Monday, September 20, 2021

Fashion Review: Emmys 2021

The Emmys were shockingly fun — the Golden Globes did one thing worth stealing and it was round table seating with ample liquid courage for the winners — and the red carpet seemed to swing wildly between extremely out-of-the-box and extremely ho-hum fashion. One thing I can say definitively is that over the probably 25-ish years I've paid attention to red carpets, they have become so much more interesting and adventurous. Outfits I would have easily considered "worst" I now admire for their gutsiness, and the biggest sin is playing it safe. 

Let's dig in, shall we?


Anya Taylor-Joy feels not of this planet, with her extraordinary lithe body, anime eyes and ballerina neck. Basically, almost anything looks good on her, and this butter yellow dress feels like a Gwyneth Paltrow throwback moment. Just when the Dior Haute Couture outfit and formal updo are leaning a little too late-90s prom, the artfully draped canary wrap saves the ensemble from being too precious. 

I think Michaela Coel is so striking and chameleonlike, and I hope I get to see her on many red carpets to come. On a night of highlighter looks, I especially loved this column by Christopher John Rogers with absolutely divine accessories. Her modern freshwater pearl earrings were the perfect contrast.

Kaley Cuoco also wore neon yellow and it was just different and fun enough to not feel like a face-off with Michaela's look. I like the fluffy sleeves and it's just revealing enough without feeling like too much. 

Unsurprisingly, this "New Look"-style gown by Dior was one of my favorite looks of the night, and maybe ever on Yara Shahidi. She's usually very edgy, and the traditional ladylike vibe was edgy for her because it was so unexpected. I would love a leopard shoe, however; a tan pump feels jarring and not in a daring way. 

No one dresses all sizes like Christian Siriano. I love the more is more of this glorious fluffy sheer purple gown on Nicole Byer. She worked it up and down the red carpet and clearly felt like a queen, as she very well should. 

It is such a beautiful thing to see someone get their due for decades of absolute masterful work, and if you're Jean Smart and you've led three incredible HBO shows in 2 years, you deserve to look this good when they give you your roses. She looks divine in this sheer, sexy Ralph Lauren with absolutely fabulous earrings. 

Let's be honest; I love the daredevils, but I can't resist the occasional classic, elegant princess look and this petal pink cap-sleeve Markarian gown on Sophia Bush is probably what I'd pick to wear in real life. I loved the contrast with a bold red lip and her hair tucked behind her ears.

Taraji's face seems to be saying, "Yes, it should be illegal to look this good and also appear to be utterly comfortable." I like the almost paint-splatter effect of the beading on this Elie Saab, and her top-knot kept it modern. 

Sarah Paulson always has so much fun with fashion, and this Carolina Herrera manages to look adventurous, classic, revealing, covered-up and comfortable all at the same time. It's like a go-anywhere, do-anything dress that will do the work, whatever the work might be. Sorta like Sarah!

This aquamarine vintage Versace Atelier masterpiece on MJ Rodriguez is simply delicious, and is so beautifully contrasted with her terracotta cheeks and lips. I love the color, the drape and the confidence.

Speaking of drape, the swoop of this Azzi & Osta collar on Allison Janney is so elegant. It feels like something Bette Davis would toss over her shoulder in a dramatic exit, and I love the choice of statement earrings to bring the whole look together. 

I love Bowen Yang for wearing these shoes and I love him even more for making it part of his bit as a presenter. I especially love the choice of brooch to connect the two accessories visually.

One of the greatest sartorial blessings has been watching men embrace having fun with fashion and not sweat whether they're dressed in a traditional way. I love this sparkly white suit on Leslie Odom with matching shimmery boots; the fit is great and it's flashy and modern in all the best ways.

I did audibly swoon when I saw this blue velvet Tom Ford suit on Jason Sudeikis; I can't help it, I'm almost middle-aged and this is what I'm into.


