The American Music Awards are always an interesting fashion event. The country contingent leans toward the casual; the mainline pop stars often aim for sexy and edgy; the metal and punk artists range from couture tuxedos to blinged-out grunge. It’s just a wide and fascinating range of fashion. And, as is true of every red carpet event, some looks are a ringing success and some are just a mess. Here are a few of the hits and misses from this year’s AMA red carpet.
Paula Abdul defies her age in this sleek sequined minidress. The gold detail at the neck adds both flash and modesty to the wide-open plunging neckline, and the dress is snug without being tight. The hem hits at exactly the right spot to make her legs look a mile long without coming off as trashy. I’d love to see a scarlet or metallic gold clutch as an accessory, but otherwise, this look is terrific.
Art deco patterns have been popular at red carpet events for the past couple of years, and there were a number in evidence at the AMAs this year (including a metallic gold number worn by host Jennifer Lopez), but Ciara’s see-through black gown was the best example of the style. Revealing without crossing the line into bad taste, the mix of triangles and curves, of covered up and open, of clinging and train results in a gorgeous, flattering, unique look.
Nina Dobrev’s look was, hands down, my favorite look of the night. The stark white column and off-the-shoulder jacket with sequined floral accents, deep slit, fabulous strappy black-and-white pumps has only long drop earrings, shampoo commercial waves, and a bright pink manicure as accessories - simple, smooth, and sexy. Coco Chanel once said, “A girl should be two things: classy and fabulous.” Dobrev was definitely listening.
Selena Gomez also rocked a simple – and simply fabulous – column dress. Her scarlet, mid-calf sequined column has a high halter neck and a short slit. I didn’t love the heavy corded details along the sides of the halter, but the sleek straight hair, restrained makeup, and strappiest of black sandals more than made up for that minor detail. Simple but spectacular.
I think I would have loved Gigi Hadid’s look if the front opening had been just a bit narrower – it simply draws too much focus with that huge expanse of skin. But I love the lines of the halter, with the double straps on each side and the criss-cross lacing, and the broad curved slit falling into a soft, graceful puddle at the hem. The white isn’t perfectly flattering with her skin and hair, and a tiny pop of soft color or even metallic gold or silver in lips, bag, or shoes would have amped it up a bit. Not a bad look, but it could have used a few minor modifications.
Julianne Hough wore another example of art deco styling. I love the carwash paneling in the skirt, but the muted colors and the demure t-shirt cut of the bodice are a bit bland. And again, the colors are not the most flattering with Hough’s skin and hair. Close, but not quite.
Demi Lovato is barely recognizable (but not in a bad way!) in a marcelled bob, dark lips, and a simple, skin-tight, wide-necked, brown-on-brown, vaguely camo-patterned gown. By all rights, this look should be boring, but Lovato absolutely sells it, with the smoldering expression and the powerful hand-on-hip stance. I’m not even going to quibble about the weird black tape on her left hand. She gets a 10 from me for sheer confidence alone.
Jenny McCarthy often goes off the rails with style, but this isn’t a bad look. The thigh-high coral red suede boots (with matching Santa belt) are beyond fabulous, and the simple halter dress with side pleated skirt moves beautifully and shows off her figure without flashing cleavage or thighs. The overprocessed blonde hair with ratty extensions and faded roots isn’t the best accessory, but seriously, with those boots on, nobody is looking at her hair.
Oh, Alanis Morissette. If you have a stylist, you need to fire her or him NOW. The tight leather bodice might have been okay, but joining it to a high-waisted A-line skirt with sequined pocket outlines was just mean. At least wrap a crushed sash around your waist to give it some definition. Honey, you oughta know by now: you deserve to look so much better than this.
Giuliana Rancic’s gown was a more subtle nod to art deco style. I love the barely see-through delicate starburst pattern radiating down from mid-thigh in the skirt, echoed by the lines of the bodice and sleeves. This gown is nicely proportioned to Rancic’s slight frame, and the black and silver tones work well with her coloring, A lovely look for her.
Gwen Stefani’s look was kind of…fanciful Goth, maybe? I actually love the flared chiffon sleeves that form a kind of capelet and the corset with peplum, and the lines of the trumpet skirt and train are fabulous. The thick black choker and “bump-it” hairstyle pull the retro look together nicely. The only part I really don't like is the exposed thighs and visible leotard bottom. I wish the skirt had been peekaboo instead of purely see-through, or even had an opaque black miniskirt underneath, either of which would have smoothed the line of the skirt. But Stefani still looks like a million bucks.
I’m not a big fan of rompers, but Hailee Steinfeld pulls off this black-and-white striped outfit quite nicely. The retro brass buttons and cobalt platforms and clutch add a bit of color and flash, and the long dark wavy hair fills in the plunging neckline and draws the eye up rather nicely. All in all, a cute vintage-inspired look.
I probably wouldn’t have chosen silver for Rebel Wilson, but this dress looks wonderful on her. From the retro 60s hair to the gracefully gathered in to the waist silver lame, to the adorable bright pink candy bag, Rebel owns this look. I’d have loved to have seen bright pink pumps to match the bag, but otherwise this was a terrific look.
Speaking of bright pink pumps, Zendaya pairs hers with a sweet, buttoned-down pink lace minidress. I love the “schoolgirlishness” of the long-sleeved, collared, ruffled bodice when paired with the ridiculously short skirt and killer heels. She hits a great balance of sexy yet age-appropriate.
Honestly, I’m a little disappointed that I didn’t see any fashion trainwrecks at the AMAs! Wait, I take that back. I forgot I saw this.