This year’s Emmy awards continued the show’s tradition of congratulating some extraordinary talents for their performances on television’s most entertaining shows. However, this season’s finest fashions, from designers around the globe, were also on display, and stars clamored to wear the latest and greatest. As is typical at award ceremonies, there were fashion hits, misses, and some wildly daring risks.
Also, as with my previous commentaries, I will keep this fashion-focused for all my followers, with one exception. I did get a kick out of Jimmy Kimmel’s surprised face when he asked, “Is anyone here voting for Mitt Romney?” and the crowd cheered. Kimmel quizzed the audience and received pretty serious applause in return. In any event, I thought he looked great in his tuxedo, with a classic bow tie. This three-piece suit really makes any man look like a true gentleman.
Normally, I prefer to start off with the best of the best, but this awards season, perhaps reversing course with a bit of irony would be better. The famed designer Miuccia Prada has said: “I once tried to make lace — which has been a great obsession of women — unsexy. And I achieved it.” She certainly did with this rather strange number, worn by Lena Dunham. A very ordinary lace and pale powder-blue lining truly don’t hit any fashion marks here.
I am hesitant to criticize Prada, but it would be dishonest to assign a compliment. Sex appeal was completely absent, as was any jewelry, which, although it may not have helped this look, may have at least shown some real effort. A statement dress for sure, but it’s saying something horribly wrong . . .
Moving on to another not-so-hot appearance, Julianne Moore, normally a shining star, seemed faded and boring last night — aside from the Sarah Palin crack (which really didn’t hit its mark). This acidic-yellow, long-sleeve, almost Morticia Addams–style dress was truly unflattering. A jeweled belt might have given some waist definition, but instead we have only a long, not-so-lean splash of color that really doesn’t give any contour or shape to Moore’s physique.
With that said, I do happen to like a redhead wearing a lemon-yellow color; the contrast is daring but fun. From a textile standpoint, ball gowns incorporating a fancy silk taffeta and a viscose knit-jersey are neither elegant nor appealing. There are plenty of ways to make the entire dress in one fabric, and in this case, the colors of the two fabrics don’t match exactly, revealing fashion’s biggest “no-no” when wearing a column of one color.
Julianna Margulies, normally a no-brainer winner in my book, chose a Giambattista Valli dress for the Emmys this year. Being a big fan of textiles, I want to start by saying I think the fabric itself is exquisite. This is no doubt a material running in the several-hundred-dollars-per-meter price point, and it’s likely made on a very slow loom that requires a lot of work done by hand. It is from Valli’s couture line, a separate division from his main-line collection. Prices for these nothing-but-handmade dresses are astronomical. Couture dresses rarely if ever see a sewing machine. The attention to detail is supposed to create a dress that is like a second skin for the wearer, with the most perfectly executed fit.
While I love the fabric, it doesn’t lend a nice appeal in this silhouette. Forgive me, because I genuinely appreciate Valli’s work, but it looks as though Margulies is wearing her own draperies. The center-front seam is too apparent — it should not be dead smack vertical on her body. The waist is poorly fitted, as you can see the bubbling at the side, and if I am not mistaken, there are pockets on this dress, which ultimately “sport” the style up. On top of all that, here I do believe she should have worn a necklace. On a side note, in a world where tan lines are an eyesore, perhaps a more covered dress would’ve been wiser — from the looks of this photo. I wasn’t sure which category I’d put this in, but I am leaning toward the “not so great” list.
It’s definitely time to move on to some shining examples of true elegance and craftsmanship. I’d like to start with a dress by the fashion house that inspired me to become a designer in the first place. Versace, headed by the incredibly talented Donatella Versace, created this incredible silver-metal, embroidered, corseted gown for Lucy Liu. Take a close look at all the workmanship involved, and ask yourself, “How much work was it to assemble — by hand, no less?” Dresses like these can take north of a week to put together, especially with all the tricky fabrics used.
The base fabric is inspired by medieval armor; it is like chain metal in design. Leave it to the House of Versace to take a very masculine textile and transform it into an ultra-glamorous, ultra-feminine, and ultra-sexy dress! I absolutely love it! Normally, I’d say put a necklace with a bustier dress, but there is absolutely no need in this instance, and Liu knocked this look out of the park! A real winner here.
Another winning look was donned by Kaley Cuoco, who chose a crisp lemon-yellow Angel Sanchez number. The fabric is made of a satin-faced organza and has a little bit of everything mixed in, detail-wise, without being too designed. Streaking embroidery at the bodice into the peplum really defines the hourglass figure while still maintaining the peplum shape (usually a good way to hide unflattering hips). The color is vivid but sophisticated, and the shape of the dress in general is a knockout.
I would have liked to see some jewelry here — but there’s no bracelet, necklace, or dangly earrings. I am also curious why Cuoco did not get a fresh manicure with a different color applied to her nails. I hope this was just a detail slip. I would also have advised her to do her hair in a more elegant way. This is the Emmy awards, not a beach barbecue.
It was said that Allison Williams and her stylist Christina Ehrlich always dreamed about putting Williams in an Oscar de la Renta dress, and I am so glad they did! She is dynamite in this emerald-green silk duchess-satin dress. Everything about it is fantastic, from the seamed bustier bodice to the peplum detail, down to the mermaid skirt in the back.
It is really very elegant in all respects and is so slimming, even with such a heavy fabric, which sometimes discourages designers from using duchess satin. (Designer tip: Duchess satin is roughly twice the weight as regular taffeta.) Here again, I find no reason to criticize her for not wearing a necklace, as this dress has all the detail needed to produce a winning star. I like the gold earrings she paired with this number; they’re simple and elegant like the dress, like Allison!
Until next time, this is your fashion correspondent Bradley Scott wishing everyone a fashionable time here on National Review Online! Please head over to my Facebook page for more information about me and what I design!
— Bradley Scott is a winner of the Fashion Group International Rising Star Award and a New York native.