In truth, there were no huge surprises from this year's red carpet at the Oscars. Hemlines were where you'd expect them to be (the floor), print was almost completely absent and women, on the whole, opted for skirts and dresses over trousers. There wasn't even a racy, Angelina-style thigh-high split!
As seen on Cate Blanchett, Sally Hawkins and Naomi Watts, these dresses have an ethereal feel that's at once embellished, yet clean. It's fancy, without being over-the-top - grand, yet remains demure. There's something quite Grace Kelly about this look - it's so beautiful, it puts the star above the red carpet mania and, cleverly, is super anti-ageing. Also worth noting is anyone wearing a princess nude or white is expecting their moment onstage, in the Academy sun, picking up a gold statuette. Even though by this point it's much too late - or maybe even a year early - actors working this look are, in a sense, dressing for the job they want: that of an icon and an Oscar winner.
In floor-length, fishtail ebony Dior gown, Charlize Theron out-fierced every other star on the red carpet the moment she arrived at the 86th Academy Awards. She looked strong and a bit devil-may-care. After all, wearing black to the Oscars is actually quite risky - given all the colour and detail elsewhere a black dress is a black dress is a black dress. It could be overlooked as a bit boring. But against a landscape of brights and pales, Charlize was what few others even tried to be: she was cool. See also Julia Roberts and Olivia Wilde. Confident, classy and completely striking, some of our favourite looks came in the form of the night's black dresses.
The softer - and in some way ways chicer - dark than black, navy had quite a moment on the red carpet with Best Actress nominees Sandra Bullock and Amy Adams both opting for strapless gowns in this colour. Interestingly, the latter had commented ahead of the awards she wanted to feel like herself on the night and perhaps this explains the popularity for this choice. Where brights seek attention and black still a bit like dressing up, navy is feminine and beautiful, but not provocative. It's for the individual's comfort and sense of style, not the crowd's enjoyment. Perhaps this is a move towards wanting the work to speak for the actor rather than the costume choice?
We couldn't not mention Jennifer Lawrence's red. Last year, when she triumphed in the Best Actress category, the star opted for a princessy Dior white. If anyone was in doubt who was Hollywood's hottest, most royalty-level young star, the Academy Awards 2013 left them in no doubt it was Lawrence. However, a year has passed. The American Hustle star has worked constantly and proved herself to be a genuine talent who's going nowhere. Thus the red is a true indication of maturity - Lawrence is a woman - a strong one - and being Hollywood's princess isn't going to cut it anymore. Make no mistake - she's on the trail to be queen.
LOVE THE OSCARS? See all the red dresses from the red carpet below...