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Top 5 Best-Dressed Leading Ladies at the 2017 Oscars

Over the last 36 hours, the Internet has been abuzz over the Best Picture slip-up at this year’s Academy Awards — almost to the point where the conversation has overshadowed all other chatter. In particular, little has been said about why Moonlight‘s win was so extraordinary or why the film itself was a work of subtle genius. Few have also mentioned Viola Davis’s stirring speech or Gael Garcia Bernal’s succinct defense of immigrant rights. Even the night’s winning fashion looks have elicited an atypically low amount of attention. So, while we can’t make anyone feel better or worse about the Best Picture fracas, we can at least entertain them with some thoughts on who rocked the red carpet. Here are our picks!

RUTH NEGGA

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The Loving actress was among the first major stars to stroll along the red carpet — and that was fine by me since it just gave me more time to admire her romantic Valentino dress, which featured long sleeves with a hint of volume at the shoulders, a form-fitting lace bodice with a sheer overlay, and a lacy high neckline. It was refreshing to see an actress avoid the cleavage-flaunting necklines, thigh-high slits, and illusion dresses in favor of a demure gown with a slightly Victorian feel. Her headband and beaded earrings, meanwhile, added even more opulence to the regal look.

HAILEE STEINFELD

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I thought I couldn’t stomach another “illusion” gown — much less praise it — after the parade of barely-there gowns we saw in 2015 and 2016, but then I laid eyes on this Ralph & Russo gown. Like Ruth Negga’s gown, this one features a high collar with ruffled edges, but it features a halter neckline that shows off Steinfeld’s shoulders. What makes this dress stunning, however, is the soft floral accents and how their placement accentuates the gown’s coy push-and-pull between sheerness and opacity. The gown’s bodice, then, is primarily sheer, with embroidered flowers in whisper-soft peach, lilac, and white tones concealing Steinfeld’s private bits. The skirt, meanwhile, features a semi-sheer panel along the center that teases the onlooker with the faint outline of the star’s legs, but the layers of fabric draped along the sides and cascading beautifully to the ground add some opacity to the design. In the end, the gown feels ethereal and poetic rather than provocative.

 

EMMA STONE

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Best Actress winner Emma Stone chose the perfect beaded lace Givenchy Couture dress in which to accept her golden statue. For one, there’s the color — which is perfect for someone vying for the gold but which, moreover, references old Hollywood glamour (La La Land‘s main theme). Next, there’s the long strands of gold and silver beads that comprise the four-tiered fringe skirt, which itself recalls the 1920s flapper era. The placement of the metallic beads creates a stunning gradient effect and, moreover, the fringe gives the gown plenty of movement — a fitting quality given that Stone was nominated for a playful musical. And then, of course, there’s the lace bodice, which was accentuated with hand-set beads. The entire gown took 1,700 hours to make — and the result had us all in La La Land.

JANELLE MONAE

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Some people gravitate towards understated and elegant red carpet looks, but “understated” isn’t an adjective commonly used to describe Janelle Monae’s fashion aesthetic. The Hidden Figures and Moonlight star took my breath away in a black Elie Saab gown with a sheer bodice accentuated with sequined, bird-themed appliqués and jeweled brooches. The bodice alone was enough to make me swoon, but the voluminous skirt just elevated the look to new and unprecedented levels. The skirt’s central panel is comprised of lines of lace adorned with beads, crystals, sequins, and feathers (in keeping with the avian theme), creating an interesting juxtaposition of textures and a color combination worthy of an Egyptian goddess. The layers and layers of black tulle draped over Monae’s hips and comprising the long train, meanwhile, give the gown volume and add even more drama to the design. And that Jennifer Behr headband? It might as well have been a crown because Monae had us bowing down!

PRIYANKA CHOPRA

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Many viewers at home didn’t get a chance to see Priyanka Chopra’s lovely white gown, but it was dazzling. This Ralph & Russo number features a simple and modern geometric motif, with tiny stitched squares that, in turn, were broken up into triangular shapes — some of them accented with silver glitter for a bit of razzle-dazzle. And, of course, the dramatic neckline — which hovers over her bustline in a perfect horizontal line then swoops along the sides of her bosom, creating curved shapes — gives the gown an architectural feel.

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