Lizzy Caplan Explains Her Red Carpet Dressing Strategy

Plus, how she really felt about Janis Ian's "Mean Girls" wardrobe.
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Alyssa Vingan Klein
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Plus, how she really felt about Janis Ian's "Mean Girls" wardrobe.
Lizzy Caplan at Cushnie et Ochs spring 2015. Photo: Getty Images

Lizzy Caplan at Cushnie et Ochs spring 2015. Photo: Getty Images

Before Friday afternoon's Cushnie et Ochs show at Milk Studios, Lizzy Caplan had never attended a Fashion Week show in her life, but you certainly wouldn't have been able to tell. The "Masters of Sex" star — who's recently become one of our favorite actresses to watch on the red carpet — sat perched in the front row, posing for street style photographers like a champ and wearing a sexy black dress (complete with sheer mesh panels) by the designers she came to support, Carly Cushnie and Michelle Ochs.

Caplan wore a dress from the New York-based label at a BAFTA event in Los Angeles in August, which was only one of her many recent red carpet coups — the most notable of which being the Donna Karan Atelier gown she wore to the Emmy Awards. "I am obsessed with that dress. I actually took out all of the Donna Karan women who were involved in making it last night," Caplan told us. "I tried on a handful of dresses for the Emmys, and it was so obvious that was 'the one.'"

Much like she's new to Fashion Week, Caplan is just becoming familiar with the Best Dressed scene, although she's warming up to it quite nicely. "I am getting used to this world; I feel like in the past year I’ve really grown to love it," she said. "When I am picking a dress I try to go with what I’m drawn to — not which designer makes it or what I think people will say about the design. My stylist Ilaria [Urbinati] knows me really well at this point, so what I am picking between is usually all very 'me.'" While we may see her as a fashion star on the rise, she prefers to keep it casual on her off-duty days, comparing her go-to look to the young boys in "Stand by Me."

However, Caplan also gets to indulge in her newfound fashion obsession on the set of her Emmy-nominated show. The costumes worn by her character, Virginia Johnson, are straight out of the late '50s and early '60s, with the retro beauty looks to match. "Fashion is such a huge part of ["Masters of Sex"] and our designer Anne Crabtree is such a genius. She puts blood and sweat into each outfit — it’s on a different level," Caplan says. But are there fashion moments from her earlier career — say, from "Mean Girls" or "Party Down" — that she's a little less proud of looking back? "Yeah most of the stuff that I’ve worn. Though I was very comfortable in everything Janis Ian wore, since they were basically a variation on pajamas."