Was The Telegraph right to claim ‘this was the worst year yet for Grammys fashion’?instagram / taylorswift

Feather boas, skeletons, bucket hats, florals and kitten heels all graced the red carpet of this year’s Grammys. Despite the occasional hit, and the event’s socially distanced format facilitating some truly enviable co-ordination of face masks to outfits, there were certainly some questionable decisions made, meaning the Telegraph’s evaluation that ‘this was the worst year yet for Grammys fashion’ may not be completely unfounded.

Taylor Swift won the most coveted award of the night, and her dress was no less of a winnerinstagram / oscardelarenta

Any winner of the night’s most coveted Album of the Year award was bound to have plentiful attention heaped on them, and (quite aside from folklore being highly deserving of the accolade) it is lucky that person was Taylor Swift. Her custom Oscar de la Renta was undoubtedly my fashion highlight of the night, the dress constructed of embroidered appliqué pressed flowers creating an ethereal fairytale aesthetic, corresponding perfectly with the richly whimsical storytelling of the winning album. While it was not show-stopping or hugely original, it told a story that matched that of her music, attesting to fashion’s ability to be more than just something to wear.

“Taylor Swift’s dress attested to fashion’s ability to be more than just something to wear”

Joining Swift on the best-dressed side of the night was Dua Lipa in bejewelled Versace. Anyone who has paid attention to red-carpet styling in recent years knows to expect at least one ‘nearly naked’ dress, and despite not usually being a huge fan of this trend, I thought this was a beautiful take on it, especially since the butterfly emblem subtly worked into the bodice prevented the dress from being basic exhibitionism. With the pink tones reflecting the Future Nostalgia album cover and the iridescent sparkle a subtle nod to the space-themed marketing of the album, the dress worked in a similar way to Swift’s in relating to the theme of the nominated music while also being valuable fashion in its own right.

Dua Lipa's take on the token 'nearly naked' dressinstagram / versace

Aside from these, the majority were middle-of-the-road, uninspiring but inoffensive looks. The Giambattista Valli oversized tulle trope was fulfilled by Jhené Aiko, but by now that look is getting unoriginal, and her gown simply did not have the wow factor of Ariana Grande’s at last year’s ceremony. Orange looked gorgeous on Megan Thee Stallion but in a bizarre silhouette. Billie Eilish remained very much on-brand with her Gucci look complete with bucket hat and face mask, and I did appreciate that it had a little more shape to it than what we have seen her in before on the red carpet, but it was forgettable. Her subtle co-ordination with Finneas did not go unnoticed, a tasteful collaborative way of acknowledging the brother-sister partnership.

The Haim sisters dressing to unimpress...instagram / haimtheband

Haim, however, took sibling co-ordination to all the wrong places with their varying periwinkle blue Prada ensembles. I, and the internet, are left with so many questions – why has Este got holes in her sleeves? Have they, or Prada, heard of an iron? And what on earth is going on with those curtains, and those shoes? We could optimistically say the apparent similarity to nurses’ scrubs was a deliberate contemporary political comment, but I think this is generous. For me, all three looks were the most ill-advised of the night, but then again it was simply very Prada, who are known for their eccentric and self-aware ‘ugly’ minimalism.

Harry Style's divisive on-stage lookinstagram / gucci

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Meanwhile, Harry Styles’ looks have caused me the most inner strife of all (never let it be said that I am not invested in fashion – or Harry Styles). I was initially confused about the lack of cohesion between the summery psychedelia of ‘Watermelon Sugar’ and the leather Gucci suit and mint feather boa he wore to perform the song. But his stylist told Vogue: ‘[we wanted to] go for something darker, sexier, and more unexpected… I don’t feel that anyone has seen Harry dress like this before’, and if that was the intention then it was very much successful. The look has certainly grown on me, and regardless of its intentions, it brought a sense of British eccentricity that is increasingly synonymous with Styles’ image to the awards that was unlike anything else we saw. His red-carpet ensemble consisted of a Gucci check jacket, sweater vest, and brown cords – but with a lavender feather boa to lift it from mismatched grandfather to unabashed camp. Initially jarring, and wrongfully appearing on many worst-dressed lists, his looks are certainly memorable and continue his unfurling legacy as a men’s fashion trailblazer.

When flowers and butterflies and feather boas are the high points of the first (relatively) in-person red-carpet event in just over a year, I can’t help but feel somewhat underwhelmed. Online conversations about the fashion at the Grammys this year seem to be in line with my evaluation, but at least fashion conversations are reigniting. And after a year of sweatpants on the sofa, this has to be an improvement.