Emmys Style: The Nerve to Not Go (Near) Naked as Stars Cover Up
A new subtlety is underway for the Emmys as the red-carpet revolt at recent film festivals showed stars not as sirens but as understated: "It's been skintight for too long," says one stylist.
This story first appeared in the Sept. 25 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.
Fashion's pendulum is swinging in a whole new direction heading into red-carpet season, if the Venice and Toronto film festivals are any indication. While spring's Grammys and Met Ball ripped the fabric right off Hollywood femmes, fall's forecast is the polar opposite: more, more, more — of 1970s-inspired ruffles, chiffon, prints, full sleeves and billows. "It's fresh; we always need fresh in fashion," says designer Zac Posen, whose romantic, bohemian looks were a hit at his Sept. 8 spring 2016 show in New York. Jumpsuits, which cover up similarly, if not as romantically, also are driving carpet trends. And while this movement toward greater coverage is purely fashion-derived, it should have the side effect of putting shyer, #AskHerMore feminist types at ease.
Will TV stars, not known for being bashful, have the nerve not to bare maximum skin on their big night? Film's leading actresses have. At the Venice fest, Alicia Vikander's Louis Vuitton gown showcased an empire waist and bell sleeves, and Elizabeth Banks (Marchesa), Natalie Portman (Lanvin), Dakota Johnson (Marc Jacobs), Diane Kruger (Valentino) and Rachel Weisz (Valentino) all donned high necks, long sleeves, pretty florals or tulle in blanket quantities. Lizzy Caplan wore a bohemian Mary Katrantzou to a New York premiere in September. And designers in addition to Posen, such as Monique Lhuillier, showed floral boho gowns for spring 2016 — which select Emmy attendees will want to get their hands on, like Naomi Watts, who likely will attend the awards with nominated Liev Schreiber.
Taraji P. Henson's stylist Jason Bolden says, "What will translate will be the silhouette: high waists and a proper skirt. My clients are into a lax luxe lately. It's been skintight for too long."
Trendy choices first were spied superseding traditional bombshell options when Emma Stone walked the carpet at the Golden Globes in a Lanvin jumpsuit with a giant bow in the back. "Haven't we seen enough siren gowns in Hollywood?" says designer Alber Elbaz. "It's not the 1940s. It's 2015, and if we can't be more modern now, what then?" Toronto picked up on this thread: Susan Sarandon, Sarah Silverman and Sandra Bullock all wore Max Mara jumpsuits, while Kate Mara sported a red Donald Drawbertson.
Micaela Erlanger, who dresses nominee Michelle Dockery, has noticed "the mood's shifted a little to a more effortless feel. There's something inherently sexy about a girl who doesn't try too hard. It's that bohemian chic attitude." Claire Danes' stylist Petra Flannery concurs: "The more boho designs now still have that sexy '70s feel but in a romantic, feminine way." Stylist Penny Lovell, who works with Taylor Schilling, agrees, with a caveat: "The fall boho trend is not for everyone, but I do expect to see some of the more fashion-forward ladies embracing it at the Emmys."
Heidi Klum's stylist Maryam Malakpour begs to differ: "When it comes to a red carpet, the public wants to see sexy. Hollywood is Hollywood." Adds Christina Hendricks' stylist Lawren Sample: "Whenever anybody steps out of that old-school, sexy, screen-siren look, the media, except Vogue, rip the look apart. But with a strong showing at this year's film festivals, I wouldn't be surprised if we see more of it during this awards season."