A force of red, a wealth of metallics and a strong show of feathers took the carpet at the 69th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards, led by Nicole Kidman, Tessa Thompson and Tracee Ellis Ross.
And what's a dress without hair and makeup? The winners in beauty trends Sunday night in Los Angeles included precisely executed wet looks and matchy-matchy makeup.
Leading the ladies in red at the Microsoft Theater was Nicole Kidman in a silver rope tie collar dress by Calvin Klein by Appointment that stopped just above the ankle. It was a grenadine shade made of silk gazar with a pleated bodice, accessorized by more than $2 million worth of Harry Winston jewels. Issa Rae wore a one-shoulder, hand-draped crimson silk crepe gown with modern asymmetric sleeves, a plunging cowl back and a delicate silk organza floral accent.
For Joyann King, executive editor of HarpersBazaar.com, the metallics took it, including Thompson's dazzler in bright reds, blues and greens. She worked her full, tiny pleats as she posed on the red carpet.
"The big trend of the night was the silver lining. The metallic streak shone in bold sequins and floor-length, high-shine choices from Tracee Ellis Ross, Sarah Paulson, Laverne Cox and more," she said.
While some found a gaggle of slick 'dos distracting, they were a highlight for Jennifer Goldstein, Marie Claire's executive beauty and health editor.
"When wet-looking, scraped-back hair went down the fashion runways a few seasons ago, we beauty editors didn't expect it to catch on for the red carpet — let alone in the real world — but it absolutely has," she said. "At the Emmys, Regina King, Yara Shahidi, Millie Bobby Brown and Anna Chlumsky all did the scraped-back, wet-looking hair, which is a great way to pull their hair back from their faces and let the fashion shine."
Laverne Cox wowed in body-hugging Naeem Kahn in gray, dainty ruffles on her narrow straps and Lorraine Schwartz chandelier statement earrings up top. She also wore the wet-hair look with matching gray eye shadow.
"Matching your makeup to your outfit can look too precious if it's not executed perfectly, but multiple actors at the Emmys managed to pull it off: Nicole Kidman's bordeaux lips matched her dress; Laverne Cox had these smoky, pewter-emerald eyes that matched her dress; Tessa Thompson had a copper shadow on her eyes that matched the copper in her Rosie Assoulin dress; and Gina Rodriguez's reddish eyeshadow matched her red dress," said Goldstein.
So who bucked trends? Well, Reese Witherspoon stood alone in a blue blazer minidress by Stella McCartney, her blond locks parted in the middle and her lips a bold orangey red. Her pointy pumps matched the shade. Julee Wilson, the fashion and beauty director for Essence, was unimpressed.
"The Emmys, the Oscars, the Golden Globes — these are your opportunity to break out the gown and have an Old Hollywood moment," she said. "I'm not a fan of the short cocktail dress on a major red carpet."
Millie Bobby Brown, at 13 one of the youngest Emmy nominees ever, was a red carpet favorite in her princessy silk crepe and tulle dress from Calvin Klein by Appointment, jewelry non-existent.
"I absolutely loved it. Her kitten heels were really great. They had red polka dots," said Erin Cunningham, the fashion news director for Refinery29.com.
She also loved Thompson's rainbow metallic look by Rosie Assoulin.
"It felt really daring and really unexpected for a red carpet. People normally play it safe," Cunningham said.
Ross, the daughter of Diana Ross, was a moment unto herself in a wide-belted, silver-sequin Chanel haute couture dress with feathers from the thigh down and full sleeves, her hair in cornrows.
"She can do no wrong," Wilson said. "I'm pretty sure sequins and feathers and anything sparkly and glam are in her DNA."
Feathers earned Zoe Kravitz raves. Her block-bodice look with pale shades of yellow, pink and red was Dior Haute Couture. Her hair was cropped and she accessorized with a silver choker. Yara Shahidi also offered something different, a custom Prada gown with short bronze tulle flutter sleeves and green sequin floral embroidery all over. It plunged at the front in a V and was accented by a gold Swarovski crystal belt.
"I think Yara always looks really great and age-appropriate on the red carpet," Cunningham said. "She looks like a 17-year-old woman and she is. I loved the ruffle sleeves. They added a cute princess element. Sometimes you just like seeing pretty dresses."