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September 21, 2009 7:33 PM

Eye, Fashion

High Energy Emmys

After enduring a bleak year, Hollywood was in the mood to party at the 61st Primetime Emmy Awards. Even the heat couldn't spoil the festive mood on the red carpet and at the after parties. Another welcome change -- the...

After enduring a bleak year, Hollywood was in the mood to party at the 61st Primetime Emmy Awards. Even the heat couldn't spoil the festive mood on the red carpet and at the after parties. Another welcome change -- the carpet fashions looked brighter with the profusion of red, white and blue dresses -- and barely any black. "The sweat is distracting, yes, but it's still so exciting to be here," said Mila Kunis from under what must have been stifling layers of burgundy Monique Lhullier tulle. Rose Byrne, who donned a similarly puffy mesh frock from Valentino, managed to navigate the red carpet sans sweat, with the help of a handheld fan. She also changed into a lighter Etro dress for the HBO party at the Pacific Design Center.

"This is easier to walk in; the Valentino was cumbersome," she said.

Blake Lively was so pumped about her first Emmys that she also had two outfits: the slinky Versace she wowed in on the red carpet, and a short sequined Balmain number for the after parties.

"I saw this [Balmain] in the runway show and I was obsessed with it," the starlet said. "I have been just waiting for a time to wear it. I love the shoulders. I love the cut; it's just stunning."

Tinseltown should also be pleased with the much-improved show on CBS. Nielsen ratings were up almost 10 percent in key demographics, and the broadcast was snappier and funnier with Neil Patrick Harris at the helm after last year's five-host circus.

"Last year was a disaster, and Neil really showed us how it's done," Emmy winner and 'Survivor' host Jeff Probst said backstage. "But six is really the magic number," he joked of his much-maligned hosting duties last year with four fellow reality show hosts.

The lavish after parties also seemed to indicate the economic gloom might be lifting. "Entertainment Tonight" and People magazine invited hundreds to Vibiana in downtown Los Angeles to enjoy exotic appetizer stations, a fresh-squeezed juice and Absolut vodka bar, and a Mary J Blige concert.

"You are all here to party, so I'm going to bring it tonight," she said.
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