The Oscar-Night Looks That Won, Big Time

Photo: Jim Smeal/BEImages.
This year, the Oscars red carpet was pretty much bound for greatness. With nominees like Marion Cotillard, Julianne Moore, and Reese Witherspoon in the mix, we didn't expect a flop. So, we were not surprised when they arrived in custom Chanel Couture and Dior Couture, solidifying their places among Hollywood royalty and providing the red carpet glamour that keeps us so entranced. And, that’s when things started getting exciting.

We're often on the hunt for red carpet looks that are so daring and different, they deserve standing ovations. Take, for instance, the design that Lupita Nyong'o wore like a piece of jewelry. Or, the way Naomi Watts swept in to demonstrate the best use of a bandeau bra we've ever seen on the red carpet. Side by side with the more classically elegant actresses was a sampling of old and new (Hollywood), timeless looks and ones we’ll still be admiring for their chutzpah years down the line. Yeah, we’re looking at you, Lorelei Linklater.

All our favorites are ahead.
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Photo: Steve Granitz/Getty.
In general, the red carpet is usually not the place where you see a ton of creative layering, but Naomi Watts’ Armani Privé gave the appearance of a cut-in, high-neck gown paired with a bandeau top. It was modern, elegant, and so incredibly cool.
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Photo: Frazer Harrison/Getty.
The scalloped neckline, Angelina-like high slit, and hourglass-creating seaming make Rosamund Pike’s Givenchy look flawless and bold from every angle, down to the understated Lorraine Schwartz jewels.
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Photo: Jason Merritt/Getty Images.
Who could forget Lupita Nyong'o’s stream of red carpet hits from last year’s awards season? So, what does one do to top it in 2015? Make an entrance in a custom Calvin Klein Collection design, of course. This delighted us most because it looked like a full-body piece of pearl-encrusted jewelry. Consider 2014 topped.
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Photo: Steve Granitz/Getty.
Behati Prinsloo’s husband, Adam Levine, just so happened to sing a song that earned him a nomination. But, when she stepped out in this Armani Privé gown, he faded into the distance. A fully embellished red-and-black look sounds intense, but somehow, she pulled it off like a goddess.
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Photo: Jason Merritt/Getty Images.
The lovely, polka-dotted fabric and simple front of Marion Cotillard’s Dior Couture dress didn’t quite prepare you for the magic happening in the back. The below-the-butt gathering of the design created a unique shape — one that was like a tucked-in cape and truly unlike any other silhouette at the awards ceremony.
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Photo: Jim Smeal/BEImages/REX.
Wearing arguably the darkest look of all this Oscars night, Margot Robbie in Saint Laurent also proved to be one of the most stunning. In line with one of the newest trends for fall '15, the black design had ballooned sleeves, as well as a daringly low V-neck. But, most notably, that Van Cleef & Arpels tassel necklace was the perfect accent piece.
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Photo: Jason Merritt/Getty Images.
In a design by Peter Copping's Oscar de la Renta, Sienna Miller looked both ladylike and edgy in a tied-up yet cut-out creation.
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Photo:David Fisher/Rex/REX.
Red was one of the most ubiquitous colors of the night. No, we don’t just mean the carpet. However, Dakota Johnson’s one-shouldered Saint Laurent look stood out for its asymmetric, statement strap. And, with bling like that, we love that she kept the rest her accessories pared down.
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Photo: Jim Smeal/BEImages/REX.
Lorelei Linklater has already made it known that she’s no sartorial scaredy cat. And, her choice of a semi-sheer, semi-printed Gabriela Cadena dress continues to make her one star — of style and screen — we can’t wait to see more of.
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Photo: Jason Merritt/Getty.
Zoe Saldana forewent embellishments, brights, and avant-garde silhouettes for what was one of the best draped dresses of the night. In an Atelier Versace gown that framed the torso, wrapped the midsection, and created a slight train for drama, the actress was simply glowing.
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When Meryl Streep wants an Oscar-worthy skirt suit, Alber Elbaz and Lanvin make her an Oscar-worthy skirt suit. All we can do is praise the styling, the outfit-making belt, and that signature Streep swagger.
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Photo: Jim Smeal/BEImages.
Has Emma Stone ever made a red-carpet misstep? If she has, we’ve never seen it. This year’s Oscars brought another opportunity for her to show she can pull anything off — even a long-sleeve, low-back, fully bejeweled Elie Saab gown, paired with Tiffany & Co. cuffs.
