Lupita Nyong’o in custom Calvin Klein, Emma Stone in Elie Saab, Julianne Moore in custom Chanel Couture and Rosamund Pike in Givenchy Haute Couture.

Well, as far as the dresses go, it was an interesting year. A lot of safe choices and a few risks – some worked and some didn’t. Usually when I see a red carpet look, I know immediately if I like it or not but this year there were a few I had to ponder. There was no one particular dress that blew me away but there were definitely some memorable looks – and a couple of unfortunate ones. Either way, some of the more daring looks appeared after the ceremony at the after-parties. If only people could have that much fun at the main event… So in no particular order, here it goes.

Emma Stone in Elie Saab


So many fashion lovers were so anxious to see what Stone was going to wear and she surprised many with this chartreuse dress (almost bright green). It was a brave choice – beautiful and different, and the beading detail was exquisite. I bet the colour was even better in person. Also loved the strong dark red/orange lips. I didn’t love the matching shoes though. But the matching diamond and gold bracelets were incredible.

Lupita Nyong’o in custom Calvin Klein


Another gown that got us all talking. Leave it to Nyong’o and her stylist to choose something so interesting and spectacularly intricate. Apparently this custom number was made of  6,000 pearls making it essentially a giant piece of jewellery (it must have been super heavy). Like many, I was shocked this was Calvin Klein because it didn’t resemble the clean lines often associated with the label. I thought it looked more like Dior couture back in the John Galliano days. But either way, it was a stunning dress.

Julianne Moore in custom Chanel


A lot of people didn’t love this one on the stylish Oscar winner but I thought the craftsmanship was incredible. It was made with over 8,000 sequins and took more than 900 hours to make. This.Is.Couture. I read a few times that it was more beautiful in person compared to how it photographed, which begs the question – on the red carpet do you dress for how it looks in person or how it photographs? Her makeup and hair were also lovely and suited the timelessness of the look. This is the kind of dress I’d love to see up close and touch.

Scarlett Johansson in custom Atelier Versace


Johansson took one of the biggest risks of the night. Not your typical Oscar look. The extravagant emerald green neckpiece embroidered with 2,000 Swarovski crystals and similarly coloured dress was edgy and fun. This was a look that didn’t take itself too seriously. And it also represented something we don’t see on the red carpet these days – taking a chance. The action star definitely stepped out on a limb and ended up with a eye catching look. She looked strong, edgy and confident. And well played on haircut with the shaved sides and miss-matched earrings.

Rosamund Pike in Givenchy Haute Couture


Definitely one of the night’s best and the greatest dress the Gone Girl star has worn all award season. Red dresses can be hard on the red carpet but this one is killer. It’s a powerful dress and one that exuded confidence. The cut was masterful and also super flattering. Also loved the simple tied-back hair because it was all about the dress. But again, I wouldn’t have worn it with matching red shoes. It was too obvious. But maybe that’s a thing now and I missed the memo.

Jennnifer Lopez in Elie Saab


Lopez is nothing if not consistent. Like I’ve said before, Lopez would definitely wear white to her sister’s wedding. I felt the same with this dress as I did about the one she wore to the Golden Globes look – too much. Too much dress, too much poofiness, too much cleavage and too much tan. But man, she sure is beautiful. And this is how you do a ponytail on a red carpet – take note Dakota Johnson.

Cate Blanchett in Maison Margiela


Cate Blanchett is not Jennifer Lopez. She knew it wasn’t her night to shine and she dressed accordingly in a chic and simple sleeveless black gown. Some people hated the turquoise necklace but I thought it added some interest and was a nice pop of colour. Cate’s also been rocking big earrings a lot lately so I guess she wanted to change it up and accessorize in a different way.

Gwyneth Paltrow in Ralph and Russo


Gwyneth may be painfully pretentious but she normally nails it on the red carpet and this was a rare miss (she’ll likely never be able to top the legendary white Tom Ford dress and cape she wore to the Oscars in 2012). This colour of pink is difficult to pull off and I don’t think even Paltrow can make it work. It’s too Dynasty and not in a good way. It also looked like a Malibu Barbie dress. And the dress was also too long. But the Anna Hu Fire Phoenix earrings (priced at a mere $425,000) were incredible. Some of the best jewels of the night.

