LOS ANGELES – The buzzwords on the red carpet at the Emmy Awards (search) Sunday were "festive" and "glamorous," with many celebrities opting for sleek, 1940s-style looks, right down to the Rita Hayworth-style peekaboo hairstyle favored by Debra Messing and Portia de Rossi.
Sarah Jessica Parker (search), the biggest fashion star at the Emmys for the past few years, didn't disappoint, wearing a strapless black-lace tea-length dress with a feathered skirt and a black sash by Chanel Couture. She said it was her husband, Matthew Broderick, who had the final say on her outfit.
Jennifer Aniston (search) wore a white Chanel strapless gown with bursts of gold. She told Star Jones, who took over fashion commentary on E! from Joan Rivers, that the dress was a "little Bohemian, raggy thing with a little bling-bling."
With Jones as the Fashion Police, Kim Cattrall said the red carpet "is not as scary as it usually is" when Rivers and her daughter, Melissa, were on patrol.
Jones had two outfits, which she said was only fitting for her diva persona. Her first gown was gold with a plunging neckline by Marc Bouwer that she wore with a gold tassel necklace; the second was a pale pink lingerie-style gown by Badgley Mischka that she paired with a "summer chinchilla" shrug.
The lingerie look also was popular with Kristin Davis (search), in a beaded Prada corset gown, and Anne Heche, who wore a Giorgio Armani black satin slip gown with a pleated bodice and tulle underskirt.
New mother Messing was in a pink strapless dress with subtle floral embroidery by Michael Kors that hugged her again fit-and-trim figure, and Janel Moloney wore a bright yellow strapless gown by Vera Wang that was equally body-conscious.
Wang put Mariska Hargitay in a bright green goddess gown and the actress added fresh yellow flowers in her hair. Also in green were Lorraine Bracco, in a custom-made green embroidered gown by Douglas Hannant and Chopard diamond chandelier earrings featuring 276 gemstones, and Allison Janney, who wore a green silk chiffon halter gown with a knotted bodice by Monique Lhuillier.
The rest of the rainbow was there, too. Cheryl Hines wore a sea foam green gown with pink-and-purple beaded flowers and a few feathers, and Stockard Channing chose a teal dress with satin strips. Patricia Heaton (search) was in a multicolor, wrap-top Elie Saab gown that included purple, magenta, yellow, green and black.
"It's a fun year for colors so I went with periwinkle," said Bonnie Hunt, wearing a simple off-the-shoulder gown with a gathered bust.
Kathryn Morris had a hard time keeping her draped salmon-colored gown by Carmen Marc Valvo out of reach of Bill Rancic. "I'm trying to keep 'The Apprentice' from stepping on my dress. I know he's handsome and all but ..." she trailed off with a smile.
Black always is a favorite on the red carpet and de Rossi wore it well in a long Givenchy fitted sheath that she jazzed up with a diamond-chain bracelet by Diane von Furstenberg for H. Stern, and Barbara Walters looked chic in a bare-shoulder gown by Donna Karan.
Edie Falco's strapless gown by Randolph Duke was nude-colored with an overlay of black beads and tulle.
Laura Linney's black Prada dress had black beads dripping from the front. "I always try on a lot of things, and I always end up in Prada," she said. This particular dress met her two requirements -- it was fun and short.
White had its fans with Jennifer Garner -- in an open-back embroidered gown with a trailing train and a black waistband -- and Marlo Thomas and Felicity Huffman choosing the pure and pretty look.
Huffman's gown and the Brooks Brothers suit worn by her husband, William H. Macy, were to be auctioned for charity at the Clothes Off Our Back Web site, along with Jane Kaczmarek's gold floral gown with a beaded bust.
"We're going home stark-naked," Macy joked.
Ellen Degeneres' Viktor & Rolf tuxedo was a classic black version worn with a white pin-tucked shirt.
Most of the men chose traditional black-tie attire, but Dennis Haysbert showed a little originality -- his was navy blue. "It's my favorite color," he told Robert Verdi, who was sharing pre-show duties with Jones on E!
Eric Szmanda of "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" said he bleached patches of his hair blond to set himself apart from "the other penguins."
The Jones-Verdi team dutifully asked each star, "Who are you wearing?" And they gushed how great everyone looked. But the pre-show lacked the zaniness, unpredictability and grimaces that Rivers and her daughter brought to red carpet. (The Rivers duo jumped ship to the TV Guide channel earlier this year.)
Mischa Barton looked as if she might pick up where Parker -- whose "Sex and the City" show ended this year -- left off. She wore a hand-beaded gold dress by Maggie Norris that had flapper touches, including its knee length and paneled hem.
Both Jorja Fox and Drea de Matteo went shopping for their vintage gowns at The Paper Bag Princess, with de Matteo picking a black chiffon 1930s gown with gold embroidery along the neckline and waist, and Fox wearing a vintage Christian Dior pink slip gown with lingerie details.
And who said chandelier earrings were out? They were on the ears of everyone who is anyone, including Aniston, Falco, Garner and Walters.