Monday, September 21, 2015

2015 Primetime Emmy Awards, Red Carpet Review

I didn’t watch much of the Emmy Awards last night. In fact, I watched for about 5 minutes and was so bored that I turned off the television. But later in the evening I checked out the red carpet looks online and I realized what I had missed: the evening was rich in fashion disasters. There were a few really nice looks and quite a few not-good-not-bad-just-meh looks, but there were a bunch of flat-out hot messes.

Here are a few of the worst offenders.

Jaimie Alexander’s gown had pretty lines, with a body-hugging top and a nicely flared skirt. But the colors and the texture were…I’m not even sure what. Too evocative of outer space? Something about the graph-like lines of the fabric against the curves of her figure reminded me of a diagram of a wormhole. The slicked-back hair wasn’t improving the look any, either. 

Nazanin Boniadi was obviously going for a cutting edge, haute couture look, and she came pretty close to pulling it off – but not close enough. The skirt had an interesting drape and flare, but the bodice looked like a bad mistake from Project Runway, with a tailored jacket on one side and a random piece of fabric stuck on with double-sided tape on the other. If anyone could have made it work, she’d have been the one. But it just didn’t. 

The lines of Danielle Brooks’ gown were lovely. I loved the sheer, pleated overlay that lifted into wings, I loved the high point of the halter, I loved the wrapped sash. But the mix of half canary yellow and half vivid turquoise all wrapped with a random splash of cobalt blue threw off all those beautiful lines and made the whole outfit a hot mess instead of just hot. 

I have to admit that Anna Chlumsky barely made this list. As horrible dresses go, this one wasn’t all that horrible. Like Danielle Brooks’ gown, the lines of the dress were actually quite pretty. But the combination of the weird, silver, spiderwebby lines; the flat-yet-puffy flowers attached to the spiderwebs; the drab, washed-out color that’s too close to her skin tone; and the oddly lumpy hairstyle pushed the look just over the line to horrible. 

Maggie Gyllenhaal somehow always manages to land on my “ouch” list of fashion, and last night was no exception. The violet color of the skirt was gorgeous, and perfect with her coloring, but the saggy, poorly-fitted navy bodice and the wrinkled, puffy, uneven hem of the skirt ruined the look. 

Lena Headey, on the other hand, wore a gown with a well-fitted bodice – it’s not easy to create such a plunging halter and fit it so it looks secure and comfortable, but the designer did very well. Below the waist, however, disaster struck. The beaded overlay that evoked almost a chain mail look at the top loosened toward the hem until the weave looked more like a fishing net, and it also seemed to detach from the fabric instead of laying smooth. The sheer volume of the skirt also looked uncomfortable and unwieldy, with much too much bulk right at the waist. If this gown had used a mermaid or trumpet silhouette, it might just have worked, but the ballgown version did not flatter. 

Taraji P. Henson’s dress had just a few too many strange, disconnected details for me. The heavy industrial chain straps clashed with the fine mesh/lace overlay of the skirt, and the demure reverse keyhole cutout in the bodice was at odds with the see-through skirt. The harshness of the stark hairstyle and heavy makeup also seemed out of keeping with the style of the gown. There were elements of several good looks here, but they didn’t work together as a coherent whole. 

The concept of Julianne Hough’s gown was a good one: a strappy, revealing-but-not-really bodice with matching hotpants just barely visible through a black tulle skirt with a train. And yet the lines just don’t come together. The points of the bra cups create an odd line, the ribbons creating the bodice are unbalanced and uneven, and the train is separate from the rest of the skirt as if it were a last-minute add-on. The messily pulled-back hair tucked into a narrow headband merely adds to the not-quite-finished feel of the entire ensemble. 

