LOS ANGELES – Celebrities did their best to keep their cool on a sweltering red carpet at Sunday night's Emmy Awards by wearing a variety of sorbet colors and stars such as Heidi Klum, America Ferrera, Debra Messing, Sandra Oh and Ellen Pompeo showed a bit of skin in strapless dresses.
Kate Walsh, Jennifer Morrison, Rebecca Romijn and Katherine Heigl channeled screen sirens of yesteryear with their retro looks.
Heigl was in a white, off-the-shoulder Zac Posen gown that was punched up with red lips -- also seen on Klum and Christina Aguilera.
"Red is a really hot color for fall," said Monika Blunder, the Chanel makeup artist who worked with Heigl. "She had an old Hollywood feel with a modern twist."
Walsh's red satin dress was by Pamela Dennis, who also designed Michelle Pfieffer's fitted knee-length black dress with sequins on the front.
Morrison wore a beaded gown by Elie Saab. "We had to take it apart to fit me, but look at it now. It has a total classical feel to it," she said. Romijn's vintage Guy Laroche gown was decorated with flapper fringe. She wore her hair in a soft, wavy updo that showed off her diamond, ruby and white-enamel earrings by Neil Lane.
Eva Longoria literally sparkled in a gold cocktail dress with an open back by Kaufman Franco. "He designed my wedding dress and I just thought this was perfect," she said, particularly thankful for the low-cut back because of the heat.
Teri Hatcher wore a blush-colored silk chiffon gown with a crystal beaded bodice by Badgley Mischka Couture. She stars in the label's current ad campaign.
Felicity Huffman's asymmetrical draped gown by David Meister in a bright magenta color balanced sexy and elegant. She joked on E!'s preshow that she had to sew it to her skin. Marcia Cross wore a silver diamante pleated gown by Georges Chakra that was accessorized with a Lorraine Schwartz snake bracelet and triple-teardrop earrings.
Dangling earrings were a major trend of the night, with Patricia Heaton pairing oversized gold earrings with her sparkling gold gown.
Sally Field's strapless Valentino gown was simple except for its bright magenta color. She wore dangling diamond earrings by Cathy Waterman, but unlike most of the stars she won't be returning them -- she owns them.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus wore one of the top colors for this fall -- purple. Her dress was a deep jewel color by Narciso Rodriguez with a scoop neck and pintucks on the bust. Minnie Driver's draped chartreuse gown was by Donna Karan, and Vanessa Williams' seafoam green gown with feather embellishment was by Kevan Hall.
Ferrera's strapless gown with a jeweled waist was electric blue.
Joely Fisher wore a lemon yellow, plunging V-neck gown with beaded mesh insets by Pamella Roland, and Hayden Panettiere's empire-waist, blush-colored gown was by Marc Bouwer.
There always are actresses who go with classic black -- a safe choice that can also prove stunning: Mariska Hargitay wore a Zac Posen with architectural lines, Rachel Griffiths was in a strapless Chanel and Kyra Sedgwick wore a two-piece outfit by Oscar de la Renta with a subtle touch of feathers at the peplum and on the tiers of the skirt.
Jaime Pressly's beaded scoop-neck gown by St. John Couture had a '40s feel. She chose it, she said, because it was a bit unusual. "I knew nobody would be wearing this," she said.
Oh's black dress by Bottega Veneta had a touch of white tulle on top.
Pompeo added a gold tassel necklace and lots of bracelets by Fred Leighton to her navy dress by Michael Kors, whom she joked was her boyfriend because she so often wears his designs to big events. Her hair was big in a 1950s style.
Wanda Sykes was in a black Gucci pantsuit. She said she looked good in Gucci suits. "I just love the way it feels," she said of her outfit. "Except for right now, it's hot."
Glenn Close selected a Giorgio Armani midnight navy silk halter gown with satin lapel detailing, front slit and delicate train, and Tina Fey wore a Carolina Herrera navy chiffon gown with a polka-dot underlay.
Elizabeth Perkins' Carolina Herrera sleeveless white dress with bits of black and yellow was from the designer's resort collection. Perkins, who also wore champagne-colored cushion-cut diamond earrings on a French wire set by Chopard, said the dress was right for the night because it was light. "It's not necessarily couture but it's comfortable."
There also was a red-dress camp that included Mary Louise Parker, who wore a Marquesa diamond bracelet totaling almost 30 carats from Harry Winston, and Ali Larter, who called her strapless goddess gown by Reem Acra "a little sliver of nothing."
Klum wore a wine-colored gown with an up-to-there slit by Christian Dior Couture. She wore diamond jewelry from her own collection.
And veteran star Leslie Caron wore a gown she designed herself with fabric she bought in India.