LOS ANGELES The carpet was red, but white, black and strong jewel tones proved to be the colors of choice for Hollywood's stars at the Primetime Emmy Awards on Sunday, with a bevy of tanned and sparkling women wearing strapless gowns.
As the California sun beat down on arriving nominees for U.S. television's top awards, actresses such as Debra Messing and Anna Paquin and singer Christina Aguilera tried to keep cool in ivory and white.
"I wanted to wear something architectural and clean," Messing said of her strapless Ralph Lauren ivory-colored gown with black stripes at the bodice and tiered hem.
But basic black, ever the elegant choice at awards shows, was seen on Mariska Hargitay, wearing Zac Posen, Kyra Sedgwick, wearing a two-piece Oscar de la Renta with feathers and ruffles on the skirt, and Michelle Pfeiffer, who rushed into the show in a knee-length, sparkling Pamela Dennis dress.
Since staying cool was a goal, strapless was an appropriate choice for many women, including Sally Field, wearing a fuchsia Valentino with tiny ruffles at the hem, Sandra Oh in black, and America Ferrera, in cobalt blue gown.
"Strapless dresses are in proliferation today," said "Project Runway's" Tim Gunn, adding that the look is often risky but that the stars pulled it off.
"Hats off to them," Gunn said.
COLORS COME OUT, TOO
While blacks and whites dominated much of the fashion, Clarissa Cruz, style editor for People Magazine, said she was struck by the colors worn by many of the stars -- blues and purples among them.
"I thought there was a lot of great color on the carpet, that was nice to see," Cruz said. "At the same time, white always feels appropriate, even though it's after Labor Day."
Julia Louis-Dreyfus wore a grape-colored Narciso Rodriguez and gave kudos to her favorite designer: "Ultimately, I defer to him because I don't know how to work a sewing machine."
Queen Latifah wore red, Teri Hatcher wore pink, and Vanessa Williams floated down the carpet in an apple-green Kevan Hall gown with cascading feathers.
But perhaps the biggest jolt of color came from Minnie Driver, wearing a day-glo lime Donna Karan in satin and jersey.
Standing next to a woman in a red dress, Driver quipped: "We came as a traffic light."
But gold and beaded was the fashion choice of Eva Longoria, a star of "Desperate Housewives," whose short dress with open back exposed a peek of a tattoo.
"It's very heavy and I'm sweating in the sun," Longoria said. "I don't feel as glamorous as I look."