The Boldest Looks From This Year's Golden Globes Red Carpet

Photo: Jim Smeal/BEI/ Rex Shutterstock.
There's nothing like kicking the new year off with a heavy helping of glitz. And no, we're not talking about New Year's Eve — the hangover alone knocks that from the top position. We're talking about awards season. Luckily, for people who equate interesting fashion with good fashion, the first awards ceremony of the circuit is the Golden Globes, which is known for having a notoriously bold red carpet.

You'll still get your fair share of Champagne-hued mermaid hemlines, but you'll get the pantsuits, superhero-cape situations, and up-and-coming indie designers to make this red carpet a treat for your breed of fashion obsessives as well the more — ahem — traditional red-carpet gawker. Ahead, see the picks that seriously wowed from tonight's Golden Globes.
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Photo: Jim Smeal/BEI/ Rex Shutterstock.
Olivia Palermo
It seems nuts, but one of the boldest things you can do on a fancy red carpet these days is to wear a dress that shows off your legs. (We know — insane, right?) During the Globes, Olivia Palermo was one of the only attendees to go for a shorter hemline in a stunning, colorblocked Delpozo creation. For a person who’s so good at putting together outfits, it only makes sense that you’d want to choose a combination that lets you show off as many elements as possible — like your shoes and David Webb bling.
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Photo: Jason Merritt/ Getty Images.
Cate Blanchett
Pink ombré fringe, heart-shaped mesh cutouts, ‘20s-style sheer panels, and a capelet made of might sound like a cowgirl’s prom dress, but on Cate Blanchett, this Givenchy frock was nothing short of spectacular. Blanchett has a history of choosing Givenchy gowns to one-up everyone else on the red carpet, and her Old Faithful proved effective once again.
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Photo: Jason Merritt/ Getty Images.
Melissa McCarthy
In the past, Melissa McCarthy has been very vocal about the gross disproportion of options for non-sample-size women. So she took matters into her own hands for the Globes. This dress was a custom look she created with the members of her styling team. With a cinched waist, split skirt, plunging neckline, and flowing sleeves, this metallic blue dress is everything that was right about the Studio 54 dress code.
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Photo: Jason Merritt/ Getty Images.
Kirsten Dunst
You rarely see an actress land on a best-dressed list in a black dress — mostly because it’s the least festive, fun color around. But Kirsten Dunst’s velvet Valentino number was so deep, dark, and inky a black, we consider it as eye-catching as a fluorescent. With a plunging neckline and selectively tied strings, this dress is 50% goth, 50% milkmaid, and 100% stunning.
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Photo: Jason Merritt/ Getty Images.
Zendaya Coleman
At just 19 years old, Zendaya tends to school her contemporaries when it comes to fearless dressing: One day she’s wearing a loud, mixed-print pansuit; the next she’s pulling an Angelina with a thigh-high slit. But for the Golden Globes, she switched things up (yet again), wearing a maroon jacquard tiered gown. It’s feminine without being too girly, bold without being too wild, and just yet another piece we’re adding to the list of items Zendaya makes her own.
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Photo: VALERIE MACON/AFP/Getty Images.
Jennifer Lawrence
Wearing red on the red carpet is always a bit of a risk, but the trick is donning a scarlet that’s going to be higher wattage. Jennifer Lawrence proved to be the brightest red in her persimmon-colored Dior that we swear looks like it’s lit up from the inside.
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Photo: Jason Merritt/ Getty Images.
Kate Bosworth
A pink sequin-encrusted strapless Dolce & Gabbana dress could have been too saccharine on anyone but Kate Bosworth. She knew that when your gown is basically one large jewelry piece, you need to keep the rest of your look tame; a simple tennis bracelet and clip-on earrings balanced all the Barbie shine.
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Photo: Jason Merritt/ Getty Images.
Olivia Wilde
Sternum-grazing necklines straight out of disco storybooks was the trend of this carpet and Olivia Wilde’s Michael Kors dress was one of our favorites of the evening. We loved the subtle sparkle, the simple banded waist, and the floor-kissing skirt — but we almost died when we saw that husband Jason Sudeikis was wearing red socks to match. That’s what we call head-to-toe support.
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Photo: Jason Merritt/ Getty Images.
Rooney Mara
We can’t remember a time when Rooney Mara didn’t look like some sort of fairy-tale princess of darkness on the red carpet — and this shredded, blush-hued Alexander McQueen dress makes her look like a shipwrecked damsel in distress.
