It was a steamy 90-something degrees in Los Angeles for the 64th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards -- and that was before the stars showed up.
TV's top-tiered artists turned up the heat with an eye-popping palette of warm orangey sorbets, crimsons and yummy buttercups balanced by a refreshing dose of more subdued blacks, blues and ivories.
Padma Lakshmi of "Top Chef" channeled West Coast sunset with a tight tangerine gown with flouncy bottom by Monique Lhuillier. Another fiery Monique was donned by Ginnifer Goodwin. Reds ranged from bright and cheery to deep and demure, compliments of Mayim Bialik, Gretchen Mol, Kat Dennings, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Tina Fey's picks for the paparazzi parade.
At the other end of the spectrum was the second coming of seafoam, a hot hue for spring 2012. Heidi Klum stunned in it with sophisticated sex appeal supplied by the nearly-to-the-navel neckline and Angelina-esque slit. Julianne Hough mixed it with some glitz, as did "Modern Family" actress Sofia Vergara. She wore it in a turquoise incarnation, with crisscross straps and a fit that flattered her va-va-va-voom figure.
A unique color that cropped up a couple of times was a dusty hazel with a tinge of blue. Emily VanCamp did it in a delicate J. Mendel with sheer overlays, and Zooey Deschanel's custom Reem Acra incorporated it into the star's quirky-yet-chic style.
Despite the reign of brights and blues, black helped a handful of celebs make a statement, including Amy Poehler, Glenn Close, Giuliana Rancic and Melissa McCarthy. January Jones looked runway-worthy in a strapless Zac Posen with structured skirt and hair severely slicked back.
Solids dominated the red carpet with a peppering of prints on Elisabeth Moss and Ariel Winter. The silhouette of the night was streamlined, opposed to ball gown, and necklines toyed with taking the sweet out of sweetheart by dipping to almost-bosom-baring depths.
Hair and accessories seemed to follow a similar mantra: keep it simple. High, low and side ponytails were aplenty, along with neatly pulled back buns. Others went for a down do with a relaxed wave.
Guys stuck with the traditional black tux and bow tie. However, a couple dabbled in patterns (Jesse Tyler Ferguson's plaid coordinated with his bow tie) and seersucker.
For those watching the fanfare from afar (aka the couch), networks came up with techy takes on how celebs showed off their ensembles for the cameras. The E! channel brought back for its red carpet special the 360 glam cam, which gave viewers a freeze-framed glance at stars from all angles. It also introduced the stiletto cam and the mani-cam, a miniature red carpet for actresses to model their manicures. These creative kinds of television coverage, coupled with the bold styles (a switch from last award season's abundance of blushes and nudes), made for a night of fun fashion.
Sara Bauknecht: firstname.lastname@example.org.