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Dressed to Impress? Not Exactly, but the Somber Look Works


Their marching orders were to dress down, and like well-directed actors in a post-Sept. 11 world, celebrities took the red carpet from its usual spectacle to respectable.

The mood at Sunday night's Emmy Awards was subdued, and so was the dress, almost funereal with the dominance of black. Bright, in-your-face color--except for a purple pantsuit here, a blue dress there--was absent.

Following a no-glam edict, women shunned mega-wattage gowns for simple-yet-elegant cocktail dresses or pantsuits, wearing little or no jewelry. Even their makeup and hair were low-key: no glittered faces, no outrageous coifs.

As for the men? They were just glad not to be dressed like penguins, opting for business suits with monochromatic shirts and ties fit for the corporate boardroom. Their favorite accessory? Hand-held televisions hidden under their coats so they could watch the final game of the World Series.

There was very little fashion hype and self-importance. "This is about being tasteful, not dressing in poor taste," said Lorna Luft, wearing a navy pantsuit, a lapel adorned with two crystal brooches and carrying a ruby slipper purse in her hands, a quiet tribute to her mother, Judy Garland. "I'm proud to be here and not to be talking about fashion, because this is about celebrating television and paying homage to the fallen."

Even displays of patriotism were downplayed--Old Glory on ties, jeweled brooches and crystal-embellished small clutches. Most just wore the ubiquitous red, white and blue ribbons pinned on lapels and spaghetti straps.

The march down the red carpet almost had a sweetness about it--a genuine feeling of relief that the show finally went on.

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