This woman is so good at wearing clothes.
Janelle Monae at the Vanity Fair Oscars party in 2017.
Photo: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images
There are perfectly good celebrity style moments, and then there are the looks that really stick with you, the ones you try desperately to recreate at home. In ‘Great Outfits in Fashion History,’ Fashionista editors are revisiting their all-time favorite lewks.
Looking back at the history of Janelle Monáe’s red carpet appearances, it’s remarkable how consistent the performer’s aesthetic has remained over time. While the rest of us have been trying out a whole host of trends that leave us cringing at photos of ourselves just a few years later, Monáe’s relentless commitment to precise tailoring in black and white means pictures of her from over a decade ago still feel relevant.
One of my favorite Monáe looks, however, is a relatively simple one in all black. For the Vanity Fair Oscars after party in 2017, Monáe changed from the delightfully floaty Elie Saab gown she wore to the main event into something with a little more edge: a voluminously skirted black ballgown by Alexandre Vauthier, complete with mesh underlay.
There are so many elements of this look worth noting, from the mixed-metal accessories (think big silvery rings and a black-and-gold clutch) to the peekaboo folds of the dress to Monáe’s relatively subdued makeup. But the real kicker for me is the mesh top, which feels unexpectedly punk and contrasts perfectly with the princess-y shape of the gown and the fairy-like gold floral headband by Jennifer Behr.
It’s the kind of outfit that’s easy to imagine riffing on even if you’re not a chart-topping musician, so next time you’re headed to a fancy event (when those are happening again), consider wearing a bit of mesh under a fancy black gown and see what magic happens as a result.
Below, find some pieces to get you started recreating Janelle Monae’s look.
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