During Sunday night’s Billboard Music Awards, Cher was honored with an Icon Award, a more than deserving achievement for her decades of influential music. But part of what makes an icon in pop music is persona, and her groundbreaking fashion has inarguably helped shape her place in the canon... which is so much more than I can say for most of the people who hit the Billboard Music Awards’ “magenta carpet.”
How you gonna show up to a ceremony celebrating Cher and wear something boring? The hegemony in the music and film industries is increasingly untenable, the lack of individual personal style appalling. Of course overly adventurous ensembles are not appropriate—perhaps—for black tie events like the Oscars or Cannes, but if there’s anyplace style can and should be creative and outré, it’s at a music awards show. And yet? We get 40 versions of the same lace/cut-out gown in black or navy, and the rare standout. Steel yourself, pals.
Alexandra Daddario was one of my favorite looks of the night, in an asymmetrical sweetheart neckline and bow-tied pumps by Vivienne Westwood. Extremely chic while projecting attitude, and mindful of the event. I want!
Of course Celine Dion rolled in like the icon she is, and we have to give credit to her stylist Law Roach for revitalizing her entire closet in the last year or so. This stunning Stephane Roland Couture gown is a bit of meringue at her shouldertops, conveying ’80s diva but with a touch of modernity. And Hailee Steinfeld’s liquid silver cut-out dress, by David Koma, was something architectural and like Cher might wear, a proper devotional.
Speaking of architecture! Wild looks work, too, and Dencia is always pushing the limit on her carpet style; here she seems to have transformed those wildly popular thousand-dollar Issey Miyake Bao Bao bags into a headdress and bodysuit; lots of people hated this, but I wouldn’t have changed a thing (maybe the footwear). Diplo, who you may remember recently signed as a NEXT Model, bleached his hair and showed out in the Gucci loafs. I can’t do any better than this:
Z Lala is always out here trying to catch our eyes on the carpet in ridiculous shit, and tonight she looks like an extremely fancy dessert with a spun sugar topper.
Camilla Cabello’s Jonathan Simkhai gown is pretty and fine, but I have deep problems with the Selena-aspirational-but failing bangs situation; Kate Beckinsale looks like the Fourth of July in America; Olivia Munn’s sheer skirt and roses are about as obvious as one can get in 2017; Rita Ora’s look is okay but when it comes to the whole persona-building thing, we still do not know who she is trying to be. She has great access and great looks which don’t amount to anything as a whole.
K-pop baes BTS in Saint Laurent. We can rock with this.
Bebe Rexha in a black gown—oh. Julia Michaels just came from doing a photoshoot for her street style blog on lookbook.nu. Rachel Platten in a mosaic-tile party dress? Love Marchesa but Vanessa Hudgens is far too prim for the magenta carpet. I would say she made up for it during the ceremony, but the terrible attempt at rapping Nicki Minaj’s “Monster” verse negated it and I never want to see her again.
Ashley Tisdale is being eaten alive by her pants. Halsey is a full mess in an ill-fitting trench... skirt?, a bra you’d wear on a Sunday afternoon, and gladiator pumps that are giving more the mummy than Badgalriri. Maybe it’s Indiana Jones cosplay? Lea Michele’s gown is boring the crap out of me, like something you might consider buying off the clearance rack at Bloomies, and Lindsey Stirling... well I guess it’s a look.
Lace from Madison Beer, tiered tulle in the perfect shade of Kardashian tan for Nicole Scherzinger, and Noah Cyrus. I like her music all right but I’d really like her to find a new stylist—FOR MY PERSONAL SATISFACTION; I see what she’s going for in general, a kind of late-’90s R&B versus L.A. skater thing, but it’s never quite right and she could do better!
The men did it right, though. The captain of your Love Boat tonight is John Legend, in a curt graphic, double-breasted suit; Jussie Smollett and DJ Khaled are both perfectly casual but sharp, while Ty Dolla $ign flipped it with a distressed t-shirt under a crisp tuxedo jacket.
More fresh-to-death men: Desiigner is always shirtless, always impeccably fitted; Drake is wearing a cool space suit; Christopher Jordan Wallace and Puff are nice with the haberdashery; Jason Derulo is very wedding singer in that velvet tux, but he’s Jason Derulo so everything he does will be just SLIGHTLY purposely corny. It’s his thing.
I just wanna talk about how Hayley Stommel, with some Florida Georgia Line guy, is doing more Cher than most of the actual musicians on this carpet. Ludacris and Eudoxie Mbouguienge are sharp but not taking it anywhere new. Tish Cyrus and Brandi Cyrus wore matching pantsuits which is cute for bring your mother to work day but I’m gonna need that hat to be gone like the devil.
Okay! Now consider everything you just saw...
...AND RECOGNIZE THE GOD.