Floral Prints at the Emmys: What Works, What Doesn't

Kiernan Shipka Lena Dunham Split - H 2013

It's rare to see printed gowns at a major awards show, but at Sunday's Emmys, Kiernan Shipka and Lena Dunham were among the few who went against the grain -- with varying success.

We have to say, we never thought we'd ever see printed gowns as a trend on a major awards show red carpet. Different color beading and embellishment, sure. Maybe even a bit of a floral design going up a dress. But a full on print? It's a rare thing. Yet, they are all over the runways, and this fall complicated and heavy floral prints are ubiquitous. It's hard to escape them, actually. But on camera, and all lit up, they can be garish -- or lovely.

But they finally did show up on camera -- at the Emmy's, in fact. Little thirteen-year-old Kiernan Shipka, who always has impeccable and age-appropriate style, wore a tea-length gown with a large A-line skirt that had a contrasting top and skirt. The top, white with a smattering of pink, blue and yellow small floral print, and the full skirt in pale pink, had just a tiny bit of floral pastels strewn on it. The dress is by Delpozo, and was a great showing for a new red carpet name, dressing Mad Men's Sally Draper. How lovely to see a young girl in colors and happy florals that absolutely did not overwhelm her.

On the other hand, Lena Dunham's very low-cut and arm-baring Prada gown in a bright teal color, full skirt, and giant poppy print absolutely did overwhelm. The same colors and giant floral print in a spring dress would be pretty -- and appropriate -- but in a full-on gown that was too low-cut and arm-revealing, it didn't do Dunham any favors. Also, her shoulder tattoo had a similar print to the gown, and it looked a bit repetitive, like the dress was imitating the tattoo print. When you pair a strong tattoo with a heavy bright print... well, unlike Liberace's line about too much of a good thing being wonderful, Dunham's look was just too much.