FASHIONS OF THE EMMYS 2014: Star-Maker Gowns, Beach-y Babes + Duds

Lizzy Caplan in Donna Karan Atelier. Photo courtesy of Getty Images

I paid a lot of attention to the red carpet last night. It was an emotional journey–one that I live-tweeted my way through (are you following @BlackBook!?) and, in the process, became really flustered by how many women wore red gowns. The Emmys being a bigger event than the humble VMAs, there were a lot of looks to take in, and a lot of reactions to process.

If you didn’t watch, feel free to trust my sartorial judgment, and if you did, feel free to tweet me and tell me how wrong or right I am! Cool? Here goes!

The Winner: Lizzy Caplan
That Donna Karan Atelier dress was a starmaker. Caplan’s long been on the rise, but a look like this one is iconic, and she wore it with perfect grace.


Reds on the Red Carpet: Julia Louis-Dreyfus
I got in a bit of a tizzy when I realized just how under-utilized half the rainbow was on this year’s red carpet, but Julia looked flawless in Carolina Herrera. Some people are lucky enough to work wonders in the simplest of garments and this was a lovely example of that. The crowd was practically a sea of red, but Uzo Aduba also looked radiant in Christian Siriano’s design in the bright hue.


The Object of the Male Gaze: Sofia Vergara
Sofia Vergara both embraces and laughs at her own overt sexuality and is pretty lovable in the process. Her strapless, curve hugging Roberto Cavalli was gorgeous in spite of her declaration that she couldn’t bring boyfriend Joe Mangienello because he is too hot.


The Can-do-no-wrong-in-my-book: Lena Dunham
Was it a dress? Was it a top and a skirt? (It was the latter and it was by Giambattista Valli). Who knows but I love Lena Dunham so much that I will let her wear whatever she damn pleases. Though proportionally speaking the Peter Pan collar pink blouse was too much fabric in conjunction with that ombré-d wedding cake of a skirt, I loved seeing Lena explore new color palettes to complement her new bleach-blonde ‘do. I think she would have stunned in a strapless top with all that skirt going on, but like I said, in this case, my fandom supersedes my critical ability and I will be the first to admit it! Theoretically speaking, Sarah Hyland’s was probably the better of the cake-invoking skirts, but Lena’s comes out on top for its loud personality.


The Minimalist Bride: Kristen Wiig
This dress would make a very pretty wedding gown (it’s Vera Wang after all), but oh well, white is a nice color, it’s August, and many celebs choose longer lengths for the red carpet. It fit her well, but in a casual way, and in some pictures she almost looked like an edgy Jen Aniston. Very chic.


Sleekest: Robin Wright
Ralph Lauren suit, androgynous hair– the whole thing was so simultaneously effortless and polished. Absolutely love.


Best Departure: Julie Bowen
The Modern Family star usually sticks to solid colors that accentuate her killer body. They look good and that’s cool. But last night’s ‘70s-inspired Peter Som gown was the definition of a pattern done right. It’s not easy, so major kudos to Bowen for owning it.


The Secret Beach Goddess: Amy Poehler
It’s easy to forget that Amy Poehler is kind of a bombshell underneath the barrage of suits Leslie Knope wears on Parks and Recreation. But then the Emmys (or the Globes) come around and there’s Amy with The OC-worthy beach waves in a silver Theia gown.


Bland but Beautiful: Taylor Schilling
Taylor Schilling, that’s Piper to anyone with a Netflix account, wore a beaded nude Zuhair Maurad gown that hit in all the right places. Props, too, to the gorgeous racerback.


Undecided: Kiernan Shipka
Kiernan Shipka is a red carpet favorite, and objectively speaking, this Antonio Berardi dress (put on hold by Rachel Zoe’s styling team minutes after it hit is a stunner. Still, Shipka is still just 14 and I thought a little more color and youthfulness would have been lovely on the young starlet.


