Grief isn’t typically a rational emotion; it’s a raw one. And while many of us sat shellshocked by the deaths of Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, and the seven other lives (including three children) tragically lost in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, Calif., on Sunday morning, there was the very rational question of whether the Grammys should even go on as planned on Sunday night; especially in the arena Bryant called home for so many years.
But as it did in the wake of Whitney Houston’s sudden death in 2012, the show—especially a production as massive as the Grammys—must go on, and while fans of Bryant gathered outside the Staples Center to pay tribute, inside, many of the basketball star’s celebrity fans and friends arrived on the red carpet for what was already an evening overshadowed by tragedy.
Speaking for myself, it was exactly the distraction I needed in the midst of the very complicated emotions of the day—at least, for the
400 4 hours of the evening’s telecast. Even on a normal Grammys Sunday, there has always been the guarantee of ample ridiculousness on the red carpet—an over-the-top, styled-to-the-nth-degree, go-for-broke ethos that makes the ceremony a refreshingly irreverent break from the more restrained elegance of the rest of the awards season (see rapper Guapdad 4000, above, who paired his Rick Owens suit with a silver durag sporting a 10-foot train on the red carpet). And while it may have only been a temporary respite from the news cycle, the fashion choices of some of our faves proved good for some welcome levity.
Case in point: As has become our habit at every major event, our eyes were peeled for Billy Porter, eager to see what statement the former Grammy winner would make on music’s biggest night. As expected, Porter once again made a dramatic entrance, wearing a sparkling turquoise ensemble with tiers of rhinestone fringe. And putting a new spin on his well-established love of hats, this time Porter gave us a literal peek behind the curtain, thanks to a motorized headpiece by Sarah Sokol Millinery x Smooth Technology.
Lil Nas X may be riding one hit up the “Old Town Road” and back, but the wunderkind has already mastered the art of personal branding. For Grammy night, country music’s latest crossover gave us studded sheriff realness in head-to-toe Barbie pink, created by Atelier Versace.
Speaking of breakout stars, the much-beloved Lizzo was one of the most nominated artists of the night, as well as the show’s opening act. Accordingly, she gave us three dramatically different looks with stunning speed, starting with a glamorous white Swarovski crystal-studded strapless gown by Atelier Versace that channeled classic Hollywood glamour.
Onstage, the “Cuz I Love You” singer continued to stun in true starlet style, serenading the Grammys audience in a crystal-studded black velvet gown by Christian Siriano before giving us a futuristic big finish in an LED catsuit by fetish designer Zana Bayne x Lucid Studio.
And while she didn’t take home the golden gramophone in every one of the many categories in which she was nominated, Lizzo celebrated three major wins on Sunday (including the coveted Best Pop Solo Performance), donning yet another Atelier Versace gown—this time, shimmering and sheer—to greet the press.
And of course, there were also many changes made by returning host and multi-Grammy winner Alicia Keys; who took a retro approach to the evening, wearing heritage looks from Versace. But the most striking change of the night might’ve been her mid-show switch-up from cornrows to an elaborate chignon—all while keeping her bedazzled baby hair artistry intact.
Was the second look a wig, or did Keys spend the break having her braids unraveled? Her stylist Nai’vasha Johnson offered the following scoop on the inspiration behind the looks:
“Classic, quintessential ‘Alicia,’ but with a fresh approach. There are notes of ‘90s edge to perfectly align with all the custom ‘90s-inspired wardrobe,” says Johnson, who used Target’s new Emerge haircare line and T3 styling tools to create Keys’ face-framing look. “I wanted to accent the mega drama of her Versace clothes with edgy braids and delicate accents of custom Jennifer Behr crystal embellishments.”
And for the record, it wasn’t a wig; Johnson’s just a master at the quick-change.
But if we have to play favorites on the red carpet, our winners—aside from the 10-foot durag—would be Tyler, The Creator and FKA Twigs, both of whom were pretty in pink (a major trend on this year’s carpet) in custom-designed looks that were unapologetically individualist. Tyler seemed to intuit that a Grammy was in his future, as he arrived carrying a matching case he’d designed to pair with a bespoke pink bellboy suit from his label Golf Le Fleur. The effect? Wes Anderson. The vibe? All Tyler.
Similarly, FKA Twigs relied on her personal designer, Ed Marler, to create the baroque-inspired hooded gown she wore to the ceremony, displaying a lace-sheathed stretch of legs that teased her appearance in the evening’s tribute to Prince. While she was disappointingly not asked to sing, the singer, dancer, and performance artist displayed phenomenal athleticism while making a major case for pole dancing becoming an Olympic sport, stunning the audience with an incredibly choreographed routine worthy of the Purple One’s Purple Rain era.
Of course, there was much more to see on the Grammys red carpet, and if you, like me, are still reeling from yesterday’s events and in need of a few happy distractions, hopefully, our slideshow will provide the time out you need. Take a mental break—and take of yourselves and each other.