Eric Wilson is InStyle‘s fashion news director. Follow him on Twitter: @EricWilsonSays
There was no mistaking a banner year for fashion at the 2014 Golden Globes, not when it turned out to be this hard just to narrow down a Top 10 from all of the fabulous rule breakers who stormed the red carpet. Sure, some divisive looks appeared now and again, but there was little doubt after Sunday night that taking chances paid huge dividends in more cases than not. Wasn’t it exciting to see so much variety of color and shape, not to mention one very fabulous cape? Here, without further ado, are my choices for best dressed of 2014:
1. Lupita Nyong’o in Ralph Lauren
The breakthrough fashion star of awards season, and already a face of a Miu Miu spring campaign, Nyong’o can do no wrong. And she couldn’t have looked lovelier than in her off-shoulder, red silk cady gown from Ralph Lauren with a floor-sweeping cape that cements her place as the most desirable star to dress.
2. Cate Blanchett in Armani Privé
The dress was a masterpiece at the first glance of black lace, but the more you looked, the more you were amazed by its intricacy, even more so when Blanchett turned around to reveal the plunging back. Her precise, elegant hair is a perfect balance to the softness of the dress.
3. Kerry Washington in Balenciaga
You wouldn’t notice against the red carpet, but the custom Balenciaga dress is a cool, pale celadon made of bonded silk crepe. The cutaway front and jeweled neckline offer just the right sort of framework for showcasing that special bump. Her diamond pendant earrings and the Art Deco brooch were 1920s Fred Leighton.
4. Emma Watson in Dior
Besides the delicious choice of color, its youthful short sleeves and belted waist, Waston’s Dior gown was a twofer. The dress was completely backless, worn over sharply cropped black trousers that were a look of their own.
6. Amy Adams in Valentino
The two-tone halter look had a decidedly retro feel, and it played well with Adams’ on-screen décolletage derring-do style in American Hustle. Rarely has the red carpet been so synergistic with the big screen, and Adams emphasized the point with a Lorraine Schwartz pendant to draw the eye, well, you know where.
7. Emilia Clarke in Proenza Schouler
The custom black and white guipure lace gown had an intriguing texture and center slit, a new take on strapless that looks refreshingly crisp.
8. Michelle Dockery in Oscar de la Renta
The dazzling beads that resembled cracked glass, the slight rise of the hem, and the pronounced hourglass silhouette came together in a dress that worked on just the right woman.
9. Allison Williams in Alexander McQueen
The feathery black and white stripes could easily have veered into prison-wear territory, but the close fit and simple black skirt gave the look a playful, sporty spin.
10. Olivia Wilde in Gucci
Jaws dropped. Wilde’s supremely sexy long-sleeve silk georgette gown is fully embroidered with dark green metallic paillettes and emerald crystals, as Gucci noted. Definitely not your everyday look for maternity wear.