The one thing that January Jones’ look had going for it was definitely the color. The deep seafoam green was stunning with her icy blond locks and pale skin. But the gravity-defying overstructured bodice still managed to look uneven, the crotch of the pantsuit was too low, and the hem was long enough to drag on the floor instead of skimming. Had this been a gown instead of a pantsuit, it might just have worked. But instead it looked like a reject from a community theater production of Mamma Mia

Heidi Klum has pulled off some pretty avant garde looks in the past, but this particular look seemed to be beyond even her ability to save. The grey underbodice didn’t work with the yellow overlay, the fringey ruffled sleeve on the one side didn’t balance the leafy sleeveless other side, and the see-through skirt clumped at her feet instead of puddling gracefully. Sorry, Heidi, this look was auf. 

Jane Krakowski’s gown had some interesting lines to it: the geometric color blocking on the fitted bodice was an interesting contrast to the deep waves of the skirt. But that skirt was so heavy and stiff-looking that I was impressed she could even walk in it. The sheer weight of it drew my eye down so I hardly noticed the bodice at first. Get rid of most of the fabric in the skirt and transform this outfit into a sheath or even a mermaid gown and this would have been a real winner. 

Another lovely silhouette ruined by weird fabric, Amy Landecker’s gown would have been ideal for hiding in a forest, since it looked like it was made of tree bark and dead leaves. Oddly enough, the colors were actually quite pretty, with hints of pink mixed in with golds and grays. I think I could have even lived with keeping the texture on the bodice if the skirt had been smooth, but with the leafy texture all over, it was just a little too "Third Tree from the Left” for my taste. 

I have no idea what was going on with Taryn Manning’s dress. The high neck, overlong sleeves, straight unadorned silhouette, and flat black color put it solidly in “meh” territory, but the weird witch’s cape (which appears to be short on one side and floor length on the other) pushed it right over the edge into horrible. No capes, darling. No capes. 

I hate to include Kiernan Shipka in this category, because she’s cute as a button and very nearly makes this look work. If the bubble skirt had been just a hair longer and worn over leggings rather than badly pegged pants, I could have forgiven her the weird yellow band at the top of the bodice. But the lumpy, wrinkled line of the pants and the droopy bust created by the band pulled my eyes away from the adorable print dress and ruined the look. If Shipka can fix those little details for next time, she could be the next Emma Watson.

Maisie Williams seemed to have wandered out of her grandma’s bedroom, having borrowed Grandma’s feathered mules and wrapped herself in Grandma’s quilt. The color of the dress was nice, as was the line of it (even with the pockets!), but the lumpy quilted fabric simply screamed bedding, and the marabou sandals carried out the theme. This whole look was just plain goofy.

But lest I leave the impression that everyone was poorly dressed, let me wrap up with a few looks that were especially well done.

Kerry Washington can be hit or miss but she was a definite hit in this sleek, chain mail-styled dress. Despite the metallic fabric, it looked lightweight and comfortable, and it moved well. The wide décolleté and thigh-high slit, along with the just barely see-through skirt, made the look very sexy without being too revealing or tasteless.

 Christine Baranski was also a hit in this vivid pink sheath with just a hint of a trumpet hem, tiny cap sleeves, and a peekaboo slit. The dress skimmed her figure without being tight and also moved well. The perfectly matching vivid pink lips, gold clutch, and long dangling earrings completed the look beautifully.

Morena Baccarin also stunned in this softly draped, lace-edged crimson gown. The lines of the fabric and the lacy inserts were soft and sweet in contrast to the raciness of the bright red color, broadly open neckline, and is-it-or-isn’t-it-see-through skirt. Delicious!

Jamie Lee Curtis created a sexy look in a completely different way in this starkly simple, pure black, figure-hugging gown with a small train. Adorned only with a single diamond cuff worn over the black sleeve to show it off, and of course her fabulous silver pixie cut, Curtis’ grin shows that sexy is more than just showing off skin – and that it isn’t limited to the under-30 set. Or the under-50 set, for that matter.

And last but not least, Sarah Hyland looked like a million bucks in this simple, beautifully tailored plum sheath with a curved drape at the top, coordinating jewelry and manicure, and barely-mussed hair. The gown shows off her perfect figure, her perfect skin, and her perfect smile. This is what a red carpet look should be: flattering, functional, and fun.

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