Dakota Johnson in Saint Laurent      

87th Annual Academy Awards - Arrivals

 This was one of the bigger disappointments of the night for me. Johnson has become a huge star recently and this night could have been her night to shine but this was just ‘meh.” Sure, the detail on the side of the shoulder is interesting but that’s it. And what was with that hair?! I’m all for a ponytail on the red carpet when done well (Jennifer Lopez, Gwyneth Paltrow) but this looked like she just left a hot yoga. All in all, an underwhelming look, especially when she looked so incredible in that silver Chanel couture dress she wore to the Golden Globes.

Reese Witherspoon in custom Tom Ford


A perfectly nice dress that was in line with Witherspoon’s other recent red carpet looks – safe. The ice blue silk gown with black velvet border was good looking but not especially memorable. Or exciting. And once again, I was surprised by the designer. This doesn’t look like Tom Ford at all. It lacks so many of the design elements we expect from Ford. And I think she could have stepped it up with the jewels. This dress begged for super long dramatic earrings and bigger diamond bracelets.

Lady Gaga in custom Azzedine Alaia

87th Annual Academy Awards - Arrivals

 Lady Gaga was definitely one of the stars of the night. Her performance was outstanding and she also nailed it on the red carpet in this custom Azzedine Alaia beaded gown. Alaia is a legendary designer with an extremely loyal following and this is apparently the first time he’s ever done a custom gown which means a lot. It was perfect for her and was like modern art. And I thought the red gloves were cool and worked because it was Gaga. Her makeup and hair were also perfect.

Marion Cotillard in Dior Haute Couture

87th Annual Academy Awards - Arrivals

The French actress is so stunning but I sure wish she’d end her ties to Dior. It was an interesting look and very ‘couture’ but it wasn’t flattering. Much like most of the dresses the Dior team chooses for her lately. I get the attempt to be fashion forward and ‘fashion-as-art’ but I don’t think this worked.

Naomi Watts in Armani Privé


This was one of the most different dresses I’ve seen in a while from Armani. And it’s another one that I had to think about. When I first saw her on the red carpet, I didn’t love it but the more photos I saw, the more I liked it. It’s refreshing to see Oscar gowns that are interesting and don’t look like all the others. And this one definitely didn’t. It was also styled well and her hair looked awesome. Kudos to Watts for not always repeating the same look.

Jessica Chastain in custom Givenchy


The gold beaded Armani Privé dress she wore in 2013 way so incredible and memorable and this just didn’t compare. Some friends thought the cut was flattering but I thought it was odd. And it seemed too old for her. The midnight blue beading was interesting but I don’t understand the necklace at all. Why are long earrings not worn more often with gowns like this instead?! I just can’t understand it (as my six year old nephew would say).

Jennifer Aniston in Atelier Versace

87th Annual Academy Awards - Arrivals

Once again, it was the same for Aniston as always. There’s nothing terrible about it but I’ve hardly read or heard anything about it. It’s like no one really cares. But of course, her figure is killer.

Nicole Kidman in Louis Vuitton


Remember the days when Nicole used to rule the Oscar red carpet? When she wore John Galliano for Dior in 1997 (one of the best Oscar dresses of all time), Jean Paul Gaultier in 2003 and Balenciaga in 2007. Those days seem long ago. I thought Nicole was coming back into her own recently but didn’t get this at all. I love sequins on the red carpet but none of it worked. And what was with the red belt? Also, she seemed like she was toning down the surgery lately but her face looked as frozen as ever. When she first appeared on screen, she honestly didn’t look real.

Meryl Streep in Lanvin


Saving the Hollywood legend and most nominated actor ever for last. Who can argue with this look? It was chic, elegant, graceful and sophisticated. Also timeless and frankly, just cool (loved the slit). One of Streep’s best red carpet looks and especially great when it’s obvious that she doesn’t really give a shit (in a good way). There’s truly no one like her. Until next year…

All photos via style.com

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