Fashion took a dark turn at the 2014 Academy Awards, where, for the first time in recent memory, black and midnight blue were surprisingly popular choices among A-list actors and nominees (along with the occasional over-the-top sparkler, of course). This made for a fairly sober, rain-soaked red carpet that was, at times, even a little sleepy. What the awards lacked in bold and bright colors, though, was made up for with some daring shapes and fabric treatments – so long as you could make them out.
1. Angelina Jolie in Elie Saab CoutureJolie didn’t need to expose a leg to draw attention with her dazzling column of silver-embroidery. The sheer arms and defined waist also help to break up the vertical emphasis.
3. Margot Robbie in Saint Laurent
Newly brunette Robbie opted for black, a beaded bow top over a long black skirt by Saint Laurent designer Hedi Slimane. While Slimane also provided the on-stage tuxedos worn by Ellen DeGeneres and the white-jacket look for best supporting actor winner Jared Leto, Robbie was the fashion winner.
4. Charlize Theron in Dior
That unusual neckline, like a pair of uncorked champagne bottles, was a dramatic way to celebrate the Oscars, and her sheer suspension skirt made for a modern take on the traditional train.
6. Lupita Nyong’o in Prada
A fairy tale gown was a suitable choice for such a charming actress, and how cute did she look dancing to “Happy” with Pharrell? The ice blue hue offered a nice respite from the bold pops of color Nyong’o has become known for, and that gold and diamond headband from Fred Leighton was bound to make a statement.
7. Glenn Close in Zac Posen
The custom embroidered organza halter gown and matching jacket featured panels of contrasting textures that added unexpected richness and read beautifully on high-definition TVs. No extravagant jewelry was required.
8. Sandra Bullock in Alexander McQueen
Of all the dark navy or black gowns out there (Julia Roberts in Givenchy couture lace, Amy Adams in a Gucci tuxedo-inspried look), Bullock’s sculptural strapless number with its intersecting fountains of pleats was most captivating.
9. Emma Watson in Vera Wang
If you’re going to go dark, take Watson’s example and incorporate lots of shine. The casual crew-neck style makes the dress youthful and as comfortable looking as a T-shirt.
10. Meryl Streep in Lanvin
The boho asymmetrical two-tone separates are a Streep signature, as is jazzing up the look with flashy accessories. With her Lanvin mousseline draped blouse and techno silk crepe skirt, she wore a crystal chain belt, crystal bracelets, and an animal print clutch.
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