All The Looks We Loved From The 2016 Emmys Red Carpet

Photo: Todd Williamson/Getty Images.
At a time when the red carpet has become, for lack of a better word, a snoozefest, it takes a lot of effort and creativity to really get people talking. And though the 2016 Emmy Awards may not be on the same level that they were 15 years ago (when Sex and the City took home the award for Outstanding Comedy Series, because, duh), this year did have a little summertime velvet, some colorful dresses, oh, and the Stranger Things kids.

Were the outfits absolutely amazing? Not exactly. But for every nude, floral gown (and yes, there were a few), there were some standout moments that had us hoping, even if just for a second, that the upcoming awards season might finally deliver something new. Click on for the Emmys outfits that had us punctuating with heart-eyed emoji (shout-outs to Millie Bobby Brown and Hari Nef). Here's to a red carpet circuit that puts the pizzazz back into celebrity dressing.
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Photo: Todd Williamson/Getty Images.
Some say polka dots should have been left in the ‘80s, but for rule-breaker Stacy London, style knows no decade. This dress hit all the right notes.
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Photo: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images.
Another red on the red carpet, Refinery29’s latest UnCover star Priyanka Chopra had a princess moment in Jason Wu. We — along with all of social media — are completely obsessed.
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Photo: Todd Williamson/Getty Images.
Commenting on Sophie Turner’s sheer Valentino number, New York Times fashion critic Vanessa Friedman tweeted: “That is one of those runway dresses everyone says will be lined on real life. Guess not.” Though that may be true, we think this black lace dress is one of the most on trend red carpet pieces we’ve seen in a long time. (Plus, it kind of gives off some badass Game of Thrones vibes, no?)
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Photo: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images.
Now, we know what you may be thinking... Florals for spring? Groundbreaking. But it’s September, and this floral dress on Alia Shawkat has us missing summer ruffles already. What makes this gown even cooler, though, is that you could pair it with white sneakers and it’d still look just as brilliant.
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Photo: Todd Williamson/Getty Images.
That moment when you’re wearing Valentino Red and Edie Parker on the red carpet, and you’re only 12 years old. Stranger Things’ Millie Bobby Brown is #goals.
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Photo: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic.
Finally, a red dress on the red carpet that doesn’t just blend into one big sea of red. Hari Nef’s floor-sweeping Gucci gown (and its dozens of cuddling cherubs) gave us something that’s more like a work of art than your run-of-the-mill awards show fashion moment.
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Photo: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images.
It’s hard to imagine Kimmy Schmidt ditching her iconic backpack and the streets of New York for a designer gown and the Emmys red carpet, but who could say no to this embroidered Jenny Packham dress? Watch out, Titus.
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Photo: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images.
If you followed New York Fashion Week as closely as we did, you likely witnessed the velvet comeback happening all over the runways. This emerald-green Wai Ming gown on Kathryn Hahn is right on trend.
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Photo: Todd Williamson/Getty Images.
We’ll never say no to pants on the red carpet, and this Monique Lhuillier ensemble on Sarah Hyland reminds us of Dior’s New Look era of the ‘40s and ‘50s, making for a standout moment.
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Photo: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images.
In a glittery Jenny Packham number, America Ferrera brings your slip dress obsession to party girl status. All-over sequins can be tough to get just right, but Ferrera nailed it.
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Photo: David Crotty/Patrick McMullan/Getty Images.
It should come as no surprise that Nina Garcia, being the creative director of Marie Claire, slayed the red carpet. In a long-sleeve Valentino gown, the Project Runway judge brought some much-needed razzmatazz to the evening.
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Photo: David Crotty/Patrick McMullan/Getty Images.
Okay, yes, we totally called out stars for going for the same old strapless-nude-dress formula on the red carpet, but we’re going to say Emilia Clarke and her Atelier Versace gown are the rare exception. From far away, it may not seem like much, but up close, the piece actually looks like it’s crafted from tiny scales. And what’s more fitting for the Mother of Dragons?
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Photo: Todd Williamson/Getty Images.
