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The goddesses of the small screen entered the Shrine Auditorium at Sunday night’s 54th Annual Primetime Emmys looking as if they were channeling the ancient deities. But Aphrodite never went into syndication — nor did she wear four-inch stilettos.
This story first appeared in the September 24, 2002 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Sarah Jessica Parker, just five weeks from her delivery date, was a no-show. Yet red-carpet watchers survived and even had plenty of new fashion stars to muse over at the awards, which — with the rainbow of satins, folds of chiffon, twinkle of diamonds and soft wavy hair — seemed like a counter-response to the somber business attire of last year’s telecast, canceled twice following the 9/11 attacks. Maybe it was all the press given the freshly renovated landmark, with its Moorish, circa-1926 design, that inspired the mythic glamour of old Hollywood. Either way, Best Actress winner Jennifer Aniston and her “Friends” cohort Courteney Cox Arquette took a chance on pretty, vintage-styled Christian Dior dresses in pale pink and blue, respectively, while Lisa Kudrow went for the real thing in a fuchsia, strapless Madame Grès from Decades. The trio never looked better, and the long-awaited Emmy win for best comedy series only added to their glow.
With Aniston gone girlie, Debra Messing seemed to have traded places with Mrs. Pitt. “I got a little too gussied up last year,” Messing admitted, smoothing her black Michael Kors jersey gown. “I wanted to be clean, modern and fresh,” she said, “You know, very New York.”
But the news was in the wash of eye-popping colors, right in step with the New York spring collections and perfectly appropriate on this sweltering first day of autumn in Los Angeles. Janel Maloney’s aqua Bill Blass came “from his last collection,” she pointed out. Patricia Heaton chose a turquoise-lined eggplant Thierry Mugler. Amy Brenneman went for a periwinkle gown by Canadian designer Jayne Mabbot and Angela Bassett shined in a swirl of brights by Italian designer Stefano Guerriero.
While Joan Allen, in Randolph Duke’s chartreuse satin toga, took the goddess theme a bit too far with those long tendrils of hair, Tara Subkoff showed a little Grecian can go a long way. Escorting beau Jimmy Fallon, the Imitation of Christ designer joked: “Tonight, I just get to be the blonde whose name nobody knows.” She whipped up the minidress just the day before. As for Fallon’s dapper Gucci tux, she said, “Oh, he dressed himself. He has a strong sense of style.”
TV’s young goth girls flexed their own strength of style. Swathed in a grape charmeuse Halston, “Six Feet Under” star Lauren Ambrose suddenly appeared like a siren in the making. Kelly Osbourne, with her (“Addams”) family in tow, went straight to the source of her punk couture aesthetic, pink-haired fairy fashion godmother, Zandra Rhodes, who provided one of her vintage dresses from the Seventies.
Yet it was Jennifer Garner who swept the style honors in her vanilla Ralph Lauren gown. “Working with him made the whole experience,” she gushed. “He would send sketches and I would circle what I liked and send it back. It was the most fun I’ve ever had getting dressed.” For the chameleon “Alias” star, that says a lot.