The 46 Greatest Emmys Red Carpet Looks of All Time

From Joan Collins to Quinta Brunson

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The 2023 Emmys are almost here after the awards show was delayed due to the actors’ and writers’ strikes. The ceremony will take place on Monday, January 15, at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on Fox. And while we’re itching with anticipation to see what the nominees wear this year, we’ll just have to make do with scrolling through the looks of years past. 

Lucky for us, these 46 individuals completely knocked their red carpet appearances out of the park, from Disney princess dresses to chic and simple gowns. The list incudes everyone from Joan Collins and Paula Abdul to Quinta Brunson and Zendaya. Here are some of the greatest Emmy looks of all time.

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joan collins at the 1986 emmys
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1. Joan Collins, 1986

Four words: Glittering. Gold. Shoulder pads. It doesn’t get any more ’80s than this, folks.

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2. Diahann Carroll, 1986

This strapless off-the-shoulder column gown exuded drama, thanks to the beaded fringe neckline.

paula abdul at the 1989 emmys
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3. Paula Abdul, 1989

We’re not sure if those are attached sleeves or separate gloves, but either way, Abdul is rocking them like no one else ever could. Or should.

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4. Joan Rivers, 1990

The comedian and fashion expert rocked a monochromatic look while accepting her award for Outstanding Talk Show Host. The statuette was the ultimate accessory.

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5. Cindy Crawford, 1992

She may only have been presenting at the 1992 Emmys but Crawford brought high fashion to the red carpet with this black bustier, high slit skirt and beret.

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6. Oprah Winfrey in Valentino, 1994

Proof that the sheer red carpet dress trend was cool way before Beyoncé tried it.

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7. Courteney Cox in Debra Mcguire, 1995

The Friends star opted for a one-of-a-kind, custom-designed gown by Debra McGuire. Made of bias-cut charmeuse, it was the light periwinkle hue that really turned heads on the red carpet.

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8. Demi Moore in Norma Norell, 1997

Moore attended the awards with her then hubby, Bruce Willis, and stole the show in this navy sequined gown, redefining minimalist chic. And her cropped coif was the perfect accessory.

angelina jolie emmys
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9. Angelina Jolie in Randolph Drake, 1998

Is it us or does this nude fitted gown resemble the award show’s gold statuette? Minus the draped neckline, of course.

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10. Calista Flockhart in Ralph Lauren, 1999

Leave it to Flockhart to pull off wearing a classic white button-down with a satin skirt to one of the television’s most prestigious events.

jennifer aniston at the 1999 emmys
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11. Jennifer Aniston in Randolph Duke, 1999

Her hair was as confusing as her dress was stunning. Oh, and can we talk about that adorable mini bag as well?

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12. Sarah Jessica Parker in Oscar De La Renta, 2000

This may have been the exact moment that SJP and Carrie Bradshaw ceased to be separate individuals and morphed into one epically chic fashion goddess.

mischa barton at the 2005 emmys
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13. Mischa Barton in Oscar De La Renta, 2005

This embellished beauty would look just as fabulous on a red carpet today as it did 19 years ago.

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14. Halle Berry in Emanuel Ungaro, 2005

Berry was nominated for two Emmy Awards that year, but the real winner in our opinion was her front-slit sapphire strapless gown.

jennifer love hewitt at the 2005 emmys
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15. Jennifer Love Hewitt in Dolce & Gabbana, 2005

Taking a little inspiration from SJP, perhaps? We love Hewitt for taking a risk and going with a tea-length dress. There’s no doubt she totally nailed it.

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16. Olivia Wilde in Reem Acra, 2008

Wilde’s pleated number featured a silver cap sleeve and was designed by Reem Acra. Did someone say Greek goddess?

chloe sevigny at the 2009 emmys
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17. Chloe Sevigny in Isaac Mizrahi, 2009

This polka-dot number was simultaneously way ahead of its time and right on-trend. Might it be time for a second appearance?

gwyneth paltrow at the 2011 emmys
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18. Gwyneth Paltrow in Pucci, 2011

The Goop founder’s two-piece ensemble proved to be quite divisive at the time, but we are 100 percent on board with her I Dream of Jeannie vibes.

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19. Nina Dobrev in Donna Karan, 2011

The Vampire Diaries star matched the red carpet in a crimson structured strapless dress with an embellished mermaid hem.

