Sleek, chic, and simple silhouettes ruled the red carpet at last night's Oscars. Gone (well, nearly) were the usual over-the-top frills and de rigueur mermaid skirts — giving way to sleeker numbers that made a statement by keying in to the minimalism trend that's taken over runways for the past several seasons. But which trio of frocks were our favorites?
1. Cate Blanchett
The statuesque Aussie stunner, herself an Oscar winner (for 2005's The Aviator), wowed in avant-garde Givenchy Couture. The lilac gown featured a circular cutout at the bodice and beautiful pearl embellishment that lent a hit of sunny yellow to the look. Blanchett's never been one to play it safe, and this was a prime example of the sort of wearable art she favors.
2. Jennifer Lawrence
Nominated for her role in Winter's Bone, Lawrence looked drop-dead gorgeous in a bold red Calvin Klein Collection gown that flaunted her curves. The look was youthful enough for the 20-year-old and will likely give male film fans a new leading lady to idolize. After he hit it out of the park dressing Emma Stone and Claire Danes in similarly minimalist numbers at the Golden Globes, Calvin Klein designer Francisco Costa has proven he can whip up some of the hottest red-carpet looks out there.
2. Gwyneth Paltrow
Oscar-winning movie star, talented singer, and GOOP scribe Gwynnie has never worn a dress we disliked, and last night's streamlined, shimmering frock — another Calvin Klein — was no exception. While the dress's silvery hue made the actress look super-tan and glowing, its slinky silhouette flaunted her yoga-toned physique. We've seen Paltrow rock any number of thigh-high minidresses in the past, so it was refreshing to see her choose something floor-length — to undeniably jaw-dropping effect.
1. Pale Tones
Although jewel hues often dominate the Oscars red carpet, this year it seemed to be all about grays, ivories, nudes, and blushes. Michelle Williams' opalescent Chanel was a definite showstopper, while Anne Hathaway's embellished Oscar de la Renta used flapper-style fringe — rather than an eye-popping color — to make a statement. And True Grit starlet (and budding style icon) Hailee Steinfeld's pale pink Marchesa was a spot-on choice for the young actress — especially once we learned she'd provided design input throughout its creation.
2. Statement Earrings
Nix the heavy necklaces and stow the clunky cuffs: This year, the carpet was awash with shoulder-dusting earrings that framed many an actress' genetically-blessed face. We flipped for Natalie Portman's plum-toned Tiffany & Co. tassels, while Jennifer Hudson pulled her hair back to better show off her Neil Lane sparklers. And Gwyneth Paltrow's gobstopper-sized Louis Vuitton earrings must have been mighty heavy to wear, but they sure did look gorgeous.
3. Ladies in Red
Perhaps as a salute to the red carpet itself, a number of Hollywood heavyweights turned up in classic crimson as well as similar shades of cranberry and maroon. In addition to Jennifer Lawrence's lovely Calvin, we liked Scarlett Johansson's burgundy lace Dolce & Gabbana and Best Actress winner Natalie Portman's violet Rodarte. Meanwhile, hostess Anne Hathaway rocked not one, but two scarlet stunners: first, a vintage number in classic Valentino red, followed by a corseted Atelier Versace in a nearly identical hue.
To see all of these looks and more from last night's Oscars, check out our red carpet roundup.