Steamy Fashion Heats Up Red Carpet

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Celebrities discreetly dabbed sweaty brows as they tried to beat the 90-degree heat on the red carpet at Sunday night's Emmy Awards.

Sarah Jessica Parker's (search) pale pink tulle and white lace Chanel dress took 250 hours to make.

"It reminded me of cotton candy. I just thought it was the most lovely thing," the "Sex and the City" star told Joan Rivers on the E! pre-show. "I can't believe I got to wear it."

Also from "Sex and the City," Kim Cattrall (search) wore a silver leather and beaded gown with cutout sides by Giorgio Armani.

"Will & Grace" co-star Debra Messing (search), another favorite fashionista, put pink on the red carpet: a strapless, draped dress in pink copper silk brocade by Elie Saab Couture. A pink satin Jimmy Choo handbag with a brushed-gold, chain-link handle completed the look.

The must-have accessory, though, seemed to be long, dangling -- and shimmering, of course -- chandelier earrings.

Overall, there were far fewer black gowns than in years past, and a lot more pink, red, metallic colors and different shades of purple.

Elisha Cuthbert (search) ("24") was going for a low-key look in a vintage Emanuel Ungaro strapless dress in purple with a handkerchief hem. "I try not to do anything on the red carpet that I don't do in my real life," she said.

Nine-year-old Dakota Fanning ("Steven Spielberg Presents Taken") picked up her pink jeweled purse at the mall to match her Joan Calabrese-designed, pink-and-black tea-length dress. Catherine Dent ("The Shield" and "Steven Spielberg Presents Taken"), wearing a red strapless column dress, bought her red satin purse for $9.99 and her dyed-to-match shoes for $99 on eBay. "The Manolos are $900," she said.

Sarah Wynter ("24"), fresh from attending several runway shows during New York Fashion Week, chose a cream-colored, V-neck, spaghetti strap gown by Australian designer Lisa Ho. The sparkling neckline was created by a vintage necklace sewn into the gown, she explained.

Janel Maloney ("The West Wing") was in a metallic beaded slip dress by Valentino, while co-star Allison Janney wore the raspberry color that designers are counting on to be very hot next season.

"Friends" co-stars Jennifer Aniston and Courteney Cox Arquette both were in blue. Aniston had on a short and simple navy cocktail dress, and Arquette was in an ice blue, full-length gown with plunging Vs in the front and back adorned with black mesh trim.

The zipper on Poppy Montgomery's (search) ("Without a Trace") strapless teal dress broke at the last minute and had to be tied with grosgrain ribbon.

But Montgomery said wearing the Richard Tyler dress with a fitted bodice and ballerina skirt was a dream come true. "It's a fairy princess dress with a twist. It's the only one of its kind," she said.

Rivers, known for her harsh fashion critiques, was on the receiving end this time when several celebrities teased her about her off-the-shoulder gown with its exploding black-and-gold feather top. Robin Williams compared it to Bjork's infamous swan dress at the 2001 Oscars.

Husband and wife team Bradley Whitford ("The West Wing") and Jane Kaczmarek ("Malcolm in the Middle") planned to donate their outfits -- a red-and-white tie for him and a black strapless gown for her -- to the "Clothes Off Our Back" fund-raiser, which they created to benefit the Cure Autism Now Foundation and the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Prada, Vera Wang, Reem Acra and Hugo Boss are among the designers who have been generous in signing off on the stars' donations, they said.

The most popular look for men was a traditional tuxedo with a colorful tie, leaving Joe Pantoliano ("The Sopranos") to stand out from the crowd in his custom-made Italian blue silk suit and his trademark backward Kangol hat.

Why the break from tradition?

"I hate black and sapphire is my birthstone," he said.