It seems almost incredible to admit this now, but when we first started out doing red carpet commentary a decade ago, we had to make a concerted effort to find people of color to cover. Sure, there were always Essence and BET events to cover, and it’s not like there weren’t any famous black actresses on red carpets in 2008, but what was once something we had to make an effort to find is now something that lands in our lap every day, multiple times a day.
We think the Holy Trinity of Kerry Washington, Michelle Obama and Lupita Nyong’o changed the story over time, forcing people in the fashion world to face up to how limited their perception and portrayals of black women had been up until those women came along to shine a light. We just recently said in an interview (checks nails) that the current mainstream rise of Afro-futurist or Afro-punk fashion (you can thank Black Panther costume designer Ruth E. Carter for that, as well as Janelle Monae and Solange Knowles, among others for mainstreaming it) might not have happened if Kerry, Michelle and Lupita hadn’t gotten their Vogue covers.
The mainstreaming of the haute couture woman of color allowed the conversation about black fashion to open up and be more widely accepted. That in turn caused stylists and photographers to court black celebrity women as clients and treat black celebrity women as something the public wants to see more of. Back in the day, if you were looking at a mixed-race cast on a red carpet, you could always count on the white actors being photographed at roughly twice the rate of black actors, believe it or not.
No point to this except some musing on our parts. Onward to judging.
Amandla Stenberg in Preen By Thornton Bregazzi
We’re never going to love a skirt hem like that and we question whether those shoes – which are pretty gorgeous on their own – really go with this look, but from the knees up, she looks fantastic. Love the hair.
Angela Bassett in Yaniv Persy
Goddess in white.
Betty Gabriel in Saloni
There’s something sort of lovely and old-school about Miss Betty’s style. Very feminine and pretty, mostly uncomplicated. We love this dress and think the print looks great. We just wish the hem were a bit longer and the shoes a bit more delicate. We think Amandla’s shoes would look better here.
Danai Gurira in Loewe
Another Goddess in White – with bonus funky shoe action!
We love the dress for its simplicity and love the footwear for the fun, but they don’t really go together.
Janelle Monáe in Andrew Gn
WERQ it, GURL.
LOVE this. Not sure about the booties, but the head tassle is fun and she can work a puffy sleeve like no one’s business.
La La Anthony in Stella McCartney
That sleeve situation is distracting as hell, but we imagine it’d be fine without the aggressive posing. Still, a dress shouldn’t suddenly go wonky if a gal wants to put her hand on her hip. Stella, you did it again…
LOVE this woman’s style. What a gorgeous suit. Are we wrong to want the shirt to match it? The black is a bit jarring. A dark green might have pulled it together more.
Lupita Nyong’o in Ronald van der Kemp Couture
We kind of love that Lupita chose a challenging dress on a night when she really could’ve showed up in something simple and called it a victory lap. Everything from the waist up is good, but we struggle with the trickiness of that skirt.
The dress is really cute, but the shoes look like slippers. Nothing wrong with wearing a flat, but these look like the complimentary slippers you find in a hotel room closet.
Sonequa Martin-Green in Dior
LOVE that she wore this kickass coat on the red carpet. The scarf and shoes tend to be a bit distracting, though. The coat shouldn’t have to fight for attention.
Tessa Thompson in Ralph & Russo Couture
Maybe we’re reading too much into her body language and facial expression, but she doesn’t seem to love this very much. It’s okay, but she really comes alive when she has something unique and eye-catching to wear. And we really hate the way this just hangs off her without any drape or fit.
Tiffany Haddish in Alice + Olivia
Pretty much the perfect marriage of dress and wearer. You need a big personality to make sure this dress doesn’t overwhelm you. Once again, we’re not sure those shoes do the job, though. Too matchy and focus-pulling.
Can’t someone get these ladies some killer shoes?
[Photo Credit: INSTARImages]