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Best-dressed celebrities at the Emmy Awards

  • Story Highlights
  • InStyle picks the best dressed from the red carpet at the Primetime Emmys
  • Nominee Debra Messing chose a ruby-hued column gown by Michael Kors
  • Surprising addition to best dressed was reality-TV star Kim Kardashian
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InStyle

Hollywood celebrated television's best and brightest at the 61st Emmy Awards on Sunday night.

"Gossip Girl" Blake Lively was the night's best-dressed in a pailette-encrusted Versace gown.

"Gossip Girl" Blake Lively was the night's best-dressed in a pailette-encrusted Versace gown.

While many actresses played it safe in classic cuts and neutral colors, there were a few standouts, mostly young stars who brought excitement to an otherwise ordinary red carpet.

"Gossip Girl" Blake Lively was the night's best dressed in a pailette-encrusted Versace gown with a plunging neckline and thigh-high slit. With this bold choice, Lively secured her place as Hollywood's sexiest young star -- a style icon in the making.

Lively's "Gossip Girl" co-star Leighton Meester, another style star to watch, opted for a less overtly sexy look. Meester showed just enough skin in a delicately draped, goddess-inspired gown by Bottega Veneta.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series nominee Debra Messing chose a ruby-hued, Swarovski-encrusted column gown by Michael Kors. Not surprisingly, red was one of the night's hottest trends and "The Starter Wife" star's take was simple and elegant. Photo See photos of the best dressed from the red carpet »

Best Actress nominee Drew Barrymore went for pure old Hollywood glamour in a classic strapless design from Monique Lhuillier. The "Grey Gardens" star's dress stood out on the red carpet thanks to its unexpected blush color and 41embroidered tulle details.

"Damages" star Rose Byrne looked breathtaking in a frothy, princess-like design by Valentino. The Outstanding Supporting Actress nominee made the ethereal crystal-embellished tulle gown look perfectly modern by pairing it with sleek, natural hair and subtle makeup.

"Big Love" had a big night with two of the show's stars making waves on the red carpet. Known for her adventurous fashion choices, Chloe Sevigny chose a classic one-shoulder cut in a non-traditional polka-dot print. Her co-star Ginnifer Goodwin also wowed, in a sexy fuchsia Yves Saint Laurent gown with an exaggerated sweetheart neckline. Video Watch CNN's Alan Duke talk about celebrity swag »

A surprising addition to this year's best dressed was reality-TV star Kim Kardashian. While she often looks over-the-top, Kardashian kept it simple in a white, one-sleeve gown with a '70s feel by designer Ina Soltani. She was one of a few stars to take a fashion risk that really worked on the red carpet.

Other daring red-carpet standouts were January Jones, who ditched her prim and proper 1960s Mad Men wardrobe in favor of an edgy Versace with a futuristic glass-beaded bustier, and Olivia Wilde, who chose a one-shoulder lace gown with uber-revealing cutouts by Marchesa.

The only envelopes pushed tonight were those between presenters and award winners. That said, Hollywood's new crop of young stars brought fresh fashion to the red carpet.

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