LOS ANGELES -- When it came to fashion, the Oscar red carpet was all about fire and ice as a majority of female stars opted to wear either bold, fiery hits of red or pale, cool shades of shimmery silver.
Jennifer Lawrence exhibited the power of red in a silk crepe tank dress from Calvin Klein Collection. The silhouette was the epitome of simplicity: a scoop-neck, body-hugging sheath with not one bell, whistle or sequin -- letting the vivid shade of red do all the work.
Showing the more dramatic side of red, Anne Hathaway wore a strapless, scarlet Valentino gown with plenty of volume at the skirt and delicate rosettes cascading down the side. The event's co-host looked classic in the designer's signature shade, with a simple updo, red lips and a 94-carat Tiffany Lucida Star diamond necklace to break up all the bold color.
Sandra Bullock wore a similar gown, this one by Vera Wang. Like Hathaway's, her skirt had plenty of volume and the strapless bodice was structured, showing off a small waist and toned arms. It's quite a different look for Bullock, who arrived to accept her lead actress award last year in a pale gold gown and Veronica Lake hair. (This year, her hair was twisted into a regal updo.)
New mom Penelope Cruz looked svelte in a red silk dress with hand-embroidered sequins by L'Wren Scott. But perhaps the most arresting version of the color was worn by Jennifer Hudson, who showed off her newly slender figure in a warm tangerine halter gown by Versace.
Those who didn't get revved up in red shone in metallic shades, mostly silver. Mandy Moore was a surprising showstopper in a silver, crystal-smattered Monique Lhuillier dress. The crystals had an almost ombre-like effect -- sparse at her chest and dense at her waist. The result looked as if the designer gently swept sparkles across Moore for an ethereal effect that was eye-catching but light as air.
The shade also looked fresh on Michelle Williams, in a silvery-white beaded Chanel Haute Couture gown from the spring-summer 2011 collection. Her signature platinum pixie cut was cool, but not icy.
Halle Berry was stunning in a silver Marchesa gown with champagne tulle applique at the hem of the skirt and a gentle row of ruffles at the strapless neckline.
The year's youngest nominee, Hailee Steinfeld, dazzled in a pale pink, tea-length Marchesa gown festooned with crystals, which the actress said she initially sketched herself and helped design. Like her other red carpet choices this season, this one showed that the actress clearly has an eye for fashion and for looking charmingly age-appropriate.
More ice queens on the carpet were Gwyneth Paltrow in a pale gold Calvin Klein column gown and Hilary Swank in a heavily textured, silver strapless gown from Gucci.
Neither ice nor fire, but certainly on the warm side of the spectrum, were Natalie Portman and Scarlett Johansson. Both actresses donned a darker version of red that bordered on burgundy -- Johansson in a form-fitting lace gown from Dolce and Gabbana and Portman in an off-the-shoulder, draped gown by Rodarte (her usual go-to for red carpet dresses, though this was the first time she's worn the label during this award season).
Accessories were surprisingly absent for the most part, save for a few major statement pieces. Amy Adams jazzed up her L'Wren Scott column gown with a Cartier necklace that layered over the navy blue beads of the dress. Portman looked radiant in Tiffany rubellite tassel earrings with rose-cut diamonds, and Nicole Kidman added even more sparkle to her white, origami-esque Dior Haute Couture gown by wearing a 150-carat, long diamond necklace from Fred Leighton that she shortened as a choker around her neck, letting the rest of the diamonds drip down her back.
But as everyone knows all these on-loan sparkly baubles will be returned, and the most covet-worthy accessory of the night is the golden statuette.
(c) 2011, Los Angeles Times.
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