THE red carpet at the 50th Annual Grammy Awards threw into sharp relief just how safe female musicians are required to play it these days. The steady stream of jewel-toned gowns, softly waved tresses and unremarkable diamond baubles was eerily similar to the red carpet scene at the Screen Actors Guild Awards a few weeks ago. Since when did pop and rock stars start dressing like actresses?
With rock ‘n’ roll rebellion in short supply, classically pretty ensembles were everywhere -- except on Amy Winehouse, who performed via satellite in a flouncy, super-short black ‘50s-inspired frock, her trademark sky-high black beehive accented with massive flowers.
Purples and deep blues were the hues of the evening, with Rihanna nabbing best-dressed honors in a sapphire scoop-neck Zac Posen dress with feathers peeking out from under the hem. The tutu-inspired look was young and kicky, its frilliness a perfect contrast to her boyish new haircut. Natasha Bedingfield also looked glam-but-understated in a royal purple strapless Reem Acra gown with a wide belt, while Alicia Keys affected modern royalty in a navy Armani Prive halter gown with a train that swirled to the floor like liquid (but kept it real with a curly mohawk-like ‘do).
Soulful singers Corinne Bailey Rae and Nelly Furtado chose electric-blue strapless styles, but Rae’s abbreviated confection resembled a mess of candy wrappers.
Pop tart Fergie looked sophisticated in a pale yellow Calvin Klein column gown and a sizable diamond necklace -- but who wants to see Fergie looking as if she’s ready to accept an Oscar? Bring on the hot pants and knee socks!
Thankfully, the men amped it up a bit. Kan- ye West performed in a military-inspired hooded black coat with reflective panels. The look du jour for men was dark-on-dark, with Ne-Yo, Ludacris and members of the Foo Fighters and Daughtry rocking black or charcoal suits over black button-down shirts. Jay-Z went with a classic tuxedo (bow tie and all), while Seal schooled all the young dudes in a gleaming white Yves Saint Laurent suit over a white shirt and a black printed skinny tie by Japanese brand Mastermind.
Still, all the well-behaved fashion had us pining for the days of Pink’s one-legged stretch pants, Lil’ Kim’s strapless leotard and even Avril Lavigne’s Converse All-Stars.