Emmys 2022 Fashion: Tried and True Trends Were the Night’s Tone

At the 2022 awards, celebs donned chokers, metallics, one-shoulder asymmetricals, sheer body-con sheaths, and men wore white—but where have we seen these trends before?

If you like black tie glamor, there’s surely no shortage of it this week. It’s a veritable trifecta of trends, what with New York Fashion Week, the Toronto Film Festival, and the Emmys vying and cajoling for Hollywood and everyone else’s attention—at the same time. What? There was almost nothing happening all summer on the celebrity circuit and now three major style events at once? The calendar gods clearly conspired to make collective heads spin on just the second week of September. I know mine is!

Speaking of trends: choker necklaces, high-low hemmed gowns, metallics, one-shoulder asymmetricals, strapless necklines, sheer body-con sheaths, cutouts, men in white—where have we seen these trends before? Oh, that’s right! They’re not exactly new. We saw it all at the Oscars (if we weren’t yawning or gaping in disbelief) and they were all over the place at fashion weeks from New York to Europe for fall 2022. We’re already seeing a lot of the same at New York Fashion Week, which is for spring 2022. But so what? There’s almost nothing new under the sun fashion-wise, so celebs and their stylists are sticking to the recently tried and true.

Best looks of the night? Look, Zendaya always looks awesome, right? With stylist Law Roach, she can do no wrong. Still, we’ve liked her slinkier looks better than this black strapless bustier giant-ball gown skirted Maison Valentino. While quite traditional—in fact, 1950s Oscar’s style—she still looked divine and was still giving drama—even if it was retro drama. The diamond choker didn’t hurt. Julia Garner’s dark brown velvet Gucci down with a big midriff cut out and cream lace detail might have been too much on others—but on Garner, with her amazing attitude and talent, it was a strong statement. 

Winner in the Outstanding Competition Program: “Lizzo’s Watch Out For The Big Grrrls,” Lizzo won an Emmy at the 74th Primetime Emmy Awards at the Microsoft Theater on Monday, September 12, 2022 (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

In fact, shades of brown, copper and bronze were dominant and looked far fresher than black. Lily James’ Atelier Versace bronze slink gown kind of matched her hair—a really flattering shade for her. Quinta Brunson’s copper satin Dolce & Gabbana looked really new for a red carpet as well, particularly with those sheer copper opera gloves. Christina Ricci wore Fendi Couture designed by Kim Jones, right now one of the most happening designers (he also does Dior Homme); this girl knows her fashion. It was a lithe fitting gold and silver almost slip with a matching bag—which she crowned with a jet black bob and bangs. Now, that’s cool—going goth to the Emmys. Juno Temple’s unbelievably stark, simple Tom Ford black column had an over-the-shoulder cape attached—subtle and not subtle is not easy to pull off.

Some of the paler shades demanded more eyeballs than the deep darks so often donned to awards shows. Amanda Seyfried’s pink lavender, almost sheer strapless Armani Prive fit like she’d been sewn in—a bit, “Happy birthday, Mr. President”—but Monday night’s Emmy winner for Best Actress in a Limited Series for The Dropout did reflect like a veritable beam of light—particularly with that statue. Ariana DeBose in a—pale pink or pale lavender?—Prabal Gurung silk ruched gown was the picture of chic, understated sexiness.

Jean Smart at the 74th Primetime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles. (Photo by Gilbert Flores/Variety via Getty Images)

Alexandra Dedario wore the night’s most revealing gown—a cream-colored ultra sheer gown by Dior that would have been far too revealing, unless you look like Dedario, in which case, you might as well flaunt it. Jean Smart lived up to her last name in a cream-colored, long-sleeved and beautifully fitted Christian Siriano. Winning her zillionth prize for her performance in Hacks, Smart (and chic) was pretty much the belle of the ball.

Meanwhile, layers of tulle tiers or ruffles (the opposite of tight-fitting sheaths) were everywhere—these are not the easiest thing to wear, particularly over age 30, as they’re so girly. Some did them right, while some decidedly didn’t. 

Lizzo, splendiferous in a red tulle Giambattista Valli Haute Couture red high-low tulle gown, carried off the night’s most dramatic look with great gusto. The pop star looked like a million bucks—a lot less than she’s taken in for the royalties on her song of the summer, “About Damn Time.” The Flight Attendant Kaley Cuoco channeled a punk ballerina lost on the Lower East Side in her Pepto pink mini front, so long in the back that it could not have been less flattering—is this a mullet gown? Meanwhile, Marin Hinkle donned pale celery green layers of tulle ruffles—but hers had a bustier tight-fitting top, so it didn’t overwhelm.

Kaley Cuoco attends the HBO Emmy’s Party 2022 at San Vicente Bungalows on September 12, 2022 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images)

Deep, deep blue made a splash with Rachel Brosnahan’s look, a slinky Pamella Roland bodycon deep v-necked gown with crystal accents. But it drowned out poor Sarah Paulson, whose boxy Louis Vuitton stiff gown—more square shaped than curved—well, let’s just say…she’s looked better. A lot better. Reese Witherspoon’s strapless dark blue beaded Armani Prive mini tube gown was—well, fine. Is “fine” enough, though? With someone as accomplished as Witherspoon, underwhelming works just fine. 

One surprising no-no (there were others—but they were expected): Elle Fanning’s strapless old school black and pink satin gown—and very weird up-do hairstyle. The Great costume designer Sharon Long created the dress so Fanning could kick it as if in 1950s Hollywood. Guess what? It was too 1950s Hollywood. Particularly for a fashion favorite who usually goes cutting edge.

Seth Rogen attends the 74th Primetime Emmys in Los Angeles. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

Who knew men in white would grab the night? The way light bounces off a white tux made John Legend (in Gucci), Seth Rogen (Brunello Cucinelli), Nicholas Braun (Dior double-breasted tux), and Andrew Garfield (Zegna) really shine. For a guy with the right body, it was wildly flattering, as it’s the opposite of slimming black. Was there anyone not checking out Jerrod Carmichael’s bare-chested look with a white fur jacket? It’s getting to the point where the same old black tux looks—well, old—even on Christopher Meloni and Luke Kirby. Guys, it’s time to step up your sartorial game. SNL‘s Bowen Yang donned a black Etro tux with cool embroidery on the jacket. Party on the top, business on the bottom—at least that’s putting one toe in hot fashion waters.

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