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Many stars stuck to the red-carpet standard hues of black and red for the 63rd Annual Emmy Awards on Sunday, but it’s safe to say anything goes at this particular Hollywood lovefest, where the fashion stakes are a little lower than at the Academy Awards. Hollywood golden girls Gwyneth Paltrow and Kate Winslet added a touch of class in anything-but-basic black see-through beaded Emilio Pucci and a classic red Elie Saab sheath, respectively. (And several other starlets followed suit, such as Evan Rachel Wood in a sparkly black Elie Saab dress and Nina Dobrev (in Donna Karan) and Kerry Washington (in Zuhair Murad) in pretty versions of the classic red dress.)

But others took risks, such as Claire Danes and Rachael Taylor in multicolored strapless sequin columns by Oscar de la Renta and Armani Privé; Dianna Agron in a bright purple Roksanda Ilincic satin column, and 11-year-old “Man Men” star Kiernan Shipka in Balenciaga. There was still plenty of old-fashioned Jean Harlow-esque Hollywood bling, worn well in crystal-encrusted sheaths on Christina Hendricks (in Johanna Johnson) and Maria Bello (in Kaufman Franco).

This story first appeared in the September 19, 2011 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Best comedy actress (and budding fashion designer and onetime FIT student) Melissa McCarthy, who designed her own dress with designer Daniela Kurrle, was herself busy people watching. “I have a case of swivel head from all the dresses,” she said. “It’s so hard to concentrate. I keep wanting to go up to people and touch their dresses, even though I know that’s not OK. My sister keeps telling me, ‘You can’t touch people you don’t know.’”

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