Brooke Shields and Michael Jackson at the 1984 Grammys.
With award season in full swing, we are reminded that each show’s red carpet provides a unique chance for the stars of the entertainment industry to express themselves with sartorial gusto. While no other stop on the ceremonial train can rival the old Hollywood glamour of the Oscars, the Grammys provides a more colorful and ingenious outlet. Perhaps the spirited showing is owed to the fact that musicians are natural showmen who craft careers out of live performances and relish the spotlight. Or, more simply, a night honoring the year’s most masterful music calls for the appropriate garb to get down. Whatever the reason, the show has provided outrageous and unforgettable red carpet moments for over fifty years.
The 1970s were the first decade where artists took liberties outside the designated black tie dress code. David Bowie in a slim suit, oversized fedora, full makeup and Cher, a bronzed goddess in flowing chiffon and teensy butterfly bandeau top, revolutionized the new tone of the show with expert flair. By the 1980s, the MTV generation expected such trailblazing theatricals. 1984 was an especially bright year. Cyndi Lauper accessorized a lame halter and tropical sarong with a banana necklace and red hair, Grace Jones strode magnificently in a golden robe over a perfectly cut tuxedo, and the only thing that sparkled brighter than Michael Jackson’s golden epaulettes was Brooke Shields on his arm. In the decade of grunge, red carpet glamour was overtly snubbed by Sinead O’Connor in ripped jeans and Madonna in a wife beater. Boy bands and girl groups reached a new pinnacle in costume coordination. In recent years, Rihanna and Lady Gaga have reinvigorated the show’s fashion. At last year’s show, the Barbadian songbird dazzled in a custom cherry red Alaïa (we’d like to think the color choice was a sly nod to Cher Horowitz’s most famous getup). And who can forget Lady Gaga’s otherworldly arrival in a translucent egg. Last night’s looks fell more in line with the pomp of movie star elegance, but, as ever, the evening’s most memorable went to the risk takers – Daft Punk’s golden space helmets topping Saint Laurent, Katy Perry’s diaphanous Valentino Couture and Lorde’s pitch-perfect neo-goth in Balenciaga. A few of our all time favorite looks below!
David Bowie, 1975 Grammys.
Cher, 1974 Grammys.
Cher, Grammy's Ensembly Photo by Francesco Scavullo, 1974.
(L) Yoko Ono and John Lennon, 1975 Grammys. (R) Dolly Parton, 1977 Grammys.
Cyndi Lauper, 1984 Grammys.
Grace Jones, 1983 Grammys (R: With Rick James)
Grace Jones, 1984 Grammys (R: With Alice Cooper).
Michael Jackson, 1984 Grammys. (R: With Brooke Shields and Emmanuel Lewis)
(L) Lionel Ritchie & Tina Turner, 1985 Grammys. (R) Tina Turner performing at the 1985 Grammys.
(L) Whitney Houston, 1986 Grammys. (R) Whitney Houston, 1988 Grammys.
(L) Sinead O'Connor, 1989 Grammys. (R) Madonna, 1999 Grammys.
(L) Paula Abdul, 1990 Grammys. (R) Mariah Carey, 1991 Grammys.
(L) Mary J Blige, 1996 Grammys. (R) TLC, 1996 Grammys.
(L) Madonna and Shania Twain, 1999 Grammys. (R) Madonna performing at the 1999 Grammys.
(L) Jennifer Lopez, 2000 Grammys. (R) Britney Spears, 200 Grammys.
N'Sync, 2001 Grammys.
Destiny's Child, 2001 Grammys.
(L) Lady Gaga, 2010 Grammys. (R) Lady Gaga's entrance, 2011 Grammys.
Rihanna wearing Vintage Alaia, 2013 Grammys.
(L) Lorde wearing Balenciaga, 2014 Grammys. (R) Katy Perry wearing Valentino Couture, 2014 Grammys.
(L) Daft Punk wearing Saint Laurent, 2014 Grammys. (R) Beyonce & Jay Z, 2014 Grammys.