Emma Corrin, best known for playing Diana on the latest season of "The Crown," has been gradually upping the ante with her daring fashion and here we have landed, with what might be a sexy take by Miu Miu on Handmade's Tale underwear; a goth Band-Aid; or a spooky swim outfit. It's so nuts that she actually looks great and I appreciate her ability to have half of us scratching our heads and half of us applauding.

Seth Rogen....looked sexy....dressed as the various options available from an ice cream truck. This creamsicle/Brown Cow ensemble by Briotti shouldn't work and I don't know if it does, but he looked hot? Maybe it's all in the stance.

On one hand, Dan Levy is wearing Fashion, and it's very modern, very vibrant. It also is absolutely a dad wearing a robe over his pajamas to grab the paper from the driveway and wave to the neighbor. 


Mandy Moore brought old Hollywood glamour in this red wiggle dress by Carolina Herrera fit for a fifties debutante, but made modern by her loose face-framing waves and ability to resist overaccessorizing the way I would. 

I am very torn on how to feel about the comically large (like, with a big wink) belt buckle because if anyone would literally wink about this belt, it's Kathryn Hahn and the Lanvin look is so overall good, I think this might be working? She's great and looks great.

This is one of my favorite looks on Catherine O'Hara over the past couple years of red carpet appearances. I love this color on her, I love the drama of this Cong Tri pantsuit and she looks confident and comfortable. 

I feel like we've seen this specific type of pleating and silhouette from Dior many, many times and although it didn't feel particularly fresh, it did look especially lovely on Jurnee Smollett.

It's Jennifer Coolidge's world, and we're just lucky to live in it. She was serving up Veronica Lake sultry-ness in her black Christian Siriano with a perfect little cape. It's simple but potent.

We have to thank Ryan Murphy for casting Billy Porter in "Pose," and gifting us with the past few years of his consistent raising of the bar for fashion. This was actually a semi-muted look from Billy, but no less fabulous or dramatic. He's giving us a one-man Follies in this showgirl-at-the-office outfit. 

Elizabeth Olson wore a very simple and elegant white gown that is, frankly, a little snoozy but is made more sweet knowing it was designed by her sisters for The Row. She looks lovely, and I like her bob. 

Issa Rae is hot, and that is a fact, and it is well proven by this sparkler by Aliette. I wouldn't say it's super memorable, but she looks great.

I love this shade of pink on Kenan, and he looks so proud of himself for wearing it! A good choice to pop in the crowd.


On one hand, Gillian Anderson's avant-garde Chloe ensemble is certainly interesting, and feels like modern art, with little metal geometric beads dangling from the fringe. On the other hand, it feels a little Dune couture, a little Bene Gesserit chic and a teensy wee bit like Indigenous appropriation? I honestly don't know if I like or hate this.

Emerald Fennell also took a big swing in a fun Valentino with hearts and lime chiffon and a matching lime ostrich purse that all feel swiped from an elegant granny's closet. I genuinely think this would work for me much better with a different hairstyle. 

This Greta Constantine gown on Angela Bassett feels a wee bit underdesigned to me; like there was one big idea — RUFFLE — and they tacked one on and said, "That's it, we won't do better than that." I do kind of like that it follows the curve of the body but I bet it looks very awkward from the side.

Full disclosure: I LOVE this disco pleated shirtdress by Brandon Maxwell on Beanie Feldstein, but I found it a little underwhelming for the occasion. It feels to me like something to wear on a talk show or to a premiere or an after-party, but not the main event.

Meh is truly the only word to describe this silver corseted Etro gown on Kerry Washington. I've seen better dresses on her, I've seen better versions of this motif and it just wasn't memorable.

This Carolina Herrera dress on Mindy Kaling is very nice; the fit is nice, the bow is fun, black always works, she looked great. But ultimately — kinda boring.

Ellen Pompeo really stepped outside her comfort zone in an Elie Saab jumpsuit fit for David Bowie and I want to give her credit for trying. I don't really love it, but I want to give her points for effort.

