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Carrie Ann Inaba's Blog: Going Simple on a Wild Night

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Adam Taylor/ABC

We’ve had lots of fun hearing about Carrie Ann Inaba‘s stunning Dancing with the Stars ensembles, and today, the judge gives us the exclusive details on what she wore Monday night — and why she chose such an understated look: 

Monday night for the semi-finals, amidst some crazy, wildly themed dances, I decided to keep it simple.

I chose a black gown by Shantanu & Nikhil; it had a wrap feel that incorporated lace into its design. I don’t often wear lace, but stylist Kit Scarbo and I chose this dress the third week of the season and have kept it “on hold” and waiting in the wings until the time was right. And last night, the time was right!

This dress had a bold yet understated elegance to it and I really liked the unique way the designers incorporated the lace. I’m not a huge fan of lace but I have seen it on some of the runways and it’s quite in this season.

Right before I went on, we realized there was a small tear in the dress and Kit jumped into high gear and sewed me up while I was wearing the dress, minutes before the show. She’s pretty amazing the way she keeps her cool no matter what happens and I appreciate that because it’s already a high-pressure situation and no one really needs another ounce of stress before going on live in front of millions of people.

I didn’t really have a specific theme Monday with my style choices, except I was going for elegance, because that night, among other things, was a tribute to an incredible artist, Michael Jackson, who inspired so many generations of dancers.

Some would argue that without Michael, dance would not be as popular as it is today. With his contributions to the music and music video industries and his always-outstanding performances on the awards shows, he inspired many of us to dance and choreograph and push the boundaries. It was an honor to have Mrs. Jackson in the ballroom Monday night and I felt understated elegance was the respectful way to go to celebrate Michael’s music and his legacy.

But back to fashion! My jewels were designed by Dena Kemp (and valued at more than $200,000) and included some very graphic black-and-white diamond earrings, a stylish diamond snake ring and a chain diamond bracelet.

We kept the hair quite simple by doing a sleek, straight look with a blinged-out headband that my hair artist extraordinaire, Anna Maria Orzano, created. For makeup, we went with a clean eye and a bold dark mocha lip. I wore my favorite Michael Antonio shoes under the dress and liked the simplistic elegance of the look as it all came together.

Wait ’til you see my dress for Tuesday’s results show — it’s a much bigger statement!

–Carrie Ann Inaba