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Photo: Jason Merritt/ Getty Images.
Amy Adams
The only place athleisure hasn’t infiltrated is probably the red carpet. (The world is not quite ready for a black-tie sweatpants look, we guess.) But Amy Adams’ blood-orange Versace dress is the closest thing to athleisure, with a sporty neckline and sparkling racing stripes.
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Photo: VALERIE MACON/AFP/Getty Images.
Gina Rodriguez
Okay, so Rodriguez’s Zac Posen gown may remind us a little bit of what we wore to our high school prom, but we can’t deny that we’re fans of a dress that boasts an off-the-shoulder neckline and practical pockets.
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Photo: Jason Merritt/ Getty Images.
Brie Larson
You can always trust that someone’s going to take the Golden Globes theme to heart, and Brie Larson’s custom Calvin Klein dress looks like it’s literally made with millions of tiny, golden stars. The delicate halter leads to an impressive side cutout that reveals Larson’s most extraordinary accessory: her abs — whoa.
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Photo: Jason Merritt/ Getty Images.
Kate Hudson
It’s the silhouette that so many celebrities have adopted for their off-duty looks, but Kate Hudson really went for the (rose) gold in a strapless Michael Kors column dress with a major midriff cutout and choker detail. It’s a shape that could have felt too ‘90s-retro, but comes off as refreshing, thanks to the neutral hue and simple Forevermark Diamonds accessories.
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Photo: Jason Merritt/ Getty Images.
Laverne Cox
It’s incredible how quickly Laverne Cox shot up to the top of the best-dressed list in the three short years that Orange Is The New Black has existed. No matter what she wears, she pulls it off with a kind of gravitas that only the greats have — and this high-necked Elizabeth Kennedy dress manages to skim her curves and pool behind her in a way that suggests that there was some sort of magic involved.
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Photo: Jason Merritt/ Getty Images.
Julianne Moore
When you’ve got one of the most iconic reds in the industry, you pretty much can do some magical things with color on the red carpet. Julianne Moore matched her signature hair with this wonderfully inky, ocean-blue Tom Ford dress — and we love that it’s long-sleeved and long-hemmed to make sure to max out on the color and glitz.
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Photo: Jason Merritt/ Getty Images.
Lady Gaga
Old Hollywood is typically a fail-safe move for the red carpet, but leave it to Lady Gaga to push the sweetheart neckline, hourglass waist, crushed-velvet envelope. Her Versace gown could have been just pretty, but thanks to a super-exaggerated hips, it got a dose of Jessica Rabbit-esque provocation. Underneath, she (obviously) went for it with a 10-inch Brian Atwood heel. Like they say — go big or go home.
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Photo: Jason Merritt/ Getty Images.
Viola Davis
The only thing appropriate for one of the biggest stars of our time? A bazillion other stars, duh. This midnight Marchesa gown is encrusted with a sky full of sparkles and Viola Davis pulls it off like the goddess she is.
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Photo: Jason Merritt/ Getty Images.
Lily James
When you were picked as the perfect human specimen to play Cinderella, it’s natural that you’ve got princess sensibilities in your off-screen life, too. Lily James’ Marchesa dress looks like it was made with mist and fog in shades of mint, blue, and purple — and that sheer train is so ethereal, we’re wondering whether James had a fairy godmother in addition to the Marchesa team to make this look happen.
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Photo: Jason Merritt/ Getty Images.
Caitriona Balfe
While other actresses were squeezed into corsets and Spanx, Caitriona Balfe showed up in a low-key nightie. The Outlander actress' double-layered, black Alexander McQueen dress is as gothic and romantic as the vibe of her show.
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Photo: VALERIE MACON/AFP/Getty Images.
Sophia Bush
Bush’s simple black Narciso Rodriguez sheath is made less simple with a plunging neckline, silver Martin Katz accessories, and bold Sophia Webster shoes.
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Photo: Jason Merritt/ Getty Images.
Jennifer Lopez
Jennifer Lopez wearing something bold is no surprise; from plunging necklines to hiked-up hems, she’s done it all. But the fact that she opted for a more conservative, caped Giambattista Valli piece in, as she described it, “mustard-y marigold,” was definitely not what we expected — and neither did she. “It’s different from anything I’ve ever done,” she told Ryan Seacrest.
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Photo: Jason Merritt/ Getty Images.
