Is Joan Rivers to blame for boring red carpet style?

See Nicole? This is why we can't have nice things. Photo by Kevin Mazur Archive/WireImage/Getty Images
See Nicole? This is why we can't have nice things. Photo by Kevin Mazur Archive/WireImage/Getty Images

If you found the dresses at the Emmys to be a snooze, please direct your complaints to Joan Rivers. WWD‘s Bridget Foley pins our red carpet ennui on the um…style expert(?) for a parade of column dresses and strapless ballgowns that can all be described as “lovely, pretty, accessible,” all four-letter words to a fashion lover. (Can’t you just hear Nina Garcia spitting out the word “safe”?) According to Foley, it all started with with Nicole Kidman’s Dior dress at the 1997 Oscars:

“When she was married to Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman wore one of the most beautiful dresses ever made to the Oscars (this is fashion — hyperbole allowed), a lavishly fringed, chinoiserie-embroidered acid green satin column. Rivers took one look and screeched something to the effect that the color was “the ugliest green you’ll ever see.””

Incidentally, Rivers named Claire Danes, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Lea Michele as her best dressed, while Mindy Kaling, Anna Paquin and her “matawhore” McQueen, and January Jones–statements all–were named the worst. Point, Foley.

However you feel about January Jones’ blue Versace, the general feeling was, at least she tried. That’s a lukewarm sentiment at best, and just sad for anyone who’s looking for something outrageous. (When was the last time you saw anything that could touch Bjork’s swan dress?). And yet so many critics slam the appearance of some of the runway’s more out-there options. Foley points to Rita Wilson’s all-Prada-chandelier-all-the-time outfit, which her own WWD colleague called “a contender for best comedy.” At least it looked like fashion, says Foley. And if it’s not aspirational fashion on the red carpet, “then what exactly do designers get out of their endless celebrity coddling?”

As Foley says “Part of the joy of fashion is its ability to inspire wonder at special moments. But it takes the right girl in the right dress to deliver on the promise.” And while, it’s certainly not wrong to want to play it safe in an effort to avoid a post-awards show skewering by a steadily growing arena of pundits–yes, we include ourselves in that–it certainly is boring.

Safety Patrol [WWD]
Who did the Fashion Police name the best and worst dressed at the Emmys? [Jezebel]

EARLIER: Red carpet roundup: The best and worst of the Emmy Awards

More Style