Maybe Lupita’s Fashion Misstep Was a Good Thing?

If she'd just been pretty, it would've been expected.

lupita met galaIn case you forgot, the other night was Met Gala night, the most fashionable night of the year.

The style star of the moment, no doubt, is People‘s most beautiful person, Lupita Nyong’o. So for an event like this, everyone was waiting. And then she steps onto the red carpet wearing a green net dress with lots of sparkle and bauble (the theme was “White Tie with Decorations”), a nude body suit and a matching headband. Sooo…

Nyong’o has made a name for herself for scoring on the red carpet time and time and time again. And while she has taken risks with her makeup — lipsticks and eyeshadows in bright oranges and pinks, for instance — her outfits have been a little more traditionally elegant and beautiful. With a season’s worth of fashion successes and a slew of magazine appearances under her belt, she may have thought it was time to break out and spend some of the style currency she’s amassed over the past few months.

And the fact that there are a fair  number of people who didn’t like the outfit might be a good thing.

The dress isn’t my cup of tea. The feathers are in a strange place, but most of all, the headband is most offensive.

Moreover, for this event where voluminous princess dresses were fitting, many of the women wearing Prada outfits seemed a little dressed down. (Nyong’o has a contract with Prada’s Miu Miu label.) Which doesn’t mean that everyone needed to be in a ball gown. Emma Stone’s bright Thakoon outfit looked somehow stunning and comfy and elegant at the same time.

In the case of Nyong’o’s dress, she said that when she first saw it, she didn’t like it. “We nixed it, we didn’t understand the sketch. We were like, ‘No, maybe not,'” she said. “When I saw it hanging there, of course, I was deeply attracted to it.”

By wearing something that even she thought was questionable, Nyong’o has proven herself willing to try a new look, someone cutting edge rather than safe.

Kim Kardashian, for instance, stung last year by her couch dress, went with a safe Lanvin this year, which was pretty, but there’s more talk about her fake wardrobe malfunction than the dress itself. (The undergarment is clearly the same color as the dress so as not to get gums flapping when the waist-high slit inevitably shows a little more than leg.)

So showing up in another pretty dress would’ve gotten a lot of oohs and aahs, but it would’ve been expected. With the next phase of her career ahead, Nyong’o has to be sure to stay top-of-mind.

“Yet it takes more than talent and well-distributed pixie dust to seduce the public into viewing a woman who, by her own account, grew up insecure about her African cast of features and dark complexion — prey to the ‘seductions of inadequacy’ — as the cynosure of all eyes,” The New York Times said of her career just last month. It continues:

No matter how gifted the raw material, [stylist Micaela] Erlanger added, creating a coherent narrative for a budding star whose every appearance is another opportunity for brand building requires strategy… In the bigger picture as it evolved over months of microscopic scrutiny and blinding strobe lights, Ms. Nyong’o would be dressed and coifed and made up by a team that also included her hairdresser, Larry Sims, and her makeup artist Nick Barose in ways designed to convey “her sense of whimsy, her sense of glamour, a sense of the different characters she could play,” Ms. Erlanger said.

The award season is over, but People gave Lupita Nyong’o their “risk-taker award.”