The Sexiest Emmys Looks of All Time

The Sexiest Emmys Looks of All Time
Photo: Getty Images/InStyle

Is it hot in herre or what? Any time a major awards show hits Hollywood, we can always count on A-listers to pull out all the stops. While every star is beautiful in her custom creation or sweeping couture design, there is, without fail, a handful who seriously turn up the heat. We're talking about strategically placed cutouts, thigh-high slits, sheer illusion panels, down-to-there necklines, and second-skin silhouettes that hug every single curve.

We took a look back and plucked all the sexiest looks from Emmys past. See who made the cut.

01 of 45

Rachel Brosnahan, 2022

Rachel Brosnahan 2022 Emmys
Getty Images

Rachel Brosnahan's sapphire Pamella Roland gown included a plunging neckline and bow embellishments all over the body-hugging silhouette.

02 of 45

Sophie Thatcher, 2022

Sophie Thatcher 2022 Emmys
Getty Images

Sophie Thatcher, the star of Yellowjackets, wore a sheer Dior dress.

03 of 45

Lily James, 2022

Lily James Versace Chaimmail Gown 2022 Emmys
Getty Images

Lily James, star of Pam & Tommy, showed up to the 2022 Emmy Awards in a striking, bronze chainmail dress from Atelier Versace.

04 of 45

Sheryl Lee Ralph, 2022

Sheryl Lee Ralph 2022 Emmys Dress
Getty Images

Sheryl Lee Ralph took home her first Emmy while wearing a black velvet gown with an orange silk underlay and the highlest leg slit. She accompanied the dress with a bedazzled hairdo and long braid.

05 of 45

Issa Rae, 2021

Issa Rae 2021 Emmys Fishnet Dress
Getty Images

Issa Rae, actress, writer, and producer, arrived at the 2021 Emmys in a custom sparkly fishnet Aliétte gown.

06 of 45

Kerry Washington, 2021

Kerry Washington 2021 Emmys Dress
Getty Images

Kerry Washington brought a modern twist to the regencycore trend with her slinky, corseted silk gown from Etro.

07 of 45

Zendaya, 2020

The Sexiest Emmys Looks of All Time
Law Roach/Instagram

Not only did Zendaya take home the award for Outstanding Lead Actress in Drama Series for her role as Rue in Euphoria, but we also think she took the cake for best dressed in this custom Giorgio Armani Privé gown.

08 of 45

Tracee Ellis Ross, 2020

The Sexiest Emmys Looks of All Time
Tracee Ellis Ross/Instagram

COVID-19 and the 2020 lockdown did not stop Tracee Ellis Ross from stunning in this sexy gold Alexandre Vauthier, with a plunging neckline and ultra high-leg slit. She even had a makeshift red carpet right in her back yard.

09 of 45

Annie Murphy, 2020

The Sexiest Emmys Looks of All Time
Getty Images

The Schitt's Creek star took home the award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for her work as Alexis on the cult-favorite show. She accepted her trophy at the cast's private watch party looking both sexy and sophisticated in her black Valentino suit and sheer undershirt.

10 of 45

MJ Rodriguez, 2019

The Sexiest Emmys Looks of All Time
Getty Images

The Pose actress wore a custom, hot pink plunging Jason Wu gown accented with droopy black bows on either side of her midsection. Her waist-length hair was straightened and slicked behind her ears to complete the sweet, but sultry, look.

11 of 45

Zendaya, 2019

The Sexiest Emmys Looks of All Time
Getty Images

The Greatest Showman star's green corseted Vera Wang dress practically broke the internet at the 2019 Emmys. Plus, it launched a full-on corset renaissance.

12 of 45

Emilia Clarke, 2019

The Sexiest Emmys Looks of All Time
Getty Images

The Game of Thrones star stunned in a sexy navy blue plunging Valentino gown that she paired with sleek, long straight hair and platform Jimmy Choo shoes in the same color.

13 of 45

Chrissy Teigen, 2018

70th Emmy Awards - Arrivals
John Shearer/Getty Images

Chrissy Teigen's sparkling Zuhair Murad featured both a plunging neckline and a thigh-high slit at the 2018 Emmy Awards.

14 of 45

Taraji P. Henson, 2018

NBC's "70th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards" - Red Carpet
Todd Williamson/NBC/Getty Images

Taraji P. Henson brought the drama to the 2018 Emmys with her multi-tiered Giambattista Valli Haute Couture dress.

15 of 45

Jessica Biel, 2017

69th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards - Arrivals
Jeff Kravitz/Getty Images

The Sinner actress stunned in a two-tone Ralph and Russo Couture gown at the 2017 Emmys.

16 of 45

Kerry Washington, 2016

68th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards
Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/Getty Images

Even while pregnant, Kerry Washington managed to look flawless in a Brandon Maxwell gown with sexy cutouts and a dramatic train at the 68th Emmy Awards.

