LOS ANGELES – The stars were hot, literally, on the red carpet at Sunday night's 60th annual Emmys awards — and that meant the sweeping trend on A-list actresses were updos.
Heidi Klum wore one and so did Mariska Hargitay. Same 'do for Marcia Cross, Vanessa Williams, Julia Louis Dreyfus and Sandra Oh.
The perfect accessory? Dangling earrings, such as Debra Messing in 19th century diamond fan-pendants from Fred Leighton.
There also were many strapless gowns — on the likes of Tina Fey and Teri Hatcher — and, in a nod to an emerging catwalk trend, asymmetric looks as seen on Christina Applegate and Vanessa Williams.
But almost to a person the looks were anything but trendy, sticking instead to safe silhouettes, boldly elegant jewelry and flattering colors.
Take, for example, Oh, one of the night's fashion winners, who previously had done time on a few worst-dressed lists. She came in a retro-style black lace dress by Oscar de la Renta with a ribbon sash and a few sparkles on the skirt. They matched her gleaming 5.5-carat (each!) emerald-cut diamond earrings by Bulgari.
Applegate didn't disappoint in her much-anticipated red-carpet return after breast-cancer surgery in a dramatic, sweeping gown in ice blue with metallic patches.
"I think Applegate was one of the best dressed of the night," said stylist Marie Alice Stephenson. "She was glamorous, elegant and she pushed it."
Christina Hendricks did her 1960s-era "Mad Men" character justice in a curve-hugging emerald green gown, which complemented her red hair that she wore in a up-style twist. Louis-Dreyfus showed off her trim figure in a salmon-colored Narciso Rodriguez dress with a fitted shiny bodice — complete with a sliver of skin showing under the bust.
Nicolette Sheridan wore a sleek strapless gown by Angel Sanchez in purple, a trendy fall color. Laura Dern did purple too; Holly Hunter wore a plum Jenny Packham gown with a jeweled waist.
Fey liked the color too, leaving her glasses at home, wearing her hair down and choosing a sexy sweetheart eggplant-colored gown by David Meister in what seemed an obvious attempt to avoid Sarah Palin comparisons.
Two of TV's brightest stars were Brooke Shields in a hot pink lipstick-color (pun intended) strapless gown with a ruffle down the front and brooch on the side of her waist by Badgley Mischka
Klum had the opportunity to take the most risks, as she was expected to adopt many looks throughout the night: She planned no fewer than six as she extended her red carpet walk in a custom Giorgio Armani Prive gunmetal metallic gown with a one-shoulder capelet to hosting duties on the broadcast.
"It was a mature choice for what Heidi normally wears," said Klum's stylist Maryam Malakpour, but Armani won her over by sending a personal note to congratulate her on her "Project Runway" nomination.
Fellow model and reality host Padma Lakshmi wore a short gold Monique Lhuillier dress, showing off her legs. "When you're working with a model, there is so much choice," said her Stephenson, who worked with Lakshmi. "They rarely look bad in a dress."
Powerhouses Oprah Winfrey and Susan Sarandon, in a draped jersey look by her friend Donna Karan, both opted for red, and Hargitay was in a soft one-shouldered, marigold-yellow gown by Carolina Herrera.
Still, there were plenty of neutrals.
Jennifer Love Hewitt — her hair in a bedhead bun — told E! that her white-with-black strapless gown by Herrera was an easy choice, and Williams' splashy white-and-black print dress by Kevan Hall had a jeweled strap that went from her shoulder to just below the waist. White was also worn by Kyra Sedgwick, whose dress by L'Wren Scott featured diamond embroidery.
The black fan club included America Ferrera in a bubble-hem dress and Hollywood siren-style red lipstick; Chandra Wilson in a gathered Tadashi Shoji halter gown; Kate Walsh in gown with alternating rows of crystals to go with a complete set of diamond-and-platinum jewelry by Neil Lane; and Dana Delaney in a vintage gown splashed with an Art Deco-style beaded embellishment.
Veteran star Glenn Close and Broadway transplant Kristin Chenowith both wore black Armani.
Black is tricky on the red carpet because it doesn't pop, said Stephenson. "America Ferrera had a bold Fred Leighton necklace and a shorter hem — and that's the way to do it. If you don't do something spectacular with black, it can fall short.
Felicity Huffman literally sparkled in a split-neck silver gown and she showed off a sleek bob haircut, and Eva Longoria wrapped herself as a gift to escort and husband Tony Parker in a short strapless number with fringed tiers by Marchesa. He wore a complemetary silver-gray suit.