The Grammy’s: Two Views

The Grammy’s Hit a High Note

Katy Perry in Valentino Haute Couture spring 2014 musical note dress
(Click on images for larger views)

Good taste / bad taste is the yin yang dichotomy that always exists in fashion. It is also highly subjective. Adding to the confusion, the word ‘bad’ (immortalized in Michael Jackson’s 1987 hit song “Bad”) actually means good in slang (as in, “that’s a BAD shirt”). But while the notion of what constitutes good taste vs. bad taste may well be up for grabs, within the confines of the entertainment industry (and particularly the music universe, which goes by its own style rules and over the top theatricality, and exaggeration are the norm), attention grabbing bad taste is almost to be expected… if not celebrated.  And as if to prove that injecting a dose of bad taste in order to shock and provoke can pay off, who could possibly forget Miley Cyrus cavorting with Robin Thicke onstage at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards? Quite frankly, that evening sort of cemented her star status and made her a household name.

Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards

If you’ve tuned into the plethora of music award shows (especially the American Music Awards, the Country Music Awards, and the MTV Music Awards), you already know that it’s fairly easy to separate the good, bad (and I mean BAD, not good LOL), and the just plain ugly. Speaking of which, the granddaddy of them all, the 56th Grammy Awards, aired on Sunday evening, and prior to that, many had a field day with pre Grammy articles and TV segments that were completely dedicated to the most outrageous Grammy fashions, during which time good taste was completely thrown out the window.

Included were Jennifer Lopez in a Versace gown that left almost nothing to the imagination at the Grammy’s in 2000; Toni Braxton at the 2001 Grammys in a white Richard Tyler dress that looked more like a ‘loincloth’; Lady Gaga making an entrance (at the Grammys in 2011) arriving in an egg carried by scantily clad men and women; Nicki Minaj at the 2012 Grammies, dressed as a nun, with a pope as her accessory.

Beyonce and J Z

Alas, there was nothing quite as lastingly ‘memorable’ last night (it was truly about the music after all). Fashion wise, it was a real mixed bag. I loved the tongue in cheek whimsy and sense of humor displayed by Katy Perry in her choice of Valentino Haute Couture musical dress from spring 2014 (it was almost literally right off the Paris runway). When I initially saw images of it, I knew someone would wear it, and how appropriate. For the record, I hated her stiff overly retro “updo” (she should have worn her
hair in a sleek ponytail).

Taylor Swift in Gucci

Taylor Swift (who is beautiful, has the body of a supermodel, and can wear anything), always gets it right at these award shows, and I loved her silver chain mail Gucci (it, had the simplicity of an elongated t shirt). She changed into a pale gray chiffon dress with swooping skirt and beaded detail, for her performance and then changed back again when she was seated. Beyonce, who skipped the red carpet because she (along with hubby Jay Z) was the opening act, was dressed (or should I say undressed), in a revealing black bodysuit with bondage straps, worn over fishnet stockings. Both the performance and her outfit were undeniably suggestive – so much so that many parents were up in arms about its appropriateness for a televised show.

 Madonna and eight year old son David dressed in Ralph Lauren

By the way, she was another one who made a change of outfits (she did a complete about face, switching into a body hugging white see through lace long dress when she took her seat). Pink looked great in strapless red (she admitted she never wears the color). Music legend Cyndy Lauper chose a short black Alexander McQueen cape with massive gold necklace, worn over narrow black pants. Pregnant Ciara was glowing in a narrow gold beaded floor length gown by Peter Dundas for Emilio Pucci. And then there was Madonna and Child (her adorable 8 year old son David) wearing matching dandy pantsuits. Her smile revealed shiny ‘grilles’ (her son gleefully gold reporters he was getting a set himself). She made a change for her performance, sticking with the natty pantsuit idea, but opting for all white, down to the cowboy hat and exposed garters (it’s the Grammy’s after all).

-Marilyn Kirschner

Hats Off to the 56th Grammys

Pharrell vs Harry

With no Gaga, no Riri…hell, not even Cher, it seems that, for some, the highlight of the 56th Grammy Awards was an accessory sitting atop  Pharrell Williams’s head!  Ok, it was an impressively bizarre choice–half from the uniform of a Canadian Mountie, half  Harry Potter Hogwart’s sorting variety, but still, it’s a damn hat!  It doesn’t deserve a Twitter account!  Stop doing that, People!  Sample  tweets include “Arby’s called.  They want their hat back.”

Beyonce serious bling

The show began with Beyonce in a flashdance-esque heavily bleeped lyrics routine to “Drunk In Love” (wet hair and all) in a sheer black bodysuit with collar and a turning chair.  She was eventually joined by hubby Jay Z in a Tom Ford tux as the power couple showed us their steamy moves.  Later she changed to a white, lace-in-all-the strategic places, Michael Costello (go Project Runway alum!) gown to great effect complete with bling on every finger.  I suppose she had to make up for her underwhelming Grammy ensemble last year of a black and white color blocked jumpsuit and to that end (yes, her rump looked amazing in the white gown) she was successful.  Also in white, Katy Perry in a Valentino  full skirted musical note embellished gown which had just walked the Spring shows runway.

Paula Patton

On a less successful (non-musical) note, Paris Hilton in an uncomfortably high-necked, nude side paneled gown resembling a longer version of an Ice Capades dress.  Most improved from the Golden Globes goes to Paula Patton in a zebra sequined gown featuring two animal heads at the bustline. It may have been a little too much zebra print but at least it was interesting in a Cavalli-esque way. Other than Taylor Swift in her usual award show get-up of sparkly silver, this time it was a Gucci chain-mail “suit of armor” as she described it and added that it was “very scratchy” (not sure Gucci will like that description) there was not a lot to talk about with the women’s attire.  It seems, inexplicably, that what inspired me most was the menswear (no, not Madonna’s Ralph Lauren suit) but what was actually on the men!

Jared Leto “30 Seconds To Mars”

Ah, men…here we go!    Loved Miguel in Saint Laurent complete with shiny pants…this is how you do Grammy chic!  Also Jared Leto and his band “30 Seconds to Mars” all looked incredible and event appropriate.  Macklemore and Ryan Lewis went the velvet tux route but Macklemore’s was teal with a white shirt and black bow tie while Lewis was in a really eye-catching large scale gray and black hounds tooth print which worked really well with a black shirt and tie to tone it down.  Robin Thicke in dark blue Armani velvet also got the memo.  In the all shiny black tux/ shirt/ tie department there was Marc Anthony (dark shades, too) and Gavin DeGraw in a three- piece Varvatos tux as well as his signature hat (this time it was black embossed leather) and white shoes.  Why the white scuffed shoes?  “Cause something’s gotta be not quite right” he added.  Steven Tyler decided to do an all-white tux/tails ensemble complete with multi-colored hair in pigtails but then again, its Steven Tyler.

Best couple other than the obvious king and queen of the night (Bey and Jay) would go to Wiz Khalifa also sporting a YSL velvet tux and his wife and Kanye’s ex, Amber Rose who covered up all her body art (tattoos) in gold Naeem Khan for the evening.  Who says the Grammys can’t be classy?  Now if we could just get Pharrell’s hat to stop tweeting!

Laurel Marcus

OG journo major who thought Strunk & White's "The Elements of Style" was a fashion guide. Desktop comedienne -- the world of fashion gives me no shortage of material.

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