Can't you just picture Mare of Easttown grabbing this dress from Rent the Runway (or more likely, a thrift store) to go to a wedding with the Guy Pearce professor guy and being like, "See I can clean up! Let's go to WaWa for shortis after." I'm just saying, it feels like it might take Kate a minute to get Mare out of her system and this dress, while lovely, is about as basic as it gets.


It wouldn't be my worst-dressed list without a swing and a miss from my beloved Amy Poehler. I truly believe no one in her circle understands proportion. I totally get the idea of a mix of menswear and traditional womens' wear, showing a little cleavage, but still feeling appropriate. I get it. It just was not executed well. The jacket proportions feel all wrong and the overall look has a stumpifying effect. The belt isn't particularly stylish; it looks like something the limo driver might have loaned her in a pinch. Maybe that's exactly what happened here, and what we're seeing is the solution to a wardrobe malfunction that occurred en route. I'm going to go with that story, and I'm now shipping this imaginary limo driver and Amy. 

Honestly, major kudos to the sartorial adventures of the cast of The Crown, who really put me through my feelings trying to decide what I think about their fashions. I like the unexpected color combo of peach and navy, but I'm afraid the general shapelessness of this Roksanda cape-dress hybrid removes any joy I may have derived from that pop of color. Olivia Colman's lucite-heel shoes can definitely stay, though. 

I LOVE sweet Aidy Bryant, but this twee Simone Rocha look is borderline Hansel and Gretel cosplay. It just looks like exactly what I want to wear to an Oktoberfest party next month. A little too cutesy, in my opinion, for this event.

I could kiss Carl Clemons-Hopkins for their adventurous spirit, especially as a mostly unknown to the TV world, but I could not look at this ensemble and unsee an Esmerelda from Disney's Hunchback of Notre Dame costume. The Christian Siriano look is inspired by the nonbinary flag, which I love, but I just feel like a better design was hiding in there.

Monday, April 26, 2021

Fashion Review: Oscars 2021

This year's Oscars culminated a long and tortured awards season that showed us the best and worst distancing and virtual Zooms have to offer. Luckily for the Oscars producers, we've reached a point of relative safety that allowed them to craft an intimate new vision for the show, and although I lament the lack of acting clips, some weird camera angle choices and the genuinely bizarre ordering of awards, I think this was one of my favorite Oscars! I actually loved many of the movies, I appreciated the many ways the nominated films represented the vast human experience, and I loved not having an orchestra cut people off. The speeches were moving and even better, the fashion was breathtaking!

After a year of fashion restricted to torso-up Zoom cams, it was such a breath of fresh air to see full looks in all their glory. And I spotted very few genuinely bad outfits, even if I wish the color stories were a bit more varied than red and gold. It's fun to see men take a giant leap in formal fashion over the past few years and the ladies also conveyed a sense of the genuine joy of fashion after a year without.


One of the neatest tricks of Oscar-dressing is that, if you dare to cosplay as the gold statue, you will indeed make an impact. Carey Mulligan in Valentino Haute Couture made me GASP from the sheer resplendent glory of that swath of shiny gold. Do yourself a favor and look up pictures of the sequin detail; it's true craftsmanship. On the red carpet, the E! hosts said a flash of abs after a pandemic is a statement accessory, and ain't that the truth? 

Regina King is a storyteller with ever fiber of her being, and it's such a delight to see how she extends that to her fashion. I love how this ice-blue Louis Vuitton brings drama to a very classic form and color; the crystal outlines on those winged sleeves evoked Tiffany dragonfly lamps. Her crispy bob offsets the neckline and voluminous sleeves perfectly and her jewelry is just right.

When Viola Davis appeared in this intricate cut-out Alexander McQueen, straddling the line between futurism and romance, I think I actually shouted, "Ow! Ow! Ow!" Too hot to handle, truly. I love that every time I see her, she looks like she's playing a new character on the red carpet. The fit, the detail and the ethereal angelic quality of this dress are such a nice contrast to her character in "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom." 

