The Academy of Country Music Awards honored a host of Nashville (and Nashville-by-proxy) superstars on Sunday night, and the carpet was an interesting prospect. As a country event, it’s overall more conservative than even the Grammys (which at this point are conservative as hell, mind you). But the relative informality that accompanies the confluence of country’s historically no-fuss spirit and the freedom of not having to be a pop star in the formal sense made for some interesting ensemble choices!
Taylor Swift, though, receiving a Milestone Award at 22, wore her typical Grace Kelly-invoking princess gown by Reem Acra, in ice blue to symbolize how she is no doubt going to ice out all Country Music Awards in the future.
Also in the arena of symbolism: surely you’ve heard about the firestorm Little Big Town is currently weathering for their “POSSIBLY LESBIAN!!!!!!!” song “Girl Crush”? I like to think that LBT’s Karen Fairchild alluded to this by dressing in a gorgeous lace gown in crimson. Even the curl of her hair looks like an actual flame. Model/pageant queen Olivia Culpo, companion to Nick Jonas, cut a CLEAN look in super minimal white reminiscent of ‘90s Calvin Klein, and how being casual-fancy is a possibility if not the dream.
RaeLynn may have created one of our least favorite country songs of 2014 if not all time, but shout out to that dress, which was definitely not made by God: it’s kind of Magritte in its cut but pure prom-aspirational in its length. Would probably wear. Sofia Vergara and Reese Witherspoon may have called each other beforehand to make sure they matched? Either way, this is the freest and most fun Reese has been on a red carpet in months. May her mirrored party frock live forever!
In theory, the Christian Siriano gown that Beth Behrs is flossing is sublime: the embroidery that looks like crystalline over a navy skirt is giving us Frozen and Deep Blue Ocean at the same time. But the neckline looks odd, in relation to how it’s draped on her clavicle? Disproportionate. Maybe it’s how she’s standing. Also with singer Danielle Bradbery: the cut of the two-piece is perfection—WHO DRAPED THAT SKIRT?—but the attendant material seems just too heavy for its construction. Brocade is tough, man. Miranda Lambert’s Bibhu Mohapatra gown is a a heavenly silvery cloud, but she looks mildly uncomfortable and also might want to talk to her make-up artist about the cleavage contouring. And, straight up, I do not know that much about current country music, but I certainly know something about 1. cowboys and 2. old country music, and I have got to give Terri Clark props for giving us this dead-serious look of Louis XIV/Wynonna Judd realness. That JACKET.
I shall never not love Deana Carter for imbuing humanity with the indelible catchphrase, “I shaved my legs for this?!?!” but oh lo, is that dress a pox. Actually, it has something in common with the ruffled blue gown on Lady Antebellum’s Hillary Scott and the overly busy scalloped mermaid gown on Jamie Lynn Spears in that they all appear to be copped from Charlotte Rousse in the mall. Look, I love a mall brand—miss me if you think I don’t fux with the Mandee and the Rainbow—but if you’re paying red carpet prices, make sure that shit photographs well before you leave the house. On the other hand: Kelsea Ballerini is super adorable in this photo—I love the romantic waves in her hair—and her gown looks fairly intricately crafted. But the high-low hemline is wayyy too high, like when your cousin is trimming the bangs of your mullet and that moment you hear him go “oopsie!”
Darius Rucker has come a long way sartorially since the Hootie days, that’s all I gotta say. Impeccable look. And while I could do without Cassidy Black’s busy mini, can we just talk about Dierks Bentley’s square-patterned suit? It is amazing and fits him perfectly? If anyone knows who makes it please holler in the comments.
George Strait, the legend, is doing the cowboy-dandy thing that’s largely been lost in the country world since approximately the 1990s and I’m here for it: it’s a culturally specific, flossy style of dressing that dudes totally need to bring back. Also, Steven Tyler is wearing pants with a Roy Lichtenstein print, so. Bye, everyone else.
I ADORE ALL THIS PINK! IT’S SPRING! BE THE CHERRY BLOSSOM YOU WANT TO SEE IN THE WORLD! Brittany Kerr is in a shade of watermelon Bubbleicious, Kate Moore is doing disco rhododendron, Little Big Town’s Kimberly Schlapman’s gown is in a hue of what I have just coined “Debbie Gibson’s Electric Youth” (Pantone, holler at me), and Kacey Musgraves, oh beloved Kasey Musgraves, is Glinda the Good Witch with a fishtail braid. That last one is Monique Lhullier. They are all divine.
Images via Getty