Each year, the Primetime Emmy Awards ceremony presents a steamy challenge for the red carpet’s most fashionable, since September is typically the hottest month in Los Angeles.
This Sunday should be no exception. The mercury is expected to soar into the 80s midday, when nominees parade inside the Nokia Theatre. Add hundreds of spotlights and a dose of nerves, and maintaining a cool, camera-ready appearance can be a challenge. But the stars have strategies.
Emmy-winning animator Kevin Shinick, for example, has a powerful plan.
“Battery-operated tux,” he said. “I have little mini fans all throughout. So you know, that was extra, I couldn’t afford all that!”
Actress Lake Bell suggests minimising movement.
“If you do not move that much, you will not sweat. So I am trying to exercise restraint,” she said at last week’s Creative Arts Emmy celebration, where temperatures topped 100 degrees. “But the dress is helping me because it’s very serre, as we say in French, very narrow.”
Dancing With the Stars choreographers Travis Wall and Nick Lazzarini agreed with the no-movement policy.
Plus “pit pads”, Lazzarini said, and chilled beverages in the car on the way to the ceremony.
Stylists offer some more practical solutions.
Opt for light fabrics and minimal undergarments, suggests celebrity stylist and costume designer Tanya Gill. That means choosing looks that allow for a Spanx-free approach: “If you can avoid all those undergarments that a lot of people tend to rely on for these events — maybe a little Pilates, a little juice the week before — you’ll feel so much more comfortable not to have all that on.”
A spray tan can help, too. “If they can spare a couple of hours and get a spray-on tan, they’ll feel amazing,” she said. “It also makes you feel slimmer.”
Men should consider light fabrics as well — and mind the lining of their tuxedos. “Avoid anything polyester, even the lining,” Gill said. “Cotton, fabulous. Linen, fantastic.”
When it comes to hair, ladies should skip the side-swept ponytails and half-up/half-down ‘dos popular in seasons past, says celebrity stylist and global creative director for Alterna Professional Haircare Michael Shaun Corby. “This season it’s all about the beehive, topknots and super-sleek ponies,” he said. “What I like about these styles is they keep your hair off the neck, keep you cool and keep you right on trend.”
Men should avoid the “shaggy, hipster look” in the heat, says Corby, because “when you start to sweat, the ends will start to curl, and that will be a red-carpet miss.” He suggests opting for shorter cuts — and don't forget the sunscreen. For guys who must rock longer styles, “try putting dry shampoo close to the scalp, because that will dry up excess oil and keep you from looking shiny on those HD-close-ups,” Corby said.
Since many of the nominees are actors, there’s always the option of acting cool. At the Creative Arts ceremony, Brenda Strong worked her skills to beat the heat.
“I’m not beating anything. It’s beating me, very slowly,” she said. “I look cool. Thank you. It’s an act, it’s all an act. I’m not cool at all, I’m boiling up.”
Of course, there’s always Maya Rudolph’s advice for beating the heat while dressed to the nines. “You don't beat it,” she said. “You try to gently lay next to it.”