It’s no secret that I love a Red Carpet. In fact, if there isn’t a strong host for the evening, I’ll often skip the actual awards portion and stick to the red carpet arrivals. (Amy Poehler and Tina Fey should not only host the Golden Globes forever, they should consider taking over the Emmys. And the Oscars.) Whether or not I watched the entirety of the 2015 Emmy Awards (I did not), I assure you that the red carpet fashion was dutifully researched. Yes, researched. Televised accounts are incredibly limited, and even the largest of online photo galleries end up omitting some of the celebrities from their pages, so it is necessary to consult multiple accounts of the event.
In an attempt not to be a Negative Nelly, prior to viewing any of the looks, I’d decided I would avoid speaking unfavorably about the attendees. However, there are just a couple points that need to be made – because I can’t help myself.
Julianne Hough: No. Just… no.
Lindsay Lohan: Oh, wait, that’s not Lindsay Lohan. That’s Taryn Manning.
Now, on to the good stuff!
Best Color Moment
Choosing a black gown is easy. They’re flattering, create clean, defined, lines and provide a formal elegance. However, black is also predictable. Color offers a refreshing change and thus, a more memorable look. Whites, ivories and pale pinks tend to blend together and fade into the background. This year, the Emmys saw several bold yellows and gemstone greens, which is great. But when you’ve watched over a hundred (literally) actors and actresses parade by in formal finery, the most powerful color is one that NO-ONE else is wearing. And when that color happens to be a beautiful shade in its own right? THAT is a style revelation.
Enter Selenis Leyva in Pamella Roland. I want to swim in this color. Leyva’s strong eyeliner and deep lipcolor provide definition for her face without attempting to compete with the gown. Minimal, elegant drop earrings and a clutch that pull from the jewel detail of Roland’s gown provide are cohesive and complimentary. Leyva offers a complete look, rather than an assembly of fashionable pieces.
Ellie Kemper’s Naeem Khan dress was the real standout of the evening. Khan snubbed the standard of providing a single color, or a few bold, blocked colors and created a multi-color piece of art. It’s tricky to make a bold, outside-of-the-box fashion statement (in such a predictable, constrained arena such as a formal awards show red carpet) without coming off as costumey or flat-out ridiculous. The Emmys, awards for television productions, tend to produce looks that are much like the shows being honored. There’s a sort of restraint and homogeneity because it’s being crafted for the masses, and the masses (generally) prefer consistency. They like what they like and expect to be given just that.
Khan’s gown offers a rainbow of colors, but without shrouding Kemper in rainbows. It uses the lines of the pattern to accentuate Kemper’s waist and curves, rather than simply cinching the death out of her waistline and pushing her boobs up and out (standard awards show practice). Kemper’s minimal jewelry (stud earrings!) and sleek hairstyle are the perfect accompaniments to the gown. Kahn’s creation is both innovative and classic, all at once. Total success.
By this point, it’s clear that I’m a fan of color. Continuing in my promotion of vibrance, the next showstopping gown on my list is by Jonathan Cohen, worn by Uzo Aduba. Cohen’s work is driven by a respect for classic construction with experimentation in 3-dimensional form, alchemically customized colors, and prints. Those last two points are apparent in Aduba’s Emmy dress. Whether or not the colors in her gown were “alchemically customized,” they are certainly unique and stunning. The print, which begins at Aduba’s waistline, appears at simple, at first. Closer inspection reveals an intricacy in the specific placement of the specks.
True to Cohen’s aesthetic, the colors and prints are playful, but the shape and cut of the gown are refined and elegant. Both the piece and Adubo radiate joy and life, but in a decidedly graceful and polished way.
Now that I’ve fully extolled the virtues of color and innovation, I’d like to take a moment to applaud the basic black dress that is anything but basic.
If you’re going to wear a black gown, do it a la Jamie Lee Curtis in Stella McCartney. There aren’t any distractions (i.e. plunging necklines that expose hipbones or an excess of asymmetric straps that become an experiment in cross-hatching), just an understanding of proportion and silhouette. McCartney’s gown is fitted nearly all the way through, save an easy-flowing flare just below Curtis knees, which offers interest without excessive drama. Curtis’ short hair and near-absence of accessories, in conjunction with the silhouette-conscious gown, showcase Curtis’ shape. It’s simplicity and perfection.
Also, Curtis just looks damn good. She’s only 56, but having been so prevalent in the business, for so long, you feel like she should have aged more than she has. Whatever she’s having, I’ll take two!
Maybe not Emmys, but my closet, instead?
No matter how long I look at Laura Carmichael’s Erdem gown, I can’t decide whether it “fits” for the Emmys. I do, however, know that I love it.
And I want it.
I’d also take it in other patterns and color options. Maybe even a shorter version. I just know that this dress is everything I’ve ever wanted in a dress. It’s playful and sweet, but not saccharine. It looks lightweight and comfortable, but not overly casual. It’s hippie without looking homemade. I could go on. Endlessly. While I regularly fall in love with gowns that are unrealistic – i.e. I would never have a reason, or even an excuse, to wear them in the life that I lead – this Erdem dress feels like an attainable ideal.
This dress is my soul in a piece of clothing.
Yes. It really is that serious.
If you’re craving more red carpet coverage, check out my previous Red Carpet Reviews:
And let me know what you think of my 2015 Emmy Awards picks! What were your favorites this year?