Television's biggest night has turned into its most elegant.
The 2011 Emmy red carpet was a sea of understated, classic gowns. But classic didn't mean conservative, with brilliant jewel tones dominating the evening for those best- and worst-dressed alike.
There were few fashion risks and few fashion fails. Red, gold and blush were the colors of the night; hair was loose and makeup mostly natural in contrast to many years where severe looks aged many a starlet.
WInners Julie Bowen (best supporting actress in a comedy) and Kate Winslett (best actress in a miniseries set the tone of the night: While Bowen wore black Oscar de la Renta gown and Winslett red Elie Saab, both gowns were understated save for deep, flattering necklines. The simple styling -- minimal jewelry, soft makeup, let the women shine through.
Standing out on the red carpet early on was Cobie Smulders of CBS's "How I Met Your Mother" looking lovely and a flowing Alberto Ferretti gown deep sky blue gown -- an unusual red carpet color. Paired with her soft dark waves and chandelier earrings, she looked perfect. Too bad she had to wear her teal "Emmytones" costume the rest of the show.
It was a great night for young starlets looking not too old and not too young, too. Knocking it out the park was Lea Michelle, of Fox's "Glee", looking sophisticated in a fire-engine red, form-fitting Marchesa gown with rosette-like epaulettes serving as cap sleeves.
Also wearing red: "Modern Family's" Sofia Vergara in in an unforgettable Vera Wang dress. How does she do it?
Other standouts: Katie Holmes in blue Calvlin Klein Collection; Elizabeth Moss in gold Marchesa, Heidi Klum in flirty champagne ruffles by "Project Runway" alum Christian Siriano. (We'll forgive her husband Seal for showing more cleavage that Christina Hendricks.)
Of course, every red carpet has its risk takers: Juliana Margules, winner of Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series for her work in "The Good Wife", chose a while Armani Prive gown that while flattering, is studded with what looked a little clear plastic ovals that looked a bit like they came from a BeDazzler gun. But as fashion fails go, that's pretty minor.