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Photo: Jim Smeal/BEImages.
Reese Witherspoon looks like a Best Actress nominee and a first lady rolled into one, thanks to this Tom Ford creation.
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Photo: Steve Granitz/Getty Images.
Octavia Spencer is a 10 in Tadashi Shoji. Let’s break it down: perfect light blue, perfect waist-cinching, and perfect cape-train. Win, win, and win.
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Everyone wants to feel like a million bucks on Oscar night. Luckily for Laura Dern, she also looks it in her Alberta Ferretti gown. And her most special accessory? A turquoise Bulgari ring in support of the American Lung Association’s LUNG FORCE.
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Photo: Lester Cohen/Getty Images.
A semi-peplum and this rich pastel make Jennifer Hudson’s Romona Keveza a must on best-dressed lists. It just so happens to fit like a dream.
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Photo: Jim Smeal/BEImages.
We’d be disappointed if Lady Gaga didn’t go for a little red carpet drama, so we’re glad she brought it with custom Azzedine Alaïa. White seemed to be an It color for the evening, but leave it to the mother monster to kick it up a notch in a structured, all-sequin number and big red gloves. Only she could pull this off.
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Hiding a baby bump on the red carpet can feel a bit forced. That is, if you’re not Keira Knightley in an ethereal, flesh-tone Valentino couture frock. It’s effortless, playful, and gorgeous — and we want it.
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Photo: Jason Merritt/Getty Images.
A Prada princess dress that’s edged out by serious hair and red carpet attitude lands director Ava DuVernay squarely on our best-dressed list.
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Photo: Jim Smeal/BEImages.
Uh, yeah. This is custom Chanel, so it’s pretty much Julianne Moore’s mic drop. Simple, elegant, and perfect.
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Photo: Jim Smeal/BEImages.
Boy, oh boy, does Gwyneth Paltrow love a pastel Oscars moment. Okay, so do we. This time, she brings it in a decidedly '80s-inspired Ralph & Russo Couture dress that’s tight, dramatic, feminine, and sophisticated, all at the same damn time.
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Photo: Jim Smeal/BEImages.
Navy? Sexy? We didn't think so. That is, until Jessica Chastain’s Givenchy Couture double-layered number. A new silhouette we’re dying to try — plus, an ol’ faithful color equals a total knockout.
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Photo: David Fisher/Rex/REX USA.
We almost can’t stare directly into this look. It’s a combination of the J.Lo glow and the Elie Saab sparkle. It’s like the dress is ombré-dipped and somehow stitched onto Jennifer Lopez’s body.
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Jenna Dewan-Tatum’s Zuhair Murad couture gown was made for her. Crisp white was a color of the evening, but it looks that much better with her matching pearly smile. Props to Channing Tatum’s gorgeous wife for pulling off the low plunge, with crystal embellishments that aren’t over the top.
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Photo: Jim Smeal/BEImages.
It’s great to see Rita Ora in a Marchesa dress that’s romantic yet sexy at the same time. It hits all the notes of a great red carpet look, mixing just the right amount of metallic — courtesy of the neckline as well as her Lorraine Schwartz earrings — with a steel color.
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Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images.
An Oscars gown that’s just a little bit '90s? Yes, Nicole Kidman’s Louis Vuitton dress has attitude — and a pretty killer mint-green/bright-red color combo.
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Photo: Jim Smeal/BEImages.
Houghton has quickly become one of our new favorite designers. The beautiful Carmen Ejogo pulls off this effortless gown in a subtle hue.
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Photo: Jason Merritt/Getty Images.
Letting the jewels do the talking doesn’t mean all bling, all the time. Cate Blanchett proves that turquoise and black can make a statement through simplicity — and that Tiffany & Co. and Maison Margiela Couture by John Galliano make great companions for the red carpet.
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Photo: David Fisher/Rex/REX USA.
Kerry Washington and Miu Miu are a match made in heaven. Plus, we can see this non-color color and this non-peplum peplum becoming “things.”
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Photo: David Fisher/Rex/REX USA.
When one of our old favorites wears one of our new favorites, it’s an automatic list-maker. That’s what’s happening with leading lady Patricia Arquette in this asymmetrical Rosetta Getty gown — drapey cape shoulder included — topped with Fred Leighton jewels.
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