Sandra Oh is the most-nominated East Asian performer in Emmys history; she has never won an Emmy. Zendaya was the winner in the Lead Drama Actress category this year (more on Zendaya later) and, well, it’s hard to be mad about that and I can’t pretend to be. It’s not like Sandra was mad. Look at this proud unnie

 

Sandra took a more casual approach to the Emmys this year. She was not in a ballgown but the same level of consideration was put into her outfit even though it wasn’t formalwear. This is no ordinary bomber jacket. As she told British Vogue, these pandemic times have “forced me to reflect on who I am and how I express myself through clothes”.

She’s wearing a custom jacket by Matthew Kim’s LA-based brand KORELIMITED which produced a line of t-shirts and hoodies in support of Black Lives Matter. Together they collaborated on a piece that honoured Sandra’s Korean heritage and paid tribute to Black culture. The writing on the bomber reads “Black Lives Are Precious” because “Black Lives Matter” is not directly translatable in Korean. The dashes are a nod to the Korean flag. And the colour, royal purple, carries meaning for both the Korean and Black communities. It’s “super Korean”, as Sandra said, and just think, as one example, of the use of purple in Black Panther (vibranium is purple, derived from the purple “heart-shaped herb”, reserved for the Wakandan ruler and their family, fitting because the colour symbolises royalty and power). 

 

Sandra did her own hair, braided in a traditional Korean style which I’m totally feeling because when we were growing up, in our case in Chinese homes, watching Chinese soap operas, we’d always want to wear our hair the way the Chinese maidens wore theirs. In my case, it was my then-favourite actress Barbara Yung and the characters she played. Here are some examples: 

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2019.05.14 今天已是你離開我們的第34年,當年,你選擇了自殺。由《十三妹》開始,到嬌俏的黃蓉,甚至最後還未完成拍攝的 《橋王之王》,你永遠都是那麼青春可愛。雖然你的生命只有26年,但已足以讓我們記住你,致我們永遠的黃蓉。 #翁美玲

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And a selection of styles including other actresses from popular soaps in the 80s:

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慶幸出世得夠早,趕得及在港劇最興旺的80年代看TVB《射雕》三部曲。 I feel privileged to be born early enough, so that I could watch the premieres of TVB’s Condor Heroes Trilogy in the 80s. #金庸 #倚天屠龍記 #射鵰英雄傳 #黃蓉 #趙敏 #翁美玲 #武俠 #郭靖 #張無忌 #黃日華 #黎美嫻 #神鵰俠侶 #楊過 #小龍女 #劉德華 #陳玉蓮 #andylau #idychan #felixwong #barbarayung #tonyleung #heavensworddragonsabre #jinyong #louischa #kittylai #刘德华 #梁朝伟 #tvb #andylautakwah #梁無忌嫻敏

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A lot of this is wig work, obviously, but as Sandra just showed us, you can totally make it happen without hairpieces. If I ever get on another red carpet, I’m going full old-timey Chinese with the hairstyle. 

Read more about Sandra Oh’s Emmys look at British Vogue