February 26, 2012 5:25 pm

Early nods at Oscars for stylish gowns, including Mara, stars from ‘The Help,’ ‘Bridesmaids’

There were many new fashion faces on the red carpet at the 84th annual Academy Awards on Sunday night, but they brought with them a lot of old Hollywood glamour.

Rooney Mara in white Givenchy, Emma Stone in red Giambattista Valli and Jessica Chastain in Alexander McQueen were among those making bolder-than-normal choices at the Hollywood & Highland Center in Los Angeles.

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“I picked it because I loved it,” said Mara of the Riccardo Tisci custom-made gown made of mixed laces and multilayered chiffon.

Some seasoned style stars stepped up their game, too, including Michelle Williams in burnt-orange Louis Vuitton, Jennifer Lopez in a crystal-covered Zuhair Murad, Cameron Diaz in Gucci and Penelope Cruz in a smoky-blue Armani Prive.

Angelina Jolie did her simple, sexy thing in black strapless gown with a high slit.

Gwyneth Paltrow went sleek and chic in Tom Ford, and Stacy Keibler was statuesque in gold lame Marchesa. Viola Davis’ emerald-green, corset-style gown by Vera Wang had a little beading on the bustline and a chiffon pleated skirt. She matched her earrings to the jewel tone of the gown, which seemed a popular trend. Melissa McCarthy also did it, pairing her rose Marina Rinaldi with crystal neckline and waistband with 10-carat diamond earrings decorated with pink diamonds by Chopard and a pink tourmaline cocktail ring.

Rose Byrne in shimmery Vivienne Westwood, Kristen Wiig in a delicate champagne J. Mendel and Tina Fey in a regal purple gown by Carolina Herrera also elevated their fashion credibility – and likely their star wattage – with their appearances. Octavia Spencer continued to work with Tadashi Shoji on her awards-show wardrobe, this time in a hand-beaded, draped ivory gown with cap sleeves.

Milla Jovovich, best known as a model, channeled a screen siren in a one-shoulder, white-beaded Elie Saab gown. “I wanted something very clean, structured, like a statement piece without being overpowered,” she said.

Berenice Bejo chose a mint-green, fully embroidered gown by Saab. Her makeup artist Julie Hewett said they purposely created a fresh, unfussy look to complement the dress because it was an unusual colour. “We decided to go very simple and not complete,” said Hewett, a Dior artist. “I kept her skin very fresh: not powdered, very clean, very natural.”

Hewett saw the influence of the 1920s and ’30s on the red carpet and thought it could be a nod to “The Artist,” for which Bejo is nominated.

“Old Hollywood never goes away, it never goes out of fashion, but ‘The Artist’ brought it back for a generation that didn’t know about Hollywood at that time,” Hewett said. “It’s how we want our stars to look.”

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