Lil Nas X, Lady Gaga, Laura Harrier & More of the Week’s Best Dressed Stars

Fashion may rely on references, but it’s rarely evident on the red carpet, where the designer’s vision often comes second to that of the celebrity and their stylists. The outfit, and how its wearer looks in it, tends to become the story—but this week, the focus was on the history behind their wardrobe choices. 

After all, to fully appreciate why someone dressed up, viewers needed a little sartorial subtext. Take Lady Gaga’s transformation into a vintage 1950s chanteuse during her trip to New York, which might seem like a flight of fancy. Still, the singer’s retro moment marked the lead-up to filming an MTV Unplugged set with her Cheek to Cheek collaborator, crooner Tony Bennett. By nodding to the aesthetic of Bennett’s heyday, Gaga paid tribute to one of her heroes while priming the audience for their next round of duets. 

Elsewhere, the sartorial subtext continued. At the Cartier Queen’s Cup polo tournament in the U.K., Naomie Harris arrived with an accessory that alluded to Surrealist art. Dressed in a hot pink Schiaparelli column gown with a built-in bustier and sculptural brass buttons, it was Harris’s gold and black tote from Daniel Roseberry’s spring 2021 collection that added that irreverent touch the brand is known for. Each element of the bag’s “face” references one of Elsa Schiaparelli’s collaborators; the asymmetrical eyes are a call back to a brooch Jean Cocteau created for the house in 1937, while the handbag’s bijoux mouth is a nod to Salvador Dalí’s pearl-filled “ruby lips” brooch from 1949.

The week’s most controversial callback goes to Kim Kardashian, who broke the internet by wearing the lacy final look from Barragán’s fall 2020 show to tour the Sistine Chapel with Kate Moss. Given the spiritual significance of the Apostolic Palace and Kardashian’s status as a polarizing public figure, anything she wore was destined to get attention. Still, the context of Victor Barragán’s creation—and its beauty—added depth to what could have been just another wardrobe change during the reality star’s whirlwind tour of Italy. Influenced by the history of the Mexican Inquisition, Barragán used his collection to explore ideas about freedom from patriarchal domination and the power of sexuality. Given those themes, who better than Kardashian to take the look to the streets?

At the BET Awards in Los Angeles, meanwhile, everyone was dressed to the nines. But few could compete with Lil Nas X, whose outré outfits stole the show. While he wore multiple looks over the course of the night, it was Richard Quinn’s embroidered, pearl-encrusted suit that best captured the ceremony’s exuberant mood. A labor of love collection that Quinn crafted during lockdown in London, its excess of embellishment and color was an assertion of optimism, glamour, and the joy of fashion. 

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