17 of 45

Emily Ratajkowski, 2016

68th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards - Arrivals
Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Emily Ratajkowski wore a strapless navy silk Zac Posen gown in a curve-hugging mermaid silhouette to the 2016 Emmys.

18 of 45

Lady Gaga, 2015

Lady Gaga in Brandon Maxwell
Dan MacMedan/WireImage

The musician and actress stunned in Brandon Maxwell (her go-to designer) at the 67th Primetime Emmy Awards.

19 of 45

Kerry Washington, 2015

Kerry Washington
Jason Merritt/Getty Images

The Scandal star shone bright like a diamond in a fresh off the runway Marc Jacobs gown at the 2015 Emmys.

20 of 45

Kiernan Shipka, 2015

Kiernan Shipka, 2015
Steve Granitz/WireImage

Shipka looked gorgeous and totally chic in this dress over pants ensemble at the 2015 Emmys. "When I wore the Dior pants and dress-slash-top to the Emmys last year, it was such a 'We're doing this' kind of moment. I really had fun and I loved the look."

21 of 45

Gwen Stefani, 2014

Gwen Stefani in Versace
Christopher Polk

Gwen Stefani took the plunge at the 2014 Emmys in a glittery deep-plunge Versace creation with metal ladder bars running down the neckline.

22 of 45

Camila Alves, 2014

Matthew McConaughey in Dolce and Gabbana
Christopher Polk/NBC/NBC via Getty Images

Camila Alves scandalously revealed glimpses of skin in her sheer curve-hugging Zuhair Murad number. It didn't hurt, either, that she had Matthew McConaughey (in Dolce & Gabbana) on her arm.

23 of 45

Heidi Klum, 2013

Heidi Klum in Versace
John Shearer/Invision for Academy of Television Arts & Sciences/AP Images

In a color her Project Runway co-host Tim Gunn dubbed "pomegranate," Heidi Klum was utterly radiant in a curve-hugging Versace dress that boasted a sexy futuristic high-neck cut-out silhouette.

24 of 45

Claire Danes, 2013

Claire Danes in Armani Prive.
John Shearer/Invision for Academy of Television Arts & Sciences/AP Images


star Claire Danes took home an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series, but it was her illusion-paneled plunging Armani Prive creation that had us all twittering.

25 of 45

Sofia Vergara, 2013

Emmy Arrivals
Gilbert Flores/Broadimage

There's a reason Sofia Vergara looked amazing-her red-hot Vera Wang gown was custom-made to fit and flatter her every curve. "Vera offered to make a dress for me, and of course I was very flattered," the stunning actress told "My hair is blonde this year, and I wanted a contrast. She was willing to do two very beautiful red dresses in different shades for me."

26 of 45

Kerry Washington, 2012

Kerry Washington

Presenter Kerry Washington adored her iridescent blush Vivienne Westwood column, but was especially enamored of her clutch. "I fell in love with this bag by Kotur," she told "Last night on Twitter, I decided this really cute lizard [on the clutch] needed a name." She added jewelry by Fred Leighton to her playful look.

27 of 45

Sofía Vergara, 2012

Sofia Vergara
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Nominated in the Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series category, Sofía Vergara chose a hand-beaded Zuhair Murad mermaid gown. Not one to shy away from flaunting her curves, the look featured a reverse halter neckline and open back. Vergara accessorized with over 175 carats of Neil Lane jewels from the Diamond Hollywood collection.

28 of 45

Gwyneth Paltrow, 2011

Sexiest Emmys Looks Ever - Gwyneth Paltrow - Emilio Pucci
Gregg DeGuire/FilmMagic

"My dress is a little see-through," Emmy winner Gwyneth Paltrow said of her daring two-piece. Understatement of the year! The intricately-beaded Emilio Pucci design revealed the Glee guest star's enviably flat middle.

29 of 45

Nina Dobrev, 2011

Sexiest Emmys Looks Ever - Nina Dobrev - Donna Karan
Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Vampire Diaries

lead Nina Dobrev channeled Jessica Rabbit in a custom crimson Donna Karan gown with an origami-pleated trumpet hem.

30 of 45

Blake Lively, 2009

Sexiest Emmys Looks Ever - Blake Lively - Versace
Gregg DeGuire/FilmMagic

Gossip Girl

bombshell Blake Lively made her Emmys debut in a lipstick-red Versace gown that was both low-dipping and high-cut.

31 of 45

Olivia Wilde, 2009

Sexiest Emmys Looks Ever - Olivia Wilde - Marchesa
Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Olivia Wilde opted for a straight-from-the-runway gown from Marchesa, joking that many onlookers thought her dress was of the stick-on variety. "You gotta have respect for a designer that can create a dress that can stay on despite the lack of material," the House actress told MTV.

