“Let’s not forget what tonight is really about, celebrating hilarious women, and letting the Internet weigh in on who looks worst.”
Amy Schumer summed it up when she took to the stage at this year’s Emmy Awards with fellow Amy and comedian, Amy Poehler.
There’s a fixation on what women wear to these award show events, but Hollywood is finally fighting back against the image-obsessed red carpet commentary.
Poehler’s #SmartGirlsAsk campaign meant this year’s carpet was chock-full of intelligent questions for the female quotient of the show.
“Is there one book you’ve read as an adult that you wish you could share with your younger self?”
“How did you start believing in your own work and talent?”
“What should every woman know how to do?”
— AmyPoehlerSmartGirls (@smrtgrls) September 20, 2015
So, while we’re not ready to give up our best and worst dressed wraps just yet (and neither are our readers), we thought we’d make this one a list with a difference.
We’re rating the dresses themselves and should you want to know more about the woman in them, we’ve also included a fun fact about their career.
Here’s to smart questions and even smarter women.
Dior Couture on Kiernan Shipka
The dress: Okay, so it’s not exactly a dress. More like a party up top and business down the bottom. This outfit is equal parts sophisticated and youthful. It also reminds us of the dress/pant combo Emma Watson wore to the 2014 Golden Globes and that’s a very good thing.
The woman: Fifteen-year-old Kiernan Shipka has enjoyed a career bigger than people twice her age. Thanks to her debut on Mad Men as Sally Draper at the age of seven. If she looks particularly poised for a teenager, it’s probably because she’s been taking ballroom dancing classes since the age of five.
Brandon Maxwell on Lady Gaga
The dress: This dress says: I’m classic and elegant, but far from boring. With unexpected structural detailing at the hip, this striking one-shoulder gown has rockstar edge.
The woman: Lady Gaga, whose real name is Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, taught herself to play piano at the age of four.
Zac Posen on Sarah Hyland
The dress: Zac Posen is known for his incredibly flattering silhouettes. This wine-coloured gown is no exception. While we can’t give a precise description of the neckline (off-the-shoulder downward curve, perhaps?), we know we like it.
The woman: Sarah Hyland, 24, has been a victim of domestic violence in the past – she sought a restraining order against ex-boyfriend Matt Prokop after her “terrorised” her physically and verbally. After the court documents came out, Hyland bravely spoke about her experiences, saying: “The only way out is through.”
Marc Jacobs on Kerry Washington
The woman: Kerry Washington is part Jamaican and part African, although she was raised in the US. In 2013, she received an honorary Doctorate in Fine Arts from her alma mater, George Washington University.
Ermanno Scervino on Maisie Williams
The dress: Call it a dressed-up duvet if you will, but this pale pink number doesn’t take itself too seriously. Paired with fluffy slippers, it looks like an Austin Powers fembot had a lovechild with Romy and Michelle at their high school reunion. In a good way.
The woman: Eighteen-year-old Maisie Williams has a whopping 1.5 million Instagram followers. She has also been the victim of intense online bullying and has spoken out about in the past, advising her fans to never “say anything online that you wouldn’t want your mother to read”.
Prada on Claire Danes
The dress: There’s a lot going on here. Some of it good, some of it not so good. Colours, chains, cut-outs, stripes, sequins and cleavage are all great things. Just not all at once.
The woman: Claire Danes dropped out of the prestigious Yale University to pursue her acting career full-time. It’s paid off – she’s won two Emmys and two Golden Globes for her work on hit show Homeland.
Bibhu Mohapatra on Anna Chlumsky
The dress: So close to being so right, this cream gown is a little too drab and dowdy to carry off its many floral embellishments.
The woman: If Anna Chlumsky looks familiar, it’s because the Veep star played the iconic role of Vada in the 90s cult classic My Girl. She was only 11 when the movie came out. Now, she’s 34 and has a two-year-old daughter.
J. Mendel on Joanne Froggatt
The dress: Fabric scraps from the bargain bin at Spotlight.
The woman: Joanne Froggatt was raised on her parents’ rare-breed sheep farm before she got her big break on long-running British soap Coronation Street. “They had a flock of, I think, 120 sheep at the height, so my dad used to milk the sheep and my mum used to make cheese and yogurt out of the sheep’s milk – so that was their business,” Froggatt told The Independent.
Naeem Khan on Ellie Kemper
The dress: A really glamorous placemat.
The woman: Comedy actress Ellie Kemper also has serious dramatic chops, courtesy of her high school drama teacher Jon Hamm. Yep, the Mad Men star taught Kemper for a year when she was a teenager. The pair later starred together in Bridesmaids.
Versace on Heidi Klum
The dress: Two words: Big Bird. We didn’t say it, the internet did. Another popular suggestion was that this yellow confection was made from “the fur of Minions”.
The woman: Earlier this year, Klum took aim at presidential candidate Donald Trump after he made comments pertaining to her appearance, saying she was “no longer a 10″. “The whole entire situation about women is not really funny, you know to put a number on a woman, especially women,” Klum said.