I would assume that the beauty of dressing Lupita Nyong’o is how versatile she is. This woman can carry so much color, so much pattern, and so much business that I feel like she’s the person with whom you can get all funky and experimental. As noted earlier today, the CFDAs — Council of Fashion Designers of America awards — are obviously not the Met Gala, but once upon a time the designers had real fun with them. Remember, in addition to Janelle Monae’s ensemble this year, this is the event of Rihanna’s naked Adam Selman dress, or even Lupita wearing this wackadoo thing, which she came close to making work. As close as any person ever could. So, it’s a relative bummer that she’s in something plain. And mildly stumpifying. (The shoes excepted; they’re very pretty.) It’s like she was staying at Caesar’s Palace when a toga party broke out, so down came the bedroom curtains.

Some dresses can be that simple, usually when they are bastions of flawless construction or celebrating a crisp design. This isn’t a victory of either of those things, so I think it might’ve needed a pattern to give it life, so that she could then do her Lupita thing. And with such a long time since she was promoting anything, or so it feels, “her Lupita thing” is what I have missed most. I want to see the magician at work, not being asked to go watch someone else’s show.

[Photo: Getty]