Sag Awards 2021, Kerry Washington
Kerry Washington wearing an Etro gown and matching swim cap.

Perhaps this goes without saying at this point in awards show season, but pre-show festivities look quite different in the age of COVID-19. Gone are the days when celebrities arrived on the red carpet, hugged their co-stars, and posed in front of a step-and-repeat for a sea of unmasked photographers. Now—in many instances—there is no actual red carpet. At the 2021 SAG Awards on Sunday, April 4, for example, photographers captured designer-clad celebrities from the comfort of their homes and backyards. In a pre-pandemic universe, all of this would probably sound shocking and somewhat chaotic, but this is the “new normal,” and to be honest, I’m into it?

So instead of sharing red carpet photos, the stars took to their Instagram feeds to share professional pics from their staged shoots. Some went the traditional route by posing in front of a neutral-toned backdrop (lookin’ at you, Maria Bakalova), while others embraced the opportunity to get creative. Arguably, Kerry Washington posted the most memorable photos of the evening. The Little Fires Everywhere star jumped into her pool wearing a blue beaded Etro gown, a matching swim cap, and Bulgari jewels. The resulting mermaid-inspired images will easily go down in SAG Awards history.

Ahead, peruse the 11 best fashion moments of the evening that are bound to make you wonder if at-home awards show photo shoots are here to stay.

Viola Davis in Louis Vuitton

I gasped when I scrolled past this photo of the Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom star on fashion stylist Elizabeth Stewart’s Instagram feed. Her makeup! Her lashes! Her impossible-to-look-away-from dress! I’m particularly obsessed with the neon green gown’s intricate embroidery, which features gold and silver metallic sequins.

jamie chung in oscar de la renta

The Lovecraft County actress debuted one of the most standout looks of the evening: a strapless Oscar de La Renta midi dress, teamed with matching Stuart Weitzman heels and a custom Edie Parker clutch featuring the words “Stop Asian Hate.” On Instagram, the star detailed the significance behind her ensemble: “In some Asian cultures, the color red symbolizes joy, luck, and happiness. In Korean culture it symbolizes creation, passion, and power. I’m so proud of my history and heritage. And so very grateful to be a part of LOVECRAFT!”

SAG Awards 2021, Jamie Chung

lily collins in George Hobeika

Gosh, I’d love an excuse to wear this glitzy George Hobeika collared mini dress. Fashion stylist Rob Zangardi paired the number with Cartier jewels and Casadei pumps.

Cynthia erivo in Alexander Mcqueen

My collection of neutral-toned wares doubled during the COVID-19 pandemic, and I’ve been on the quest to find the perfect corset ever since Bridgerton aired. All that said, I’m vying to get my hands on this cream-colored Alexander McQueen corset gown. Jason Bolden styled Erivo’s look, accessorized with Forevermark jewelry.

nicola coughlan in christian siriano

Lady Whistledown herself is turning the tables and instead, making headlines. Nicola has made quite the fashion debut this award season. First in Molly Goddard at the Golden Globes and now in custom black-lace Christian Siriano.

Jurnee Smollett in suhair murad

Absolutely every element of this look is perfection and, hands-down, this is my favorite look of the night. I can’t decide what I’m more in love with: her fuchsia silk-taffeta ball gown designed by Zuhair Murad or her breathtaking Bulgari necklace and rings.

SAG Awards 2021, Jurnee Smollett

HELEN MIRREN in MICHAEL KORS

Mirren stunned in not one but two dresses ahead of the 2021 SAG Awards: a red sequined Michael Kors gown and this fun figure-hugging red and pink color-blocked dress from Badgley Mischka’s SS21 collection.

NICOLE KIDMAN IN GIORGIO ARMANI

Hairstylist Kylee Heath styled The Undoing star’s hair into an elegant fishtail that perfectly complemented her intricately beaded gown.  

MINDY KALING IN ALEX PERRY

The Office alum knows the struggle of needing an excuse to wear couture. “Presenting at the @sagawardss and got waaaay too excited to dress up,” she captioned an Instagram post, looking positively radiant in a cobalt blue gown featuring cape-style sleeves.

MARIA BAKALOVA IN DIOR

For her first SAG Awards debut, the Borat Subsequent Moviefilm star donned head-to-toe Dior. According to an interview, the gown took 500 hours to make—and it shows—as the geometric-patterned gown’s skirt features 400 hand-sewn organza roses. Red lipstick was the perfect finishing touch.

KERRY WASHINGTON IN ETRO

I can’t think of any other word to describe this look other than “epic.” The Little Fires Everywhere star jumped into her pool to pose for a mermaid-inspired photo shoot wearing a custom Etro gown and a matching swim cap.

thoughts?