The Makeover: Gwen Stefani
OK, so it wasn’t quite a makeover, but I don’t think I was alone when it took me a moment to recognize Gwen Stefani tonight. Clad in metallic Versace and pin straight blonde hair, Stefani looked sleek and semi-futuristic.


The Try-Again-Next-Year Crew

Debra Messing: Honestly, if I had that red hair I would put on an emerald colored gown and never take it off. Sometimes you just shouldn’t mess with perfection. This black sheer thing was shapeless and did nothing for Messing who is a beaut!


Sarah Paulson: #Sorrynotsorry that this is the stuff of nightmares. It looks, quite frankly, like Paulson had an accident in a tulle factory, or got caught in a swarm of ladybugs.


Laura Prepon: She could have looked so good, and yet, she looked like she got stuck in the prom department at a Midwest department store. Sigh.

Five Reasons HBO’s ‘Veep’ Is Hitting Its Stride

I find it altogether unfortunate that the second season of Veep is a bit lost in the Sunday-night shuffle of Mad Men and Game of Thrones and, hell, even Bob’s Burgers. With so much appointment TV, you might decide life is too short for political satire. But oh, how wrong you would be. Veep is better and sharper than ever, and here’s why:

5. The masterfully awkward energy of Tony Hale. Hale was introduced to the world as Buster Bluth, whose lizardly physicality was the source of much discomfort for other characters and lots of laughs for the audience. He’s taken it up a notch, if you can believe it, as Gary Walsh, the vice president’s personal aide. The way he swoops in and out of frame, whispering and craning his neck impossibly as he pampers his boss or invades her privacy, is pure magic.
4. They’re out of the shadow of The Thick of It. Like many British exports, the first few episodes of Veep were wobbly as a few translation kinks got sorted out; meanwhile, the absence of a vengeful Malcolm Tucker-like character was sorely felt. This time around, they’re more sure-footed, and firmly rooted in a humor that is particular to the American setting. Sunday’s outing, “Hostages,” even took us to a level of pathos the original series sometimes struggled to attain, dealing with the fallout of a surgical military operation in a hostile country.
3. Fresh blood. You hardly notice the lack of a Malcolm between the defeated and irritable Chief of Staff Ben Cafferty, played by Kevin Dunn, and the coldly calculating polling expert Kent Davidson, expertly brought to life by Gary Cole. Even more than bringing us two new readily identifiable species of the D.C. ecosystem, they build out the world of national political nonsense that has to be negotiated each day.
2. It’s topical (in a good way). Any other television program outside CNN that tried to comment on current affairs this directly would be too ridiculous to watch. Actually, let’s include CNN in that circle of ridiculous crap. From gun control to the Middle East to plain old tabloid scandals, Veep covers the entire zeitgeist in deft, insightful, and above all wickedly hilarious fashion. 
1. Julia-Goddamn-Louis-Dreyfus. I mean, this woman is a national treasure, right? Comedian bar none. And listening to her really let fly with all that glorious HBO-sanctioned foul language behind closed doors? Pure delight. Almost as fun as the stream of gibberish that constitutes her small talk with common voters.

Watch the First Trailers for HBO’s ‘Veep’ & Christopher Guest’s New Series ‘Family Tree’

With Girls and Enlightened all wrapped up for the season, you may find yourself wondering just what to do come 10pm on Sunday nights. But not to fret, there’s plenty more television from that HBO spring from whence they came. First up, the Season 2 trailer for the Julia Louis-Dreyfus-led political comedy Veep has been unveiled and it looks to serve up even more of the particular brand of hilarious and biting Armando Iannucci laughs we love so much. This time around Kevin Dunn and Isaiah Whitlock Jr. have joined the state of affairs, as well as Thick of It Star Chris Addison (if only we could get some Peter Capaldi love now that The Hour will not be gracing our televisions again).