Alicia Vikander
As the face of Louis Vuitton, it would have been sacrilegious for Alicia Vikander to wear anything but. As it stands, we still got all starry-eyed when she arrived in an ethereal, white pleated dress with a short ruff neck and a bib-style front. The folk inspiration gave this look a touch of sweetness, but was still subversive enough to keep it far from cupcake territory.
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Photo: John Shearer/ Getty Images.
Portia Doubleday
What is always the center at every party? A disco ball, duh — and Portia Doubleday made quite a statement with Simon G. baubles and a silver-spackled Naeem Khan dress that’s simple in shape, but definitely not shy with its sequins.
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Photo: John Shearer/ Getty Images.
Jane Wu
More texture; more metallics. Actress Jane Wu’s THEIA dress proves exactly what we’ve known all along: more is more.
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Photo: VALERIE MACON/AFP/Getty Images.
Eric White and Patricia Arquette
An oversized, ‘80s-style, white bow adds an unexpected element to Patricia Arquette’s black dress by Paule Ka. Plus, it coordinates perfectly with BF Eric White’s sleek tux.
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Photo: Jason Merritt/Getty Images.
Jaimie Alexander
Between the deep-V cut and dizzying black-and-emerald print, Alexander’s Genny number makes a loud (but seriously stylish) statement.
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Photo: Kevork Djansezian/NBC/ Getty Images.
Judith Light
Proof that wearing a pantsuit on the red carpet is highly underrated.
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Photo: John Shearer/ Getty Images.
Annie Guest and Jamie Lee Curtis
Though they went matchy-matchy when it came to their hair color, Jamie Lee Curtis and her daughter, Annie Guest, opted for contrasting hues that seriously complemented each other.
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Photo: Kevork Djansezian/NBC/ Getty Images.
Bryce Dallas Howard
While the bright bold hue and all-over sequins make this Jenny Packham dress a showstopper, what we loved most about Bryce Dallas Howard’s gown was the fact that she bought it at Neiman Marcus earlier this week.
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Photo: VALERIE MACON/AFP/Getty Images.
Phyllis Nagy
Screenwriter Phyllis Nagy takes her menswear-inspired ensemble to the next level by selecting a longline blazer and square-toed boots. (Yes, they’re making a comeback!)
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Photo: Jason Merritt/ Getty Images.
Giuliana Rancic
The extra-long sleeves trend gets the red-carpet treatment with Giuliana Rancic’s bold orange Alex Perry gown.
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Photo: Jason Merritt/ Getty Images.
Heidi Klum
Leave it to Heidi Klum to channel the ‘20s in a fringed Marchesa dress. Normally, we like to be surprised when it comes to the red carpet. But Klum’s old reliable seems to get us every single time.
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Photo: Jason Merritt/ Getty Images.
Amanda Peet
Keep an eye out for this kind of Victorian nightgown frock on the racks when you’re fancy-dress shopping later this year; Amanda Peet’s McQueen creation has a romantic high neck, a flattering fringed bodice, and a full skirt that’s begging to be spun in.
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Photo: Jason Merritt/ Getty Images.
Rosie Huntington-Whiteley
Unlike actresses, models are famous because they make clothes look really good, but Rosie Huntington-Whiteley kind of operates on the highest end of that spectrum. This gold-lamé Versace dress is a beauty, sure, but on Huntington-Whiteley, it looks epic.
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Photo: Jason Merritt/ Getty Images.
Malin Akerman
Peplums aren’t necessarily the trend du jour anymore, but there’s something that feels very new about the shape of Malin Akerman’s Reem Acra dress. The peplum is wilted and uneven — unlike the stiff and structured ones of red-carpets past. We like how organic it is, like it sprouted and grew right on Akerman.
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Photo: John Shearer/ Getty Images.
Lola Kirke
Sure, Lola Kirke’s golden-yellow dress may be giving off some toga vibes, but we say this number is definitely more Grecian goddess than toga party. Well done.
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Photo: Jason Merritt/ Getty Images.
Emilia Clarke
Most actresses tend to stray away from their on-TV aesthetic, especially when it’s tied so heavily to the character they play. Well, Game of Thrones’ Emilia Clarke totally ignored that, and instead, channeled her inner Khaleesi to the max. The actress’ Valentino dress hit all the right notes with its attached cape, high neck, and intricate beading. Here’s hoping this is just a preview of Daenerys’ wardrobe next season.