January Jones and Olivia Wilde: When good TV gowns get not-so-flattering close-ups

January-Jones-emmys_lMany readers have pointed out that in my roundup of the best and worst fashions from last night’s Emmy telecast, I left January Jones off the list.  Some thought she should be a worst for her “Jetson corset” (thank you Judy H) while others say they would have named her a best for her gown’s “Chrysler-Building-retro-futuristic awesome” vibe (according to Stan).  I was actually really impressed by the architectural bodice of January’s Versace gown and the freshness of her whole look… until I saw a closeup (pictured, left).  You see those little peach squares in her top?  That’s not cool Art Deco tiling or even flesh-toned material – that’s actual flesh.  The baring of random bits of her midriff in an otherwise elegant gown gave me pause – not enough to call it a worst, mind you, but just enough to hold me back from besting it.  This was not unlike seeing Olivia Wilde’s wild decoupage gown up close (pictured, right) and realizing that the entire netted back and nude zipper made the dress seem like something that could have been plucked from Nancy Kerrigan’s closet.  But unless Ryan Seacrest wrangled these stars into his “Glam Cam 360,” the average at-home-not-working-on-deadline viewer might not even notice these zoomed-in situations until they got highlighted on the Internet the next morning.Olivia-Wilde_l

You can look for an entire graded breakdown of the Emmy red carpet – including Ms. Jones – in this week’s issue of EW, but in the meantime, my question for you, readers: Do you think a great red carpet gown is meant to be a Monet (as Cher Horowitz once said, “Seen from far away, it’s okay, but up close, it’s a big old mess”) or is the beauty (or lack thereof) in the details?

Photo Credit: January Jones: Albert L. Ortega/PR Photos; Olivia Wilde: Jason Merritt/ Getty Images; Inset: Albert L. Ortega/ PR Photos

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  • Flyer

    I think a dress needs to be both. Obviously it’s going to be seen up-close by lots of people, so attention to detail is important. But a beautiful dress should have plenty of other qualities – shape, flow, color, etc. – that can be seen and admired by viewers/cameras more than 3 feet away. And since you mentioned January Jones’ dress, I was wondering if you’d want to also consider mentioning Glenn Close’s dress. Her black dress was classically simple from the front, but I thought its real ooo-ah factor came when she turned around and we saw its surprising and beautiful back.

  • donner

    I like January’s dress…I thought it looked great on TV, but then I wasn’t zooming in and checking out the cut out triangles. perhaps they detract, but I can’t see how – it worked for what she needed – I cool dress. Good job J!

    • Clover

      The gown was horrid. It was so bad, I didn’t even recognize Ms. Jones in it. I was so distracted by the sheer ugliness of it.

  • topazbean

    Kudos to you for the Clueless quote. And I feel so disillusioned by those little flesh triangles…Why couldn’t it just be pink something???

  • phyllis sanders

    My opinion of Ms. Jones dress is very pretty, and looked good on her. Most of the fashion on display was very pretty, on the ladies.

    • Clover

      you have no taste

  • Tiffany

    Olivia Wilde’s dress was a little too Silence of the Lambs for my taste. Would have been fine if the back had been covered, as it was, the zipper looked like it was holding her actual flesh together.

  • Stephanie T.

    January seems to like Van Halen a bit too much.

    Note to Olivia and Drew:

    Just because Pink tried rocking out to a flesh colored leotard does not mean you two have to wear buff colored or semi buff dresses too. Band-Aid brands should not be stuck on you.

  • Tim G.

    What about Anna Torv from FRINGE? She was my favorite of the night by far.

  • Oolana

    The dress should not have had a zipper, but little flesh buttons with a fabric loop catch. Zippers on this kind of fabric is really a “no, no” and is not very couture looking. It gives it a cheap look.

  • Crystal

    I think it’s more important that it look good from far away, or at least the distance from where all the photos are to the red carpet posing area.

    I mean, I don’t look at my own clothes with a super zoom lens, do you?

  • Karen

    January Jones was easily the winner. But she coudl probably wear a trash bag and look good.And I doubt anyone else would looke as good in that dress, including the cut outs- comments on those were just nit picking to find something wrong- on the other hand the zippered back on Olivia Wilde’s lace dress was a major design flaw-they should have ran the transparent material lower on the shoulder blades and set zipper in the side of the dress bodice. Loved the dress until she turned around and it was like the zipper as patched in at the last minute- a cheap short cut!

  • Kiwi

    I am truly shocked at the back of Wilde’s dress. I agree with others that it should have been fabric covered buttons and not a zipper. Many wedding gowns use illusion lace or mesh and even the cheapest designers/brands use fabric covered buttons and loops. As to the other dress, I don’t get why it’s such a big deal about the cut outs. It’s not as if it’s stripper wear.If anyone has seen the coverage of spring (2010) fashion shows; cut-outs are going to be a big part of many designers fashions (and I’m sure the knockoffs too). That bodice is gorgeous and it looked fabulous on January.

  • Vera

    I can’t believe you have a problem with a bit of skin on January Jones’s amazing couture gown, yet you put Blake Lively’s hooker outfit on the best dress list! WTF?

  • Jojo

    I thought January Jones’ dress was by far the best of the night. The color was gorgeous, the entire look was so well put together and the shoes were awesome.
    The little peep holes are of no concern. You see more tummy on the Ms. America show.

    • Christian

      you obviously have no fashion sense

  • wendy

    Wilde’s back of the dress is a little too Buffalo Bill for me. “It puts the lotion….”

  • dcmom

    I think January Jones’ dress is stunning, cutouts and all.

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