Bare Butts, Major Sparkles, and the Prettiest Princess Gown: The Top 10 Fashion Moments of the 2015 Grammys

Photos via @melzy917, @beyonce, and @kcdworldwide on Instagram

RIHANNA
No one else came even close. Hands down, Rih wins best dressed. In a sea of kinda quirky, a little cute, and mostly meh, Rihanna’s gorgeous confection of an empire-waisted Giambattista Valli Haute Couture extravaganza dress is so refreshing, so perfect, and I can only ever see this on Rihanna now. She owns this. Pure magic. Bravo to Rih’s stylist Mel Ottenberg— AS

 

BEYONCÉ
Bow down! Actually, I’m not sure I love this look on Bey. The hair’s a little too long (a little flyover state) for me… and while I definitely appreciate Yoncé’s support of American designers on the red carpet (custom Proenza Schouler, what what!) I can’t help but feel like Bey’s giving us all a little Mimi. That fabulous hourglass, that forced smile, the stiff pose… it all reads like Mariah Carey. Who I love. But still. — AS

 

KATY PERRY
I think we can all agree that we know that Katy Perry looks good naked. This Zuhair Murad isn’t leaving much to the imagination. But we hear no one complaining. Also the hair… cute! — AS

 

NICKI MINAJ
Nicki wore Tom Ford, and the full look was really just dripping with the essence of a highly polished stripper. Sorry, girl. Maybe it was the gelled hair? The couldn’t-be-strapped-tigher cleavage? Abundant excess of side boob? The shredded lengths of the dress? Hmm. Hmmmm… –AS

 

HAIM
Major props to these sisters for getting low-key/high-style just right on the red carpet. Este in Chloe, and Danielle and Alana, both in Stella McCartney looked like the girl everyone always wants to be who just always has the right amazing, understated outfit, and looks effortlessly cool on a Wednesday. No shenanigans needed. While all three looks were gold, Danielle’s pale pink suit and distinctive middle part were the most eye-catching moment. — SSF

 

RITA ORA
I knew I liked this gown as soon as I saw it. The red carpet is what glittery gowns that look like disco balls were made for (as for the rest of us…sigh) and this one is a classic with perfect modern twists. The mockneck caught my eye immediately. Then, I found it it was Prada and it all made sense. Once a Miuccia girl, always a Miuccia girl. — SSF

 

CIARA
They say that fashion (and what works/does not) is all about attitude, and this look is one reason why. Sure, some of the twitterati were making loofah comparisons, but Ciara carried her shower-accessory inspired Alexandre Vauthier couture gown with the confidence of a badass betch. The cinched waist gave it some shape. If I were to make a comparison, it would be to a Black Swan costume, but in my mind, that is never a bad thing. — SSF

 

MADONNA
Oy vey. Aside from looking like Dolce & Gabbana of yesteryear, this is also an example of cleavage gone wrong! It’s always confusing when custom (Givenchy, in this case) is ill-fitting. Echem, and earlier on the red carpet, Madge flashed her fishnet-clad tush, reminding everyone that she might be 56 — but she’s a cool mom. — SSF

 

GWEN STEFANI
So elegant in that Atelier Versace, Gwenny! The nude lip is a nice departure for the singer, whose signature red lip was missing tonight. I think this lets her beautiful face, immaculate hair, and sexy-sophisticate Versace shine through. — AS

TAYLOR SWIFT
Karlie? Taylor? Who even is this anymore? It seems that Karlie Kloss and Swift are more than just besties, but rather, Kloss’s runway style savvy is serving as Taylor’s red carpet muse. The more time those two spend together, the more they seem to look alike. Taylor’s turquoise Elie Saab gown and purple heels are perfect for her pop-y rebranding. Dress = cute! The matching blond lobs = weird. — SSF

How To Get Rihanna, JLo, & Katie Perry’s Grammy Looks

Sure, the Grammy’s were all about all that singing stuff, but let’s get to the shallow basics: people looked hot. Most notably, Rihanna, JLo, and Katy Perry. How did they look classic, glowy, and dollface? Well, I’m glad you asked… here’s BlackBook’s resident makeup artist Leah Bennett – whose work has graced the runways of London and New York – to give you the step-by-step on the trends.

