Sparkle, Shine, and Couples' Pantsuits at Lifetime's Whitney Premiere


Lifetime’s Whitney Houston biopic airs January 17, and marks the directing debut of acting god and life idol Angela Bassett. Last night in Los Angeles, the director, cast, and friends gathered together for its premiere (including Yaya Dacosta, above, who plays Whitney), and for the most part looked damn good doing it.

Arlen Escarpeta plays Bobby Brown in the film, but gone is the ’90s hightop fade: he and date Latoya Tonodeo looked current and crispy as hell in probably inadvertently matching looks, though that does not make it less appreciated. Also: that is one attractive-ass couple, good job to their parents and stuff.

Angela Bassett has a preternatural knack for looking flawless at all times, and last night she was decked out in her bosslady swag: businesslike, but the cropped camisole and peeptoes kept it party, plus her nebulous sideeye is a good accoutrement to keep your eyes on her. Doesn’t she seem like a good boss? She seems like a good boss.

I cannot even express to you how in love I am with the dual matching suit pairing of Smokey Robinson and especially his wife Frances Gladney, who is so fly that she has shoes made of the same material as her ensemble. The key to success with matchy-matchy is to just go ham in matchiness, you will end up looking impossibly cool. 2013-era Solange was going for this and clearly should have been getting tips from the god Gladney. Yolonda Ross, who plays Whitney’s BFF/possible lovah Robyn Crawford, is slightly dressier than everyone else, and while I don’t love the dress she’s making it work for her, looking like a diamond in a midnight sea, or some shit.

Deborah Cox, who resang Whitney Houston’s vocals for the film, was maybe not as harmonious with her red carpet look: business casual is fine for this kind of thing but the white jacket with black detailing isn’t working with the textures of her pants or top. She was going for polished, she got disunity.

While it pains me to say anything even remotely disparaging about either Niecy Nash or Sheila E, both of whom are incredibly talented and have magical voices (speaking; singing), I cannot in my right conscience cosign what is going on here. Nash’s sequined pants are gorgeous but the drape and material of her blazer is just slightly too casual to let it fly. You need to go either way dressier or way more chill with this type of thing; I would love to see her in the same pants and shoes with like, a slouchy heather grey Champion sweatshirt. And yeah, Sheila can get away with wearing a swashbuckler LARPing outfit because she is basically Prince in stature, longevity, talent and all that, but at the end of the day, it’s still a swashbuckler’s LARPing outfit. I AM SORRY, YOU TWO, I LOVE YOU.

Tasha Smith has a problem similar to Cox’s and Nash’s in that each piece is perfect individually, but disparate textures and weights aren’t coming together like they should, plus that giant orange bag is giving more “going to a board meeting/I got my laptop in here” than red carpet. Still, could I pull off a leather croptop and striped gauchos? Definitely nah, so daps for trying.

Okay wait though I just want to talk about Magic Johnson and his wife Earlitha Kitt, who are doing the couples’ matching suit thing that seemed to be so de rigueur at this event but are sort of, shooting from the paint, if you will. Where do you think they came straight to this premiere from? A meeting with their lawyer? A golf tournament? Parent-teacher conference? Dinner at Spago? They look happy though, and as my best friends from the Hannigan orphanage put it, you’re never fully dressed without a smile.

Images via Getty.

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