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17 Best, Worst and Wildest Looks on the 2014 Emmys Red Carpet

The awards may be dull, but the fashion is always a surprise at TV’s prime-time showcase

Best/Worst Emmy Fashion

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The Emmys are so, so rote — who in Les Moonves' name thinks Big Bang Theory and Modern Family are the funniest TV shows ever invented? But at least the red carpet is not, with a mix of new attendees making bold statements (the cast of Orange Is the New Black, for one) and old ones looking flyer than ever (Margulies!). There were some bad moments, too, of course. Here's our scientific breakdown of the high, low and WTF style moments at the TV industry's annual awards throwdown. 

Uzo Aduba emmy awards

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It is a testament to Aduba's talent that she can believably play the tortured, sorrowful, hair-trigger Crazy Eyes on Orange Is the New Black when in real life she is this gorgeous pegasus. Her custom silk Christian Siriano gown fits her like she emerged fully formed inside of it, ghost-style, if she was the ghost of a glamorous 1950s movie star. See, she's so stunning our brains have turned into Magic Bullet Blenders of mixed metaphors.  

kate mara emmy awards

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Kate Mara's ice princess steez often leaves us cold (ahem) but in this "business in the back, party in the front" J. Mendel gown, she seems a little bit more like a person you'd want to have a beer with. Not that she's running for president, but there's a lot of bad gyal mixed up in this ostensibly demure look.

Kerry Washington emmy awards

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BEST DRESSED: Kerry Washington

Kerry Washington has looked not-impeccable maybe .24 times, total? In classic Prada high-low, she looks like she's finna ditch the ceremony early and head straight to Studio 54, unleashing her sequined mini on the way to the limo. Footwear notwithstanding, has Miuccia Prada ever considered velcro? Loving this transitional formal-to-club trend, it's like adult prom or an actually-fun wedding.

Gwen Stefani

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BEST DRESSED: Gwen Stefani

Hey Kerry, Gwen's gonna meet you at the club, aight? And you're gonna form a girl group called Sparkle Motion. Stefani's Atelier Versace two-piece with metal hardware detailing is probably the illest (yes, illest) look of the night, both formal enough for a televised event but punk enough for the blood of the L.A.M.B. No tea no shade, but when you have access to the custom craftsmanship of the House of Versace, this is what you do with it (cough).

Yael Stone emmy awards

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Watch out for the new girl: Yael Stone, who plays Orange Is the New Black's Brooklyn bombshell Lorna Morello, makes a bold statement in a cage gown from Falguni and Shane Peacock, the husband-wife designer duo from Mumbai who are known for utilizing intricate Indian-inspired detailing. Stone looks like Princess Leia come to exact revenge on boring red carpet choices from the designer same ol' same ol'.

Sarah Paulson emmy awards

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BEST DRESSED: Sarah Paulson

Plenty of tweeters hated this net-and-pom-poms dress by Armani Prive, and to be fair, it has a pipe-cleaner art-project vibe to it. But that's what's awesome about it! Paulson looks draped in an otherworldly constellation as dreamed up by a kindergartner with a bright future in sculpture and/or astronomy, and it's so #ontrend with this fall's hankering for arts-and-crafts garments. Alternately: corpse bride adorned with red blood cells? The possibilities are endless.

Julianna Margulies emmy awards

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BEST DRESSED: Julianna Margulies

Nothing screams 2008 like gradient/ombre (more on that later), but Margulies' beaded evening wear gave the best interpretation of "the darkest hour is just before dawn." Bonus on the strappy back, which featured a thick strap across a dipped-low back, and made us feel much better about letting our sports bra show underneath our gym tanks.

Claire Danes Emmy awards

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BEST DRESSED: Claire Danes

It's Givenchy. Of course. Who else can imbue the frippery of fine lacework and ruffles with such an avant-garde edge but Riccardo Tisci? The belt and neck detailing are very Karen O at a Bacchanalia (so basically, Karen O circa 2001).

Lena Dunham Emmy Awards

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Unfortunate shot, but illustrative, 'cause Lena Dunham looks as bummed at her ensemble as we are. In theory this Giambattista Valli two-piece is fantastic, a concoction of flavors that looks like the fun iteration of our teenage bedroom, all grown up. (It's very Scarlett O'Hara in that it has a vibe of repurposing a bed canopy into a skirt.) And if anyone was born to wear a Peter Pan collar and a blonde pageboy, it's Lena Dunham (and Stuart Murdoch). Extreme twee. But Dunham doesn't ever seem to know what shapes look good on her. (As a fellow short-waist, can we recommend not this silhouette.) 

Heidi Klum Zac Posen emmy awards

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This bootleg version of Lupita Nyong'o's Golden Globes look is a year too late. Do not care if you're a supermodel, this is like Lupita's dress was left out in the sun too long and you borrowed it because the fade made you look more tan. Zac Posen made it, and he's standing there too, looking shady.

Julia Roberts

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WORST DRESSED: Julia Roberts

To paraphrase Houston noise artist B L A C K I E, this is true spirit and not giving a fuck… about the Emmys. We don't really blame her, but she's serving PTA meeting realness in this ish. (Everyone in L.A. goes to PTA meetings in Elie Saab couture, right?)

Bryan Cranston emmy awards

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HONORABLE MENTION: Best Moustache – Bryan Cranston

Clark Gable as drug kingpin, or vice versa. Truly a feat of facial hair grooming.

Mayim Bialik emmy awards

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HONORABLE MENTION: Most Confusing – Mayim Bialik

Hate this Oliver Tolentino gown cause she looks like an extra in the prom episode of Square Pegs…but that's also why we love it?! Its schoolmarmish qualities (ugh, that coif) are offset by its new-wave cobalt hue. On, say, Charlize Theron, this would look perfectly humdrum, but Mayim brings a depth to it. On the fence.

Cary Joji Fukunaga emmy awards

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HONORABLE MENTION: Best Hair – Cary Fukunaga

Cary Fukunaga, almost-pro snowboarder turned one-time PA on the Destiny's Child "Survivor" video turned Emmy Award-winning "True Detective" director. Two French braids and a Johnny Depp gait. After last night? King of the Internet. Comedian Liza Dye put it best on her Twitter. Holler.  

Selenis Leyva

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HONORABLE MENTION: Best En Masse Cast Looks – ‘Orange Is the New Black’

Honestly we could do an entire OITNB photo gallery, because every single person in that cast looked flawless, from Laverne Cox in a Grecian Marc Bouwer to Natasha Lyonne in a fishtail Opening Ceremony. Instead, here is a photograph of Selenis Leyva (Gloria Mendoza), which we're placing here as a talisman that we may absorb some of that.