2020 Grammys fashion: Cowpoke chic and a princess in tulle win the night

Ariana Grande on the Grammy Awards red carpet
Ariana Grande arrives at the Grammy Awards on Sunday in a custom dove gray Giambattista Valli gown.
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

The Grammys arrivals red carpet delivered the escapism we all needed on a night when the scandal-rocked Recording Academy hoped attention was focused on anything but the accusations of former President and Chief Executive Deborah Dugan and TV audiences tuning in were trying to process the tragic news that earlier in the day Laker-for-life Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter were two of the nine casualties in a Calabasas helicopter accident.

This escapism came in the form of Old Hollywood glamour. It came in the form of cowpoke chic. It came in the form of bellhop uniforms and outfit-coordinated nail art. It came in white. It came in black. And it came in hot pink, lime green and dove gray — actually what seemed like acres and acres of dove gray in the case of Ariana Grande, who seemed to channel our collective exhaustion from the day by sitting down in the middle of the red carpet. She was a tiny pony-tailed figurine in a puddle of tulle.

Grande didn’t just delight with the one gray custom Giambattista Valli gown, though, but apparently two (or perhaps a single gown with a convertible bodice) — switching it up sometime between when she arrived on the carpet and exited it into Staples Center.

The one focus-pulling arrival on par with Grande’s was one of the evening’s first. That would be Grammy winner Lizzo, nominated for eight Grammys (and the telecast’s opening performer), whose bespoke strapless Atelier Versace gown, with Swarovski crystals hand-embroidered on the front and a white faux-fur stole, channeled Old Hollywood glamour from start to finish.

White was on trend at the 2020 Grammy Awards
Lizzo, left, in bespoke Atelier Versace; Gwen Stefani, with Blake Shelton, in Dolce & Gabbana; Dua Lipa in Alexander Wang; and Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Nick Jonas at the Grammy Awards.
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

Lizzo was far from the only vision in white arriving at the Grammy Awards. 2019’s best new artist winner Dua Lipa turned up in a simple, unembellished white Alexander Wang slip dress; Priyanka Chopra Jonas arrived in a custom white Ralph & Russo dress with allover crystal embellishments, sleeve fringe and a deep-V neckline that plunged to her belly button; and Gwen Stefani wore a white custom shell-embellished dress that was as short in the hemline department as it was long in the backstory department.

“It’s Dolce & Gabbana,” Stefani told E!'s Ryan Seacrest on the red carpet, “and they did use some of the shells Blake collected for me over the years.” (Blake Shell-ton; get it? We couldn’t tell if she was spinning a yarn or telling the truth, but beau Blake Shelton, who was standing at her side, didn’t refute the tale.)

Whether it was ultimately fact or fiction doesn’t matter as much as the fact that Stefani’s frock had an additional meaningful level of detail that had TV viewers taking a second (or perhaps third) look. Another arrival amping up the delicious details was Billie Eilish — in a head-to-toe custom black and lime green Gucci ensemble that not only keyed perfectly off her two-tone black and neon green hair but was reflected in her fingernail art, each nail sporting the same allover Gucci logo as her outfit.

Delightful fashion details at the 2020 Grammy Awards
Billie Eilish in custom Gucci allover print (including the fingernails), at left, and Billy Porter in custom Baja East by Scott Studenberg, complete with mechanical retracting fringe hat, on the red carpet Sunday.
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

Lil Nas X was also on board (or perhaps on horseback) with the logopalooza, arriving in a fuchsia Versace cowboy ensemble, awash in studs and a Versace Medusa-head logo on each breast pocket — and in his left ear. (For what it’s worth, there seemed to be a serious cowboy vibe on Sunday night’s carpet. Just check out Diplo and Orville Peck, the latter of whom was wearing a gray Dior Men outfit, complete with bolo necktie, cowboy hat and a fringe-embellished face mask that made him look like the Lone Ranger).

Perhaps the most delightful detail of all — a broad-brimmed hat with a remote-controlled, face-obscuring fringe privacy shade — came by way of the red carpet-slaying Billy Porter, whose bright blue, fringe-embellished, custom flare-legged Baja East by Scott Studenberg jumpsuit and matching cropped jacket were accessorized with a mechanical hat (made in collaboration with Sarah Sokol). It featured a curtain of dangling fringe that Porter’s stylist opened and closed from nearby when given a signal by the “Pose” star. If floor lamps could become real — and fabulous — human beings, this is what they’d strive for.

Grammy Award attendees think pink
Lil Nas X in Versace, left; FKA twigs in Ed Marler; Yola in Christian Siriano; and Tyler, the Creator in custom Golf Le Fleur were among attendees opting for pink.
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

Lil Nas X was square in the saddle with the night’s other big color story — shades of pink. Tyler, the Creator arrived in a pink bellhop’s uniform from Golf Le Fleur (complete with epaulets, pillbox hat and carrying a piece of luggage) that channeled Wes Anderson’s “The Grand Budapest Hotel.” Yola opted for a custom fuchsia sequin fringe gown by Christian Siriano, and FKA twigs split the difference in an Ed Marler creation that was black lace up top and a shade of dusty rose from the waist down.