Rihanna

Classic beauty-look never dates, and can be worn by all skin tones. The key with this look is not to overdo eyes, cheeks, or lips, but to create a balance and dimension in the face.

1. Choose a red that will suit your skin tone, whether it be a blue undertone, fuschia, or an orange undertone. Have fun and mix and match.

2. Skin should be dewy and fresh. Using a luminous foundation, such as Hourglass’s tinted moisturizer, which will give you that natural glow.

3. Use a natural concealer, like MAC’s select concealer, and layer where needed under the eyes, nose, and chin. The skin should be a flawless canvas.

4. For eyes, use gold tones or sliver and natural colors; these compliment that sexy red lip like miss Rihanna’s. But the key is in the lashes: use MAC’s number 7 for a natural voluptuous flare that opens and dramatizes the eye, completing that classic beauty look.

Jennifer Lopez

JLo can do no wrong. This look is about accentuating all your natural features. Contour, contour, contour.

1. JLo is the queen of dewy, glowy skin (evidence here)! Use Copacabana’s highlighter bars and mix in your choice of foundation. This will give you that extra boost of glow and light, and will reflect off the skin, creating that picture-perfect runway skin finish. Then, use a MAC’s matte bronzer to contour the cheekbones, chin and hair line. Blend and sculpt.

2. Frame the brows with Hourglass’s brow pencil, and comb hair upwards, framing the face.

3. Stila’s all-day liquid eyeliner will create that bold, ‘60s eyeliner look. JLo has framed her top and bottom lash line to create drama. This look is all about soft but strong angles, creating a skinnier face shape.

4. Keep a neutral lip to balance the luminous skin. This look is timeless and can be worn day and night.

Katie Perry

With Katie, it’s all about shimmer and metallic to reflect light and open the eyes.

1. Use taupe or gold as your base color, and matte dark black navy to contour the socket line. Thick liner is best to create drama to the eye top and bottom.   Like Katie, use a black pencil on the inner rim, such as MACs smolder eyeliner to create a sassy eye. Lashes are a must.

2. For the skin, create a natural matte finish with MAC’s pro longwear foundation. This will give you that doll face finish, and last all day.

3. Since this look is all about the eyes, keep the skin mild by opting for a neutral bronzer to sculpt the cheekbones, dusting lightly.

4. And here’s a trick for your lips: mix your concealer with a touch of gloss to create that perfect nude.

The Voice Behind The Voices: Top Vocal Coach Liz Caplan

You’ve heard her joyously thanked in Tony and Emmy Award acceptance speeches, and you’ve sung along with the fruits of her work on record-breaking pop/rock albums, blockbuster movie musicals, and Broadway shows about Mormons and Dublin street musicians. As the voice behind the music industry’s top voices, vocal coach-teacher-supervisor Liz Caplan is a story all her own. Since arriving to New York in 1978 with just $300-worth of babysitting money, she’s amassed a clientele that includes The Goo Goo Dolls, James Blunt, Lily Allen, Neil Patrick Harris, the Broadway casts of Book of Mormon and Once, and more. And when you couple her students with her two apps, her consultation to all major record labels, and her team of associates that teach her licensed technique, a Liz Caplan empire is born.

But you’d never know it when you meet her. Clad in a bright tunic in her sun-lit Chelsea studio where you’re greeted by her very vocal and gentlemanly dog Schanuzee, Liz is the image of contentment. Better yet, joy. The secret: her mind-body approach to coaching. By mixing homeopathy, physical alignment, and nutrition, Liz has created a style that seeks to, as she explains, "melt" people – drawing forth their true spirit, and giving it the freedom to be heard in their voice. 

And she does exactly that. For an afternoon, I had the chance to have a lesson and conversation with Liz, where she shared some of the most thrilling moments of her career, a shocking singing no-no, the truth behind tone-deafness, and one miraculous story.

You have a kind of sixth sense, and you’re also a bit of a guru. When did you realize you have this talent to understand voices?
Since I was a child, I’ve always had this freaky gift of being able to hear what frequencies are missing in somebody’s voice. I’m able to locate it and hear when someone is locking their head, their shoulders, tensing their feet. The moment that tension is released, the sound pops open. I truly believe the voice is completely perfect; it’s what we do to it before we breath and sing that makes it imperfect. 

