A red-carpet seems like the last thing we need in the midst of a pandemic and civil rights injustices. However, this year’s Emmys proved that fashion can bring people together while contributing to larger social movements.
By Melanie Moyer
Courtesy of https://www.elle.com/fashion/celebrity-style/g34078712/emmys-red-carpet-dresses-2020/
If it’s irresponsible, even deadly, to gather a group of people from different households together during a pandemic, how can celebrities safely walk the red carpet? This was the question producers of the Emmys had to grapple with while planning the occasion. Instead of collecting by the masses in front of the iconic Staples Center, celebrities were told to take on the TV industry’s biggest night with a reimagination of the red carpet. Jimmy Kimmel, the evening’s host, outlined the dress code as a simple “come as you are, but make an effort.” Some celebrities took this suggestion in stride, some fully embraced the glamor of the evening, and some even took full advantage of the glorified Zoom call to show up in their glammed-out PJs. Even without the social gathering that often comes with the fashion highlights of the evening, many stars proved that they can be the best dressed of the evening no matter where they are.
This year’s Emmys were nearly inseparable from Zendaya and her looks (yes, plural) for the night. Winner of an award for Leading Actress in a Drama Series for her work in Euphoria, Zendaya first wowed fans in a viral Instagram video of her in a Christopher John Rogers dress. The dress had a shaped purple silk taffeta skirt that revealed a snatched waistline and a black-shouldered top, further accessorized with black Louboutin pumps with embellished toes and Bulgari jewelry. Later on in the evening, Zendaya accepted her Emmy in a custom two-piece by Armani Prive, featuring a flowing polka-dot skirt and a silver-studded bralette top. With the elegance and glamor Zendaya brought with both looks, it’s hard to categorize anyone else as the best dressed of the evening.
Tracee Ellis Ross was also an early highlight of the night on social media, with her ruffled gold Alexander Vauther dress (and a matching mask!). In an Instagram post, Ross walked down her own red carpet looking like an Emmy herself. Her golden ruffles of material parted in the front to create one of the most iconic looks of the night. She also gets extra credit for donning her mask.
Regina King was also one of a few celebrities to bring her look to her own red carpet, but with a personal and powerful twist. Wayman Bannerman and Micah McDonald, King’s stylists, used the virtual platform to create an experience out of her look, capturing her first outfit in a twelve-second clip. In it, King takes center stage in a dazzling sapphire dress from Schiaparelli, accompanied by two sketched Black dancers. Her next look was first seen on E! News, where she appeared in a hot pink Schiaparelli suit over a shirt with the face of Breonna Taylor, a 26-year old woman fatally shot by Louisville Metro Police Department officers on March 13, 2020 while she was sleeping. With her look, the winner of a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or a Movie made the first of many political statements of the night.
Other stars to incorporate solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement into their looks were Uzo Aduba and Sandra Oh. Aduba, winner of an award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie for her role in Mrs. America, donned a gold skirt and a shirt with Breonna Taylor’s name in matching gold lettering. Sandra Oh wore a royal purple Korelimited bomber jacket with ‘Black Lives Matter’ written in Korean on the front. Oh also brought in a mask to her look, showing that fashion and preventative measures in response to the pandemic go hand-in-hand.
Another fashion highlight of the evening was the gorgeous Chanel Haute Couture gown Shira Haas wore. It was reported that the gown took about 1,200 hours of work to complete, which immediately became apparent once the floral detail of the dress came on camera. Billy Porter was also a highlight of the night—but really, when is he not—in a custom Ashi Studio off-white suit paired with a sweeping shawl to match.
Father-son power duo Eugene and Dan Levy from Schitt’s Creek dominated the night’s awards and style, with Dan showing up in a pleated grey skirt and a matching blazer from Thom Browne and Eugene in a clashing (but in a good way) navy-black Dior suit. Jameela Jamil showed everyone that she could show up to the Emmys in her PJs and still serve a fantastic look in a rainbow sequin dressing gown over white pajamas. Power couple Rachel Brosnahan and Jason Ralph also brought their PJ game with a matching custom look from Christy Willing, and they even brought their two dogs in on the look.
Overall, this year’s Emmys were full of incredible looks from the homes or hotel rooms of the nominees. While it may have seemed impossible to host an event that was both safe and fabulous during a pandemic, the stars showed that fashion is not limited to a single red carpet nor does it take precedence over slowing the spread of the coronavirus. From the celebrities who were able to incorporate masks into their look to those who made the best of staying safe at home, the all-encompassing message of the evening was that we can still come together for these events while doing our part of social distancing.
Melanie Moyer '22,