Tuesday evening marked not just a big moment for British music, but also for the British public, as the 2021 Brit Awards took place with an in-person ceremony and 4,000 guests in attendance, none of whom had to adhere to social-distancing guidelines or wear face masks after showing a negative Covid test result. The occasion was part of the UK government’s Events Research Programme, one of the first steps into normality for the country as we tentatively start to mix in our thousands for the first time since the pandemic took hold of the country. It was a big night for everyone attending, including the British singer Raye, who could not have been more excited to be dressing up for the red carpet for the first time in months.
“I am so excited for the world to be opening up and to start feeling like human beings again,” she told us, explaining that she “100 per cent” missed dressing up during lockdown.
For the landmark occasion, Raye and her stylist Shaquille decided to pull out all the stops, paying tribute to one of Hollywood’s most famous on-screen fashion moments, Marilyn Monroe’s pink dress in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. The duo worked together with Etro on the custom look, a hot pink, figure-hugging gown with matching opera gloves – and, of course, plenty of diamonds. For this, they turned to Bulgari.
“We’ve got pink gloves, we’ve got diamonds darling – we are having a great time,” she laughs. “I definitely never shy away from making a statement with my jewellery and I love the bold fearlessness that comes with a Bulgari piece. You don’t wear Bulgari unless you are going out out for something really fabulous like tonight.”
The singer chose a statement diamond choker to complement the look, as well as a number of cuffs, earrings and rings, and styled her hair with old Hollywood-inspired waves, harking back to her favourite era.
“I am so obsessed with the Fifties and Sixties – I feel like everyone is really loving that era of Hollywood fashion at the moment, which I think is incredible. I am so in love with it. I think that style of dressing is just so flattering on a curvy woman – it’s all about just embracing our hips and boobs and I just love it.”
Raye says that over the years, she has developed a “really clear idea” of how she wants to present herself, and the red carpet is her playground for fashion.
“On stage, I like to perform really wildly and freely – I am running around and jumping about, I don’t want what I am wearing to restrict me, so my stage outfits actually have to be a bit more practical. On the red carpet, that’s where I feel less pressure and can have more fun with what I wear.”
Finding this confidence with fashion though has taken time, particularly since Raye was thrown into the spotlight as a teenager.
“When I started releasing music, I was about 17 and I was such a tomboy. I didn't wear dresses or skirts, just extra-large shirts and T-shirts and chunky boots – I was very closed off and lacking in confidence. Of course, part of that was just being a teenager, I have gone from a child to a woman, I am 23 now and have learnt a lot, but I also have much less fear – this definitely impacts how you choose to dress. I am now ready to embrace my body and my face and who I am.”
Although there may have been more pressure on her as a youngster under the glare of the public eye, Raye understands the challenges that all teenage girls feel today, and wants them to know that confidence comes with age.
“If I could give any advice, it would be to try not to care so much about what other people think. It takes a little while to realise that but when you take a step back and stop doing stuff for other people and do it for yourself, it makes the world of difference. I would say to any young woman, try and embrace who you are and surround yourself with people who make you feel like the best version of you.”
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