughtry’s band may have been nominated for Best Rock Album, but that does not give him license to walk down the runway in vinyl. Or pleather. Or any fabric that indiscernible or offensive to the human eye. Swing and a miss.
Of course, everyone’s not always going to get it right, no matter how many hits they’ve gotten on the radio. While Carrie Underwood has broken out of her early country-girl days, her plunging Zuhair Murad floral number couldn’t seem to decide if it was classy or trashy. Sure, it came right off the runway of fashion week, but the runway and the red carpet are two very different things, and her dress clashed with just about everything. Beyoncé also went over-the-top in her light-blue-and-sparkles sculpted gown with a new blond ’do. Loved the hair, but hated the baby blue suit of armor. Thankfully, for questionable fashionistas like Underwood and Knowles, there’s always someone on the runway who actually chooses to look ridiculous: Though her relevance to the Grammys is suspect, Bai Ling showed up in a school-girl-meets-Harajuku-girl cocktail dress that may have been made out of a deck of cards. It’s official: Bai Ling is the new Björk.
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