By Booth Moore, Los Angeles Times Fashion Critic
8:30 AM CST, February 11, 2013
This will go down as the year the Grammy Awards red carpet went classy.
No breasts? No buttocks? No problem. Whether it was intentional, in the end, the best-dressed stars did not run afoul of the much-discussed wardrobe advisory sent last week by CBS' standards and practices committee advising attendees to cover up.
Thongs and sheer panels were out, the email said. So was cleavage, puffy skin (whatever that means) and "bare flesh undercurves.
And people mostly complied — within reason. (Really, where would Hollywood be without cleavage?) That's not to say the evening's stars didn't make strong style statements. They did. But along the way, they proved it can be better to leave a little to the imagination, even when you're a pop diva.
There was no one sexier than Rihanna in that red-hot gown by fashion insider favorite Azzedine Alaia. The cross-front style didn't actually reveal much, but with that gossamer-like fabric, it hinted at everything. With Rihanna's soft, wavy hairstyle and minimal makeup, it was perfection.
Beyoncé shocked not with deep décolletage but by wearing a graphic black-and-white crepe jumpsuit by Osman Yousefzada that played into the current fashion trend for 1960s Op Art while showcasing her famous derriere.
The always well-behaved Taylor Swift played the goddess in a gorgeous white chiffon J. Mendel gown with embroidered metallic straps and tasteful cutouts at the bodice.
Meanwhile, Florence Welch was a temptress in a long-sleeve, poison green sequin gown with reptilian 3-D stud-like details by Riccardo Tisci for Givenchy.
Carrie Underwood's tame black baroque-looking beaded Roberto Cavalli gown looked more like something seen at the arguably more refined Golden Globes than the Grammys, where over the years, viewers have been treated to such risqué red carpet statements as Jennifer Lopez's infamous plunge-front, sheer jungle print Versace gown from 2000, Rihanna's barely legal sheer, white ruffled gown by Jean Paul Gaultier from 2010 and Toni Braxton's side-less loin cloth of a Richard Tyler gown from 2001.
But there were those who pushed the boundaries, starting with Lopez, who reprised Angelina Jolie's famously leggy Oscars red carpet stance, wearing a black, one-shoulder Anthony Vaccarello gown slit up to there, joking to the audience that, yes indeed, she had read the memo.
Katy Perry took inspiration from Priscilla Presley in the 1970s, wearing a long-sleeve mint green gown by Gucci that was technically covered up, even if it did hug every curve tightly and thrust her cleavage front and center.
And somehow, Kelly Rowland managed to keep everything in place underneath the sheer, geometric panels of her black Georges Chakra gown. There were undercurves too — and cleavage. Then again, what's the music scene without rule breakers?