Bold color combinations, bare shoulders rule the 2019 Emmy Awards purple carpet

The trends at the 2019 Emmys included black and white color-blocking and candy-dish colors
Catherine O’Hara, left, Viola Davis, Mj Rodriguez and Kristin Cavallari are on trend on the purple carpet at the 2019 Emmy Awards.
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

Style-wise, the big story on the arrivals carpet at the 71st Primetime Emmy Awards was color — starting with the carpet itself, with the traditional red swapped out for purple to give the proceedings a dash of royal flair. Similarly, the celebrities turning out to the Microsoft Theater on Sunday appeared eager to switch up the normal conventions; some by tweaking the traditional formalwear pairing of black and white and others by embracing bright, candy-dish colors.

The pairing of pink and red on the 2019 Emmy Awards purple carpet
Pops of pink and red at the 2019 Emmy Awards as worn by Marisa Tomei (in Ralph & Russo), left, Taraji P. Henson (in custom Vera Wang), Mandy Moore (in custom Brandon Maxwell) and Susan Kelechi Wilson (in Badgely Mischka).
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

For the record:

3:15 p.m. Sept. 23, 2019An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified the person wearing yellow in the lead photo. It is Kristin Cavallari, not Kathryn Newton.

Standouts in the first category included Catherine O’Hara in a custom black-and-white color-blocked, long-sleeve column gown by Greta Constantine; Viola Davis in a black-and-white Alberta Ferretti gown; Kerry Washington in an Alexandre Vauthier ensemble that paired black sequin-covered trousers with a white dress shirt; and Gwyneth Paltrow in Valentino Haute Couture. Billy Porter, already on trend in a custom black Michael Kors Collection suit ensemble with crystal pinstripes, pulled up his voluminous trouser leg to reveal black-and-white color-blocked Rick Owens platform heels.

Kathryn Newton in Ralph Lauren at the 2019 Emmy Awards
Kathryn Newton in a Ralph Lauren look at the Governors Ball on the L.A. Live Event Deck after the 71st Primetime Emmy Awards at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.
(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

Those opting to amp up the eye-catching color included Kathryn Newton in a tuxedo-inspired sunshine yellow duchesse vest and washed organza skirt from the fall 2019 Ralph Lauren collection; Alex Borstein in a purple gown that almost matched the carpet; and the handful of women who wore color-blocked gowns that paired bright pink and deep red, including Marisa Tomei (in Ralph & Russo), Taraji P. Henson (in custom Vera Wang), Zoe Kazan (in a Gucci gown that threw in some black color-blocking as well), Susan Kelechi Watson (in Badgley Mischka) and Mandy Moore in an off-the-shoulder Brandon Maxwell gown.


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Many of the above women were also on board with the night’s big silhouette trend — shoulder-baring gowns. When Moore stopped to speak with E! News’ Jason Kennedy, she gave a practical explanation for the abundance of bared shoulders. “I don’t know if people realize it’s like 95 degrees here, and everybody’s schvitzing,” she said, fanning the air in front of her face.

Shoulder-baring style at the 2019 Emmy Awards on September 22, 2019
Jodie Comer (in Tom Ford), left, Sandra Oh (in Zac Posen), Rachel Brosnahan (in Elie Saab) and Betty Gilpin (in Jason Wu) were among the shoulder-baring celebrities on the arrivals purple carpet at the 71st Primetime Emmy Awards.
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

Some went with traditional takes on the strapless dress: Michelle Williams (in a custom embroidered Louis Vuitton gown), Betty Gilpin (in a Jason Wu gown that twinkled with star sequins — perhaps a sly nod to her “GLOW” character Liberty Belle) and Anna Chlumsky (in a colorful gown from the J. Mendel Resort 2020 collection), to name just a few. Others wore gowns that took a slightly more creative approach to baring the neck-adjacent areas. These included Jodie Comer in a long-sleeve, halter-neck Tom Ford evening gown, Rachel Brosnahan in a blue sequin-embroidered Elie Saab gown with a high collar and Sandra Oh in body-hugging Zac Posen dress with a neckline so far off the shoulders that it seemed headed for her elbows.

Laverne Cox arrives at the 2019 Emmy Awards
Laverne Cox hits the 2019 Emmy Awards purple carpet carrying an Edie Parker clutch designed to draw attention to an upcoming Supreme Court case.
(Danny Moloshok / Invision for the Television Academy / AP Images)

Laverne Cox also keyed into the prevailing silhouette trend with a black and lavender Monsoori ensemble that bared one shoulder, while her rainbow-colored Edie Parker clutch put her squarely in step with the candy-color trend as well. That wasn’t the point, though. On the purple carpet, she told E! that the clutch — emblazoned with “Oct. 8,” “Title VII” and “Supreme Court” — was an effort to draw attention to two Title VII sexual orientation discrimination cases that will be argued before the U.S. Supreme Court next month.

Jonathan Van Ness was absent for the 71st Primetime Emmys, but that didn’t stop the rest of the “Queer Eye” cast from bringing intriguing looks to the arrivals carpet on Sunday.

Sept. 22, 2019