12 Winning Red Carpet Looks From Awards Season

What gets us excited about fashion? Handmade, no-holds-barred couture. Big personalities with bigger personal style. Simple things, too — a perfect pleat, an elegant drape, a splash of sparkle. So, why do we find red-carpet fashion so utterly dull? Five words: nude, mermaid-hem, strapless gowns. Are they beautiful? Oftentimes, yes! Flattering? Indubitably. Boring? Ohmygod yes, so boring. The ubiquity of this type of dress during awards season is enough to make us skip the pre-shows… but then we seethese dresses. Full of imagination, verve, and style, these dresses are only out-awesomed by the women who wear ’em — and that’s how we like it. 

Ahead, we picked 12 dresses from this recent winter awards season that not only kept us from falling asleep, but also got us dreaming. Brava, ladies — thank you for keeping things interesting!

1

Zoe Saldana does the goth version of milkmaid-sophisticate, in a frilly Givenchy gown. 

Photo: Matt Baron/BEImages

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2

There’s no better celebrity-designer pairing than Marion Cotillard and Dior. This electric-orange strapless gown is elegant and simple — yet so, so captivating. 

Photo: Andreas Branch/Patrick McMullan Co.

3

Kerry Washington usually opts for glittering, clean-cut glamor, but this Giles dress — even in white — is a bit sinister, in the best of ways. 

Photo: London News Pictures/Rex/Rex USA

4

This is the current version of Gwyneth Paltrow’s pink Ralph Lauren. Elle Fanning’s Oscar de la Renta is pretty and girlish, but a little fantastical, too. 

Photo: Rex/Rex USA

5

Anne Hathaway was definitely a mixed bag this year, both in terms of her public perception and her red carpet choices. However, we think this Tom Ford number was breathtaking, and Anne carried off the silk frock and thigh-high sandal with confidence and — dare we say — a dash of badassery. 

Photo: Erik Pendzich/Rex USA

6

Not many people could pull off a spotted long-sleeve sheath that turns into a full-blown tent in the back… but Diane Kruger isn’t like many people. The red carpet queen makes this challenging Giambattista Valli dress look incredible.

Photo: Matt Baron/BEImages

7

We don’t typically think of Lucy Liu as a red carpet daredevil, but this garden-print Carolina Herrera gown might change our minds. Her braid, her gown, her makeup…perfection! 

Photo: Rex/Rex USA

8

No one rocks a patterned suit like Solange Knowles. With each of her red-carpet appearances we find ourselves frantically Googling to see whether we can get the look for ourselves, too. In this case, it’s Just Cavalli pre-fall (and no, not yet!). 

Photo: Everett Collection/Rex USA

9

Michelle Williams epitomizes laid-back glamor, and this Prada T-shirt style dress is cheeky and mod — and totally chic. 

Photo: Jim Smeal/BEImages

10

Helen Mirren’s pink hair was a sensation on the red carpet — at least for us! — and proved that a jar of Manic Panic isn’t just something for tweens to play with. Her Nicholas Oakwell was pretty spectacular as well. 

Photo: David Fisher/Rex/Rex USA

11

Out of all the frocks Adele wore on the red carpet, this patterned Valentino was the most stunning one. Demure but not precious, this dress brought some fun to the red carpet. 

Photo: Picture Perfect/Rex USA

12

Pretty lace dresses might be a dime-a-dozen, but this Giambattista Valli dress made Kate Bosworth look like a dime in a way that nothing else would. Love! 

Photo: Matt Baron/BEImages

Click HERE to read from Refinery29.

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