1. 1960s Style
A combination of simple makeup, small jewels and throwback hairdos gave a nod to an earlier decade on this year's red carpet. "Gwyneth Paltrow, Reese Witherspoon, Marisa Tomei...They all have a very '60s vibe," Carson says. "Especially the hairdos." Reese's high-volume 'do recalls Bridget Bardot, Carson says, while Nicole Kidman's ponytail and Michelle Williams' pixie cut also evoked the 1960s.
Best Supporting Actress winner Melissa Leo was on-trend in a short-sleeved white lace gown by Marc Bouwer. Carson says lace was one of the big fashion winners of the evening, showing up on Black Swan actress Mila Kunis as well as Scarlett Johansson. "As we come into spring and summer, lace details in sportswear will be big," Carson says. "We'll see lace tunics and lace accents in everyday pieces."
3. Purple Tones
The color purple showed up in every shade on the red carpet, from Cate Blanchett's pale lavendar gown to Best Actress winner Natalie Portman's deep plum number. Carson says the purple reign worked beautifully because it stands out and makes a strong fashion statement.
Some of the most stunning showstoppers shined in silver and gold metallic, Carson says. Gwyneth Paltrow and Hilary Swank were favorites in their shimmery silver, and Annette Bening was a beautiful Best Actress nominee in her sparkling Naeem Khan dress. Halle Berry, Celine Dion and Helen Mirren also wore variations on metallics—Halle in a stunning gold gown, while Celine and Helen's fashions were silver and gunmetal respectively.
"Red is a great statement color, but it's hard to wear on the red carpet," Carson says. "Sometimes it clashes and can appear off in photographs, but a lot of this year's red dresses looked really classic." It's a bold choice, but Best Actress nominee Jennifer Lawrence, Oscar host Anne Hathaway, and last year's Best Actress winner Sandra Bullock all pulled it off flawlessly. Other actresses who painted the town red? Penelope Cruz in her plunging, sparking gown and Jennifer Hudson, who showed off her sexy new shape in a tangerine stunner.
6. Simple Hair and Makeup
If red carpets of years past showcased dramatic updos and bold makeup choices, Carson says this year was all about simplicity. "Texturized hair was a big trend. Not smooth and glossy like in the past, but matte texture," Carson says. "Like Scarlett Johansson's hair. It's sort of messy, and looks like flyways." Other celebrities that fit the bill, Carson says, were Marisa Tomei and Annette Bening.
As for makeup, Carson says Sandra Bullock was on target with a classic lipstick that matched her red dress. "Most people chose to go with the bold lip and subdued everywhere else," he says. "It flipped from years past with a smoky eye and nude lip."
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