The Best, Worst, and “What’s Happening Here?” Looks From the 2019 Emmys

Television's biggest stars swung for the fashion fences. Some hit a home run, and others… [insert other sports reference here].

It’s the best season of the year, kids: awards season. Last night, the Emmys kicked things off with a red carpet that did not disappoint. It helps that TV now has more movie stars than the Oscars, and that TV also has Billy Porter. Without further ado, let’s get into these looks, lewks, and LQQKS.

The Best

(In no particular order…)

  1. Steve Granitz/WireImage

    Angela Bassett will outlive us all—and still look this flawless on your deathbed after she kills you with one more red carpet ensemble.

  2. Kevin Mazur/Getty Images

    Game of Thrones’ Gwendoline Christie may not be slaying dragons, or whatever that show was about, but she’s still out here slaying these carpets.

  3. ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images

    While she’s all but guaranteed a nom for Euphoria next year, Zendaya took this year’s Emmys as a warning to everyone that she’s not here to fucking play around. You want a young, beautiful triple threat who oozes glamour from every tiny, microscopic pore? You’re welcome.

  4. Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

    Patricia Clarkson, noted goddamn lady.

  5. FOX Image Collection via Getty Images

    Category is: all the wigs Indya Moore snatched on her way to the 2019 Emmys.

  6. FOX Image Collection via Getty Images

    Indya’s Pose co-star Mj Rodriguez also left scores of poor people bald and scalped, but that’s the price you pay for perfection.

  7. ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images

    I feel like Catherine Zeta-Jones hasn’t done anything since Chicago—and honestly, she never has to—but she’s still a MOVIE STAR and shows up like one.

  8. John Shearer/Getty Images

    Speaking of movie stars… Gwen Verdon, everyone.

  9. Don’t know who Carice van Houten is? She was on Game of Thrones. But who needs name recognition when your dress is all the proof of identification you need: “Who’s that?” “Dat bitch. Periodt.”

  10. Kevin Winter/Getty Images

    Call me crazy, or a BDSM kween, but I love this latex moment Kendall Jenner is serving.

  11. Steve Granitz/WireImage

    I don’t think we talk enough about how hot RuPaul’s husband is. Let’s fix that.

  12. Santiago Felipe/Getty Images for ABA

    After owning the red carpet the entire year, the bar was high, and while this ain’t no Met Gala stunt, that say-something hat is now in the history books.

  13. VALERIE MACON/AFP/Getty Images

    Pose co-creator Steven Canals clearly took some inspiration, and a few notes, from Porter’s sartorial playbook, showing up with carpet-grazing bell sleeves that rang all night long.

  14. Steve Granitz/WireImage

    Natasha Lyonne showed up looking like someone’s Jewish bubbie—that is to say, basically perfect. And her glasses during the show really sealed the look.

  15. Steve Granitz/WireImage

    The fit on Clea Duvall’s suit is life goals.

  16. Laverne Cox not only wore a statement gown, she wore an important and timely statement on her clutch.

  17. Steve Granitz/WireImage

    I always love when the Fab Five show up on a red carpet because they always look like a gay superhero team. Though unfortunately we were deprived of Jonathan Van Ness in a show-stopping gown.

Well, At Least We’re Having Fun

Maybe they didn’t quite hit the mark, but damn if they didn’t take aim.

  1. John Shearer/Getty Images

    A pant at the Emmys is always a gamble, even if it’s a sequined pant, but Kerry Washington is gorgeous enough to pull off almost anything—even this look that says “Liza Minnelli on her way to the supermarket.”

  2. Kevin Mazur/Getty Images

    Janet Mock looks like she’s being devoured by her dress and is having the time of her quickly disappearing life—because if there’s any way to go, it’s death by gown.

  3. Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

    Oh, James. I love, love, love the effort here (because how many boring black tuxedos do we really need?), but everything about this is just a bit off. Though I feel I’d hate it less if it wasn’t for that misbegotten shoe.

  4. FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images

    Glenn Close better watch out because Nick Cannon is coming for her turban with this Norma Desmond realness. He is big. It’s the Emmys that got small!

  5. Steve Granitz/WireImage

    I really wasn’t on board with this dress until Marisa Tomei trotted out those gams in that thigh-baring slit to remind us all what an Oscar winner looks like.

  6. FOX Image Collection via Getty Images

    I was this close to filing a complaint with the FCC over Fox’s flagrant over-promotion of The Masked Singer. If I wanted to watch also-rans singing songs while embarrassing themselves in gaudy costumes, I could just wander into a West Hollywood gay bar on karaoke night. But hey, at least they got to go to the Emmys.

And a Few Shout-Outs

A shout-out to Schitt’s Creek creator Dan Levy and his adorable dad and noted comedy legend Eugene. Though they didn’t win any trophies, they won… my heart. And not for nothing, but their suiting and eyebrow games were on point.

Also, a shout-out to Maya Rudolph and Ike Barinholtz for having the funniest—and one of the few actually good—bits of the night, serving you laser-eye-surgery tease.

And finally, a big shout-out to Patricia Arquette for honoring her late sister Alexis and advocating for trans rights, particularly for the hiring of trans people. And for doing it in a gorgeous china bang, no less.

Lester Fabian Brathwaite is an LA-based writer, editor, bon vivant, and all-around sassbag. He's formerly Senior Editor of Out Magazine and is currently hungry. Insta: @lefabrat