It's been seven months since Hollywood's last major awards show, the Oscars. Historically, by the time that Zeppelin-covered dish is served, stars and spectators have gorged on statuette spectacles for weeks on end. (In 2011, a very pregnant Natalie Portman told reporters she planned to celebrate her Oscar win by "staying in bed, not having to do my makeup or hair, and keeping my sweats on." She may as well have been in a food coma.)
But we're at the beginning of all that. Course one, maybe even the amuse bouche. And it helps that New York Fashion Week just spun out a fresh batch of frocks, an influx of newness that ought to spice up the red carpet troops.
"I'm hoping to see a little more than the simple, solid satin dress," said Clinton Kelly, who is co-hosting ABC's Emmy Awards red carpet show. "I'm hoping for lots of beautiful embellishment, like great beading and wonderful textures like lace."
On Kelly's must-see list: Tina Fey, Christina Hendricks, Julie Bowen, and Sofia Vergara ("She's like a wonderful cartoon character," he said of Vergara) -- all nominees, all red carpet favorites, all contenders for the prize to be won before stepping up to any podium.
"Actresses today, they want to end up on the best dressed list," Kelly said. "And the way you do that is to take a pretty classic approach to the red carpet, with a little bit of a risk. If you're wearing things that are made out of tissue paper or some sort of crazy pantsuit, you're doing it wrong."
Many Hollywood newcomers will also make their Emmy debut on Sunday, among them "Girls" creator Lena Dunham and her co-star Allison Williams, who charmed editors and designers at fashion week. Makeup artist Collier Strong, who's done the mugs of such on-screen vets as Brooke Shields and Catherine Zeta Jones, offered a bit of advice to the freshmen.
"Not wearing enough makeup and not looking polished is a mistake," he said. "Not powdering -- simple things like that. You're on camera, you're under really bright lights, and there's nothing worse than seeing a greasy face."
Strong and Kelly ticked off trends to watch for: bold lips, bright cheeks. ("It's a beautiful flush of color under the red carpet," Strong said.) Multi-hued, smokey eyes; printed, floor-length gowns. And the most "in" thing of all: the people who whet your appetite for months to come.
"The Emmys, the Golden Globes, and the Oscars: those are the three biggies," Strong said. "Represent. Look good. You're laying the groundwork for your future in the business."
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- Natalie Portman