Zendaya looks simply breathtaking in her canary yellow Valentino that, honestly, I'm not sure another living person could wear this well. The way the fan is hitting her hair? That's Disney princess stuff. The necklace combo of chunky diamonds scattered with yellow diamonds? That's regal business. I'm thoroughly convinced she can wear any color and rock any era of fashion. 

Laura Dern swanned onto the red carpet in an Oscar de la Renta turtleneck exploding into ostrich feathers as though she was dramatically closing her laptop and saying goodbye to Zoom fashion forever. After a year of using collars, sleeves, and necklaces to shout "FASHION," it feels like an exhale to see the main attraction be below the height of a screen. 

This look on Angela Bassett's face says she knows what we are all thinking, which is that we are honestly blessed to share this timeline with her, to gaze upon her looking like the bow they put on a Lexus at Christmas, a feast for the eyes and spirit. The blue smoky eye is the real killer here. In recent years, she's embraced the statement sleeve, and I like to think it's because it forces people to stand a few feet back and just bask in her aura. 

Amanda Seyfried wore what I would consider to be the most classically Oscars dress by Armani Prive; it's timelessly beautiful, with elegant pleating and a full, fluffy skirt. I do kind of wish she'd turned up the volume with big glamorous art deco diamond cuffs or a vintage tiara, or something that just felt very silent film era in honor of her character, Marion Davies.

Leslie Odom was suited up in the most beautiful burnished gold suit, in a beautiful fit, that seemed like a nod to the shiny suits his character, Sam Cooke, might have worn at his height. It's been really fun to see his style evolution.

"Ma Rainey's Black Bottom" star Colman Domingo wore perhaps the most daring suit of the night, a shock of hot pink encrusted with rhinestones and a FIT. I think it would have worked without the rhinestones, but honestly, I love seeing men embrace fun in fashion.

This shot doesn't quite capture the sleek cool of Riz Ahmed's mock turtleneck Prada suit with a cummerbund, but you can at least see how cool his shoes look. I just have a mega crush on him and I thought he looked so fine. 

Men are also having so much fun with jewelry, and Daniel Kaluuya had the most beautiful Cartier jewelry to accompany his black suit. He looked like himself, and I appreciate men are feeling more free to express themselves through their red carpet looks.


Andra Day and her style team also got the "good as gold" memo, and she came dressed to impress in this slinky Vera Wang. Apparently, Wang's team actually worked with a metalsmith to mold and shape this gown, inspired by Billie Holiday's love of feeling sexy. Read all about it!

Maria Bakalova's entire journey from acting in her native Bulgaria to Oscar nominee for "Borat 2" feels like a fairy tale, and she perfectly evoked that in her dreamy white Louis Vuitton tulle gown. It's certainly lovely and even if it's not exactly the most memorable look, it was a perfect fit for a magical evening at the start of what's hopefully a long career.

Hair and makeup designer Mia Neal became one of the first Black women to win an Oscar for her category, and she did it in this eye-catching architectural navy gown trimmed with pearls and rhinestones. While I wish the neckline was a little less smothering, it looked beautiful on screen, and looked very regal while she gave one of the best speeches of the night.

I love the bodice fit and medieval sleeves of this Vivienne Westwood gown on Marlee Matlin, who continues to be a complete smoke show. It was dramatic and interesting, while being totally appropriate for a presenter rather than nominee.

I've long thought Lakeith Stanfield is one of the most interesting and dynamic actors working today, and that extends to his red carpet adventures. This seventies-inspired suit by Saint Laurent felt so right for him, the era of his character in "Judas and the Black Messiah" and also quintessentially Saint Laurent. The wide collar, the o-ring belt ... it's all just dripping with swag.

In this house we live for an Alan S. Kim fashion moment. This little boo completely stole my heart in "Minari" and his mini Thom Browne schoolboy look is pitch perfect.


