What gets us excited about fashion? Handmade, no-holds-barred couture. Big personalities with bigger personal style. Simple things, too — a perfect pleat, an elegant drape, a splash of sparkle. So, why do we find red-carpet fashion so utterly dull? Five words: nude, mermaid-hem, strapless gowns. Are they beautiful? Oftentimes, yes! Flattering? Indubitably. Boring? Ohmygod yes, so boring. The ubiquity of this type of dress during awards season is enough to make us skip the pre-shows… but then we see these dresses. Full of imagination, verve, and style, these dresses are only out-awesomed by the women who wear 'em — and that's how we like it.
Ahead, we picked 12 dresses from this recent winter awards season that not only kept us from falling asleep, but also got us dreaming. Brava, ladies — thank you for keeping things interesting!