Fashion forecast for the 2008 Emmy Awards

DYING TO know what the hottest looks on the Emmy 2008 red carpet will be? Well, of course.

You have only to look at the gowns worn at the Venice and Toronto film festivals by fashion-forward actresses Charlize Theron and Keira Knightley to get an idea of what's to come.

Based on these festival red carpets -- always a good barometer of Emmy fashions -- the predictions are: the chunky heel; strapless and one-shouldered gowns; gray and silver metallic; rich red; sumptuous jewel tones, particularly blue, purple and green; floaty silk chiffon and bird feathers.

That's right, feathers.

"We've seen a lot of feathers on the designer runways," says Susan Ashbrook of Film Fashion, an L.A.-based company that works with designers, stylists and actresses. " Penelope Cruz wore feathers to the 2008 Oscars, a navy haute couture Chanel gown. And Vanessa Williams wore a feathered sea foam gown to last year's Emmys."

Tellingly, Knightley, star of this year's period costume film, "The Duchess," wore a fine-feathered gown to the film's Venice premiere.

The newest gown silhouette seems to be the one-shouldered style, seen on Claire Danes and Theron at the Toronto and Venice film fests, respectively. Fashion experts predict floaty silk chiffon for Emmy might-be-cold-might-not night Sunday. With a shoulder wrap, the sheer fabric is good for arrivals on a hot afternoon and parties all night long.

Red carpet forecasters say Emmy hues will range from white, silver and gray to the new deep jewel tones of purple, blue and green. And though red made quite a splash at the '08 Oscars ( Katherine Heigl, Anne Hathaway, Helen Mirren and Heidi Klum), Ashbrook says several stylists are still requesting red gowns for the Emmys.

Gray and silver have been requested too (Knightley and Evangeline Lilly of "Lost" showed up at Toronto wearing gray gowns.)

And don't be shocked by short hemlines. "Look for shorter, fun and different dresses, tight, tight, tight and high-waisted," says stylist George Blodwell, who put "Heroes" cheerleader Hayden Panettiere in a sexy, short and tight leopard-print gown at a party for Donald Trump's new Dubai hotel. He says Panettiere is expected to wear Badgley Mischka to the Emmys.

This year, all eyes will be on the ladies of "Mad Men," January Jones and Christine Hendricks. And, of course, the trend-setting "Gossip Girls" stars Blake Lively and Leighton Meester.

"Blake and Leighton are both big Chanel fans," says Tom Julian, a trend analyst and the style voice of Oscar.com. "Leighton was in Chanel at the opening of their new L.A. boutique on Robertson Boulevard. But Blake did choose Ralph Lauren over Chanel for a major New York fashion event this past spring."

All we know for sure is that Emmy fashion is never, ever boring.

Elizabeth Snead writes the Dish Rag blog at TheEnvelope.com.

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