As red carpet fashion goes, the Grammys tends to deliver some of the most uneven: Everything is either balls-to-the-wall camp or sedate black gowns, with very little in between. Obviously the camp offerings are the most fun to talk about — but there’s camp done well and there’s camp done just for the sake of camp. Here are few examples from Sunday’s Grammys red carpet that illustrate the fine line between the two.
There’s always that one dude in a mask. So CeeLo’s mask lights up, winning him the dubious honor of the most Transformers-inspired outfit tonight. Props to CeeLo for committing to his concept, but (a) this cannot be comfortable, and (b) he looks like he’s getting ready to do a whimsical living statue performance at some point in the evening. Bonus points for inspiring this perfect Twitter thread, though.
A croptop ball pit gown might not work on most red carpets, but for a show like the Grammys that prides itself on pushing the fashion envelope, it works. It’s personality-driven rather than just “Observe! I am wearing a mask!” and it’s a great match for the kind of addictive bubbly pop candy that Girl Crush is nominated for.
The juxtaposition of that snake with the dainty schoolgirl shape and high femme pink satin of Santigold’s dress is a thing of beauty. The tea-length skirt is awkward, but her platform stilettos lean into the awkwardness, making the proportions of the look’s bottom half spiky and dangerous and purposeful, instead of colt-like and uneven.
You always have to check in on Gaga’s fashion at the Grammys, just as a matter of course, although in recent years she’s backed away from the elaborate and the avant garde. This look, which channels Madonna circa 1989, is no Gaga at the 2010 Grammys, and looks like it must be very uncomfortable for the upper torso, but the way the pink of her hair and eye makeup works against the severity of the black leather is fun and playful.
Rihanna consistently slays the red carpet because she knows exactly how to balance camp and glamour: She’s always playful, but also always elegant and gorgeous. Here, the full and dramatic flounce of the skirt is undercut by the bright orange top, but they don’t look like disparate separates: They’re a continuous and integrated whole.