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-- by James Sanders
It was personal, and the artists at this year's Grammy Awards took it as such.
Music stars chose its biggest night as the platform to make bold statements. Despite the rain and wind chill in Los Angeles, the industry's glitterati gave an impressive showing and solidified their stances on issues in both politics and fashion.
Grammy Awards weekend make up the award's show, along with new and old staples including the JAY-Z-powered Roc Nation Brunch and the Clive Davis Grammy Party. Along with the music, Grammy weekend has become one of fashion's biggest moments, too.
Ironically, at the start of New York Fashion Week, Gucci came under fire for the release of its black balaclava sweater. The garment resembles costuming from blackface minstrel shows first developed in the early 19th century. Countless black artists have voiced their outrage such as rapper T.I. and film director Spike Lee, who've called for a boycott of the brand.
When asked what designers they were considering, Gucci was at the top of a lot of attendees' "Absolutely Not" list. Throughout the entire weekend, the brand was absent from red carpets and events.
Every red carpet has its own swagger, making each look an individual decision that isn't one size fits all. The same look from the Best Dressed List could end up on the Worst Dressed List depending on the red carpet. The Grammys allow for the different -- almost bordering -- costume. It's the perfect carpet to be a little extra. Which brings us to the first artist on the list of best looks: Cardi B.
Cardi B in vintage Thierry Mugler
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Cardi B attends the Grammy Awards exclusively wearing the pink duchess and satin velvet Venus sheath dress over a blush embellished bodysuit from the fall winter 1995-1996 couture show at the Cirque d’Hiver. - - #cardib styled by @kollincarter #grammys #grammys2019 #muglerarchives #mugler @manfredthierrymugler
The Bronx-bred artist, nominated for five Grammys and winner of Best Rap Album, gave a stellar performance of her hit single "Money." But, on the red carpet, she was her most Avant Garde in vintage Thierry Mugler. Embellished with pearls on the neck, the waist, and also on her bun – this look gave oyster realness.
Tracee Ellis Ross in Ralph and Russo
Tracee no doubt came to support her mother during her Grammy performance. Her mother was a key figure in the Motown tribute. Tracee's fashion pedigree was innate being the eldest daughter of music and fashion icon Diana Ross. This lime green tailored suit by Ralph and Russo was embellished with a diamond encrusted snake around the waist.
Kylie Jenner in Balmain
The youngest (and richest) Jenner (Kardashian) was her beau Travis Scott's plus one at the awards show. In a pink structural drape from Balmain, the influencer/mogul didn't disappoint.
Lady Gaga in Celine
This is the new Celine under the creative direction of Hedi Slimane (formerly of Saint Laurent). The minimalist classic brand has gotten a major rock infusion not more pronounced than in Lady Gaga's look. Heavy on the sparkle, the designer took a classic silhouette and gave it a remix.
Ella Mai in Ashi Studio
The "Boo'd Up" singer took home a Grammy for everyone's favorite song of the summer and with good reason. But, in addition to winning the award, she was also a big winner on the red carpet with a navy blue gown from Ashi Studio. Against Ella Mai's complexion, the color was deep and vibrant.
Michelle Obama in custom Sachin and Babi
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For me, a big part of friendship is showing up for your girls—whether that’s for a birthday, a quick catch-up after work, or a major milestone. So I was thrilled to be there for the one and only @aliciakeys at the #GRAMMYs. She is one of the most genuine, caring, and thoughtful people I know—there’s no one better to help us all celebrate the unifying power of music!
Forever our first lady, Michelle Obama's appearance was a surprise. Keeping with the girl-power theme heralded and spearheaded by host Alicia Keys, it only seemed right that she brought Obama out. Standing with Jada Pinkett Smith, Jennifer Lopez and Lady Gaga, Michelle Obama wore a chain metal pant suit that was an impossibly cool nod to '70s disco.
Jennifer Lopez in Ralph and Russo
This was a toned-down look for the singer/actress who almost always gives a sheer, mermaid silhouette often from Zuhair Murad. The Ralph and Russo column dress with embellishment down the middle was very '60s – appropriately so, since Lopez was tapped to perform for the Motown tribute.
Jada Pinkett in Roberto Cavalli
Bebe Rexha in Monsoori
Janelle Monae in Jean Paul Gaultier
Quincy in Ermenegildo Zegna
Pusha T in Thom Browne
Now one of the most popular events during Grammy weekend, the Roc Nation brunch is the event that everyone wants to go to. With an overdose of black excellence, some of the most gangsta of rappers cleaned it up for the day, and wore pastels with tailored suiting and colored shoes.
Beyonce in Balmain
Beyonce wore a multicolored short dress with flared shoulders from Balmain. The shoes, also Balmain, had a heel shaped appropriately like a B.
JAY-Z wore a double-breasted blue linen cotton blend suit perfectly tailored and accessorized with a simple pair of white sneakers.
Nipsey Hussle in a crandberry satin tuxedo shirt with plum slacks and a salmon overcoat looked expensive and effortless.
Justine Skye in Thierry Mugler
Justine Skye in a lagoon-blue oversized blazer and sequined pant by Thierry Mugler added some glitz to a sea of muted, albeit fabulous, colors.
In an industry where most legends are retired, the fact that Clive Davis is still making major music moves only adds to the fact that tickets to his pre-Grammy party are almost as coveted as the actual awards show. With every executive that Davis has mentored, helped, or influenced during his illustrious career in one room -- for artists and aspiring industry people -- the Clive Davis Grammy party is the place to be.
Ciara in Romona Keveza
Having one of the best bodies in the industry -- two kids later -- Ciara's snapback is legendary. Her black cutout dress from Romona Keveza illustrates that fact in the best possible way.
Kylie Jenner in Ralph and Russo
In a burgundy satin gown inspired, no doubt, by old Hollywood, Kylie Jenner's new young-but-serious image is solidified.
Fantasia in Lia Stublla
The singer, who would bring the house down during the Aretha Franklin tribute a day later at the Grammy Awards, looked like she came to dance in this Lia Stublla black one-sleeve short dress.
Faith Evans in a Green Pants Suit
Faith Evans with new husband and legendary producer, Steven Jordan, looked incredible in a forest green pants suit that was masterfully paired with gold jewelry along the neck and ears. It was the perfect combination of Hip Hop and Soul.
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