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EVENT REPORT

In Style and the Recording Academy Stage Pre-Grammy Fashion Show

While other events are dropping off the award-season calendar, In Style and the Recording Academy unveiled a new, hot-ticket pre-Grammy fashion show and concert.

Rihanna performed at the "Salute to Fashion" debut.

Photo: Jordan Strauss/WireImage

Barry Manilow memorably sang about music, passion, and fashion in his Grammy-winning “Copacabana.” Those three themes (or at least two of them) were the crux of In Style's fashion show and concert cohosted with the Recording Academy at Boulevard3 on Thursday night, an officially sanctioned pre-Grammy-awards event.

In Style fashion director Hal Rubenstein curated a colorful, high-energy fashion show, with designs from musicians-turned-designers Beyoncé, Jessica Simpson, Justin Timberlake, Jennifer Lopez, Jay-Z, and Sean Combs. Rihanna performed an impassioned full-scale concert, complete with a troupe of four backup dancers, on the runway where the models had strutted only minutes earlier.

In a year in which many annual events are being eliminated in the wake of the writers strike, the emergence of this significant new program—which organizers say they'll assess for annual potential—seemed like a natural merger of two industries for the parties involved. “We thought this was a nice way to bring the magazine to life,” In Style's Cyd Wilson said. “This is the perfect intersection between fashion and music.” Or, as Rubenstein put it in the event's program, ”[It's] the most natural of combinations—better than peanut butter and jelly, Peaches and Herb, or even Green Day and eye shadow.”

Recording Academy president and C.E.O. Neil Portnow, vice president of production and process management Branden Chapman, and coordinator of production and process management Suzy Ann Machado, who oversaw the event for their side, worked with Wilson. This week's omnipresent event staple, Recording Academy board chair Jimmy Jam, hosted.

Throughout the night, Tres L.A. passed hors d'oeuvres such as proscuitto-wrapped breadsticks and baked brie and brandied apples in phyllo cups, and guests flowed between the venue's indoor and outdoor spaces.

So does this event mark a shift in event-money allocation for the magazine—say, away from movie-industry partnerships during a tough award season for Hollywood? “No, it's not an either/or,” Wilson said. “We've been looking at the Grammys for a while. But one will not replace the other.”