That one premieres April 14th but there’s also the new series Family Tree from Christopher Guest, the man behind Best In Show, Waiting for Guffman, etc. featuring his troupe of hilarious cohorts. With Fred Willard, Michael McKean, Ed Begeley Jr., and now Chris O’Dowd in the lead, the show will follow a man who "inherits a mysterious box that belonged to his great aunt, and decides to learn more about his roots." Vague, yes, but I am more than willing to give anything Guest a hell of a shot. This one, however, doesn’t have a set air date yet but surely that will come soon.

Check out the trailers below.



The ‘Veep’ Season Two Trailer Is Here

Thank God HBO didn’t cancel it.

Veep has always been a way more interesting show to me than Girls, but has been stuck in Jan Brady status — meaning the Julia Louis-Dreyfus-headed comedy about how much it sucks to be vice president has never gotten quite the attention it deserved. Kinda meta, isn’t it? 

But thankfully ratings seemed to have been good enough that HBO has renewed the show for a second season. Veep returns, with cast members Tony Hale from Arrested Development and Anna Chlumsky, on Sunday, April 14. 

You can watch the season two trailer below: 

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Watch the Trailer for ‘Veep,’ Julia Louis-Dreyfus’s New HBO Show

Much like his work on the BBC’s The Thick of It, Armando Iannucci is bringing a less charitable view of national politics to HBO’s Veep. In the show, Julis Louis-Dreyfus plays the hapless vice president of the United States, one who’s forced to attend meaningless fundraisers and make up platitudes on the spot (less Cheney, more Biden). She’d rather have more power, of course, which is why there’s a little smile on her face when she’s informed that the president is experiencing chest pains. So yes, it’s going to be that type of farce, one that will probably make you feel a little worse about the state of American politics like most things do these days.

Louis-Dreyfus is backed by a Murderer’s Row of comedic bit players: Arrested Development‘s Tony Hale, Upright Citizens Brigade founding member Matt Walsh, and everyone’s favorite "that girl," Anna Chlumsky. The curses are bleeped out in the trailer, but knowing the inspired language that filled up The Thick of It and its film spinoff In The Loop I’m guessing the show will be quoted around the Internet after it premieres on April 22, assuming it can deliver on the silliness we’ve seen so far.

15 People Who Saved The Emmys

Whether you watched last night’s Emmys on a dusty television set or on a shady internet stream prone to buffering and choppy playback (21st century chic, wave of the future, etc.), you probably noticed that TV’s landmark three hour salute to TV seemed perkier than years past. And while a number of harsh elements threatened to barrel us to boredom — like the dual monotone of Jennifer Love Hewitt and Patricia Arquette (“LOL! We both play mediums!” cried JLoHew as we eyed that Ambien hungrily) and Jeff Probst’s acceptance speech (seriously — over Padma Lakshmi?), the night was easily redeemed by over a dozen people. And one of them didn’t even need to actually be present for her act of valiance.

1. Neil Patrick Harris. The secret to his success was simple. NPH shelved his ego. Apart from his extracurriculars for the evening, NPH basically played sidekick-to-the-stars, finding ways to pack punchlines into terse introductions for presenters that alluded to their most obscure work, but otherwise keeping things going as breezily as possible.

2 and 3. Blake Lively and Leighton Meester. I was on the fence about these two. On one hand, that third season premiere of Gossip Girl left a sour taste. On the other, these two ambassadors into teenybopper TV–a genre that sometimes unfairly gets overlooked — were fresh air among some of the other smug veteran presenters. And despite the former’s lack of proper enunciation, they sparkled.

4. Shohreh Aghdashloo. The night’s most welcome upset came from the one-time Oscar nominee who was one of few excellent things in HBO’s mediocre mini-series about Saddam Hussein’s private life. And one of the night’s best moments came when she delivered her deliciously raspy acceptance speech.

5. Tina Fey. At this point, the Emmys owe their spike in relevance to Fey more than 30 Rock owes them anything for their heavy trophies. Between her many roles as part of 30 Rock‘s cast and crew and as our coping device for the Republican malarky that was Her Highness Sarah Palin, Fey is always a welcome distraction from the dreary Emmy decorum.