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20. Sarah Hyland in Christian Siriano, 2014

Another crop top and skirt combo, this time with a bold ballgown. This Christian Siriano getup is the perfect combination of chic and simple.

laverne cox at the 2014 emmys
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21. Laverne Cox in Marc Bouwer, 2014

Cox made history that year as the first transgender person ever nominated for an Emmy—and she made a huge statement on the red carpet as well.

kiernan shipka at the 2015 emmys
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22. Kiernan Shipka in Dior Haute Couture, 2015

Don Draper’s daughter is all grown up and giving her model mama a run for her money, especially when it comes to fabulous style.

taraji p henson at the 2015 emmys
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23. Taraji P. Henson in Alexander Wang, 2015

Henson looked absolutely gorgeous in sheer black for her first Emmy nomination for Empire.

sarah paulson at the 2016 emmys
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24. Sarah Paulson in Prada, 2016

As if her fellow nominees weren’t already green enough with envy over her look, Paulson went on to win for her role in The People v. O.J. Simpson. You go, girl.

kerry washington
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25. Kerry Washington in Brandon Maxwell, 2016

Washington showed off her growing baby bump and natural curls with this strapless black Brandon Maxwell gown, which featured side cutouts and a long train.

kristen bell at the 2016 emmys
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26. Kristen Bell in Zuhair Murad, 2016

It would have been a gorgeous ballgown on its own, but those painted and jeweled flowers take this stunner to a whole new level.

zoe kravitz at the 2017 emmys
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27. Zoë Kravitz in Dior Haute Couture, 2017

This rainbow beauty is best appreciated when seen in a full 360-degree twirl.

jane fonda at the 2017 emmys
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28. Jane Fonda in Brandon Maxwell, 2017

And we can pretty much all agree the greatest accessory of the entire evening was Fonda’s sleek ponytail.

tracee ellis ross at the 2017 emmys
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29. Tracee Ellis Ross in Chanel, 2017

Only Tracee Ellis Ross could pile on this many sequins and feathers and still have the shiniest part of her look be that dazzling smile.

tracee ellison ross
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30. Tracee Ellis Ross in Valentino, 2018

Yup. Just one year after she wore that gorgeous Chanel number, Ross stepped up her game in this eye-popping Valentino Haute Couture gown.

angela sarafyan in christian siriano at 2018s emmys
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31. Angela Sarafyan in Christian Siriano, 2018

The 36-year-old Westworld actress looked like an IRL star in a stunning Christian Siriano dress and Harry Kotlar jewels.

pene 769 lope cruz in chanel haute couture at 2018 emmys
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32. Penélope Cruz in Chanel Haute Couture, 2018

A deconstructed take on Chanel’s signature tweed paired with Atelier Swarovski jewelry and a sassy pony—what’s not to love about Cruz’s look?

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33. Sophie Turner in Louis Vuitton, 2019

She paired this sleek column gown (which totally reminded us of Gwyneth Paltrow’s 1999 Academy Awards look) with a Louis Vuitton diamond necklace and rings and silver sandals.

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34. Regina King in Jason Wu, 2019

The 52-year-old American Prime star donned icy blue for the occasion. Between that high halter neck and thigh-high leg slit, we can’t get over her custom getup.

padma lakshmi at the emmys

35. Padma Lakshmi in Christian Siriano, 2019

Top Chef brought her fashion A-game to the 2019 Emmys in an icy blue Christian Siriano ensemble with a dramatic bow in the back and shining Lorraine Schwartz jewels.

36. Jonathan Van Ness in Couch Couture, 2020

There might not have been a red carpet that year, but Jonathan Van Ness managed to steal the show at the 72nd annual Emmy Awards.

37. Tracee Ellis Ross in Alexandre Vauthier, 2020

Although we missed out on seeing a star-studded red carpet at the Emmys in 2020, Ross went all out in a stunning gold dress. We'd say this ensemble deserves an award on its own.

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38. Sophia Bush in Markarian, 2021

Bush totally won the Emmys red carpet in this regal Amelie Pink Silk Faille Gown from the Markarian autumn/winter 2020 collection.

best emmys red carpet looks robin thede
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 39. Robin Thede in Jason Wu, 2021 

Step aside, Tinkerbell. The Black Lady Sketch Show creator turned heads with this custom embroidered green dress by Jason Wu.

emmys red carpet kerry washington
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40. Kerry Washington in Etro, 2021

Washington stunned in her silver satin gown, which featured a cowl neckline and matching corset. The actress elevated her outfit with a pair of sparkly drop earrings.

best emmys red carpet looks elizabeth olsen
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41. Elizabeth Olsen in The Row, 2021

The Wandavision star was the picture of elegance in a flattering white dress from Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen's luxury label, The Row.

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42. Sarah Paulson in Carolina Herrera, 2021

Paulson matched with the carpet in her eye-catching red gown, complete with a plunging neckline and balloon sleeves.

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43. Kaley Cuoco in Vera Wang, 2021

Cuoco lit up the red carpet in this custom neon-yellow Vera Wang dress, which featured a gravity-defying slit.

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44. Angela Bassett in Greta Constantine, 2021

Bassett proved that pink isn't just reserved for Wednesdays. The actress stole the show in a fitted black gown with bright pink ruffles.

best emmys dresses zendaya
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45. Zendaya in Valentino, 2022

Zendaya put a modern spin on a classic little black dress. Two words: that train.

best emmys dresses quinta brunson
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46. Quinta Brunson in Dolce & Gabbana, 2022

Quinta Brunson’s liquid-like metallic gown was all we could talk about last awards season.  



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