To celebrate the 69th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards, which air on ABC on Sept. 17, 2017, Wonderwall.com is taking a ride in our time machine back to 1997 to see who wore what on the Emmys red carpet 20 years ago… starting with Ellen DeGeneres and then-girlfriend Anne Heche. Five months after the comedy star publicly came out as a gay woman, she and Anne donned sparkling complementary chocolate-brown looks for what would be Ellen's big night at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium in Pasadena, California, on Sept. 14, 1997: She won an Emmy for outstanding comedy writing for her sitcom, "Ellen." Now keep reading to see more 1997 Emmys fashion…
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Gillian Anderson's white satin gown was tailored to fit her like a glove for the 49th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards in 1997. But it might have fit a little too well: She nearly tripped as she struggled to climb the stairs to the podium to accept the award for best lead actress in a drama for her work on "The X-Files" that year.
"The X-Files" star David Duchovny, who was up for a best lead actor in a drama Emmy in 1997 (but lost to "NYPD Blue" star Dennis Franz), looked dashing in a classic tux next to then-wife Tea Leoni, who donned a menswear-inspired pinstriped wrap dress over pants. The two had gotten married just four months earlier.
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Helen Hunt stunned in a silver sequined Laurel dress (according to the Los Angeles Times, it was off-the-rack!) that looked like it had been poured onto her lithe frame. She won the Emmy for best lead actress in a comedy that night for her work on "Mad About You."
Best supporting actress nominee Lisa Kudrow wore a silver satin Armani gown with beaded floral detailing as she posed for a photo with "Friends" co-star Matthew Perry, who wore a Hugo Boss three-piece tux, on the 1997 Emmys red carpet. (She would take home an Emmy for her work on the beloved sitcom a year later.)
"Home Improvement" star (and reigning teen heartthrob of the era) Jonathan Taylor Thomas celebrated the 1997 Emmys in a suit and T-shirt.
Ten years after he won an Emmy for his work on "Moonlighting," Bruce Willis escorted then-wife Demi Moore — who made jaws drop in a vintage midnight blue Norman Norell gown — to the 1997 ceremony. The HBO project on which she'd starred, "If These Walls Could Talk," was up for the outstanding made-for-TV movie Emmy that year. (It lost to "Miss Evers' Boys.")
Neve Campbell, who was starring on "Party of Five" at the time, wore a black gown featuring a high slit with a playful point d'esprit panel — and a very '90s lariat-style necklace — to the 1997 Emmy Awards.
Another "Party of Five" star, Jennifer Love Hewitt, celebrated after the 1997 Emmy Awards ceremony in a dress showcasing a popular '90s trend: burnout velvet.
Alfre Woodard matched her hair to her cream and gold burnout velvet dress — and accessorized with a pearl necklace, matching earrings and husband Roderick Spencer on her arm — the night she won best actress in a miniseries or special for her work in "Miss Evers' Boys" at the 1997 Emmys.
Also wearing burnout velvet at the 1997 Emmys? Newlywed Camille Grammer, who'd married "Frasier" star Kelsey Grammer (who was up for best actor in a comedy series that year) less than two months earlier.
Peri Gilpin wore a silver-embroidered black spaghetti-strap column dress by Badgley Mischka — along with that ubiquitous '90s accessory, the lariat necklace — when her show, "Frasier," picked up its fourth consecutive best comedy series prize at the 1997 Emmy Awards.
No wonder Niles was in love with Daphne! "Frasier" star Jane Leeves stunned at the 1997 Emmys in a red side-slit slip dress from the Halston Signature collection by Randolph Duke.
Melissa Joan Hart, who was starring on "Sabrina the Teenage Witch" at the time, hit Paramount Television's 1997 Emmy Awards afterparty in a red empire-waist gown accessorized with a lariat necklace.
Another lady in red at the 1997 Emmys? Hervé Léger-clad Christine Lahti, a best actress in a drama nominee that year for her work on "Chicago Hope."
Baby-faced Connie Britton and Nathan Fillion (yep, they were dating at the time) looked like they were going to prom, not the 1997 Emmys, in their fancy formalwear.
Movie star Michelle Pfeiffer played it low-key in basic black and sunglasses as she accompanied husband David E. Kelley — the creator behind one of the night's most nominated shows, "Chicago Hope" — to the 1997 Primetime Emmy Awards. Another of his hit shows, "Ally McBeal," had just premiered on FOX a few days earlier.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, a nominee for best supporting actress for her work on "Seinfeld" that year, turned to Bob Mackie to design her 1997 Emmys look. "I was in the postpartum fashion mode," she later told People magazine of her corseted black-and-blue gown, which she wore three months after giving birth to son Charlie. "Bob wanted me to wear a necklace to accentuate the flare, but I didn't. I loved wearing the tulle wrap… It's sort of a contessa look."
