I loved this the moment I saw it, and then it grew on me from there. It was kitschy! It was sparkly! It was totally Awkwafina, and also not like anything we’d seen her wear before – or, if it is, it feels new, and that’s part of it.
I remember thinking last night how lucky it was that Awkwafina didn’t happen to wind up in the trend of pinks. Like I’ve been saying all day, I love all those deep pinks and roses we saw last night, and if I were styling Awkwafina in a bubble, I’m sure that would have been one of the colours I reached for. There are some people you can go intense with, colour-wise and I’d imagine you’d want to take advantage – you’re sure as hell not going to get that colour on Amy Adams, right?
Which leads me to a detour – who do you thank if you manage to sidestep a burst of all-the-same-colour on a carpet? Obviously stylists pull a series of options and then the client chooses, and it makes sense that the new fresh colour would be a draw for a lot of people. But is it a strategic choice if your stylist keeps you from the hot new thing? Or kind of benign neglect? If you’re a stylist in this kind of competitive roundtable atmosphere, I would love to know your tactics to avoid this.
Regardless, Awkwafina wound up in a 70s throwback, lurex-y pantsuit, in a lilac that felt playful but separated her from the pack – and as I said on Twitter last night, it gives us the opportunity to say ‘pussy bow’ a whole bunch more times than I expected. I loved the bow, but last night I started fantasizing about an alternate universe styling – what if she’d twisted up her hair and let the neck ties hang loose, like an after-hours bowtie?
Either way, I think the effect would be the same – which is to say, totally desirable. Obviously, any time you choose a suit like this on a night when everyone else is getting the most glamorous, outré evening dress available, you set yourself apart, but in Awkwafina’s case, the tone-on-tone-on-tone says something even more specific:
“I am precise. I have a particular aesthetic and make choices accordingly.”
She’s had a huge year, obviously. Awkwafina is known to just about everyone, compared to a year or so ago. But there’s a downside to getting known so fast, in big showy roles – both Peik Lin in Crazy Rich Asians and Constance in Ocean’s 8 have a certain devil-may-care-ness to them that people see as “Awkwafina-esque”, even though they’re different characters, kind of like how both Ree Dolly and Katniss Everdeen had a grim survival instinct that became associated with Jennifer Lawrence and her nothing-flaps-me persona.
But this suit says that Awkwafina is a grown woman, one who likes precision, and who is in a position to choose her next roles very carefully. Read the signs in the sparkly lilac, and underestimate her at your peril. That Mary Tyler Moore bow is a code that says the next few years are going to be very, very interesting in the next phase of Awkwafina, and it’s exciting because I feel very strongly that she’s in total control.