Trend pulse: Bare and backless

TV’s top stars showed off their assets in a big, bare way as low-cut V-necks and halter tops dominated the red carpet at the 58th annual Primetime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles.

Other fashion flashes: purple, red and white were the top colour choices; metallic beading drew eyes to all the right places; and soft, sexy, piled-high hairdos helped actresses keep their cool on an unusually hot night.

Each year, a cast of ladies leaves the red carpet ablaze. The women of Sex and the City paved the way for the Desperate Housewives.

At the 58th Primetime Emmy Awards, the girls of Grey’s Anatomy lit the place on fire: Katherine Heigl resembled a Greek siren in a flesh-toned vintage Escada gown. Kate Walsh, aka Mrs McDreamy, was equally stunning in a beaded, beige cap-sleeved gown. Chandra Wilson summoned her “don’t-mess-with-me” vixen in red. Ellen Pompeo, in a velvet grape dress by Christian Dior, and Sandra Oh, in flowing periwinkle Vera Wang, worked shades of the night’s trendiest hue — purple.

Other actresses pulling off purple included a slimmed-down Leah Remini of King of Queens, Lost’s Evangeline Lilly in Versace, Kyra Sedgwick in a purple-gray Giorgio Armani Prive and Cheryl Hines of Curb Your Enthusiasm in a form-fitting, dark purple floor-length gown with a fully beaded back.

Overall, the fashion of the night was all about backs. From Hines to Lisa Kudrow, who donned a black cocktail number with a spider-web lace back, dress designers focused on rears and backs more than the usually emphasised décolletage.

Another hot trend: lace — but not in an innocent doily way. This year’s lace was more sexy and vintage-inspired. Sedgwick, Jamie Pressly of My Name is Earl, and Sarah Chalke of Scrubs did it best.

Year after year, Joan Rivers calls it: The classics are always the ones to watch. Debra Messing, in a strapless white layered Alberta Ferreti, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus, in black-and-white satin, left the red carpet green with envy.

There were bona fide fashion supermodels outside the Shrine Auditorium as Heidi Klum and Tyra Banks represented their reality shows. Banks’ Georges Chakra gown was valued at $50,000. She went to Paris for the fitting of the glamorous black lace, one-shoulder gown with a deep V cutout that was entirely handmade. “A dress is a dress is a dress. It’s all about how it’s made,” Banks said.

Klum also was in a one-shoulder dress. Hers was a draped red gown by Michael Kors that clung to her pregnant belly.

On a red carpet where stars played it safe, Portia de Rossi took a slight risk — that paid off — with a slate gray gown by Zac Posen with rosettes around the open neck, cutouts on the bodice and an open back.

Jennifer Love Hewitt said she was trying to break out of her usual award show look with a full-length beaded metallic gown by Collette Dinnigan. “I wanted to do something different because I usually do something short and 1950s.”

Other risk takers?

Barry Manilow in a white suit and black shirt and Simon Cowell, doing his best Tom Ford imitation, in sunglasses and an unbuttoned white shirt showing off his chest hair. — Agencies