Whew, it’s been a whirlwind weekend of awards red carpets: Black Girls Rock on Friday night in New York, and then on Sunday night the iHeartRadio and Academy of Country Music Awards aired simultaneously on your television, a true music-lover/remote control paradigm. Because the red carpets were voluminous, Good/Bad/Ugly has gone rogue and included only the best of the best of each of them, with a few bummer duds to show you what everyone was up against. Positive mental outlook, people!
Dolly Parton! At this point, the icon’s got her silhouettes and fabric preferences down pat at the ACM Awards: a higher necked lace bodice and fishtail skirt to round out the shape, and even in a neutral palette, she glows. Eva Marcille, at Black Girls Rock, is absolutely destroying in this combination of colors and fabrics; camelhair coat in a peachy-pink offsetting a deep khaki green jumpsuit that fits her like a glove. Eva, you did this!
Will Rihanna ever disappoint in any clothes, ever? She’s like “oh, I was poolside at the Hamptons and remembered I needed to go to this thing, so I just pulled this fur out the closet.” Truly aspirational. And Slay Queen Zendaya, at iheart, is doing that thing she does best—slaying—in a red crushed velvet Haider Ackermann suit with a cropped hem and a freaking racing stripe and a leather bustier. I NEED THIS.
Feather and fur and fringe embellishments are truly underutilized and here is your proof. Corinne Bailey Rae, always stunning but here in a sort of Neopolitan flavored ostrich feather skirt; Karrueche Tran looking like a high-end party with furry pom-pom sleeves and Gucci-logo sandals; Ta’Rhonda Jones paired fur-lined pumps with her feather stole jumpsuit; and Tracee Ellis Ross, lowkey fashion icon, lovely in a ‘30s silhouette and contrasting t-strap platforms.
Look at these young boos doing their thing! Marley Dias, our queen of the #1000blackgirlbooks book drive, is showin’ em who’s boss in a cool and high-contrast tux that’s just about ready for the boardroom. Monica and her baby Laiyah Brown both have enviable fashion sense, mom’s velvet skirt matching daughter’s velvet top and splitting the difference with slamming footwear. BGR presenter Raynn Simone and Andra Day are simply KILLING ME in matching headwraps and commanding poses; Day’s fashion sense is always to die for but the fact that she’s inspiring the youth brings hope to the world. And your number one girl Sophia Grace, at iheart, accessorized wisely with a clutch in the shape of an orange slice, where she can store all the phone numbers of people who want to be her best friends.
Look at these clean-ass boys at iHeart! 2 Chainz dressed for both fabulosity (that cheetah-print trench) and practicality (fucking caffeine, man). Diplo was interviewed on the E! red carpet and was very proud of wearing a t-shirt underneath a double-breasted suit, as well he should be; Hozier isn’t doing anything extraordinary here on a piece-by-piece basis, but together he’s truly emitting the persona of, you know, a feelings-deep blues man; and Wiz Khalifa, always truly inspiring on a carpet, trotted out the Gucci loafs and didn’t feel like buttoning his shirt. He is so deeply unbothered.
Jumpsuits! Crisp white is always a smart choice, but looks particularly great on Kelly Rowland and Yara Shahidi, accessorizing with a leather; Meagan Good’s cream tone gives it a bit more of a summer-baked feel, while everyone seemed to be feeling Selena Gomez’s Mugler, featuring buckled slash cut-outs.
My favorite thing on any red carpet is when attendees do not fear the pattern, and here we’ve got a lot of good ones. Franchesca Ramsey looks great in this color-blocked number, long-sleeved but low-necked to give it a perfect almost-spring vibe. Jhené Aiko’s wide-legged trouser is broken up on her tiny body with a nearly Aztec, descending pattern, which actually kind of elongates her; 16-year-old artist and entrepreneur Maya Penn is surely wearing something from her own fashion company, Maya’s Ideas, and I adore the psychedelic ‘60s patterning in hues that give it such a modern feel (also, great call on the neutral shoes). Nicole Kidman, at the ACMs, got to hop early on the Alexander McQueen Fall 2016 train, wearing a gorgeous sheer floral gown from a triumphant collection.
Black sequins so hot right now. Jazmine Sullivan is giving jellyfish vibes with that lovely train and while I’m not crazy about the confluence of fabrics here there’s something immensely fierce about it. Maddie & Tae, Meghan Trainor, and Taylor Swift all kind of look like they’re going out for the same dance team. New Nets dancers? No?
I love Keke Palmer’s winterfresh Michael Kors, not least because paillette sequins are the most festive; the slightly loose fit keeps it from becoming too “going-out” dress, if you know what I mean. RaeLynn, who is my nemesis in that I am in awe of her gorgeous voice but loathe her life philosophy, furthers my feelings of confusion about her whole steez in this gorgeous ice-blue debutante gown. RaeLynn please get on my level and sing it all out. Serayah looks cute in this color scheme and pretty Swarovski beading by Nicholas Jebran, though I am hoping this year brings the end of the cocktail industry’s obsession with Balmain. Teyonah Parris, in gold, looks like an Oscar; it’s totally The Secret dressing, wear what you hope to achieve in this life.
Amandla Stenberg, who I could not love anymore, is wearing what could be the best thing Jeremy Scott has ever designed: a to-die-for velvet suit with Max Headroom style cartoon dimensions drawn on, from Moschino’s Pre-Fall 2016 collection. I love it? It’s so perfectly her? Over at iHeart, Demi Lovato also took an ‘80s path, giving so much mid-range Dynasty with an asymmetrical suit jacket. Kelly Osbourne wore the suit jacket as her dress, but my favorite thing here is the cane—that she pulled it off gives me even more respect for her.
Miranda Lambert’s flowy Christian Siriano looks great with contrasting accessories; it could have been Easter eggy but she kept it subtle and it worked. Renee Felice Smith seemed to be having the most fun of anyone at the ACM Awards, and while that is my least favorite genre of hat, the draping on her tuxedo jacket and skirt give a slightly arty feel to the whole look. Speaking of color blocking, j’adore this pairing from Skai Jackson, super contemporary separates put together in a fun way. Thank you Skai.
Here is a close-up of Miranda Lambert’s left foot, which apparently is a fan of open carry.
There was so much good at these shows, and I just spent so much time being pretty nice, that I would like to give you a little taste of what all these winners were up against!
Iggy Azalea didn’t do anything egregiously wrong, per se, except for buying into the idea that Virgil Abloh’s Off-White is in fact “elevated streetwear” rather than often poorly conceived interpretations of what real people were wearing two or ten years ago. The paper-bag-waisted pants are cute (also Abloh’s, both from Fall 2016), but the top is essentially comprised of vintage t-shirts and college sweats sewn-together and reconstructed in a haphazard way and it makes no sense unless you really miss 2001, and want to drop probably $430 (guestimating that) on broadcasting how much you miss it. Jake Paul is a Vine guy? His ensemble is further proof that Kanye is a mass enabler. And Katy Perry, whose J. Scott look is conceptually funzy, doesn’t quite translate in practice. Plus the fit looks weird? Who knows. At least she’s not wearing a gun in her boot (as far as we know).
Images via Getty