The red carpet was one of the best in recent Hollywood history. Nontraditional was the new normal. The looks were modern and fashion-y, but not fashion victim-y (save for poor Sarah Paulson's polka-dot mosquito netting).
In fact, the word to describe the night's overriding feeling might just be "effortless." These actresses wore the clothes; the clothes didn't wear them.
Red was the hot color of the evening, worn by at least half a dozen high-profile attendees in what seemed like a crazy fashion coincidence. The best red dresses had unusual details: whimsical red crystal butterflies at the neckline of
Among the evening's modern looks was Kerry Washington's orange-is-the-new-black Prada column gown with a high slit, sparkly underskirt and multicolored micro-beaded edge details.
Michelle Dockery also chose an unusual look by up-and-coming New York designer Rosie Assoulin, a color-blocked blush pink, blue and green column with overlapping folds. And Allison Williams looked like a 21st century princess in a pink and white tulle Giambattista Valli couture gown with a bright yellow belt and off-kilter bow.
Lizzy Caplan's black-and-white Donna Karan ball gown with a dramatic crisscross back had modern flair, as did Jessica Paré's anything-but-basic-black Lanvin dress in a chic shorter length, paired with a killer 1950s swirl diamond Fred Leighton necklace.
Even Zac Posen, best known for his vintage-inspired couture looks, struck a modern note, dressing
Arguably, Dior designer Raf Simons is the one who kicked off the new mood in red carpet dressing, with his daring couture designs worn to such spectacular effect at past awards shows by Charlize Theron,
Simons didn't need to — everyone followed the lead anyway.