When I said that the fashion on the television side at the Critics Choice Awards on Sunday night seemed subdued and we’d likely see them release what they’d been holding back at the Emmys, I meant Hannah Waddingham.
Hannah brought the EXTRA that was missing – the extra glamour and glow, the spectacle, the effervescence… not a word I use often, in fact in the 20-year history of this site, it’s only been used three times, and never by me (Jacek edit: I'm guessing Duana both other times and I'm not going to look it up). Because you can’t throw effervescence around liberally, it can get corny if it shows up everywhere, every day, on just anyone. Fitting, then, that the debut of my descriptive application of effervescence applies to Hannah, since she is the word come to life. And I don’t just mean the dress, although we’ll get to that in a minute.
It was what was coming out from inside, wasn’t it? It was the energy and spirit she brought to the Emmys, to every event she attends actually, from the moment of her arrival. Hannah is always thrilled to be there. Hannah is thrilled to see other people there. Hannah is basically a beam of real joy, whether she’s onstage or seated in the front row, cheering the loudest, smiling the widest, serving the hardest…
Even in black and white she is living colour:
But in colour? COME ON.
â€œYouâ€™re welcome.â€ â€”Colman Domingo and Hannah Waddingham rightfully introducing themselves at the Emmys pic.twitter.com/z11P0TFU7n— Spencer Althouse (@SpencerAlthouse) January 16, 2024
This is… a LOT of dress. So much dress. It’s a dress I would normally hate on, well, pretty much anyone else. Penelope Cruz in this dress? No thank you. Naomi Watts? Pass. Blake Lively? Please, God, never.
It’s not a height thing either, because Blake is tall too. I love it on Hannah because she loves it on herself. Because she wears it like she appreciates it, she wears it like she believes she deserves it, because she knows she’s earned it.
That is the power of clothing, this is what clothing can express. We are, I hope, closer to doing away with that boring and derivative narrative about how clothing is frivolous and unimportant. Last summer, Hannah told the LA Times (before the strike was called) that:
“For many years, I feel like I was stuffing around in the dark, being led by and being indoctrinated by people who would say these things about me,” she remembers. “Like you’d never be able to have a leading man next to me because I’m 6 foot 2 in heels. But with this show, it didn’t matter.”
With a character like Rebecca on Ted Lasso, it didn’t matter. A dress like this is a rebuke of all the sh-t that doesn’t matter. That’s why on Hannah, this Marchesa becomes something personal and special and worthy. And…yes… SO extra.
You could say the same of Simona Tabasco in a super extra Marni dress at the Emmy as a first-time nominee. She was the breakout star of season two of The White Lotus. There’s no better occasion, then, to do the most on the red carpet in a piece that looks like it’s been made out of floral scraps – at first glance pretty, but when you take a closer look it’s kinda jarring the way fabric looks like it’s been layered almost haphazardly. The effect is both delicate and jagged at the same time, or perhaps more accurately, deceptively delicate but jagged to the touch, which is one way to describe her character, and also what Simona can do with a role.
And finally… to finish in the most extra way possible… a deep breath and a deeply respectful bow for Issa Rae because she f-cking went for it. This is Pamella Rolland, again. I say again because she was also one of the night’s very best last week at the Golden Globes and that was also Pamella Rolland.
You would think that that metallic orange-gold would be hard to match, but she did it last night in champaign and feathers and crystals. No notes. It’s perfect, excess at its best. Not even that janky backdrop could take away from this serve. Issa was a vision last night… and the only problem with how great this look was is that she didn’t have the chance to take it up on stage. Because Issa Rae in this dress needed that stage all to herself.