What’s it like for you to watch a live performance? Are you constantly in coaching mode?
I can’t help it, but the answer is yes. For instance, I work with Amanda Seyfried, and worked with her on the movie version of Les Miserables. When I sat down next to her to watch the premiere, which was so exciting, I told myself, "Okay self, relax, let the movie just wash over you." But I couldn’t help but dive into every person’s voice. It’s just what I do. When it comes to what you were put on this Earth to do, for me it’s analyze voices.

How did you prepare her for the role of Cosette?
Amanda didn’t just get an offer; she had to audition a bunch of times. She came into classes pretty much everyday for six months. There was a moment where I said, "I’m going to make this happen for her. I’m going to do everything I possibly can to get her this role." And I still have the voicemail on my phone when she called and said, "Hi. I’m calling to let you know I just got off the phone with the director. And I’m Cosette." 

You have so many thrills like this.
I think it’s the kind of thrills I’m supposed to have in my life. When I was a singer, I couldn’t handle them, but when I apply them to my students, I can; it’s so joyous because it’s in my heart but outside of me. It’s like the energy my client, composer/lyricist and performer Lin Manuel Miranda, gives off everyday. It’s pure joy, because you’re doing what you’ve always wanted to do. So my applause is when my client gets the part.

What about the time Book of Mormon actress Nikki M. James won the Tony? 
I was in the third row because I was working with Neil Patrick Harris on the Tony Awards, as I always do, and when Nikki said, "to Liz Caplan, my voice teacher who saved my life and my voice," my husband turned to me and said: "She just said your name." And I went into this place where a vacuum happened and I had to watch it myself to remember it. 

You work mostly with clients sent by Broadway producers and management companies. But you also do emergency consulting work with record labels. 
Yes, recording companies will call me when an artist has to do a really huge gig and they were on tour and suddenly lost their voice. I’ll be with them for an entire day and give intermediate voice lessons – 15 minutes here, 20 minutes here, 30 minutes here – from 9am to when they do their gig at night.

And that doesn’t overwork their voice?
Nothing I do will ever fatigue the voice. I feel like when I’m teaching, I have a miner’s cap on with a flashlight. I’m always inside the voice and throat and trying to get a feel for what’s going on. Everything I do is to limber up the intrinsic muscles that cause that fatigue and are overcompensated. 

What’s it like promoting a healthy, holistic vocal approach in an industry known for debauchery?
I’ll never judge what artists want to do with their mind and body, but I do feel that if you want to be at the top of your field and aim for that award, then you want to take care of yourself; do yoga, meditate for just 10 minutes a day, eat properly. It can be a hard, depressive industry, and if you’re not taking care of yourself, you’ll always feel a step behind the artists who work out, eat right, win awards. If you treat yourself positively, all of that will actualize itself positively into your career. 

Besides drinking and depressing yourself to death, what’s the #1 worst thing for your voice?
Advil. Do not take Advil. Ibuprofen is a blood thinner, so it thins the blood going to the vocal cords. If you’re singing something really hard and you’re taking ibuprofen, the risk of hemorrhaging your vocal cord is tremendous. Take extra strength Tylenol. 

Be honest: do you think anyone can sing?
Yes. If you can hear the pitches of police or fire engine sirens, then you can sing.

Then what about tone-deafness? Does that exist?
Actually, no. People who say they are tone deaf were just not exposed to music growing up. I call them "tone-ignorant." They were usually very into athletics as a kid, and rarely saw shows or listened to music, so they weren’t exposed to any music. With a good deal of lessons, it’s easy to reverse, and always a revelation for them when they finally hear themselves sing in-tune. 

Four paws appear underneath the door, as Schnauzee scratches to come in. Liz opens the door, and he takes a seat beside her.

Your dog can really sing. How old is he?
Eleven. He got diagnosed with cancer in June, during Tony week when I was working with Neil. They gave him 30 days to live and said he has the worst kind of cancer an animal can get. So I called all of my homeopathic healers and medical intuits, and today is day 188. He’s on supplements and enzymes and I cook him organic food. 

And it’s gone?
He’s in remission. He went into remission on the day they said he would not live. While the medical professionals told me nothing would help him, my homeopath said, "This is going to be hard, but if you do this regimen, you might be able to get him okay." And he was. I will tell you, I have had students who have won Tony Awards, Grammys, all of that, and this is my biggest accomplishment yet.

Josh Gad