LOS ANGELES -- Apparently, the Emmy memo went out: Shun the fussy, shellacked up-dos; bypass the bacon-hued faux tans; and be sure to don a variation of red or silver to blend in with almost every other attendee.
Clearly, not everyone got that memo, which, quite frankly, is a great relief.
The Emmys have never been known for a risque red carpet, and this year was no different, with many of TV's finest choosing to stroll safely into the Shrine Auditorium. With a host about as serrated as a butter knife, did anyone expect otherwise?
Mary-Louise Parker, in a Dolce & Gabbana siren red satin corset dress that contrasted with her alabaster complexion, looked downright Raphaelite.
Less-thrilling picks included Grey's Anatomy actress Kate Walsh's brick-tone Pamela Dennis sheath that drooped around the bust and Felicity Huffman's too-revealing David Meister gown in murderous crimson.
Becki Newton of Ugly Betty was one of the evening's real fashion mavericks, donning a silver mermaid-silhouette gown with delicious scalloped tiers. The effect bordered slightly on amphibious, but she pulled it off and added some high drama.
Desperate Housewives star Marcia Cross also swanned in silver with a bold, platinum-and-white Halston-inspired gown by Georges Chakra.
Teri Hatcher wore a blush-colored silk chiffon gown with a crystal beaded bodice by Badgley Mischka Couture.
Eva Longoria, who opted to show off her knees, wore a silver sequined cocktail dress that rendered her as shiny as a sexy hood ornament.
The award show for the small screen is also fair game for lesser-known designers. The Sopranos' Edie Falco and Chandra Wilson of Grey's Anatomy probably furrowed the brows of fashionistas by wearing relatively unknown New York designer Randi Rahm.
Vanessa Williams, a longtime, loyal fan of Los Angeles designer Kevan Hall, triumphed in a pastel green empire-waist dress festooned with frothy ostrich feathers. Vintage ruled, too, with Portia de Rossi in a deep blue Azzaro by Vanessa Seward gown with an attached jeweled choker.
Rebecca Romijn, meanwhile, affected a modern-day flapper in a drop-waist Guy Laroche gown with swingy, silver beading.
Most men exercised sartorial caution, too. Is it that none of these guys know how to knot a bow tie?
John Krasinski of The Office and House's Hugh Laurie stood out in classic tuxedos, while Kevin Dillon and Rainn Wilson looked more like nephews of Tony Soprano in shiny black shirts and wide ties. But it was Alec Baldwin, looking like a debonair, well-nourished James Bond in a white dinner jacket and bow tie, who deserved a nod for going old school. Oh, and kudos to victor Terry O'Quinn of Lost, for courting ridicule with his flamingo-pink shirt.
Perhaps it was the eco-theme - 95,000 plastic bottles were recycled to create the red carpet - that spurred actresses to forgo hairspray. Long, tousled waves or straight manes with center parts dominated, and actresses such as Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Kyra Sedgwick and Debra Messing styled accordingly.
Monica Corcoran and Emili Vesilind write for the Los Angeles Times.