She may have made her name in ‘Awkward Black Girl’ but Issa Rae’s look for the premiere of Wrinkle in Time was a masterclass in confident, grown-woman Red Carpet dressing. All of us Bella Styistas love a lady who dresses to the beat of her own drum, but what makes this look particularly audacious is she broke not one, but two, cardinal rules of Red Carpet dressing but still won big. Allow me to explain.
Cardinal Rule Number One: Thou Shalt Not Wear Odd Colours That Are Difficult To Define, And Definitely Not in Silk-Satin: Let’s be clear here, this particular gorgoeous shade of ochre (that’s my colour description and I am sticking to it!), of this Pyer Moss gown is not an easy colour to rock. If you are caucasian it could wash you out big-time, Asian or mixed-race and you might be in danger of looking too nude as your colour blends into the dress’ one, but on Issa’s rich chocolate tone, things are a’popping! Call us biased as our brand colour at BellaNaija Style is yellow, or call us fatigued by the sea of black dresses that have become this year’s uniform of choice due to #MeToo, but there is something all round super cheering about a colour that is evocative of sunny days and happy times. Issa, we salute you for not being all bore=snore with the palette choice and let it be on record that it was a complete result. As for the jokers who decreed that silk-satin was only for bridesmaids, and a red-carpet look isn’t a red-carpet look unless there is some sort of embellishment – we are blowing them big raspberries from our desk. Yes, one might be a little more wrinkles in the dress by the end of the night’s revels, but silk-satin is festive, so go ahead Issa, shine bright and be the Belle of the Ball, it is a Disney movie after all!
Cardinal Rule Number 2: Thou Shalt Not Wear Directional Sleeve and High Collar: Think about it how many Red Carpet dresses have we seen with sleeves or a high collar, much less both? We are usually treated to a bit of boob, or a bit of low back and major booty or a bit of side boob or maybe a bit of everything ( I’m talking to you Emily Ratajkowski!). Basically, the dress needs to reveal some sort of flesh, unless you are of course Sheikha Mozah, but she’s a former Quatari queen and thus doesn’t count. But the point here is these bell sleeves and the high collar are super-directional in a really good way. Had the sleeve not gone fully out at the wrist, this would have looked a bit too Medieval Princess but that final bit of structure is just a massive ‘Ugh!’ in a good way moment. I was in two minds about the collar initially, but then I thought, why the heck not? What is our obsession with flesh? Doesn’t she end up having the air of a woman of mystery and confidence who is dressing first and foremost for herself and not for the easily digestible aesthetes out there? And isn’t that what fashion is about – interpreting and presenting yourself, as you choose to be seen and perceived and damning the consequences? All one can say is a big ten out of ten for clarity of vision and unwavering execution. Side note to the earrings, if I am honest I am indifferent BUT in light of her vision of how she went all out to look exactly as she wished to – I will take them.
The break-down of this outfit would not be complete if we did not comment and indeed discuss, distill and praise the wonder that is this hair and make up. First the hair! People, the hair o!In fact, let me just write #SeeHair and be going, or rather imitating this weekend. This double loop, could be a fringe, could be a head piece, no, it is hair twisted with gold thread into an edgy combo of both is just magic! Afro-centric without looking like it came from the pages of National Geographic, or Encyclopedia Britannica or some Pinterest ‘101 1970’s Black Hair Styles’ page, it is a splash of retro and modern all at the same time. The blow out at the back which cleverly echoes our loop/braid action in the front, is an exciting alternative to the standard free-natural look. Onto the make – up. thank you @JoannaSimkin, the make up artist who put this together. The aubergine lip has Issa doing what artists, painters in particular, have done for millennia – teaming primary colours with their opposite of the colour wheel to glorious effect. If you are rocking yellow, team with purple if she had been rocking blue team with orange and so on. The high shine aubergine lip is paired with an eye which is heavy on the lash and black liner but light on the lid pigment wise, except for a wash of gold, and the brows though defined have not entered into face-beat/drag queen nightmare zone. All the more for her bone structure, flawless skin and winning smile to be front and centre. We love this look forever and a day!