Do stars reach a point of awards show/red carpet fatigue the same way you and I do? They must, because with a few exceptions, last night’s Critics’ Choice television awards had all the commitment of high school seniors on the last week of school.
For a more casual event such as this, I’m always looking for attendees who use the opportunity to step outside the box. Unfortunately, some people stepped more in it, tossing on so many solid color dresses and gowns—mostly black—like, “Please make it stop.” I do not begrudge anyone for attending their 533rd awards ceremony this month in a little black dress suited for a lawyer’s association luncheon, because after awhile it’s gotta be hard to get it up, so to speak. But I would like to commend some of these ladies (and a man or two) with my personal critic’s choice award for doing the damn thing.
For instance, here are four ways to do the LBD in a way that celebrates your own existence (as you should!) as opposed to appearing like you’re going to a funeral for your realtor you barely knew. Carrie Brownstein chose a gold-dotted silhouette that’s both summery and dressy, and matched her gold captoe shoes; she’s generally a somewhat conservative dresser, but this is a light look that’s both elegant and (haha) flirty.
Both Gina Rodriguez and tiny Mae Whitman are doing party frocks in perfect harmony, lace’d up and sequined for a moderate blast on a Sunday night. Taraji P. Henson, who won a well-deserved award for Best Actress in a Drama Series from the Critics’ Choice and also Best Role Model for Running Shit Like a Boss in my mind, was near-literal flames in this terrific cut-out number, black velvet panels piquing up top like the wicks of two candles. Best dressed.
What better way to celebrate spring maturing into summer than through floral dresses and tulip-inspired pinks? Aunjanue Ellis’s bold shade of petal is toughened up with an embellished shoulder, a nice complement to the flowing chiffon on Constance Wu and Maggie Gyllenhaal, whose rose-amber gown looks like the physical embodiment of the scent Stella by Stella McCartney. Did anyone sniff her? If so, please email me at the address below so I can confirm or deny this.
In the department of dressing to maximize your best features, please to believe Aisha Tyler and Felicity Huffman could administer a master class. There weren’t many short hems on this carpet, which made Tyler’s racer-striped mini that much more striking, a formal club jawn I would like to borrow. And Huffman is a powerhouse in that look, somehow both sessy and meaning business. I would also like to take this moment to note that this carpet was far more diverse than most film red carpets in the departments of both ethnicity and age; after Gyllenhaal’s shocking “too old” age fracas, it’s empirically clear that TV is a slightly more welcoming refuge than conservative Hollywood, and good because TV is generally better than film as an art form these days, anyhow.
In the color-blocking department, we have Chelsea Peretti giving strong Pantone unity, and flawless Erica Tazel with another racing stripe, the inverse of Aisha Tyler’s dress.
Okay, if you’re going to do a regular LBD, consider doing it in the fashion of Khandi Alexander, who spruced up a low neckline with a fun scarf and teamed up with Queen Latifah’s hoopy earrings. This is fun! I belive them! Same with Mimi Kennedy, whose bright ensemble is the antithesis of pretense and says, “I am happy with my life and who I am.” I want to hang out with Mimi Kennedy based on this outfit? Also, Ve Neill and Glenn Hetrick, who are both award-winning make-up artists and judges on best show on television Face Off. Ve did all the make-up for Hunger Games and Glenn is legit deeply into steampunk, and it’s very cool that they showed up looking like themselves, which is not-quite-reformed adult goths.
Pantsuits/menswear is always chic, and both Clea DuVall and Dee Rees are confident in smoking jackets and loose-fitting trousers. I generally love Gaby Hoffman’s style; she’s always doing her own thing and even if the proportions or fit seem off, it’s the effect of having done so on purpose. That’s not happening here, though; here, she’s just doing pajama trousers and a glittery crop-top to die for. Also, Mel B aka Mel Brown aka The Best Spice Girl is pristine in this, and looks like a superhero.
The ‘90s are HOT, yall. If this were a true-to-script remake of the original Beverly Hills 90210, Aya Cash would play Kelly, Angie Harmon would play Donna, and Tracee Ellis Ross would be Brenda. (She could add glasses and also play Andrea, if this remake were a community summer stock production and strapped for cash.)
Okay, here’s what I mean by shit was boring: Carrie Ann Inaba, while totally stunning, is wearing the most played sheer-cut-out dress and I’m done with it. Cat Deeley is not boring but the detailing on that gown looks like what happened to True Blood’s Vampire Bill after he contracted Hepatitis V. Shudder. Emmanuelle Chriqui is also stunning but that dress is something you might wear to a beachside bonfire during your vacation in Key West. Samantha Harris’s mullet dress is harming me—when will we be done with this trend? Just wear a minidress with a cape as an alternative?
Finally, here is Silicon Valley’s Thomas Middleditch with a ‘stache, perhaps in homage to the porn enterprise that his character is developing on the show. (He was brilliant in last night’s episode; give him an Emmy?) Nice pocket square.
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Images via Getty