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17 of the Most Memorable Dresses From Emmys Past

When I think about the Primetime Emmy Awards, I remember who wore what a lot better than who won what. I love this night in particular because the attending celebs tend to be a little looser, a little edgier with their choices than if it were the Oscars. Sometimes it pays off, big. There have been occasions where a dress was so stunning that it completely changed the trajectory of a starlet’s career — see Olivia Wilde in the gallery below. And then there are the unfortunate moments when a stylist must have called in sick and a fashion-challenged actor faced the flashbulbs and the worst dressed list simultaneously. If we’re lucky, this year’s 65th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards will give us something to talk about for years to come. And just so we have some basis of comparison, here’s a look back at some of the most memorable outfits to walk down the Emmy’s red carpet.

  • Sofia Vergara 1 of 17
    Red Hot! "Modern Family" star Sofia Vergara sizzles in a dramatic red gown as she attends the Emmy Awards afterparty at Fig and Olive restaurant in Los Angeles

    Old Hollywood glamour. That's what Sofia does best, and she is batting 1000 when it comes to dressing for the Emmys. This custom Vera Wang that she wore to the show in 2011 was tied for first, in my opinion, with the turquoise Zuhair Murad she wore last year. That's the one where the zipper broke revealing her backside. It was fixed just before she took the stage for Modern Family's big win. But in true Sofia no-holds-barred style, she tweeted a shot of the damage

  • Olivia Wilde 2 of 17
    "House" star Olivia Wilde steps out in a daring Marchesa gown

    If folks weren't too familiar with Olivia Wilde before she wore this super sexy Marchesa to the 2009 Emmys, they sure knew her name the next day. The back featured a VERY low see-through panel that Olivia pulled off perfectly. 

  • Jennifer Aniston 3 of 17
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    I know. Creepy, isn't it? This was back in 2004 when Jennifer -- in Greek goddess mode -- wore this gorgeous Chanel column with gold beading. That night she was nominated for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series (Friends). From the looks of the hairstyle, Brad was in Mr. and Mrs. Smith mode, and we all know what happened next. 

  • Lena Dunham 4 of 17
    64th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards - Arrivals

    Yeah, this one was pretty controversial. Lena (here with her dad, Carroll) wore this lace Prada number to the 2012 Emmys. To me it looks more like old couch fabric and the cut is frumpy and the opposite of flattering. 

  • Sarah Silverman 5 of 17
    Sarah Silverman steps out at Chateau Marmont for AMC TV's Emmy's afterparty

    And the front was even worse. Sarah Silverman is awesome at everything except for red carpet dressing. This ill-fitting royal blue dress she wore to the Emmys in 2009 looked like it was meant for a prom in a high school gym. 

  • Lea Michele 6 of 17
    GLEE -ful!  A radiant Lea Michele arrives at Trousdale for the Emmys after party in West Hollywood

    This strong-shouldered Marchesa gown was a show stopper for Glee star Lea Michelle at the 2011 Emmys. 

  • Julianna Margulies 7 of 17
    63rd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards - Press Room

    Some folks loved Julianna's Armani Privé couture jewel-bodice gown at the 2011 Emmys. Others thought the shape looked like a "space robot."

    Photo credit: PR Photos

  • Drew Barrymore 8 of 17
    **RESTRICTIONS APPLY** Drew Barrymore on the red carpet ahead of the 61st Primetime Emmy Awards, held at the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles

    Drew wore this perfectly-fitted, tulle Monique Lhuillier gown at the 2009 Emmys where Grey Gardens won for Best TV movie. 

  • Jennifer Love Hewitt 9 of 17
    Jennifer Love Hewitt at the 60th Primetime EMMY Awards

    Jennifer Love Hewitt landed on some "worst" dressed lists thank to this black and white Carolina Herrera she chose for the 2009 Emmys. 

  • Blake Lively 10 of 17
    **RESTRICTIONS APPLY** Blake Lively on the red carpet ahead of the 61st Primetime Emmy Awards, held at the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles

    Ah, Blake. As much as I want to dislike you -- I can't. You own the carpet, girl. Here in 2009, at 22 years old, she nails the concept of elegance and sexiness in this red hot Versace

  • Christina Applegate 11 of 17
    Christina Applegate at the 60th Primetime EMMY Awards

    Christina wore this Reem Acra printed gown to the 2008 Emmys, just one month after she shared the news that she'd undergone a double mastectomy after being diagnosed with breast cancer. 

  • Brooke Shields 12 of 17
    Brooke Shields at the 60th Primetime EMMY Awards

    It's hard to imagine but her appearance at the 2008 Emmys was Brooke's first time at the awards. The Lipstick Jungle star chose this attention-getting Badgley Mischka for the occasion.

  • Eva Longoria 13 of 17
    Eva Longoria Parker at the 60th Primetime EMMY Awards

    The flapper-sque Marchesa dress Eva wore to the Emmys in 2008 caused quite a stir because of the short hemline. Leave it to Eva to make the un-traditional move. She rocks. 

  • Hayden Panettiere 14 of 17
    Hayden Panettiere attends the 2007 Primetime Emmy Awards at the Shrine Auditorium in Hollywood

    Wow. It's hard to imagine a more unflattering shape on a person as tiny as Hayden. This skin color taffeta gown was certainly a low moment of dressing at the 2007 Emmys. 

  • America Ferrera 15 of 17
    America Ferrera attends the 2007 Primetime Emmy Awards at the Shrine Auditorium in Hollywood

    America wore this gorgeous Monique Lhuillier strapless to the 2007 Emmys. She was ahead of her time with the color -- it's all the rage in 2013.

  • Claire Danes 16 of 17
    64th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards - Press Room

    Marigold yellow was THE color at the 2012 Emmys. This Lanvin strapless worked so well with Claire's hair and complexion and the silhouette perfectly covered her baby bump. "It was easy and pretty," she told Ryan Seacrest at the time.

    Photo credit: PR Photos

  • Victoria Rowell 17 of 17
    **RESTRICTIONS APPLY** Victoria Rowell on the red carpet ahead of the 61st Primetime Emmy Awards, held at the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles

    At the 2009 Emmys, the soap opera actress showed her love for Obama with this tablecloth-slash-gown. A few styling notes: the shoes don't really go and neither do the bathing suit strap marks!

Images via Pacific Coast News

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