Helen Mirren, a nominee for outstanding lead actress in a miniseries or special for her work on "Prime Suspect V: Errors of Judgement," was a pioneer of a now-standard award show ritual: She changed into a second outfit during the 1997 Emmy Awards. Her red carpet look? A bronze-tinged beaded metallic tank dress accessorized with dark opera-length gloves and a feather stole around her neck. Keep reading to see her next look…
Before Helen Mirren presented an Emmy to Gillian Anderson during the telecast, she changed into a pale gold beaded gown with matching satin opera-length gloves. Less than four months later, she married director Taylor Hackford on New Year's Eve.
Barely two years after suffering a paralyzing spinal cord injury in a horse-riding accident, the late Christopher Reeve was nominated for an Emmy Award. He was up for best directing for a miniseries or special for the 1997 HBO film "In the Gloaming," which starred Glenn Close (left), who was nominated for best actress in a miniseries or special that year. The stars were accompanied by Christopher's late wife, Dana Reeve.
Simple silk and satin slip dresses were a huge '90s red carpet trend. "ER" star Laura Innes, a nominee for best supporting actress in a drama at the 1997 Emmys, delivered a sartorial home run in this butterscotch-hued version.
"ER" star Sherry Stringfield, who was up for best actress in a drama at the 1997 Emmys, hit the red carpet in a black crepe Valentino gown and an equally simple updo.
Jeri Ryan donned a simple black satin slip dress to attend Paramount Television's 2017 Emmy Awards afterparty. She joined the cast of "Star Trek: Voyager" the same month.
French Stewart eschewed traditional formalwear for something a little funkier at the 1997 Emmys, where he posed with "3rd Rock From the Sun" co-star Kristen Johnston. Kristen, who wore a yellow satin Vera Wang dress to the show, took home a best supporting actress Emmy that night for her work on their hit comedy.
Purple was a huge color trend at the 1997 Emmys — and a lucky hue too: Bette Midler, who donned a periwinkle satin suit for the telecast, took home an award that night for best performance in a variety or music program for "Bette Midler in Concert: Diva Las Vegas."
"NYPD Blue" star Kim Delaney — who won a best supporting actress Emmy at the 1997 show for her work on the hit drama — also wore purple on her big night. Her jewel-toned satin halter-style gown, with a matching stole, was backless!
While Michael J. Fox, nominated for the outstanding lead actor in a comedy Emmy for his performance on "Spin City," wore a classic tuxedo, his wife, Tracy Pollan, slipped into a pretty purple gown with a matching wrap for his big night. The next year, Michael went public with his Parkinson's disease diagnosis.
Entertainment news program host Nancy O'Dell, who also wore purple — and is that a swathe of fur around her neck?! — was in her second year at "Access Hollywood" when she attended the 1997 Emmys.
"Cybill" star Christine Baranski, a best supporting actress in a comedy series nominee at the 1997 Emmys, was one of the only stars who opted to wear a dress with a short hemline that year. Christine's shimmering white boat-neck mini was designed by costumer Robert Turturice. Keep reading to see it from the back…
1997 Emmy nominee Christine Baranski looked just as good from behind thanks to her dress's backless design, which featured beautiful draping.
"Touched By an Angel" star Roma Downey, who was nominated for a best lead actress in a drama Emmy that year, hit the red carpet in an iridescent marsala-hued strapless gown.
Candice Bergen attended the 1997 Emmys in a brocade-patterned orange and gold column gown. Her appearance came two weeks before the start of her 10th and final season as the star of "Murphy Brown," the sitcom that led her to multiple Emmys wins (she declined to be nominated further after taking home her fifth statue for playing the titular television journalist).
Dana Delany donned a metallic dress by Valentino featuring off-the-shoulder gold mesh sleeves at the 1997 Emmy Awards.
Pretty in pink! "In the Gloaming" star Bridget Fonda was up for best supporting actress in a miniseries or special at the 1997 Emmys — her first and only Emmy nod.
Back in 2009, Entertainment Weekly put "The Nanny" star Fran Drescher's strapless high-low 1997 Emmys ensemble on its "All-time Best/Worst" Emmy style list. "This too-tight, too-short ensemble may have been appropriate if Drescher were walking Hollywood Blvd — not the red carpet," it read. "And don't even get us started on the train, which seemed to be trying to stage its own getaway." It wasn't a great night: Fran also lost the best lead actress in a comedy prize to Helen Hunt that night.
Funnywoman Tracey Ullman looked like a million bucks in a simple, sleeveless brown beaded gown at the 1997 Emmys, where she took home the award for outstanding variety, music or comedy series for "Tracey Takes On…"
Yup, brown was a popular color at the 1997 Emmy Awards. "Ellen" star Joely Fisher glammed up in a sparkling chocolate-hued dress featuring a feathered collar and a sheer train.
"JAG" star Catherine Bell hit Paramount Television's 1997 Emmy Awards afterparty wearing a popular silhouette that year — a simple tank-style dress. Hers featured gold embroidery.
Traci Bingham was starring on "Baywatch" when she hit the 1997 Emmys red carpet in a black gown with a thigh-high slit.