The 50 Best Emmys Red Carpet Dresses of All Time

by W Staff
Originally Published: 

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 19: Anya Taylor-Joy attends the 73rd Primetime Emmy Awards at L....
Rich Fury/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Each year, the best and brightest in television are honored at the annual Emmy Awards, bringing out the biggest stars in the world of TV, and, increasingly, film. And while the Academy Awards remain the, well, Academy Awards of fashion, when it comes to the red carpet, the Emmys also have their own history of glamorous, show-stopping dresses. Think Sarah Jessica Parker in a pink confection of a Chanel haute couture gown at the 2003 ceremony, or Olivia Wilde in that wedding-worthy Reem Acra in 2008. There was also Jennifer Aniston doing boho chic in beaded Chanel in 2004, a polka-dotted Chloë Sevigny in 2009, and Tracee Ellis Ross immediately going down in history in a fuchsia ball-skirt gown by Valentino Couture. This year, because of the writer’s strike, we’ve had to wait extra long for television’s biggest night, but it’s finally here and promises to be a good one with nominations for Natasha Lyonne, Ayo Edebiri, and Jenna Ortega—a list that all but guarantees that more fashion moments will be rolling around soon. Until then, a look back at the best Emmy Awards red carpet dresses of years past.

Zendaya in Valentino
Trae Patton/NBC/NBCUniversal/Getty Images

Zendaya was dressed to win at the 2022 Emmy awards, and the trophy she took home for her role in Euphoria matched perfectly with her custom Valentino ballgown.

Elle Fanning in Sharon Long
Frazer Harrison/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Not only was Fanning clearly inspired by old Hollywood when it came to her 2022 Emmy dress, but she also picked up on the old practice when costume designers like Edith Head would design red carpet looks for their stars. This pink and black dress was designed by The Great’s Emmy-award winning costume designer Sharon Long, and handmade by the show’s cutter and seamstress, Catherine Shaw.

Ho-yeon Jung in Louis Vuitton
Gilbert Flores/Variety/Getty Images

It’s no wonder the Squid Game actress stays loyal to Louis Vuitton when they create pieces for her like this sequin-covered dress she wore to the 2022 Emmys where she was nominated for her first award.

Anya Taylor-Joy in Dior
Rich Fury/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Taylor-Joy looked like a glamorous buttercup in a custom Dior dress at the 2021 awards.

Michaela Coel in Christopher John Rogers
Rich Fury/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Coel was all about color at the Emmys in 2021, where she took home the award for Outstanding Writing for a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie for her show I May Destroy You.

Emma Corrin in Miu Miu
David M. Benett/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Corrin’s Miu Miu look was a controversial one, but what’s not to love about this quirky, chic masterpiece?

Yara Shahidi in Dior
Rich Fury/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Shahidi looked like an old Hollywood starlet in an emerald green Dior dress at the 2021 ceremony.

Regina King in Schiaparelli Couture
Image courtesy of James Anthony

While the 2020 Emmys were fully remote due to COVID, King still showed out in an embellished Schiaparelli couture dress.

Tracee Ellis Ross in Alexandre Vauthier
Image courtesy of Instagram

Ross, too, did not come to play, and she even rolled out the red carpet for herself.

Viola Davis in Alberta Ferretti
Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc/Getty Images

Though Davis didn’t take home the award for Lead Actress in a Drama series in 2019, she did make it onto our best dressed list thanks to the custom, black and white Alberta Ferretti.

Kendall Jenner in Richard Quinn
Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Jenner was one of the first to wear Richard Quinn on the red carpet, and in our opinion, she made a pretty good billboard for the British designer.

Thandie Newton in Brandon Maxwell
Getty Images

The bright bubblegum pink hue of this Brandon Maxwell gown pairs perfectly with its sleek design.

Tracee Ellis Ross in Valentino Couture
Getty Images

It seems pink was a big trend on the 2018 Emmys red carpet, and Ross also got the memo.

Sarah Paulson in Carolina Herrera
Getty Images

Paulson looked like an Emmy trophy herself in this paillette-covered Carolina Herrera dress.

Nicole Kidman in Calvin Klein By Appointment
Getty Images

The unexpected, tea-length hem of this Calvin Klein dress is likely what helped it land a spot on our best Emmys dresses list.

Priyanka Chopra in Jason Wu
Getty Images

Chopra looked like a bonafide movie star (or, in this case, television star) in this red hot Jason Wu dress at the awards in 2016.

Sarah Paulson in Prada

Paulson loves to bring some sparkle to the Emmys red carpet, and she did just that in 2016 with the help of a completely embellished, emerald Prada gown.

Lady Gaga in Brandon Maxwell
Getty Images

This Brandon Maxwell dress may look simple, but the unexpected silhouette made it a perfect choice for Lady Gaga.

Kerry Washington in Marc Jacobs
Getty Images

Who says an Emmy dress has to be full-length? Washington proved it very much does not when she wore this silver Marc Jacobs number to the ceremony in 2015.

Kiernan Shipka in Dior Couture
Getty Images

The then-fifteen-year-old Shipka found the perfect way to look age-appropriate while still cutting edge in a gorgeous, embroidered Dior couture top and black cigarette pants.

