×

Fashion Flashback: Padma Lakshmi on Her Evolving Emmy Style

“Top Chef” judge and Emmy-nominated host Padma Lakshmi knows a thing or two about food — and fashion. “Having modeled all those years ago, I know how to dress for my body,” says Lakshmi, who’s attended the Emmys for the best reality-competition program nominee the past 10 years. And while the show’s summer filming schedule leaves her 10-15 pounds heavier with little time to slim down, she calls it a “high-class problem.” “Let’s face it — it’s eating on TV that got me to the Emmys in the first place!”

2010
“This is an Emmy dress I will always love because ‘Top Chef’ took home the Emmy that year,” says Lakshmi of the Carolina Herrera frock she paired with tribal jewelry from her line, the Padma Collection. “I was also still nursing, so I was very lucky to find a dress that fit me so well.” Victory came at a price, though: “I tore my dress running with Gail [Simmons] up to the stage. We were in the nosebleed section — because clearly no one thought we would win.”

2011
When this Armani Prive dress arrived, Lakshmi ditched her previous plans. “I don’t usually wear camel or medium browns, but in that dress, I felt a bit like a gold statue myself,” she says. The occasion was bittersweet, though. “I was so thin, as I was nursing my dying lover at the time, and I didn’t even want to go to the Emmys. But shortly after, I received the most beautiful letter from Mr. Armani himself, saying how he and his niece thought I looked spectacular. I still have the note somewhere.”

2012
“I had serious reservations about this traffic cone of a dress,” says Lakshmi, who felt deterred by the volume. “This dress was basically a corset with 1,000 yards of orange tulle wrapped around my body. It was even more uncomfortable than it looks.” She was glad she wore the Monique Lhuillier design, but couldn’t wait to get out of it.

2013 
This “cool and comfortable” KaufmanFranco number ranks as one of Lakshmi’s all-time favorites. “It’s completely backless, and it wasn’t even that tight, so I literally felt like I was wearing a nightgown,” she says. “The look was inspired by iconic [Richard] Avedon portraits of Veruschka in the desert.”

2015 
Lakshmi tries to wear color on red carpets whenever possible and loved the unusual chartreuse hue of this Romona Keveza dress. “My hormones were going crazy at this time, and as you can see, I’m a little bloated,” she says. “The top also barely contains my cleavage, but I felt so glamorous in this dress.”

2016 
“This dress made me feel so confident, like I was dipped in silver,” says Lakshmi, who added a simple ponytail, pink lipstick, and diamond studs. “[Naeem Khan] and his wife, Ranjana, are close family friends — she’s my daughter’s godmother. I was proud to represent an Indian designer at the Emmys.”

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • T.J. Dillashaw, right, kicks Cody Garbrandt

    Disney Plans UFC Broadcast for FX

    UFC matches will return to FX  – but not on a permanent basis. ESPN has been showing preliminary bouts to UFC pay-per-view events for the last while on ESPN and ESPN2, and then showing the main card on its ESPN+ subscription video service. In September, the early lineup will air on FX, which the UFC [...]

  • George RR Martin

    George R.R. Martin Says HBO's 'Game of Thrones' Ending Won't Influence Future Novels

    Geroge R.R. Martin is sticking to his original plan when it comes to the future of “Game of Thrones.” In an interview with The Observer, Martin claimed that HBO’s controversial ending for the series would have no affect on the endings of the last two novels. “No, it doesn’t. It doesn’t change anything at all,” [...]

  • Listen: 'Pennyworth' Producer Talks Delving into

    Listen: 'Pennyworth' Executive Producer Talks Delving into Alfred's Backstory

    Bruno Heller may have served as an executive producer on the Batman-inspired series “Gotham” for the past five years, but it’s actually real-life people (not superheroes) that intrigue the producer the most. It’s for that exact reason that Heller’s newest series finds him exploring the origin stories of Batman’s butler Alfred in the Epix drama [...]

  • "Trust Issues" - Dylan and Lizzie

    'Instinct' Canceled After Two Seasons

    CBS has canceled “Instinct” after two seasons. Series creator Michael Rauch announced the cancellation Friday on Twitter, writing, “I’m very sad to relay the news that @instinctcbs won’t be renewed for a 3rd season. We will double up this Sunday and our season/series finale will be Aug 25.” Rauch also thanked series stars Alan Cumming [...]

  • Maisel Day

    My Mostly OK Maisel Day (Column)

    When Amazon announced its first-ever Maisel Day, I was intrigued. For one day, Aug. 15, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” fans and Angelenos (fangelenos?) could hit up various restaurants, theaters and retailers throughout Los Angeles for special deals, all at 1959 prices. Among the gems: $2.50 makeovers, $0.99 pastrami sandwiches and $0.30 for a gallon of [...]

  • Nordisk Film & TV Fond Announces

    Nordisk Film & TV Fond Backs Joachim Trier, Ole Bornedal, Yellow Bird

    Nordisk Film & TV Fond has announced three features, two series and a documentary set to receive $1.4m in financing, as well as distribution, dubbing and cultural initiative support recipients. Doing so, it highlights some of the key titles moving forward in the Nordic region. Already backed by the Danish Film Institute’s largest ever grant [...]

  • TV News Roundup: 'Silicon Valley' Final

    TV News Roundup: 'Silicon Valley's' Final Season Sets October Premiere Date

    In today’s roundup, “Silicon Valley” returns to HBO on Oct. 27 and Quibi greenlights a new cooking competition show “Dismantled.” DATES The fifth season of Netflix‘s “Peaky Blinders” will premiere on the streamer Oct. 4. The newest season will continue to follow one gangster family in the lawless streets of Birmingham, UK during the midst [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content