HOLLYWOOD (UPI) -- Tinseltown's annual Oscars, Emmys, Golden Globes and other award shows have since their inceptions been two shows in one.
The first is the major attraction, handing hardware to celebrities, principally actors and actresses, for their performances during the past year.
The second is almost as important to actresses and designers, a super telecast fashion show of the latest hotsy-totsy formal outfits and accessories.
Traditional ramps, down which models flaunt their fancy and expensive duds with appropriate hip and pelvic gyrations, are replaced by red carpets and glamour girls.
In place of a fashion maven narrating the yardage goodies in the fashion idiom, an emcee or kowtowing "celebrity reporter" breathlessly asks celebrities who designed their gowns.
Piquant glamour girls blushingly announce the name of some fashion house or celebrity designer, thereby knocking down the price of their rags by about half.
Presumably housewives in housecoats, blue jeans or inexpensive threads watching the show will dash out to buy knock-off replicas produced by fashion houses for a pittance a few weeks later.
This fashion show with the world's most glamourous women performing as live mannequins has become an integral element of awards shows, unabashed commercial-free plugs for ultra-expensive men and women clothiers mostly from Europe.
Then the guys cry out "Wow!" hoping the lady's fashion statement will become a popular trend.
No way, of course, but it's almost as much fun as thumbing through Playboy.
Now even some of Hollywood dudes arriving in weird versions of tuxedos also are queried about the designers of their penguin-like threads.
Nobody cares, least of all the slobs drinking beer and chomping snacks in front of TV sets.
The whole silly award-show-fashion-show programs are regularly re-run with emphasis on celebrity costumes and grooming on "Entertainment Tonight," "Access Hollywood" and other tabloid shows by breathless reporters.
Television viewers will be spared the indignities of these commercial hustles somewhat Nov. 4 at this year's Emmy Awards.
The twice postponed Emmy show is downplaying excessive attention to fuss and feathers and vulgar expressions of wealth and bare skin out of respect for the victims and survivors of the Sept. 11 terrorist atrocities.
For which Americans should all be grateful.
Sure, the fashion houses may suffer and exhibitionistic actresses may feel put upon, but, hell, this is war.
Doubtless by the turn of the year and with the growing schedule of award shows, fashion freaks will be strutting their stuff again and their designers once more will hear the merry jingle of cash registers.
All the same, it is astonishing how much importance is given female fashions, an industry worth uncounted billions of dollars.
A great curiosity is that while women in this country are fascinated by what movie and TV stars wear, 99 percent of them cannot afford to buy such finery.
To begin with, the average size 12 or 14 American woman couldn't begin to squeeze into any of these style-setting getups.
There have been fashion trend-setters like Princess Diana, Jacqueline Kennedy and Nancy Reagan whose finery were collector's items and represented good taste as opposed to stuff worn by movie stars. But even their items were far beyond the pocketbooks of most women.
What girl or woman could possibly squeeze into a chic black leather, neck-to-navel vest -- failing to cover said navel -- and hip-hugger, skin-tight snake-skin red pants?
That outfit, modeled by Christina Aguliera currently on display in People Magazine's Styles of the Stars collector's edition, could only be worn by a rich and skinny teenager who might be arrested for public indecency if she wore it on the street in Albuquerque.
Women are clearly more easily misled regarding fashion in general than are men, mainly because most men don't pay that much attention to male fashion.
To begin with, Hollywood's clothes horses are atypical of American womanhood, just as Arnold Schwarzenegger is atypical of American manhood.
The difference is that not one man in a million wants to wear what Ahnold wears. But millions of women would like to slip into something worn by Gwyneth Paltrow, Britney Spears, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Julia Roberts or Cindy Crawford.
What Armani, Valentino, Givenchy, Halston and other great designers fail to reveal is that while their magnificent threads look great on professional models and actresses, they do not look the same on typical American figures.
The award shows know that. But for reasons known only to women, they refuse to believe it applies to them.