Perhaps the only thing black at a black tie affair these days is the tie (and not even that anymore), as red carpet trendsetters choose vibrant color over dark, somber formals. Trends spotted at this year's 60th annual Primetime Emmy awards late September single out a spectrum of bright, vivid jewel tone gowns, and greater interest in colorful gem-set jewelry over classic white diamonds. Used both to blend and contrast with dress hues, gem-set jewelry is attracting a growing fan base as the ideal accessory to express personal style.
The most memorable gowns and jewels at the Emmys were in brilliantly vivid hues of salmon-like coral, luscious raspberry, rich purple, lemon yellow, emerald green and aqua blue in either cocktail or floor length. There also were several white and black graphic looks. Hinting at spring '09 trends, bare shoulders ruled in single strap and strapless styles, with ruffles, folds, wispy transparency and texture combinations prevalent.
Various colored stones were in play including many quartz and beryl variety gems; blue and fancy colored sapphire; emerald, tanzanite, garnet, turquoise, and onyx. Even, the precious metals they were set in reflected a strong desire for color, with yellow gold and blackened platinum favored. The influence of color also impacted celebrity choices in diamond jewelry, with the hottest looks in dark shades like black, cognac and chocolate.
The jewelry that translated well with these fashions includes big earrings in drop, pendant and chandelier styles-the perfect accoutrement to bare, often asymmetrical necklines-bold gemstone rings, and stacked gem-encrusted bracelets (mixed bangle and/or cuff).
Some amazing examples of these design directions are found in Erica Courtney jewelry, such as yellow beryl pendant earrings and bold lemon quartz and pink sapphire ring in 18k gold, as worn by Kathy Griffin from "My Life on the D-List". Kathy Joosten from "Desperate Housewives" wore killer tanzanite drop earrings, and Katee Sackhoff from "Battlestar Galactica" had an impressive tanzanite ring. While Marin Hinkle from "Two and A Half Men" adorned in aquamarine earrings with South Sea pearl drops and pearl ring, and Kate Flannery from "The Office" wore green amethyst drop earrings and ring.
A real attention-grabber graced the face of supermodel Heidi Klum in carved lavender jade and blackened platinum butterfly earrings by Lorraine Schwartz. Also by Schwartz, Christina Applegate of "Samantha Who" wore standout amethyst chandelier earrings and ring in blackened platinum; and talk show queen, Oprah Winfrey had on cascading orange sapphire earrings and a ring in yellow gold. Moreover, "Criminal Minds" star Kelly Kruger wore H.Stern mixed quartz gem earrings and amethyst ring.
A Fred Leighton fan, Mariska Hargitay of "Law and Order Special Victims Unit", topped her canary yellow goddess gown with 19th century bold gold and garnet pendant earrings, and several bracelets including a turquoise, pearl and diamond bangle, garnet and turquoise snake bracelet, and ruby and diamond flower link bracelet. Also piling on some Fred Leighton wrist wear was Hayden Panettierre of "Heroes" in several 1920-1930s platinum styles set in onyx and diamond, and sapphire and diamond.
Colorful diamond jewels are on trend like the mammoth 25-carat black diamond and platinum Neil Lane ring worn by Kate Walsh of "Private Practice" and "Grey's Anatomy", who also sported over 100 carats of sapphire and diamond jewelry by Lane. Lisa Edelstein of "House" adorned in black diamond platinum earrings, ring and necklace by Erica Courtney. And, Emilie de Ravin of "Lost" had on Le Vian chocolate diamond ball bracelets and earrings, while Mary Steenburgen wore H.Stern 18k noble gold and cognac diamond earrings.
Despite the fact that statement necklaces are spot on for fall-winter as well as spring-summer '09, there were few examples on the red carpet. However, there were two outstanding pieces: a million-dollar necklace by H.Stern with more than 186-carats of emeralds worn by screen and stage legend, Phylicia Rashad, an outstanding lead actress nominee for "A Raisin in the Sun." And, E! Live correspondent Giuliana Rancic flaunted a stunning citrine, topaz and diamond gold necklace by Chopard.
Red carpet critics singled out few fashion "don'ts" in the crowd. But all agreed that colorful fine jewelry is a definite "do" for any formal affair.