The Academy Awards are often heralded as the pinnacle of awards season, with Hollywood's best and brightest saving their most show-stopping ensembles for the Oscar red carpet.
One trend that ruled the step-and-repeat was strapless gowns. The simple neckline anchored dresses, allowing for a variety of skirt silhouettes, from regal and voluminous like Jennifer Lawrence's light-pink Dior Haute Couture to slinky fishtails and trains like Charlize Theron's stark white ensemble, also Dior.
Pale colors dominated the red carpet in a big way, with special attention to soft metallics. Jessica Chastain glittered in gold Giorgio Armani with radiating lines of beaded embellishments providing interesting texture for the simple gown. Silvery dove gray was the metallic of the moment, though, as the hue appeared on Amy Adams in Oscar De La Renta, Amanda Seyfried in Alexander McQueen, and Zoe Saldana in Alexis Mabille.
Anne Hathaway, who was also dressed in pastels, made serious waves in her pale-pink Prada. At first glance, the high neckline and simple column silhouette felt very reminiscent of the early-aughts, tattoo choker necklaces, and platform sandals, but it wasn't the sartorial nostalgia of the number that really had people talking. The darting at her bust in combination with the chilly night air caused a perceived wardrobe malfunction, which was then followed by a slew of Twitter parodies.
Kristen Stewart turned heads on the red carpet not only for her beautiful gown — hand-beaded Reem Acra with tiers of tulle fanning out from the skirt and down the train — but also because she was sporting it down the red carpet by way of crutches. Even with an orthopedic boot on her injured foot, KStew still wore one gray peep-toe heel on the other for red-carpet photos. What a trouper!
Quvenzhané Wallis was also a style standout in custom navy Armani Junior. Her outfit was the perfect style representation of her unique situation as the Academy's youngest Best Actress nominee in history: one-off Italian couture paired with a brand-new puppy purse, tricked out with a tutu and a tiara. Excellent but still age-appropriate.
Oscars 2012: My Picks for Best Dressed
Jennifer Lawrence: Jennifer Lawrence was a vision in this ballerina-pink Dior Haute Couture. The gown is fit for a princess with a curve-hugging corset bodice on top of a regal trumpeted skirt. To top it all off, she ordered McDonald's from the red carpet while wearing it. Atta girl.
Charlize Theron: A super-short haircut is definitely not an easy beauty look to pull off, but Charlize Theron wears it effortlessly. She played up the platinum pixie's severity with an equally austere red carpet gown. The crisp white Dior gown with its gem-laden peplum, sleek train and V-cut neckline is equal parts babe and badass, and it's one of our favorites of the night.
Kristen Stewart: Crutches and an orthopedic boot would be enough to set most ladies' red-carpet game back, but Kristen Stewart is decidedly not most ladies. Her injury didn't stop her from stunning in a hand-beaded Reem Acra dress with tulle panels. It didn't even stop her from wearing one high heel for photos. And it certainly didn't stop her from looking drop-dead gorgeous for the Oscars. For all of the above, we give her props.
Anne Hathaway: Sure, the darting at her bust was what had people talking about Anne Hathaway's Oscars ensemble, but mammary quips aside, this is a fantastic outfit. The high neckline is a trend we've seen all awards season long, but Hathaway's has to be one of our favorite iterations. The entire look was soft but modern with the clean lines of her column dress rendered in soft pastels and satin, a short haircut mussed to perfection, and sweet rosy makeup. Gorgeous.