This black-and-white Oscar de la Renta gown on Michelle Dockery makes the actress look like the perfect topper to a wedding cake. And the clever belt choice was the perfect way to add shape amidst so many layers. Then again, we expect nothing less from the Downton Abby star.
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Photo: Kevin Mazur/WireImage.
Be honest: When Sarah Paulson hit the red carpet in this emerald Prada number, your jaw dropped. It’s okay — ours did, too. The blunt slit, the statement shoulders, Paulson’s stoic presence...what’s not to like? All that, combined with the Gatsby-level, head-to-toe embroidery, makes this red carpet moment one for the books.
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Photo: Steve Granitz/WireImage.
We’re seriously hoping (er, praying?) Tracee Ellis Ross’ white Ralph Lauren gown is part of the designer’s new “see now, buy now” initiative. Even if we don’t actually have anywhere to wear it...
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Photo: ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images.
Some claim wearing black on the red carpet is the best way to play it safe, but when it's Kirsten Dunst and that black comes in Givenchy Couture, you let it slide. Accented by minimal jewels, this is a look that stands (very) strong on its own.
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Photo: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images.
“I call this 'vintage yellow neck stain.' It’s so vintage, it [has a] yellow neck stain,” Gaby Hoffmann joked about her actually vintage (not vintage-inspired) dress. Meanwhile, Jill Soloway served up a serious statement-maker with a full-on printed Gucci suit and sneakers.
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Photo: Todd Williamson/Getty Images.
Let’s not let Claire Danes' awfully orange spray tan deter from the magic that is this gold sequined Schiaparelli dress. The deep-V, wrap-waist, slight train, and shimmery color are everything we could want in a red carpet look.
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Photo: Kevin Mazur/WireImage.
Tonight may be Kerry Washington’s night, seeing as she’s nominated for two Emmys, but we’ve got to give the designer of her incredible maternity look, Brandon Maxwell, several pats on the back for this one. Washington typically shuts it down every year, but we’re not sure we’ve seen maternity dressing executed this brilliantly. Well done, team.
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Photo: Kevin Mazur/WireImage.
Okay, we’re going to come out and say it: Laverne Cox looks just like the award itself. Gold, shiny, statuesque — all of our (favorite) boxes are ticked. The actress may have missed out on a nomination this year, but if there were an award for dominating the Emmys red carpet (in Naeem Khan, no less), she'd have our vote.
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Photo: Todd Williamson/Getty Images.
Canary yellow on the red carpet typically reminds us of a mega fast-food chain’s branding colors, but not on Taraji P. Henson. This spaghetti strap, body-con Vera Wang dress reminds us of one thing and one thing only: Cookie, back at it again, doing the damn thing.
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Photo: Kevin Mazur/WireImage.
Recently, The Cut warned us of Mandy Moore’s “return,” and boy, are we as ready as ever. The actress is starting her comeback on the right foot with this mustard-yellow Prabal Gurung dress, and we’re ready to see what she (or her stylist, Karla Welch) whips out next.
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Photo: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic.
One look at this white dress, and you’ll agree with us that Megalyn Echikunwoke is a completely underrated red carpet maven. Can we have more, please?
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Photo: Todd Williamson/Getty Images.
By now, we’re all aware that the cast of Game of Thrones is comprised of one badass after another, so what else did you expect from Maisie Williams? This half-floral tea dress says, “I’m sophisticated, but I’ve got a sword in my clutch and I’m not afraid to use it.”
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Photo: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images.
Attempting to find something that’s age appropriate, on trend, and evening ready isn’t always easy (one look at the Kids' Choice Awards red carpet, and you’ll see how difficult it can actually be). Yara Shahidi (a member of Refinery29’s Z List), however, is a pro. (The 16-year-old credits her stylist, Ade Samuel, for her aesthetic.) This white-and-gold button-up dress is one-hundred.
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Photo: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic.
Before you whip out your Tom Ford card, let us remind you that long-sleeve sequined gowns are always a hot ticket in fashion, which is why so many other designers make their own. Here, Naeem Khan brings us a metallic-silver version on Padma Lakshmi that makes us want to save up our pennies and buy our own. (Or become an internationally recognized television host and, like, borrow one.)