Gowns! Galore! At the 52nd NAACP Image Awards

Illustration for article titled Gowns! Galore! At the 52nd NAACP Image Awards
Image: James Anthony (Getty Images)

The NAACP Image Awards were held via Zoom Saturday, March 27. With vaccines and covid-19 numbers not quite down enough to warrant an in-person ceremony, the attendees weren’t going to be robbed of the opportunity to strut about in truly breathtaking fashions. Gowns galore!

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While the televised event technically happened Saturday, the NAACP Image Awards began handing out awards Monday, and then throughout the week. Winners included Marsai Martin and Issa Rae for the acting categories, alongside wins for films like Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Soul, and The Last Dance. Nadia Hallgren also nabbed a win for “Outstanding Breakthrough Creative” for Becoming; Red Table Talk for “Outstanding Talk Series”; Beyonce’s single “Black Parade” for “Outstanding Female Artist”; and pandemic breakout hit VERZUZ for “Outstanding Variety Show.” A full list of winners can be seen here.

For the televised event, then, stars from all corners of the industry pulled out the stops after a year without much red carpet fashion to speak of or remember.

First up is Tracee Ellis Ross, who rocked platform booties and a headpiece in a Schiaparelli two-piece. I quite like the headpiece and the golden toe embellishments. There’s something in the fit of the pants and the cut of the jacket that don’t quite sell it for me, but that’s why Ross wore two whole outfits to the ceremony. There’s more to love!

Here she is in an Alberta Ferretti suit, giving me gold, and cufflinks, and a necklace so heavy it could kill a person. This fits much better, per my own bias. The hat is just sharp enough to not look gimmicky, and the pant legs are tailored to the gods.

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Illustration for article titled Gowns! Galore! At the 52nd NAACP Image Awards
Image: Lee Vuitton (Getty Images)

Issa Rae wore Prada, giving the girls Venician princess on a yachting excursion. I’m not a fan of all-white drapery, as I find it to be a tad pedestrian, but Rae’s styling seals the deal for her here. The embellishments and embroidery are a nice touch if bordering on the tacky, but it’s Prada! Miss Miuccia loves an outlet mall prom dress.

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Illustration for article titled Gowns! Galore! At the 52nd NAACP Image Awards
Image: Kelly Balch (Getty Images)

P-Valley star Brandee Evans rocked an Albert Montris gown. The silhouette is nothing new, but this has to be among the most creative and instantly iconic hairstyles to grace Getty Images in some 20 or 30 years. The intricacies of the braids and the flourishes of gold at the crown of her scalp are just perfect. It frames her features exquisitely, and I really can’t take my eyes off of the ensemble. Bravo!

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Co-star Nicco Annan, meanwhile, is standing here, so I won’t ignore it. The Kamsi-Tcharles suit is tailored beautifully, but I wish it had committed to either the taupe fabric or the floral. It can’t have both! An attempt was made, though, and that’s commendable enough.

Illustration for article titled Gowns! Galore! At the 52nd NAACP Image Awards
Image: Jennifer Johnson (Getty Images)
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Gag! Marsai Martin wore a Christian Siriano look that references the Italian couturiers of the late 1960s, whose designs inspired costuming in more Bob Fosse joints than I could realistically name here. It’s an inspired take on the little black dress, although I suspect the feathers are real, and that’s a bummer because it’s nigh impossible to ethically source those. Regardless, it fits her exactly so, which is a feat more daring than most might imagine when your dress is just a few yards of black fabric. Every seam has to be sewn to proportion or it will show—and it doesn’t! Siriano often borders on the costume, but no ill words shall be spoken of his tailoring skills.

I do wish there was more consistency with the nail color, but now I’m nitpicking. The hair and makeup and jewelry are just right, and that’s what matters more.

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Illustration for article titled Gowns! Galore! At the 52nd NAACP Image Awards
Image: James Anthony (Getty Images)

Regina King ate this Oscar de la Renta moment. I’ve not always been fond of Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia’s outings at the brand since they assumed the post of co-creative directors in 2017, after de la Renta died in 2014. (RIP!) But this time around the block works in every way I’d need it to.

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Often, extravagant shoulder pieces, more recently shown on catwalks by Schiaparelli and Valentino and my nemesis Maria Grazia Chiuri at Dior, are paired with extravagant gowns. I mean, floor-to-ceiling draped monstrosities with poufs and ruffles and billowing satin trains in all the wrong places. King’s dress, meanwhile, opts for an understated, off-the-shoulder sheath silhouette, which is quite tricky really when one factors in how easy it is to be overwhelmed by all that fabric around the neckline. But here, it lays across her exquisitely, with a nice bit on the opposite waist to elevate its already asymmetrical proportions. Bravo to King! Bravo to her stylists!

Illustration for article titled Gowns! Galore! At the 52nd NAACP Image Awards
Image: Malcolm Cook (Getty Images)
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Ugh, if there was a look that could make me physically scream with delight, it’s this one. Sistas actress Novi Brown wore Ivy Showroom, which I learned about just now. Sure, there are some issues with the fit of her faux-gloves, and the bodice could use just a pinch more refinement in the seam-work, but god, what a playful sense of humor this dress has. Not to mention the braid work is fantastic, especially when seen from up close. The feathered trim—and I never thought I’d say this—is also just perfect! It’s perfect!

Sure, it’s not the most seamless experience when taken as a whole, but it’s bursting with personality, and a touch of risk. I have to commend that! Everyone is so terrified of that going out on their own aesthetically, especially in the realm of high femme performance, and even more especially at an Awards Show this late in the... what is it called... panoramic? Personal pan pizza? Penne panne pasta? Eh, I’ll figure it out later.

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Thanks for the fashions, everyone!

DISCUSSION

They all look amazing. Regina King is next level beautiful.

However, what’s up with seeing the edges of the background drape things? Why would they do that?