The night we were all waiting for has finally come! The 84th Academy Awards took place yesterday at the Hollywood & Highland Center: the red carpet was scrutinized by professional and amateur fashion critics all around the world – me included – so here is my top ten of the best-dressed celebrities. You’ll find actresses who have been included in most best-dressed lists, but some outsiders, as well. You know I don’t like conformism, so I picked beautiful outfits who were scorned by others.
Ladies in White
I’m not a fan of white outfits on the red carpet, but some celebrities looked stunning in this colour. First of all, Rooney Mara, who probably is on top of my best-dressed list. The actress, nominated as Best Actress in a Leading Role for The Girl with a Dragon Tattoo by David Fincher – looked sensational in a Givenchy Haute Couture lace dress from the spring 2009 collection. The version worn by Rooney is a bit different from the one seen on the catwalk – a longer hem, white lining and more fitted bodice – but the beauty of it is intact. She wore a piece of jewellery only – a Fred Leighton antique platinum ring with diamonds and a miniature portrait – and she kept make-up and hair simple. Her glossy, super-straight and clean-cut bangs are mesmerizing, and so is her ruby red lipstick.
Another actress who wore white – and looked amazing – was Gwyneth Paltrow. Many criticised her outfit, but I think she brought refined minimalism on a higher level. She wore a Tom Ford ensemble from the (super-secret) fall/winter 2012 collection which was presented in London some days ago. The column dress, with a draped detail on the bodice, was worn with a sensational floor-length cape. This is surely an unusual choice because the cape is always a risky piece of clothing, but Gwyneth totally pulled it off.
The actress also wore Anna Hu jewels – a lace-effect platinum and diamond cuff bracelet, a diamond-encrusted ring and tiny diamond stud earrings – and Jimmy Choo Koko platform sandals. I loved her “elegantly bronzed” make-up and sleek ponytail.
I’m quite on the fence when it comes to Jennifer Lopez. She wore a crystal-embellished Zuhair Murad custom-made dress, which gave her a very glamourous look. She looked beautiful but she can do so much better on the red carpet. I finally decided to include her in my best-dressed list because she was one of the few who opted for the classic Hollywood look (feminine silhouette, plunging neckline and lots of sparkle) and still managed to wow the crowd. Jennifer loves diamond jewellery, so it’s no wonder the jewellery department included an incredible amount of bling – Lorraine Schwartz platinum and diamond earrings, to start with. A chic chignon and a gorgeous neutral make-up completed her outfit.
She also wore Lorraine Schwartz platinum and diamond rings, matching her metallic silver manicure, and a Salvatore Ferragamo mirrored clutch, embellished by Swarovski crystals and suede.
Ladies in Red
Emma Stone was among the actresses who sported a red dress. She wore a piece from Giambattista Valli Haute Couture spring 2012 collection in a rich ruby red shade, which beautifully complemented her fair complexion. The dress, characterized by flowy skirt, draped waistline and big bow accenting the collar, is far from being original , but looked lovely on her. I really liked her simple updo and minimal make-up, with gorgeous cat’s eyes.
Her jewellery included pieces from Louis Vuitton Haute Joaillerie L’Ame du Voyage collection - white gold, red spinel and diamond earrings and a chain-link bracelet with 12 carats of diamonds. She completed her outfit with another piece by Louis Vuitton – a Mira crystal-embellished minaudière – and Brian Atwood Karin platform sandals.
I was really looking forward to seeing Michelle Williams on the red carpet because I love her style, and she didn’t disappoint my expectations. The actress, who got a nomination as Best Actress in a Leading Role for My Week with Marilyn by Simon Curtis, wore a Louis Vuitton burnt orange chiffon dress. The line of the dress is glamourous – strapless, the waistline accented by a peplum, short train – and is characterized by all-over ruching. I’m a big fan of her pixie haircut and I’m glad she ditched headbands this time.
She completed her dress with exquisite accessories: a Fred Leighton for Forevermark 30-carat diamond choker, an adorable Fred Leighton diamond bow brooch from the 19th century, a Bottega Veneta bubblegum pink crocodile knot clutch and Christian Louboutin Lady Peep Strass pumps.
