Frocks & shocks

Jessica Chastain wore a gorgeous, flesh-toned Armani Privee gown, shot through with silver stripes.

Frocks & shocks

Her jewellery is 1960s-vintage Harry Winstone.

Jessica chose this gown as it looked “very ‘Happy Birthday Mr President,’ very old Hollywood.” However, with her bouncy, strawberry waves and ruby lips, it looks more like she’s channelling Jessica Rabbit than Marilyn.

Amy Adams arrived early, afraid her Oscar de la Renta gown would be damaged in a crowd of the fashionably late. Her grey gown is most notable for the beautiful, fairy-princess skirt. When she was seated, it spread around her and into the aisle, before the stage, like a sea of silk tulle. Now that’s how you stand out in a room full of A-listers.

MiuMiu is a rare site on the red carpet at any Oscars, and this gown is an inspired choice by Kerry Washington. The coral skirt is a modern alternative to the classic red gown and I love the intricate bodice. Fred Leighton diamonds, and a Prada clutch, finished the look.

Newlywed Anne Hathaway looked so delicate in Prada. The tiny Tiffany flowers around her neck look great with the stem-like straps. This girlish, balletic gown was just right for the magical night on which her acceptance speech began, “Wow, it came true.”

Forget Cosette, Amanda, I don’t know what to say. Alexander McQueen should be all Ms Seyfried wears on the red carpet, from now on. This gown is exquisite, from the keyhole neckline to the hummingbird surface pattern. Her soft up-do is just the style to complement such a statement dress, and I love the winged eye make-up.

Jennifer Lawrence’s dress is Dior haute couture and utterly perfect for the occasion, with its pretty, jacquard-leaf pattern and sculpted skirt. This look is young, fresh and fashion-forward. Who cares that she tripped over it en route to the stage? She and Anne Hathaway both wore fine necklaces that stretched down their backs. Trend alert.

Jennifer Hudson is beautiful and elegant, but this Roberto Cavalli dress is neither. A sheer, blue gown with glittery leopard-print, Jen? Really? Did you wake up in 1988? Viewed straight on, the front-and-centre split goes dangerously high for such a formal event.

Kristen Stewart is a trooper for posing unaided, given that an injured foot meant she needed crutches to get out of her car. Her ill-fitting, Reem Acra dress could use a little help itself, and looks a little mature and fussy for such a young, irreverent actress.

Helen Hunt wore a strapless H&M. This would have been a refreshing and admirable nod to the vulgarity of parading in front of debt-stressed viewers, if she hadn’t paired it with $700,000 worth of diamonds. It looks like she simply couldn’t be bothered making an effort.

Jennifer Aniston didn’t set the carpet on fire in this Valentino gown. It looks identical to the many red dresses by the same designer that we’ve seen her in previously. It would have been great to see her venture away from a simple silhouette and plain, block colour for the Oscars. Gwyneth Paltrow effectively bought the copyright on that look, before Friends was broadcast.

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