6. Kristin Chenowith. As much as Aghdashloo’s acceptance speech made my skin tingle, Chenowith’s was kind of like the spoken-word equivalent to last week’s Susan Boyle staging of “Wild Horses”–it brought tears to our eyes or at least, momentarily softened our stony hearts. Particularly the part about thanking “the Academy for recognizing a show that’s no longer on the air.” There was also the part about wanting to work on Mad Men, The Office, and 24 since she’s unemployed now. (Although she will be joining Glee soon!)

7-10. All the other Supporting Actress in a Comedy nominees except Vanessa Williams. As demonstrated above, how ingenious was the eyewear sight-gag? And how Debbie Downer was Vanessa Williams’ been there-done that attitude?

11. Sarah Silverman. Sure, she really had no spoken parts in last night’s telecast, but a pair of moments said it all. Of course there was the mustache, but there was also some confused shrugging when Jon Cryer turned out to win the Emmy for Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy. Apparently you can win a comedy award without being funny! Huh!

12. Britney Spears. It’s curious. Britney as an overachiever. Her name didn’t even have to be mentioned, but in an Emmy telecast that was pretty shameless in attempts to accept his award, it was hard to tell whether he was channeling Alec Baldwin or 30 Rock alter-ego Jack Donaghy, or if Donaghy is basically Baldwin. But it made his speech and admission of a man-crush on Rob Lowe all the more entertaining.

14 and 15. Amy Poehler & Julia Louis-Dreyfus. It’s obvious that the entire evening belonged to the ladies. Especially when this pair hilariously remarked about the demise of broadcast television.

Links: Robert Pattinson in Bed, Brad Pitt & Angelina Jolie in NYC

● The only thing Jennifer Aniston hates more than being single is looking desperate, so she hasn’t taken kindly to Bradley Cooper demoting her to a “just friends” status. [Showbizspy] ● You have now entered the Twilight Zone: Jon Gosselin (minus nine) is in St. Tropez with his new girlfriend on Christian Audigier’s boat. [JustJared] ● Everyone’s favorite transients, Brad and Angelina, are reportedly setting down some roots in New York City after looking at the Apthorp building. [NYDailyNews]

● Eric McCormack will play Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ therapist/potential love interest on the The New Adventures of Old Christine. [EW] ● America’s latest sex symbol, Robert Pattinson, is evidently “amazing in bed.” [Showbizspy] ● Every writer can feel just a little bit worse about themselves knowing that Lauren Conrad’s book has made it onto the New York Times bestseller list. [People]

Links: Who Watches the ‘Watchmen,’ Madonna Gets Gaudy

● Are you going to see Watchmen this weekend? So is everyone else. Eighty midnight screenings sold out last night, and the studios are expecting a $70 million opening, despite a 2.5 hour run time. [deadlinehollywooddaily] ● Exciting news for CurbYour Enthusiasm/Seinfeld fans: Jerry Seinfeld, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Jason Alexander, and Michael Richards will all appear in a multi-episode arc on the new season of CYE, overseen by Seinfeld co-creator Larry David of course. This is the first time in 11 years the whole cast will appear on the same show. [EW] ● Daft Punk will add some much need awesomeness to Tron 2.0 by scoring the film. [LAT]

● Madonna will be “designing” another line of clothes, this time with Ed Hardy. Brand owner Christian Audigier reportedly told her to “Express Yourself.” Clever. Expect tattoo-inspired tees with diamante-encrusted bodices. [Mirror] ● Lily Allen likes to roll with the likes of Lindsay Lohan and Kate Moss, but it has taken a toll. The singer recently sold her BMW to get some much-needed cash flow. [Mirror] ● Is Vince Vaughn engaged? He reportedly proposed to Canadian realtor Kyla Weber on Valentine’s Day, at least according to Weber’s father (then you know it’s legit). [JustJared]