Listen. Is there a world where I would wear a dishwater greige knit dress that looks like it might be cult couture with fresh white sneakers to the Oscars? No, indeed not. But did it feel exactly right on dear Chloe Zhao, the eternally fresh-faced director of "Nomadland," and clearly someone who does not plan to ever employ a "glam squad?" Yes, it felt so right. Congrats to her, and three cheers for comfort. 

I love volume, I love checkerboard/gingham-type patterns, I like a little red carpet derring-do, but this little toadstool of a dress felt like a whole lot of ideas. Imagine it in a rich, lustrous emerald satin. That would be delightful. I have to hand it to Dana Murray, producer of Pixar's "Soul," for having the guts to zig when everyone probably expected her to zag.


There's nothing particularly bad about this variegated shades of red Dior gown on Reese, but it's not worthy of her. The fit and length feel off, and I always say this particular ombre color scheme never fails to remind me of menses. If it were slightly longer and pooled a little bit with a train, I think it would balance out the lines better and make her look taller.

Vanessa Kirby always looks like such a modern baddie, and I love it, especially knowing she came to the fore playing a young Princess Margaret, another famous baddie. I like so much about her Gucci look, including the very edgy hair and lipstick, but the little sliver of peekaboo stomach here actually confused me. At first I thought it was the weirdest sash that happened to be nude fabric and I wondered why. When I realized it was stomach, I felt like it was such a weird shape to cut out. I almost would rather it be more or less, but not this little half-moon. 

This Chanel couture gown on Margot Robbie felt perfectly fine, if a little ho-hum. It would make a very lovely, if possibly forgettable, prom dress. It was appropriate and nice and all that stuff. 

Pregnant ladies deserve to look like diaphanous garden goddesses, so I completely understand the draw of Emerald Fennell's fun and flirty Gucci. It just felt a teensy weensy bit meh to me for the Oscars, but I would die for it at almost any other event. I think a beautiful updo, or maybe even wavier hair might have elevated the look a bit.

I genuinely love the subtle ombre of Halle Berry's romantic lilac gown, and I actually like the length of her silent film-era bob, but I cannot abide baby bangs and on camera, her makeup look appeared muted. The hair and makeup styling could have been better.


Our queen Glenn did not take home the Oscar, but she did take home our hearts for her timeless and expertly delivered performance of "Da Butt" in one of the better bits we've seen in a long time. I wish I could say I loved her outfit here, which has the feeling of something a Crusader would wear if he liked sensible pumps while conquering foreign lands. Instead of a couple disparate looks, I think I'd rather see either a commitment to the top as a gown, or shorten it with a cool sash or add a train or do something a touch more interesting. The glove is strange but maybe fun? I think it's obvious she didn't expect to win and I'm hopeful the next time she's on the carpet, it's a big victory lap.

My sense of good and bad is so warped now that I couldn't decide what I even think about H.E.R. in this lace hooded jumpsuit with a train by Dundas. Is it fantastic? I dunno. Is it some sort of lingerie for the truly demure? It could be. Is it maybe less of a design than a twister of lace H.E.R. is trapped inside? Possibly. It feels very H.E.R. whatever it is. 

Honestly, I'm reaching a bit with this look on singer Celeste Waite, because it's almost so campy it's good. The outfit struck me as something Party City would wear for a sexy Hester Prynne costume, and a ripped-out heart accessory feels appropriate for the harshly judged heroine of "The Scarlet Letter." It is equally likely this is just a straight-up costume as the Queen of Hearts. If this is one of the worst of the night, it was a pretty good night.


Leave it to someone you least suspect to step out in one of the most daring/confounding looks of the night! Romanian film producer Bianca Oana wore this gold-striped....what would you call this? Sleeveless trench vest over...are those gold beribboned floor-length culottes? I genuinely can't tell what I'm looking at, and I think if your outfit requires forensic level examination, it might be too much look. 

Double nominee Sacha Baron Cohen brought all the glamour of a tenured philosophy professor to the red carpet, wearing a brown jacket and tie with rumpled, pleated cream trousers that look like khakis he pulled from the laundry bin at the last minute. At least Isla looks very hot.