32 of 45

Katherine Heigl, 2006

Sexiest Emmys Looks Ever - Katherine Heigl - Escada
Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic

Grey's Anatomy star Katherine Heigl had a very Marilyn moment in a sparkling nude vintage gown from Escada.

33 of 45

Cheryl Hines, 2006

Sexiest Emmys Looks Ever - Cheryl Hines - Georges Chakra
Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Cheryl Hines shed her homebody Curb Your Enthusiasm character in a violet shantung gown with a stunning beaded back from Georges Chakra.

34 of 45

Halle Berry, 2005

Sexiest Emmys Looks Ever - Halle Berry - Emanuel Ungaro
Jason Merritt/FilmMagic

"I feel cool," double-nominee Halle Berry told reporters of her sapphire Emanuel Ungaro dress. "I wanted to feel like a glass of water because it's so hot." She may have felt cool, but she looked sizzling in the floaty design with a thigh-high slit.

35 of 45

Sarah Jessica Parker, 2004

Sexiest Emmys Looks Ever - Sarah Jessica Parker - Chanel
Steve Granitz/WireImage

Is there any wonder why Sarah Jessica Parker's husband chose this dress? Matthew Broderick selected a feathered Chanel haute couture creation with a nearly see-through skirt (that revealed SJP's incredible shape) for his wife.

36 of 45

Amber Tamblyn, 2004

Sexiest Emmys Looks Ever - Amber Tamblyn - Randolph Duke
Albert L. Ortega/WireImage

The Joan of Arcadia actress ditched her normal laid-back style in favor of a vampy Randolph Duke design. The Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series nominee posed on the red carpet in the berry gown with provocative pink insets.

37 of 45

Sharon Stone, 2004

Sexiest Emmys Looks Ever - Sharon Stone - Elsie Katz Couture
Kevin Winter/Getty Images

No one has ever accused Sharon Stone of being shy! The Emmy winner (for her guest appearance on The Practice selected a lavender satin Elsie Katz Couture gown with a strategically placed diamante clasp.

38 of 45

Kim Cattrall, 2003

Sexiest Emmys Looks Ever - Kim Cattrall - Giorgio Armani
Jean-Paul Aussenard/WireImage

Sex and the City

nominee Kim Cattrall embraced her sultry character's style with a cutout Giorgio Armani design. 'People' reported that she tried on 16 dresses before choosing the one she declared to be "sophisticated but sexy."

39 of 45

Jennifer Garner, 2003

Sexiest Emmys Looks Ever - Jennifer Garner - Narciso Rodriguez
Gregg DeGuire/WireImage

Jennifer Garner celebrated her nomination for Alias in a cream satin Narciso Rodriguez gown with peekaboo cutouts.

40 of 45

Debra Messing, 2002

Sexiest Emmys Looks Ever - Debra Messing - Michael Kors
Albert L. Ortega/WireImage

Will & Grace

nominee Debra Messing's revealing lace-up jersey gown from Michael Kors was more than just sultry. "It's so comfortable I almost can't believe it," she told People.

41 of 45

Lucy Liu, 2000

Sexiest Emmys Looks Ever - Lucy Liu - Versace
Scott Gries/ImageDirect/Getty Images

Ally McBeal

star Lucy Liu showed off her perfect form in a barely-there illusion gown from Versace.

42 of 45

Jennifer Aniston, 1999

Sexiest Emmys Looks Ever
Wilferd/Hultberg / Liaiason Agency/Getty Images

She may be known for her neutrals, but for this Emmys outing Jennifer Aniston took a walk on the wild side in a dazzling Randolph Duke design with a sheer beaded top.

43 of 45

Angelina Jolie, 1998

Sexiest Emmys Looks Ever - Angelina Jolie - Randolph Duke
Tammie Arroyo/IPOL/Globe Photo

Double-nominee (for her roles in Gia and George Wallace) Angelina Jolie made an early red-carpet appearance in a figure-flaunting nude Randolph Duke design with a leg-revealing sheer inset.

44 of 45

Neve Campbell, 1997

Sexiest Emmys Looks Ever - Neve Campbell
Jim Smeal/WireImage

Party of Five

actress Neve Campbell chose a vintage-inspired design with a gams-baring point d'esprit inset.

45 of 45

Julia Louis-Dreyfus, 1995

Sexiest Emmys Looks Ever - Julia Louis-Dreyfus - Giorgio Armani
Globe Photos

Elaine who? Nominated for Seinfeld, Julia Louis-Dreyfus turned heads in a cut-down-to-there velvet Giorgio Armani gown. "This dress was definitely a lark," she told People. "It's complete dress-up, but it paid off in the end." As for the gravity-defying bodice, Louis-Dreyfus joked: "Everyone asked how the dress was staying on, so I said there were tiny little helicopters above me and I was attached by harness."

Related Articles