Emmys 2020: The Best-Dressed Celebrities Made the Case for Dressing Up During a Pandemic

Rachel Tashjian
·4 mins read

For years, the Emmys were kind of fashion’s country-mouse cousin. The Grammys had the cool, advanced runway looks, the Oscars had the big fairytale stuff and the most expensive (if personality-less) suits. The Emmys, meanwhile, were...made for TV. But now that Netflix is the king of Hollywood (and television has been a shoulder to cry on for all of us during these troubled times), the Emmys have become a hot commodity in the fashion world. Dressing a TV star for the night is now a big get, regardless of the award show’s viewership, and actors have been demonstrating over the past few years that they have the personality to pull off more daring looks than their cinematic counterparts do, not to mention enough taste not to wear neon.

This year could have thrown a wrench into the Emmys fashion whirl, with all parties beaming in from home. But instead, the attendees turned up (remotely) in a mix of unusually strong suiting looks, beautifully tailored and often playful—showing how socially distanced life has made dressing up at home into its very own event. The cast of Schitt’s Creek, which swept the comedy half of the evening’s proceedings, gathered for a viewing party in Toronto, with their own red carpet, after testing negative for Covid and quarantining until the big day. Their festive impulse paid off, especially in the clothes. Daniel Levy went full Thom Browne, wearing a classic Browne blazer with the designer’s now-signature skirt, plus knee socks, stomper brogues, and a matching mask. (Thom thinks of everything!) Browne has become more of a red carpet presence lately, though the full expression of his twisted tailoring vision has mostly been limited to the more creative friends of the house, like Lil Uzi Vert. But Levy looked fantastic. (If you’re looking to try the look yourself, the secret to wearing the skirt is really all about the calves.)

Levy’s father, Eugene, looked equally as fashion forward in a perfect—and I really do mean perfect—double-breasted Dior suit. It looked like it whispered over his shoulders. Dior, like Browne, can be a challenge for actors; designer Kim Jones’s signature is a lapel that flows into a big sweeping train. But the elder Levy’s look balanced some fashion-y details, like a deep slate blue fabric and a black shirt, with a pristine fit. Navy and black suiting, as well as double-breasted jackets, were an overused trick for men to signal some personality at awards shows last year, but Levy’s suit looked far from ordinary. Finally, a guy with some pants that aren’t tailored like sausage casings!

The most trad “attendee” of all was barely trad at all: none other than David Letterman, his retirement beard approaching new lengths, perched on a truck with a bale of hay in a natty black tuxedo, also double-breasted. Simple, but it just looked so fresh! (Maybe the key is to get everyone off the red carpet and onto the vacation setting of their choice?)

John Oliver, LFC fan.
John Oliver, LFC fan.
ABC / Getty Images
Bonus points for the throne.
Bonus points for the throne.
ABC / Getty Images

Many attendees seemed to intuit that if you tried too hard to look like this was just any other year, you’d look tone deaf. Of course, running in the opposite direction runs the risk of looking like you don’t take it seriously, which is never fun for anyone to watch. But those who seized the WFH vibe looked spiffy, like John Oliver in his red Liverpool hoodie and Lena Waithe pairing a T-shirt with one of her signature red Russian cuff hats.

Jeremy Strong and cravat.
Jeremy Strong and cravat.
ABC / Getty Images

Still, a sense of off-kilter formality ruled the evening. Fittingly, perhaps the two best looks of the night came from the cast of Succession. Jeremy Strong, who plays the show’s weak-willed protagonist, wore a taupe look that freaked the notion of monochrome dressing: the jacket was a soft linen fabric, and the shirt had a built-in cravat. (For all we know, he was wearing sweatpants on the bottom—which would be a killer look!) His costar, rising fashion icon Nicholas Braun (also a noted Thom Browne enthusiast) wore a Paul Smith suit with the quar footwear must-have, Crocs. His were packed with Croc charms, called Jibbitz, including letters spelling out “ANTI” (left) “BODIES” (right). (It was to promote his new music video...about Covid.) It was the right mix of humor, personal style, and good tailoring. These guys are defining a new look for what it means to be a TV star.

Originally Appeared on GQ