The 2003 Grammys Fashion Was More Unhinged Than Any Pandemic Trend
Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc
What is quarantine about, if not coping with isolation by regressing to a childlike mental state? I’ve personally opted for scream-singing Michelle Branch while vacuuming and recreating scenes from Mary-Kate and Ashley movies. So with the 2021 Grammy Awards fast-approaching, the only way to deal with the awkwardness of potentially seeing Chris Martin perform in his garage again is by mentally traveling to the 2003 Grammys, and reminiscing on some early aughts celebrity style.
You might be wondering, why 2003? When I looked into the archives from exactly 20 years ago, it was clear that not enough attendees took fashion risks on the red carpet, but two years later, they certainly ramped up the ingenuity. It was in 2003 that Norah Jones beat out Ashanti, my girl Michelle, Avril Lavigne and John Mayer—who performed in cargo shorts—for Best New Artist. At that time, Destiny’s only Child who attended the awards was Kelly Rowland, picking up a Best Rap/Sung Collaboration for “Dilemma” with Nelly. Kim Cattrall was there.
I’m not saying 2003 was actually a better time—it was a period of inequity, especially with regards to red carpet fashion. A legend like Aretha Franklin used fashion to transform herself into a full-blown ice queen on the red carpet while Limp Bizkit rapper Fred Durst got away with throwing on a stained tee shirt, and it would still take 18 years for Mickey Guyton to become the first Black singer nominated for Best Country Solo Performance. But it’s nice to look back on a freaky award show fever dream we could all complain about IRL. In lieu of gathering together in person, please enjoy this collection of the wildest, most influential looks at the 2003 Grammys.