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Miley, Taylor, and—oh dear—Lena: The Best and Worst Red Carpet Looks at the VMAs and Emmys

One week, two red carpets. Disasters, triumphs, what-the-hell-were-they-thinkings? We saw it all. Relive it here again, including Lena Dunham’s turn as a flamenco dancer.

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That was some week on the red carpet: the VMAs and the Emmys, separated by just a day. We sat, we judged, we cheered, we clenched, we mehh'd. We wondered what was wrong with Lena Dunham, we wondered why Lady Mary from Downton Abbey came in a big tablecloth, and we love you, Amber Rose. Well, I did. The rest of my Beast colleagues—not so much. Come journey again with us, dear readers. Red won the day, red was everywhere. To our Fashion Police queen, Joan Rivers: We love you, please get better.

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Rita Ora really wanted a night in her pajamas, but hey shucks, just found this lurking at the back of the closet. 

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Well, it's not so much opinion is split, it's that everyone I've spoken to really does not like Amber Rose in this set of chains. I say, here's a real woman with a real woman's body wearing something distinctive and kickass, and she is wearing it rather magnificently. So grow up, and get used to different kinds of women's bodies and not the skinny stick insects chucked at us 24/7.

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Deep breaths. Julia Roberts can make a bad dress zing. Lots of people love this dress, which to me looks like it's been encrusted with glittery boils, and the peplum and length look a bit skew-whiff. But the legs, the legs. And she's a big film star at a TV awards thing, which apparently tells us something profound about Hollywood's power axis of big and small screens these days. So, anyway, do not resist. Hail Julia!

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Lena Dunham, you are not in Brooklyn any more. There is no excuse for looking like an out-of-work flamenco dancer. Irony is no excuse. Nothing is any excuse. But blond hair, vg.

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Laura Prepon of Orange Is the New Black arrives, after being dramatically freed from a top-secret fashion experiment, where actresses were held against their will, stitched into leather dresses of clashing colors, with ridiculous collars added that came undone and bit people. The actresses in the experiment were then forced to walk the red carpet. They never saw a mirror. The dresses told passing TV interviewers they were wearing their owners. 

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Hayden Panettiere in a lovely Lorena Sarbu dress, fitted to her baby bump. Mucho gorg-ee-o-so.

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Sofia Vergara takes white, bodice-y Cavalli, adds her innate, vivacious vrrrroooom, and runs off to party the night away.

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January Jones is a good thing. She's tricky. She doesn't play the fame game predictably. And when explaining this lovely Prabal Gurung red dress on E! she didn't look that cheerful. Which makes it all the better. "I sometimes hit, I sometimes miss," she said of her red carpet fashion choices, with a (healthy, sane) shrug. Oh, JJ, this one's a hit. Not that you'd really care that much.

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I think Michelle Dockery from Downton Abbey is going for a layered and regal "end of empire," cup of Darjeeling chic here. Are pins holding this together? Like the empire, it could all fall embarrassingly apart. Hair by Pudding Bowl.

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It's a game of reds and whites on the Emmys red carpet, and Claire Danes' Givenchy dress brilliantly balances delicacy and sensuousness. But why she is wearing a tangle of blinged-up Twizzlers around her neck is anyone's guess. 

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There is everything pretty about Sarah Paulson's dress in theory, but then in person on the red carpet instead of a vision of dainty tulle, it looks like she has been assailed by a cloud of pesky insects. Someone grab the Raid!

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Lizzy Caplan from Masters of Sex—find it, watch it, support it—in one of the evening's best gowns, that you didn't see properly on TV. It looked very simple and sculpted in black and that was that, but look, here revealed, at the flowing white train. And this pose—a ballerina at rest, almost—makes it the look (and photograph) of the 2014 red carpet.

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To accept the love of the world, Beyoncé wore something sparkly with mirror-y bits to reflect it all back to us. The consensus was this was amazing.

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You know, good on you, Kim Kardashian. It's totally the wrong shape, and you're the wrong shape for it. And everything's threatening to just burst out and say hey-a. But it's bold and there, and so are you.

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Demi Lovato: Yes, this is a dramatic dress, and the red carpet should always contain drama. But one's breasts should always reside in the same country—just for comfort's sake more than anything else.

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Kylie Jenner is gorgeous, and here she was channeling some serious film noir vampiness. But, as my colleague Sarah says, this looks like "a dressing gown meets trash bag." Snaps to Sarah. 

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No one around me likes the VMAs outfit of Charli XCX, but I'm with the gorgeous Fashion Police heart-throb and wise fashion Zen master George Kotsiopoulos. This is Tony the Tiger chic. It works. It's nutty. It's the VMAs. Mwah!

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The simple, enduring message of this black trouser suit is: Do not mess with Solange Knowles.

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You can't really outdo twerking the last time you were at the VMAs, but Miley Cyrus did. She brilliantly had an eloquent young guy accept her award and deliver a moving speech about youth homelessness... and she wore this cheeky, fun number. Bra-va!

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Hmm, well everyone said this short jumpsuit marked the new Taylor Swift. It's groovy and pretty, for sure—and yes—the legs, the legs. I don't know, I know it wanted it to work—but rather like the wearer on occasion—it felt like it was trying too hard.

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Iggy Azalea looks uncomfortable. Is it the dress? The heat? Something not right about the dimensions of this frock. And cheer up 'Zales.

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Oh my goodness, Christina Hendricks looks beautiful in this Marchesa gown, with Indian-influenced detail and jewelry. 

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Kelly Osbourne, lovely in this patterned dress, hair a colorful, radically cut brilliant sculpture.

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Debra Messing looks fab in an Angel Sanchez black, paneled dress, which my colleague Sarah says looks like floor tiling. Claws, Sarah, claws.

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The beautiful Uzo Aduba from Orange Is the New Black is a vivid glamor cascade in this red frock. 

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Not that we wish to teach Lena Dunham anything—why would we, what do we know?—but, hello everyone wearing weird things that make no sense. Next year go to Carolina Herrera, and say, "Julia Louis-Dreyfus, the 2014 Emmys. Can you do something similar for me, because it was fabulous."

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OK, Olivia Pope is a primetime goddess. OK, we love Kerry Washington, and she is a new mother, and looking beyond great. OK. Enough OKs. This dress looks like an old cushion with its stuffing scattered about its front. And if you are going to wear a dress with a thigh slit, wear a dress with a thigh slit, and not with—however understandably positioned—an underskirt of some kind guaranteeing modesty protection. But, as we say, love Olivia, love Kerry etc etc. (Oh gaaadd. That dress. Why?!) 

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Laverne Cox dresses like the TV goddess she has become this year in a custom-made gown. She's had to give up ice cream, she said, not that miserably.

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AAA-MAZING. She just does things so Gwen-tastically—Gwen Stefani, in Versace.