30 Oscars Looks That Capped Off A Season Of Red Carpet Activism

By the time the Oscars rolls around, the red carpet can feel a bit like Groundhog Day. It's the same awkward questions about how nervous stars are, the same dozen fashion labels name-dropped, and the same versions of the same blush-hued princess dress. But things have been different this year.

It started with the #TimesUp blackout during January's Golden Globes, where a missive to wear all black to protest gender disparity resulted not only in some uniquely stunning looks — from Tracee Ellis Ross' satin turban to Clare Foy's Stella McCartney suit — but also in a unprecedented show of solidarity. For the first time, nearly everyone in Hollywood agreed that the red carpet could be a place to bring attention to real feats of activism. The icing on the cake was that it firmly established the connection between what actors wear and what they have to say. During each subsequent awards, it became clearer that the public began to expect that the clothing actresses wore would be a way to talk about the issues they care about. For fashion people, this was a moment to celebrate. We've always known that clothes should communicate something. But for that idea to become a cultural norm has done something amazing for the red carpet.

So, tonight's fashion speaks volumes about the topics at the forefront of conversation: The strength of women. The talent of black creatives. The beauty of originality. The way women's talents seem to blossom with experience. While there may not be one color that everyone is wearing tonight (for better and worse), we're stoked to see that women and men are using the red carpet as a platform rather than just a photo op. Click ahead to see our favorite looks that are closing out a season to remember.

Saoirse Ronan of Lady Bird went for a pretty pink number that's a simple column in the front, and a big ol' present in the back. We love the finishing touches of the matching Barbie-wardrobe pumps paired with minimal accessories.
Viola Davis loves a color moment, and this bubble-gum pink Michael Kors dress is a stark contrast to the more conservative gowns she's donned this past awards season. She saved the best for last tonight, completing the look with a coordinating clutch and some hoops.
If less really is more, this look is proof. Danai Gurira looks stunning in a satin, pale-pink column gown by Gabriela Hearst that plunges at the back.
It's a good night for everyone in the St. Vincent Appreciation Club, because you can't not love this dramatic Saint Laurent look. Super-sheer tights and a ruffled headpiece complete this standout ensemble.
Jennifer Lawrence was a Joan of Arc in a metallic Dior gown that was both structured and sensual.
Elza Gonzalez makes a case for body-con on the red carpet in this slinky, banana-yellow number by Ralph Lauren. The sports bra-like neckline gives this dress an almost athleisure feel.
Hold the phone — this Mary J. Blige look is demanding every ounce of our attention. She's sparkling in a bright-white, corseted Versace gown.
Photo: Getty Images.
Allison Janney goes half superhero, half ribbon dancer in this can't-miss red gown by Reem Acra. Finished off with a coordinated clutch, this look's dramatic, yet surprisingly classic.
Photo: Getty Images.
Diane Warren is unsurprisingly badass in a strong-shouldered suit by Saint Laurent. We're always fond of a suit on a red carpet — but a bedazzled, pointy-shouldered one? Here for it.
Zendaya nails it in a one-shouldered waterfall dress in one of the hardest-to-pull off colors for the red carpet: chocolate brown.
Photo: Getty Images.
It can be easy to blend in when you wear black on the Oscars red carpet, but Fatma Al Remalhi's look is anything but boring. The metallic details on the robe make this ensemble feel both elevated and elegant.
Orange you glad Greta Gerwig wore this Rodarte gown? (Sorry, we had to). This creamsicle color isn't one we typically see on the red carpet, but we think Gerwig pulls it off without a second thought.
Though not the most statement-making red carpet look we've seen from her, Laura Dern's white dress by Calvin Klein is fresh and flirty.
Are you kidding us with this, Lupita? Every time we think you can't one-up yourself, you bring it to the next level of glam. Tonight, she's in Versace, and it's the exact warrior-princess vibes we were hoping for.
Photo: Getty Images.
The red carpet isn't immune to the polka dot trend we've been seeing in stores everywhere. Here, Phoebe Waller wears a puffy-sleeved gown by Vionnet that elevates the trend for a red carpet moment.
Photo: Getty Images.
Years later, and we're still seeing people chase the deep plunge that J.Lo made famous. On the red carpet, Betty Gabriel wears a teal gown by Tony Ward that dips down low on both the front and back sides.
Photo: Getty Images.
Allison Williams always looks great when she channels her inner Hollywood glamour — and tonight, she looks nearly angelic in Armani Privé.
Sure, Margot Robbie is a showstopper in just about anything, but this Chanel gown feels a notch above the rest.
Sanrda Bullock kept things modern, if not futuristic, in a sequin halter dress by Louis Vuitton.
"Earthy" in every sense of the word, we can't help but acknowledge the mossy charm of Haley Bennett's statement Dior gown.
We always respect a red carpet look that comes with a story, and Tiffany Hadish's Eritrean dress tells one that's guaranteed to make you mist up.
Sandy Martin keeps it classic and cool with a flattering cigarette trouser and smoking slipper, and a floral jacket and pussy-bow blouse up top.
Leave it to Andra Day to bring the dress drama to tonight's red carpet, where she went with a voluminous Zac Posen gown serving Marie Antoinette realness. She even struck a few next-level poses for the occasion.
For whatever reason, we would've expected Emma Stone to wear yet another princess gown on tonight's red carpet, but as an ambassador for Louis Vuitton, she opted for a blazer-and-pant pairing instead in a red-and-pink color combination that's been a hit on the runways, too.
In a fresh change of pace from the sequins and chiffons we're used to seeing on the carpet, Maya Rudolph went a far more minimal route, proving that turtlenecks do, in fact, have a place on the carpet.
Miley Cyrus pulls off one of our favorite FW 2018 trends, spliced colors, in a Prabal Gurung creation.
Add another one to the lineup of ladies channeling their inner Joan of Arc. Tracee Ellis Ross isn't messing around in this sharp shouldered Balmain gown.
We were really hoping for more on trend yellow moments last night. Emma Roberts delivered in a pale, sequined Prada dress.
Fun fact: Christian Siriano dressed a total of 17 women for the Oscars last night. That has to be some kind of record. Our favorite pick from the Siriano posse last night was definitely Janelle Monáe who blew us away in this fire engine red suit and skirt combo.
As much as we loved Salma Hayek's custom Gucci gown she wore to the awards ceremony, her Gucci x Dapper Dan Atelier afterparty dress was the real winner.
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