DECKED out in a black Rodarte dress complete with striking stockings and Rodarte boots, Singapore singer Sun Ho looked girlish yet gothic.
But, oops, did the 37-year-old mother slip up and accidentally expose the lower part of her right breast? Did that slit across the bodice show too much skin in the wrong place?
The picture, taken by wire agency Reuters, was of Sun walking down the red carpet at the Grammy Awards held on Monday at Los Angeles’ Staples Center.
However, in an e-mail interview with The New Paper from New York, where she is currently based, Sun insisted that “the dress was made that way”.
She good-naturedly added that there was “no deliberate attempt to create any wardrobe situation”.
“Actually, it’s (referring to her get-up) pretty covered up for a red carpet dress.” Sun said. “I don’t think I was in any risk of losing my modesty.”
She had chosen the dress with renowned stylist B Akerlund, who has styled celebrities like Lady Gaga, Madonna and the Black Eyed Peas.
Sun said she loved the leather-and-lace look. “It very much fits my style, which is a mix of hard and soft,” she said.
The singer added that she had taken all the necessary precautions to “tape” herself up, in order to prevent a wardrobe disaster.
“There was enough tape stuck on me to make me feel like an art project,” she said. “I was totally secure.”
However, opinion was divided about her Grammys costume.
US newspaper Orlando Sentinel picked Sun’s edgy dress, alongside those worn by big names Beyonce, Rihanna and Taylor Swift, as “one of the outfits that captured the WOW-’em spirit of the Grammys”.
However, it drew flak from some local netizens. On popular online communities SgForums and Hardware Zone, while no mention was made of her slip-up, comments on her dress ran the spectrum from “bad taste”, “too SM (sadomasochistic)” to “skanky”.
Ick or chic?
Other netizens, however, called her dress “unique” and “classy”, and said that the singer looked “pretty and super chic”.
It’s not the first time that her sexy fashion choices have met with distaste from her critics.
In November 2003, she raised eyebrows when she wore a daring red Armani gown – with a plunging neckline – to the Hollywood Film Festival in Los Angeles.
At the 2006 Global Music Awards held in Singapore, she was criticised again for turning up in a short grey-black dress that barely covered her buttocks.
Criticisms apart, she is doing well with her music. To date, she is the only Singaporean artiste to have cracked the US market.
This is her third appearance at music’s biggest night. She made her Grammy debut in 2004 and attended the event in 2007 as well.
Fancy Free, her catchy dance single released at the end of last year, clinched the top spot on Billboard’s Club Breakout charts – which means it was once the most-played new song in clubs all over the US.
Married to Reverend Kong Hee, the founder of City Harvest Church, she is extremely proud of Fancy Free’s achievements in the US.
She said: “I’m very happy to know that deejays and clubbers get my music. It feels good to know that people enjoy dancing to my music.”
Her debut US single Where Did Love Go, produced by David Foster and Peter Rafelson, reached No 1 on Billboard’s Hot Dance Club Play Breakout charts in Dec 2003.
Three other singles subsequently also took pole position.
She is also living it up in the US, rubbing shoulders with the superstars.
Besides the Grammys, she also turned up at the annual Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show in New York last November.
“Full of pomp and panache” was how Sun described her experience at the flamboyant event the US lingerie brand has come to be known for. Then, she was togged out in another all-black ensemble, topped off with a custom-made punk rock jacket.
She said: “It was a fun show, as one would expect a Victoria’s Secret show to be. I sat next to UK singer Jay Sean. It was nice to chat with someone not from the US, who understands how difficult it was to break into the industry here.”
This article was first published in The New Paper.