If, on the psychographic map of award season red carpets, the Oscars are the hyper-controlled superego and the MTV Video Music Awards are the anything-goes, let-it-all-hang-out id, then the Grammys are a combination of the two: a dress parade made to advertise the individual brands on show (Billie Eilish, Lizzo) in the most exaggerated, fashion-aware way possible.
The Grammys, after all, are the event that gave us Jennifer Lopez in that plunging jungle-print Versace dress, a frock that went so viral in 2000 it became part of the inspiration for Goggle image search — not to mention Lady Gaga in orbital Armani (2010), Madonna as a matador showgirl in Givenchy by Riccardo Tisci (2015), and Rihanna in the titanic tulle of Giambattista Valli (also 2015). And let’s not forget Pharrell Williams, in 2014, in Adidas and a Vivienne Westwood fedora so big it got its own Twitter account.
This year, however, begins with a bit of a shock, as Kobe Bryant is feared to be dead, along with four others, in a helicopter crash in Los Angeles just hours before the Grammys. There were no survivors of the crash, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said on Twitter.
Last year, Cardi B. won the night dressed as Venus on the half shell in a vintage Thierry Mugler dress that ended up in the Met’s “Camp” exhibit, beating even Post Malone as a bedazzled pink leather cowboy. It’s worth noting she later changed into another Mugler for ease of walking up the stairs to accept her award, because the Grammys is one of the few events where such switcheroos still occur with regularity.
In other words, keep watching. The one thing to know when it comes to fashion and this particular show is you never know what will happen next.
The Grammys itself will be broadcast live on CBS at 8 p.m. Eastern. Here’s what our critics are looking forward to. Until then, we’ll keep tabs on all the looks right here. — V.F.
Looking Back at Grammys 2019
Remember Cardi on the half shell? She also took home the award for best rap album.
And Post Malone, in a nearly identical shade of conch:
In case you want to look back and think “Wait, really?” here’s everyone who won last year, including Childish Gambino with record of the year and Dua Lipa as best new artist. Plus, Lady Gaga was in her Very Serious Dignified Artist phase …
Two Grammys went to “Shallow” from “A Star Is Born,” the movie that no one could stop talking about for months and then never spoke of again. Gaga went to the Oscars a few weeks later and this happened:
Who will canoodle tonight!? Find out right here with us.