The Grammy Awards are usually reliable for over-the-top, censor-vexing fashion, but with the notable exception of Joy Villa, who dressed in what appeared to be animal bones, the stars who hit the red carpet at Monday's show kept things noticeably dialed down. When old-school black and white is the most noticeable trend, you know you've got a tame red carpet.
Adele was among those taking basic black to the next level. She chose a custom dress from Givenchy Haute Couture by Riccardo Tisci with allover embroidery that combined paillettes, crystals and pearls for just the right level of dialed-back glamour.
Demi Lovato made her Grammy Awards debut in a tailored blazer and skirt ensemble by Norisol Ferrari and in the evening's most daring neckline, which she draped in a focus-pulling necklace by L.A.-based jeweler Loree Rodkin, while Zendaya chose a black double-breasted tuxedo by Dsquared2.
On the white side of the equation were Kaley Cuoco in a sequined pantsuit, Chrissy Teigen in a swath by Yousef Al-Jasmi that put her baby bump front and center, Big Sean in a white shawl collar tuxedo jacket with black satin lapels and Justin Bieber, finally wearing a tux that he wasn't swimming in. He paired an all-white Saint Laurent by Hedi Slimane tuxedo jacket with a black dress shirt and black tuxedo trousers.
Janelle Monáe went black — and white — with an ensemble from the fall 2015 Jean Paul Gaultier couture collection, accessorized with a black-and-white pillbox hat, black-and-white clutch and black boots to boot.
Men sporting the black-on-black look included the Weeknd, Charlie Puth, Alice Cooper (accessorizing with a riding crop for no apparent reason), Common and John Legend. The last two managed to make the basic black tuxedo their own — Common thanks to festive white polka dots on the tux lapels and his black dress shirt, Legend by going with a black Gucci evening jacket with an allover gold silk Jacquard design that, upon closer examination, turned out to be bees. (Appropriate for generating buzz, no?)
Carrie Underwood turned out to be a twofer in the trend department. First for the strapless black gown by Nicolas Jebran that felt like an homage to old Hollywood elegance, second for the daring left leg slit that ended at the top of her thigh.
That put her squarely in with the night's other noticeable trend — the strategic baring of skin. Instead of the dangerously plunging décolletage prevalent on previous red carpets this season (Lovato and Villa, notwithstanding), exposed skin here was revealed in the form of slashes, cutouts and glimpses — like the belly-button-baring triangle of Cuoco's glittery pant suit, the side cutouts on Selena Gomez's tanzanite sequin Calvin Klein Collection dress and Bella Hadid's Alexandre Vauthier haute couture black silk jersey crystal embroidered gown with cutouts arching gracefully over the hips.
Taylor Swift went for double-barrel skin-baring with a coral-colored crop top and magenta skirt by Atelier Versace.
Lady Gaga, always a Grammy red carpet high point, managed to key into the high-slit trend and pay sartorial homage to David Bowie, arriving at the last minute in a custom-designed, electric-blue, double-breasted Marc Jacobs satin coat dress embroidered with multicolored sequins and decorative metallic elements (by Maison Lesage) with a high-side slit and lacing up the back.
The high slit high point of the evening, though, went to Ciara, who turned out in an Alexandre Vauthier haute couture black silk chiffon leopard crystal embroidered slip dress with an extra-wide left leg slit that appeared to end north of her belly button.