Another celebrity who was dressed in red was Livia Giuggioli, Colin Firth’s wife. She wore a custom-made Valentino Haute Couture gown made of recycled polyester from plastic bottles, with touches of sheer silk. This dress was obviously part of her Green Carpet Challenge: the rich red shade and the romantic style (the tiny bow accenting the waist and the corseted bodice) have immediately turned it into one of my favourite outfits seen of the evening. She completed her outfit with a gold chain bag by Valentino Garavani, embellished by a bow, and diamond pendant earrings.
Ladies in Black
Black has always been one of the safest colours to sport at such an important event, but this year very few celebrities wore dresses in dark shades. One of them was Kate Capshaw, the charming wife of Steven Spielberg. She walked the red carpet wearing a stunning jacquard velvet dress with iridescent silk underlay. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to gather information about this dress (I haven’t seen it included in any best-dressed list), but it looks like a vintage, Fortuny-inspired piece. She completed the outfit with black beaded necklace with tassel pendant and diamond-encrusted pearl pendant earrings.
One of the most awaited-for celebrities was Angelina Jolie, who wore a show-stopping dress by Atelier Versace. The black velvet custom-made dress featured an origami-like folded bodice and a thigh-high slit. The dress is far from being groundbreaking, but she worked it like a diva and looked breath-taking. Despite her sexy attitude, Angelina has never worn much revealing dresses: I think this is one of the most daring pieces sported during her long acting career. A soft hairstyle and sultry red lips completed her outfit.
Her jewellery included Neil Lane 20-carat cushion-cut diamond drop earrings and adorable 25-carat diamond leaf-shaped pins (on the back of the dress). Her shoes were custom-made velvet peep-toe pumps by Salvatore Ferragamo.
Glenn Close and Meryl Streep have a long story of Academy Award nominations. Both are incredibly versatile actresses, who have often found themselves one against the other at Academy Awards and Golden Globes. Despite the impressive amount of nominations (Streep has received 17 Oscar nominations and three Oscars so far, while Close has received six Oscar nominations and no statues), they keep on impressing the audience with their acting skills.
Both actresses received nominations as Best Actress in a Leading Role – Glenn Close for Albert Nobbs by Rodrigo Garcìa, Meryl Streep for The Iron Lady by Phyllida Lloyd. Streep won the gold statuette, but Glenn Close outdid her on the red carpet: she wore a Zac Posen dark green gown (from the fall/winter 2012 collection) and matching jacket, accessorized with a Judith Leiber bag, Bulgari earrings and Christian Louboutin Jenny Sling sandals in black satin. The dress is fantastic, especially for the trademark corseted bodice and the floral embroidered details on the back of the skirt. I also loved her haircut and neutral make-up.
The golden lady of the night, Meryl Streep, wore a very special dress by Lanvin, the first ever custom-made eco gown by the French maison, made from eco-certified fabric sourced from Livia Giuggioli’s Green Carpet Challenge. The draped, long-sleeved dress looked a bit too matronly for my liking, but it was just perfect for the actress, who accessorized it with a Lanvin clutch, antique Fred Leighton gold pendant earrings and Salvatore Ferragamo bronze shoes.
I greatly admire these two actresses not only for their artistic achievements, but also because they are proud of their Botox-free faces, which surely show the passing of time and are beautiful for this reason. On this red carpet we saw many celebrities (Sandra Bullock, for example) with frozen features: they try to appear fresh and young, but what is the result? Unnatural face expressions, so pathetic if compared to the glorious (and natural ;)) wrinkles on Close and Streep’s faces.
This is my best-dressed list and I really find it hard to pick a favourite dress. I love the Tom Ford outfit of Gwyneth Paltrow and I adore the delicate lacy number of Rooney Mara, but my vote goes to the gorgeous velvet dress sported by Kate Capshaw. This may sound like an extravagant choice, but it’s the only dress which has a proper vintage vibe (which I love), the only dress I would actually wear myself, if I could.
According to your votes, the best-dressed celebrity of the event was Gwyneth Paltrow! She got 37.93% of your votes, followed by Rooney Mara and Michelle Williams, who got 15.52% of your votes, and by Angelina Jolie, who got 12.07% of your votes.
 Many have compared this dress to the Balenciaga number Nicole Kidman wore at the Academy Awards in 2007, but I would rather compare it to a dress from Gucci fall/winter 2011 collection, worn by Jennifer Lopez at the Costume Institute Gala in 2011.