Lizzy Caplan in Donna Karan
Getty Images

Caplan looked simple and elegant at the 66th annual Emmy Awards in 2014.

Allison Williams in Giambattista Valli
Getty Images

Williams smartly kept the styling of this Giambattista Valli simple so as not to over power it.

Gwen Stefani in Atelier Versace
Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic/Getty Images

The singer went for a cool and casual Versace look at the awards in 2014.

Rose Byrne in Calvin Klein Collection
Getty Images

Byrne looked gorgeous in this peachy two-piece set at the 65th annual Emmy Awards in 2013.

Michelle Dockery in Prada
Dan MacMedan/WireImage/Getty Images

It’s too bad Dockery didn’t win the Emmy for Lead Actress in 2013, because we would have loved to see this two-toned gown take the stage.

January Jones in Jason Wu
Getty Images

Jones has always been known for her slighlty avant garde style, and the Jason Wu dress she wore to the Emmys in 2012 remains a perfect example of her red carpet aesthetic.

Lucy Liu in Versace
Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage/Getty Images

In 2012, Liu proved that when in doubt, a slinky, metallic Versace dress is always a great choice.

Evan Rachel Wood in Elie Saab
Fairchild Archive/Penske Media/Getty Images

Wood’s red lip was the perfect accent to this beautiful, sparkly Elie Saab gown.

Nina Dobrev in Donna Karan
Getty Images

We can’t decide what we like more about Dobrev’s 2011 dress, the neckline or dramatic skirt.

Christina Hendricks in Zac Posen
Getty Images

The Mad Men actress’ signature red hair played off the pale periwinkle of her Zac Posen dress perfectly.

Claire Danes in Armani Privé
Patrick McMullan/Patrick McMullan/Getty Images

Good thing Danes took home the award for Lead Actress in a miniseries for her performance in Temple Grandin in 2010, because this Armani gown was made for a winner.

Connie Britton in Burberry
Getty Images

Clearly, 2010 was the year of sequins and sparkle at the Emmys.

Drew Barrymore in Monique Lhuillier
Frazer Harrison/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Barrymore looked like a modern princess in her tulle-covered Monique Lhuillier confection.

Sandra Oh in Marchesa
Frank Trapper/Corbis Entertainment/Getty Images

The rope belt on Oh’s Marchesa gown is giving a welcomed touch of Scarlett O’Hara to this otherwise very modern dress.

Chloë Sevigny in Isaac Mizrahi
Patrick McMullan/Patrick McMullan/Getty Images

It’s not often we see prints on the Emmy red carpet, but then again, Sevigny always marches to the beat of her own style drum.

Mila Kunis in Monique Lhuillier
Jeff Vespa/WireImage/Getty Images

Kunis’ deep red Monique Lhuillier dress walked the perfect balance between edgy and demure.

Evangeline Lilly in Elie Saab
Jason Merritt/FilmMagic/Getty Images

Lilly looked gorgeous in her art deco-inspired Elie Saab gown at the awards in 2008.

Olivia Wilde in Reem Acra
Getty Images

Wilde’s Reem Acra dress had a chokehold on all the fashion girls in 2008.

Halle Berry in Emanuel Ungaro
Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic/Getty Images

It’s always exciting when stars have a bit of fun with hemlines and step away from the standard full-length look.

Mischa Barton in Oscar de la Renta
Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic/Getty Images

Almost twenty years later and we’re still thinking about Barton’s ODLR dress from 2005.

Jennifer Aniston in Chanel
Getty Images

Aniston was nominated for her role in Friends in 2004 when she wore this gorgeous white and gold dress to the ceremony.

Sarah Jessica Parker in Chanel Haute Couture
Chris Weeks/FilmMagic/Getty Images

Leave it to Carrie Bradshaw to attend the Emmys in an extremely glamorous, Chanel haute couture gown.

Keri Russell in Armani
Steve Granitz/WireImage/Getty Images

This Armani gown fit Russell so perfectly, it almost looks like it was painted on her body.

Angelina Jolie in Randolph Drake
Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection/Getty Images

Jolie attended the 50th annual Emmys in 1998 wearing a nude Randolph Drake dress with an asymmetrical, off-the-shoulder detail.

Helen Hunt in Laurel
Steve Granitz/WireImage/Getty Images

Hunt was wearing this slinky silver dress when she took home the award for Best Lead Actress in a comedy series thanks to her work in Mad About You.

Fran Drescher
Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc/Getty Images

When you play a fashion icon on TV like Drescher, you better dress the part, and she very much did in this lace corset and black mini skirt at the ceremony in 1997.

Joan Collins
Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection/Getty Images

The Dynasty star epitomized ‘80s glamour in a gold lamé gown at the awards in 1986.

Diahann Carroll
Vinnie Zuffante/Archive Photos/Getty Images

Carroll looked as glamorous as ever in an embellished black and white gown with a plunging neckline and high slit at the Emmys in 1985.

Mary Tyler Moore
NBC/NBCUniversal/Getty Images

Moore picked up the award for The Dick Van Dyke show in a dress with a criss-crossing bodice and white opera gloves.

Lucille Ball
Michael Ochs Archives/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

The comedy icon looked gorgeous in a white fur coat and embellished dress at the 9th annual Emmys in 1957.

This article was originally published on