By Eric Wilson
Updated Jan 06, 2019 @ 9:00 pm

After the undeniable impact of last year’s unified black dress statement at the Golden Globes, a return to business as normal on Sunday night’s red carpet was a big risk. In a newly chastened Hollywood, where everyone is far more aware of the optics of how women, minorities, and, well everyone besides old white men, are treated, could things ever really be the same?

The good news is that diversity remained front of mind, while stars felt free to mention their fashion and jewelry credits without much shame. While we won’t be going back to the days of the fashion police anytime soon, it was clear on the ground at the Globes that people were talking about the dresses, and in respectful tones. At the same time, there wasn’t a whole lot of critical assessment happening on TV, nor much questioning of the financial interests behind some of those choices, which to my eye looked a little more questionable than usual. But perhaps that’s a discussion for another day.

On the whole, I’d say the dresses looked about as glossed up as the overall non-confrontational message of the night. So, as we return our focus to red carpet fashion, albeit in a similarly uplifting spirit, here are my choices for the Top 10 dresses of the night.

1. Lady Gaga in Valentino Haute Couture

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and Lupita Nyong’o in Calvin Klein by Appointment

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It’s a tie among the ladies in blue. Gaga wins points for matching her hair to her gown, though thankfully with less volume, and she played up that Tiffany & Co. jewelry and Giuseppe Zanotti silver lace-up booties to the max. Nyong’o looked as amazing as ever in a dress of cobalt fringe and silver drop beads, and also won points for setting a new bar on the beauty front. There’s no reason to pick a winner when both look this great.

2. Julia Roberts in Stella McCartney

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Roberts is the ultimate master of the red carpet non-dress. Her custom look from McCartney was actually a silk tulle one-shoulder dress with a pleated skirt, detailed in rose crystals, worn over black tuxedo trousers, a new hit.

3. Saoirse Ronan in Gucci

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Deep V-necks were a big trend, and so were elaborately beaded dresses. This one combined the best of both with antique platinum beads on sheer tulle, with a criss-cross crystal straps in the back, a bit of a departure from Alessandro Michele’s usual handiwork, and well received.

4. Regina King in Alberta Ferretti

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What a look to kick off what promises to be a major awards season for King. The custom dress, full of glittering facets, looked phenomenally intricate from all angles, accented with sleek jewels from Messika and Christian Louboutin shoes.

5. Emma Stone in Louis Vuitton

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As one of the newest faces to join Team Vuitton, Stone has still made choices that highlight her individual style. This custom look with its soft waves of embroidery looked unexpectedly soft and relaxed.

6. Julianne Moore in Givenchy Haute Couture

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You could tell this dress, or rather, a deconstructed tuxedo jacket paired with a fishnet skirt, was a winner even as Moore was getting out of the car, and also while she was seated in the Globes audience.

7. Kiki Layne in Dior

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Layne is a current favorite among fashion designers, so no wonder she’s able to command some incredible custom gowns, like this one with its delicate off-the-shoulder neckline made for her by Maria Grazia Chiuri. The Bulgari choker is a superb touch.

8. Emily Blunt in Alexander McQueen

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Who knew pewter colored lace could look so daring?

9. Constance Wu in Vera Wang Collection

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The corset bodice with its not-so-subtle hint of lingerie set an assertive tone for one of Hollywood’s new faces of power, and the full skirt and pop of orange ribbon kept this dress grounded in the realm of classic red carpet.

10. Thandie Newton in Michael Kors Collection

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A little bit disco, a lotta bit fun. Newton’s mirror embroidery and cut-outs caught everyone’s attention and brought a real sense of joy to the occasion.