2012 Emmys Fashion: Who Wore What

Monica Corcoran Harel is contributing to Deadline’s Emmy coverage

Movie stars are not like you and me. But TV actresses? Not so far off. What always makes the red carpet at the Emmys so very appealing is the fact that some of these show ponies are short and maybe even a little stubby — in a good way. Seeing our favorite near mortals is actually enlightening and not just intimidating.

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Take the nominated funny ladies. Tina Fey went regal and looked stunning in a deep burgundy strapless Vivienne Westwood column gown with an architectural bodice. Her tastefully teased upswept hairstyle lent a few inches to her frame and rendered her someone you wouldn’t dare disrespect. Amy Poehler — fresh off a break-up from her husband Will Arnett — smartly opted for sexy in a sequined Stella McCartney halter gown that proved she hasn’t been hibernating with vats of Haagen-Dazs. Kristen Wiig, bedecked in a creamy, diaphanous Balenciaga that contrasted with her newly raven hair, paired her dress with sandy suede pumps that made me wonder if she said, “Screw the pedicure” this morning and slept in. Um, who can’t relate to that eleventh-hour decision?

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When it came to color trends, red, silver and blue easily won out. Nominee Mayim Bailik in Pamella Roland (looking like your favorite cousin at a wedding), voluptuous Kat Dennings in J. Mendel (looking more like your husband’s favorite cousin) and Gretchen Mol all chose variations on the hue. Lucy Liu, outfitted in a deco-inspired and armor-like metal Versace, claimed that her dress was “heavy.” I suspect her gown also reflected the merciless sun on anyone nearby with the intensity of a hair removal laser. Nominee Connie Britton — wearing a fabulous Andrew Gn gown with a halter trimmed in crystals and a chic belt — shone like a beacon of glamour for fortysomething women. Ditto for Jane Krakowski.

The ladies in blue category swept the farthest and widest though. Among them, the nominated Sofia Vergara, in a deep turquoise sequined Zuhair Murad gown with a back that showed off the dimples above her posterior, came out on top. That woman works a dress like a farmer works an ox! Hayden Panettiere’s sari-like blue tulle and embroidered gold brocade Marchesa gown felt like a bit too much fabric for such a young star, though it still stood out.

I can’t say that I loved the voluminous silhouette of nom Zooey Deschanel’s poufy powder blue Reem Acra, but she clearly wanted a dress that knew how to twirl. My least favorite? Heidi Klum’s sea foam blue sexpot dress from Parisian newcomer Alexandre Vauthier. When you look like Klum, you really shouldn’t try so hard. Or match your earrings and shoes precisely to your gown.

This year, E!’s red carpet coverage included their “stiletto cam”, which revealed many red, contorted toes and aching arches. Most of the actresses wore skyscrapers by either Christian Louboutin or Jimmy Choo. Even pregnant Emmy winner Claire Danes paired her saffron Lanvin draped gown with four-inch gold Barbara Bui sandals. E!’s newly introduced “manicam” — a silly little box that showed off actresses manicures and resembled a tarantula’s terrarium — was a weird but canny addition. At this point, what else are you going to ask stars on the red carpet: “What deodorant are you wearing?” The end result was that we learned that Sarah Paulson wore Essie’s “sole mate” and Emmy victor Julia Louis-Dreyfus opted for their “berry hard.” Dennings went more Goth with OPI’s “Lincoln Park after dark.” Can’t swing the Fred Leighton 14-karat ring? Get the nail polish instead.

But just when you sucked in your stomach and started to think, “I can do this too”, a movie star showed up. Nicole Kidman — ever the alabaster thoroughbred with her great mane, long legs and nary a sun spot — strode across the red carpet and ruined it for everyone. Her sleek white Antonio Berardi gown with a burst of striking blue sequins was gorgeously fitted and an overall knockout. Not only did she make all the TV stars look a bit like commercial extras, she made me reach for the phone and order a pizza.

Well, we may not be ready for our close-ups, but we can always get a damn manicure.

Here’s who wore what Sunday:

Christina Hendricks
A strapless, oyster-hued Christian Siriano with a cinched belt and pleated bodice

Julie Bowen
A lime green silk faille trumpet gown by Monique Lhuillier with Jimmy Choo “vibe” sandals

Ashley Judd
A raspberry duchess silk Carolina Herrera gown with a fishtail and diamond slice earrings and gardenia pin by Martin Katz

Sarah Hyland
A floral embroidered Marchesa that she claimed to “help design” and lots of diamonds and rubies by Lorraine Schwartz

Jessica Pare
A custom-made Jason Wu white asymmetrical gown with a simple black belt and a Bulgari 15-carat emerald cocktail ring

Julianna Marguiles
A couture floral green brocade Giambattista Valli strapless gown with pockets

Elisabeth Moss
A black and flowered Mikado gown by Dolce & Gabbana with pleated bodice and fluted hem

  1. Not that we put pressure on these women to look perfect or anything. Here’s an idea: maybe we could focus just a little more on their talent and a little less on the clothes?

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