Exclusive details on how the actress and on-camera host selected her one-of-a-kind look.
Category is: red! To gear up for E! red carpet hosting duties at the 2024 Grammys, Laverne Cox put her own unexpected spin on the fire-hot color trend in a head-turning vintage Comme des Garçons look plucked directly from her legendary fashion archive. “Is my archive now legendary?” Cox jokes. “Yes, I own this dress. I'm deeply humbled to be able to enjoy this dress as a work of art whenever I want. Whenever I wear Comme, I feel like I'm wearing living, breathing art. The drama of this silhouette is a fashion fantasy come to life for me.”
Cox knows how to step into the fantasy, darling, but it takes a village. For Music’s Biggest Night, her dream team included stylist Christina Pacelli, makeup artist Deja Smith, hairstylist Dee TrannyBear-Marino, and nail artist Eri Ishizu. Oh, and Beyoncé… lots of Beyoncé! When asked what's on her getting-ready playlist, Cox says, “Renaissance still.” Can you blame her? Other music that makes her feel camera-ready includes Tyla’s “Water,” Megan Thee Stallion’s “Hiss,” Sarah Vaughan’s Gershwin Live!, and Leontyne Price’s The Prima Donna Collection, all volumes.
But back to the fashion. “Laverne has incredible taste,” Pacelli says. “Her style is effortlessly cool, edgy, architectural, and sometimes flirts with the avant garde. She follows four guiding rules of fashion: fit, fabric, proportion, and silhouette. Laverne never misses.” Certainly, the Comme dress was no miss, deliciously styled with a vintage Christian Dior belt and jewelry from Stefere and U Los Angeles.
Below, more details on how Cox’s captivating look—hair and makeup included—came together, alongside gorgeous, exclusive photographs by Sequoia Emmanuelle.
The Comme des Garçons Dress
Cox: “I acquired the dress a few years ago. I've worn it once for a shoot but always felt it needed a major red carpet moment. I love Comme des Garcons. I'm obsessed with structure and sculptural silhouettes. And there's just so much emotion in this entire collection from Rei [Kawakubo], and so much emotion in this dress."
Her Getting-Ready Ritual
Cox: “My prayer, ‘God give me permission to do this imperfectly and allow me to be of service.’”
Her Love for Rei Kawakubo
Cox: "There's a sort of punk-rock approach to dressing that Rei embodies. She's avant-garde and sublime at the same time. I love her occasional humor and whimsy. I'm obsessed with the way Rei grapples with the silhouette and the body — the lumps and bumps collection comes to mind. And there's just always so much emotion in the work. I always feel [for] an almost tortured artist, deconstructing, throwing out the rules, creating new ones, then abandoning those to bring forth objects that more than anything dramatize the contradictions, angst, darkness, and broken sublimeness and beauty of the human condition.”
The Performances She Was Most Excited to See
Cox: “A tie between Dua Lipa's ‘Dance the Night Away’ and Victoria Monet's ‘On My Mama.’”
Her Beauty Routine
Cox: “I wash my face in the morning and use a light moisturizer and eye cream. I love La Mer Eye Concentrate and Joanna Vargas's Daily Hydrating Cream. Then, my makeup artist Deja [Smith] has a comprehensive plan. We start with a face mask from Joanna Vargas before she applies moisturizers, eye creams, and patches. It's her own witch craft. But I end up with impossibly glowy skin.
[My hairstylist] Dee [TrannyBear-Marino] washes my hair the day before. Then, I'll sleep in a plastic cap with a leave-in conditioner. Dee will wash out that leave-in the morning of the show and commence to styling the hair. I do wear wigs and hair pieces, but we're using more of my own hair lately. It's dyed a honey blonde with highlights now, so Dee is constantly doing treatments to protect, preserve, and thicken my follicles, especially since the hair has been lightened without bleach, I might add. I believe Dee truly does some of the best hair color in the business.”
The Beauty Breakdown
Smith: “For this year’s Grammy look we referenced the stripped down [Comme des Garçons 2015] Roses and Blood collection [that the gown is from], and created a glamorous red carpet-ready beauty look. We blended Armani Beauty Lip Maestro Velvet Liquid Lipstick in 400 and 401 for Laverne's dimensional red lip. Her blush was Pat McGrath Labs's Divine Blush in Electric Bloom and Nude Nectar.”
The Hair Details
TrannyBear-Marino: “The inspiration for the hairstyle was a texture braided updo. Since the dress is more on the avant-garde side and the runway show had over-the-top, textured hair, we went for romantic beauty to balance the look. I used JVN Complete Serum and Mist to prepare her hair for the blowout; Pattern Heat Protectant to flat-iron and crimp her hair; Design Essentials Edge Tamer to lay her edges; and Lanza Lustrous Finishing Spray to lock the style in place."
Her Awards-Day Fuel
Cox: ”I love oatmeal and bacon in the morning. The oatmeal carries me through beautifully.”
Her Message for LGBTQ+ Fans
Cox: "You're beautiful and anointed and placed on this planet for a reason. Right now, politicians are passing laws to degrade and dehumanize us, but our ancestors gave a blueprint for struggle. The best of our ancestors found ways to maintain their dignity, joy, and be true love warriors for the world in the face of unspeakable hate.
In these moments we must draw from their strength, wisdom and guidance, refuse to let our lights be dimmed, refuse to retreat into shame and fear. Your worthiness is a birthright. Don't let anyone keep you from claiming it. You're worthy of love, belonging, of living truthfully."
Her Post-Grammys Plan
Cox: "Sleep! After I come down from the high of it all I'm usually completely exhausted and need to sleep for 10 hours."
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