Once Again, British Red Carpet Beats American Red Carpet at Wearing Clothes & Looking Cool


Remember the Grammys a few weeks ago? The red carpet was fine. Lady Gaga, who just five years ago arrived in a dinosaur egg, wore Marc Jacobs. We expect musicians to get a little looser, to play with their artistic leeway in their looks more than actors, but for the most part they wore some variation of evening gown, typical of the way Los Angeles and stylists and fashion-house lending has turned US red carpets into the style equivalent of cream-of-wheat.

You know the Brits? They’re the British equivalent of the Grammys, and the apparent lack of stylist culture—and the fact that Londoners dress better than basically anyone else in the Western world—made for a fun red carpet that did not bore! For instance, BBC DJ Annie Mac took to the carpet in a sequined rainbow gown, and fellow ginger Florence Welch went like some kind of white-magic vampire.

Ginger number three Jess Glynne played up her locks with a disco suit in glorious emerald green, while model Sadie Pinn and OG punk designer Pam Hogg did precisely what punks are designed to do: freak out the posh, freak out the tabloids. Look at Pam, grinning!

So the fashion blogs are telling us that Adele wore a custom Giambattista Valli gown, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s a freakin’ caftan. Super Bette Midler at Club Med in Stella, so obviously I adore it. Even Lana del Rey, whose street style is usually the equivalent of a sophomore soror pledge at some state school, stepped it up, doing chintz bathroom robe and boudoir slippers better than even my mom. Accordingly, Rihanna didn’t feel the pressure to be the only person stepping it up, dressed in simple lavender with scalloped detailing. Model Tali Lennox, daughter of Annie, dressed up as an original supe—Cindy Crawford in ‘91 realness.

Slightly more conservative, but each possessing their own flair: Anaïs Gallagher, teen daughter of Liam, arrived in a businesslike suit with a partytime hem; singer Birdie is both a free spirit and the most comfortable person here in a chiffon witch’s cloak in cadet blue; singer/model Dua Lipa opted for leather with detailing, laser-cut, and fringe all in one; and singer Ella Eyre copped a very Khaleesi-style gown with a brass hem at the neckline and down a scooped back, but also gave us half a topknot ponytail, something we’d never see in the States.

Throwback time! Alesha Dixon, formerly of British girl group Mis-Teeq, throws down with a geometrically shaped skirt to show off her legs; former Spice Girls Emma Bunton and Geri Horner gave us adult versions of their ‘90s personas, with a signature Baby Spice platform and a signature Ginger Spice animal print; Kylie Minogue looks like she just threw on whatever tea-length party frock she had in her closet, and looks totally her.

What I wouldn’t give for Little Mix’s stylist (themselves?) to have a nice, long sit-down conversation with Fifth Harmony’s stylist (themselves?)!!! Here is how you join a girl group and retain your individuality but also color-coordinate without looking like a majorette party, or a bachelorette party. Thank you, Little Mix.

Lianne La Havas has been really killing it lately; this is another Khaleesi ensemble, but the bustier neckline shows she’s got more freedom in London than she did in Los Angeles for the Grammys. Lily Donaldson is doing the absolute pique thing to do when you’re a fashion model—IN YR FACE, I’M A MODEL—and yet still dipping some swag with it, courtesy those Dries Van Noten-ass sandals. Matilda Lowther, also a model, did the opposite, going almost chaste in a (Dior?) sequined turtleneck and cloudy miniskirt. Pixie Geldof wasn’t going to let Birdie out-comfort her at this no-doubt lengthy awards ceremony, so she found a loose chiffon maxi-dress and let it rock.

Who is the best dressed among these men: Jillionaire, Walshy Fire, and Diplo, the pan-American, Caribbean-influenced trio known as Major Lazer, who spends their time traveling the world; two dudes from One Direction; or Years&Years, a London band? I think we know the answer here. (One Direction dudes, for once, finish last.)

Fleur East, a singer, smartly chose to accessorize primarily with her fire-engine hair. Okay and now what happened with model Jessica Wright and 4Music/Rinse FM presenter Maya Jama is every woman’s worst nightmare, but also because of the way the styling industry works in the US, would never happen here, and so therefore it is kind of GREAT. They both look fantastic, I hope they found each other and walked around buddy-buddy all night. (Your best bet, if this ever happens to you, is by acting like you planned it.) Also, Yasmine LeBon just happened to roll up from 1988 and brought her slippies and rabbit-fur coat along with her. Hello, Yasmine.

MEN IN SUITS: Craig David, looking hella GQ in that pocket square/t-shirt combo; Jack Garratt and his date wore smart, crisp matching suits; Lee Frances matched his hat and kicks to the carpet, which I’m not crazy about, but I love that jacket; and the overall winner in the men’s category is Reggie Yates, actor, in a lovely patterned wool jacket.

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