It feels like the tide may have turned. In watching last night’s 67th Annual Emmy Awards Show Red Carpet, and in watching television in general of late, perhaps the biggest trend of the night (besides the fact that so few of us actually watch television ON a television anymore) was the largely normal looking folks that strutted their famous stuff. Let me explain.
Not nearly enough has been done to bridge the wage, age, and especially race gap in Hollywood, but last night I felt as though we turned a corner towards progress. To my eye, there appeared to finally be more than one type of body, one skin color, one sexual or gender orientation, and more than one of maybe three designers on the Carpet. In other words, not every one was blonde, buxom, white and wearing Vera Wang or Oscar De La Renta mermaid gowns (not that there’s anything wrong with that….)
And yes, even the normal Hollywood folks have teams of people making them look their normal best (wonderfully shown by Amy & Amy’s on stage makeup and hair touch ups), but as Viola Davis said in her historic Emmy speech, the roles have to be there for women of color in order for them to be awarded! The roles for multi-racial, transgender, women, men and folks of all shapes and sizes do seem to be emerging in high quality shows worthy of recognition. Not enough, but more. Progress.
Of the dresses on the carpet, there were some really beautiful choices. I found myself loving the dresses whose wearers were happy, relaxed, and glowing. Uzo Adubo was stunning in a dress that reminded me of Michele Obama’s Jason Wu dress she wore the night the President won his first election. Maggie Gyllenhaal simply floated about in a huge black and pink strapless gown with backless bow and pockets. I loved Kiernan Shipka in a Judy Jetson strapless number with huge peplum and cigarette pants. Amy Schumer looked elegant and comfortable in Zac Posen green.
I love the edgier choices people make, especially given that the Emmy’s take place just days after New York Fashion Week. A bit of Schadenfreude for the poor stylists assistants desperately hustling to get Jaime Alexander her sequin Armani gown before it has even been shown, and added points for all the starlets sweating their sequins off in the 106 degree Hollywood Heat. Awwww. I didn’t love Edie Falco’s Prada dress, not because it was different, but because it just hid her entirely. I loved the dress Claire Danes wore, also Prada, in purple sequins with dramatic chain straps. What didn’t work for me was the decidedly NOT edgy pin curled hair. Also in chains was Taraji P Henson in black, this dress was fun, fun , fun. Ellie Kemper wore a fantastically happy stripe sequin gown, and I thought Mindy Kaling’s dress was pretty, but would have worked better with a different sleeve. Too directly reminiscent of a sari, perhaps? Also in canary yellow was the oddest choice by the toughest judge on Project Runway. Heidi Klum yanked her Versace off the runway, on to her body, and……cue the Big Bird memes. I adored Naomi Watts in an empire waist tea length heavily beaded dress, and thought Danielle Brooks was sheer joy in a flowy chiffon colorblock number.
Who wore it better is mean, but Christina Hendricks wore her heavily beaded sculpted Naheem Kahn better than Allison Janney wore hers. Sorry. Also in the “sorry, but I just can’t even” category for me was Amy Poehler in black with cutouts — nothing wrong with the dress it just didn’t fit her and seemed to have some fashion tape pulling things awry under her right boob. Taylor Schilling had a very cool yellow dress that sadly abruptly stopped at ankle length and revealed a wired (?) hem that floated away like a cheap Party City Belle costume. Anna Chlumsky seemed uncomfortable in a caged beaded thing, but the dress was a very cool piece.
As a friend said last night, Sofia Vergara can be filed under, “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it” with her gold St. John Mermaid gown, and I loved Queen Latifah in a white one shoulder dress with deco clutch. Padma Lakshmi in a very unforgivable but sumptuous double-faced satin chartreuse gown was beautiful, and Emma Roberts in a nude Jenny Packham plunging chiffon gown was fresh and light. More elegant normal dresses were worn by Julie Bowen and Julia Louis Dreyfuss in black but leave it to Gaga to prove my theory that normal has hit critical mass in Hollywood — she stunned in a black sculptural gown with pretty hair and makeup. Huh.
Best of the night? I personally would wear Sarah Hyland’s red Zac Posen dress every day if my job would allow it, but she loses points for matchy matchy 80s jewelry and predictability. It has to go to the most beautiful woman there, Ms. Kerry Washington. She told an interviewer she “felt breezes in all kinds of places” in her beaded, below the knee silver Prada gown. Her hair, makeup, accessories were flawless. Far from normal, but sometimes we need our breath taken away.
All photos Getty Images for Huffington Post