When I was in the seventh grade, I set my sights on owning a pair of dangly earrings from Claire’s as soon as humanly possible. Why? Because the most popular girl in my class was wearing this precise accoutrement when she got kissed at our middle school dance by a boy who looked like Pacey Witter from Dawson’s Creek.
I recalled this memorable case of sartorial cause and effect while observing the antics that ensued on last night’s Grammy’s red carpet, where there was one notable accessory after another: Maggie Rogers toted around a reusable water bottle. Billie Eilish donned a surgical mask after completing her interviews. Diplo’s red carpet companion, Orville Peck sauntered around in a crocheted balaclava. Tyler, the Creator carried a pink suitcase that he subsequently opened up, revealing a full change of clothes inside. Billy Porter wore a gigantic blue hat with a sparkling curtain that opened and closed via remote control (he reportedly cued his stylist whenever he wanted to part the drapes).
The panoply of conversation-stopping accessories could be a coincidence, or it could be what I am tentatively calling The Lizzo Tiny Purse Effect (trademark pending). At the most recent big music awards show prior to last night–the American Music Awards, in November–Lizzo broke the internet with her accessory of choice, a Valentino purse so tiny it could barely hold a single mouse dropping. Needless to say, digital media went ballistic. Headlines included: “Lizzo’s Tiny Purse Was the Biggest Thing on the AMAs Red Carpet,” “No Star Shone Brighter at the 2019 AMAs Than One Teeny Tiny Bag and the Memes Keep Coming,” and–my personal favorite–“Tiny Bag Carries Humanity.”
It was ultimately a case study in how to execute the perfect, scene-stealing red carpet fashion moment. Eye-catching dresses and suits are a dime a dozen at awards shows. Intriguing accessories, however, are relatively untapped. As demonstrated by Lizzo’s tiny purse, or a popular girl’s dangly earrings from Claire’s, sometimes the right accessory can make all the difference when it comes to standing out from the pack.
For now, at least, the Lizzo Tiny Purse Effect appears as potent as ever. Last night’s accessories were the talk, and the toast, of the towns known as Instagram and Twitter. I can’t stop looking at this gif of Billie Porter’s hat. I can’t stop chuckling at this meme about Tyler’s suitcase. I can’t help but wonder if Maggie Rogers will change her bio to “hydrated, environmentally conscious queen.” Are unconventional accessories the new wave of red carpet boundary-pushing? The Academy Awards are only two weeks away, so we won’t have to wait long to find out.
Photos via Getty Images.