Old Hollywood Vavoom Dominated on the Emmys Red Carpet

Shailene Woodley seemed to have embraced that brief. The best supporting actress nominee in a limited series, for the HBO show “Big Little Lies,” wore a custom Ralph Lauren dress in witchy green velvet, its V-form neckline dropping to her waist.

Jessica Biel got a similar message, in a platinum-tinted Ralph & Russo gown slashed strategically to show a wide expanse of skin. Others followed suit, flaunting their assets, for better or worse, in diaphanous dresses gashed to the navel or provocatively slit at the hip. When it came to confecting an image, playing the sex card was, paradoxically, playing it safe.

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Zoe Kravitz of “Big Little Lies” wearing Dior.

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Mike Blake/Reuters

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Reese Witherspoon, a nominee for best actress in a limited series for “Big Little Lies,” wearing Prabal Gurung.

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Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Still, red-carpet veterans like Nicole Kidman had other ideas. Ms. Kidman, named best actress in a limited series for “Big Little Lies,” chose to underscore her stature as a worldly fashion muse. Deftly negotiating the wobbly line between steaminess and cool, she wore a scarlet ballerina-length Calvin Klein dress of silk gazar, demure except for its coyly slit neckline.

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Claire Foy, nominated for best drama actress for “The Crown,” wearing Oscar de la Renta.

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Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

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Elisabeth Moss, a nominee for best drama actress for “The Handmaid’s Tale,” wearing Prabal Gurung.

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Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Image-savvy and by no means trend-averse, Zoë Kravitz of “Big Little Lies” reinforced her reputation as tastemaker in Christian Dior couture, the varicolored panels of her dress embroidered in tufts of feathers.

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Nicole Kidman, nominated for best actress in a limited series for “Big Little Lies,” wearing Calvin Klein by Appointment.

Credit
Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

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Yara Shahidi of the comedy series “Black-ish,” wearing custom Prada.

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