You won’t often find Padma Lakshmi in chartreuse.
In fact, the host and executive producer of Top Chef and Taste the Nation doesn’t actually own any clothes in that uniquely distinct shade—a peculiar mix of lime green and highlighter yellow. “It’s a very rare color to find,” she tells Bazaar ahead of the 75th Primetime Emmy Awards, which took place Monday night in Los Angeles.
Its rarity is exactly why Lakshmi decided to wear a chartreuse gown for the television awards show. She perused 70 or 80 dresses with stylist Jason Rembert before the two narrowed down their choice to a gorgeous chiffon couture look from Marchesa.
“I didn’t want to have a color that many other people would have,” Lakshmi explains. “I picked that one because I thought it would be beautiful in the sunlight.”
She collaborated with Marchesa creative director Georgina Chapman to bring her vision to life.
“She sent a couple of dresses in different colors that were similar, and I talked to her about this color and she loved it,” Lakshmi says. “There was an orange fabric that we also loved, but ultimately we thought that this color was more special.”
The end result was a flowing floor-length gown, with the nearly sheer chiffon fabric delicately pleated into antique gold chains twisted into the figure-hugging bodice. “I just feel like a Grecian goddess in it,” Lakshmi says.
For good measure, she coordinated the look with Louboutin heels, a Fred Leighton ring, a stack of gold bracelets from her own Padma Collection, and stud earrings borrowed from her teen daughter, Krishna, whom Lakshmi brought to the Emmys as her date.
Prior to hitting the red carpet for the show, where Top Chef was nominated in three categories, Lakshmi engaged in some classic self-care—staying hydrated, getting a facial (hello, Dr. Barbara Sturm!), and so forth. “But, honestly, happiness has a lot to do with it,” the author and model says. “I think if you don’t sweat the small stuff, and you just remember that you’re really, really fortunate to even be there, wearing a beautiful dress amongst peers who are captains in their industry of entertainment—I find that works wonders to relax your face.”
This year’s Emmys ceremony in particular was an extra-special one for Lakshmi. After announcing last year that she’d be departing Top Chef after 20 seasons of hosting, she earned her 16th Emmy nomination for Outstanding Host for a Reality or a Competition Program (bringing the Bravo show’s total to 47 nominations over 17 years). Her passion project Hulu’s Taste the Nation earned its first-ever nomination in 2023, too, a nod in the Outstanding Hosted Nonfiction Series or Special category.
“You don’t do things for awards. You of course hope that people in your industry recognize the work as worthy,” she reflects. Though she ultimately lost in both categories, she says, “That’s okay. I just felt good because both my shows were nominated. … It’s very rare for somebody to have, not one, but two shows nominated, as well as be nominated personally as hosts.”
The past year in general has been “surreal,” she says Besides her milestone Emmy nods, Lakshmi also made her Sports Illustrated Swimsuit debut, graced the Time100 list, and won the magazine’s annual Impact Award.
“I feel really thankful because it’s a seminal year in my career,” Lakshmi says. “It’s something I never considered would be a part of my life. When I was growing up, I would watch a lot of these award shows, and I loved all the glamorous dresses and the stars with their beautiful glittering jewels, and I never thought that that would happen to me.”
Photographer: Isaiah Kim; styling: Jason Rembert; styling assistant: Christina Arroyo; hair: Danilo; makeup: Bob Scott
As an associate editor at HarpersBAZAAR.com, Chelsey keeps a finger on the pulse on all things celeb news. She also writes on social movements, connecting with activists leading the fight on workers’ rights, climate justice, and more. Offline, she’s probably spending too much time on TikTok, rewatching Emma (the 2020 version, of course), or buying yet another corset.