NEW YORK (AP) — Let the glam games begin!
The Golden Globes marked the start of red carpet season for Hollywood and we've got five stars to talk about, though no hot trends surfaced Sunday night around those big dinner tables where the booze flowed and the party vibe was more casual than Oscar or Emmy or Grammy.
"What I think you're seeing is a lack of trends. People are really shooting for individuality," mused Hal Rubenstein, editor at large for InStyle magazine. "There's not one color that dominated, not one silhouette, one mood, one neckline."
Style and beauty expert Mary Alice Stephenson saw a distinct lack of risk-taking for most carpet walkers.
"Looking pretty is not enough anymore. You need to make a statement when you have the world of style at your fingertips and all the tools you need," she said. "They're all beautiful women, but Michelle Obama, our first lady, takes more fashion risks in what she wears on a daily basis than those girls on the red carpet."
Along with some reds and greens, celebrity stylist Robert Verdi noted a hint of "Gone with the Wind Fabulous" in full-on princess dresses worn by Sofia Vergara (Zac Posen), Tina Fey (Carolina Herrera) and the strapless floral confection of Kaley Cuoco by Rani Zakhem.
The up-and-comer who played Patsey in best dramatic picture winner "12 Years a Slave" stole the hearts of many in an orange-red silk column gown with a cape from the Ralph Lauren Collection.
"She was the best dressed of the night, without a doubt," Rubenstein said. "She walked through that red carpet area and it was like waters parted, and most people don't even know who she is because she looked nothing like the woman in the movie. She looked extraordinary."
What made Nyong'o's look, added Verdi, was simplicity.
"Her hair was modern, her earrings (diamond studs from Fred Leighton) were simple. I adored it," he said.
Stephenson lauded her courage.
"I love it when a young actress dares to make a bold statement on her first big award show red carpet," she said. "This dress would be hard to pull off for many women, but it was hard to take your eyes off this stunning look."
Black lace is nothing new but high-necked, peekaboo black lace on the winner for best actress in a drama offered something more. It was backless and lent the "Blue Jasmine" actress a modern twist on classic Hollywood, from Armani Prive.
"The moment she hit the red carpet the entire fashion world gave one big social media amen," Stephenson said. "This is how a style icon hits the red carpet. It was sophisticated, feminine and sleek. What makes it even more powerful is it looked so beautifully unique."
Verdi was also a fan because she took her short-sleeved lace to a different place.
"Black lace is something that you can always wear. You just don't want it to look too old so that you look like a mourning Italian grandmother after her husband died," Verdi said. "You walk a line with it. Why that dress worked is because it's sexy from the back and the lace is assembled in a way where you see everything except what you're not supposed to see."
Her black strapless gown had a white collar button-down shirt, from Dolce & Gabbana.
"This is something that Dolce & Gabbana has done quite a few times. It's a Dolce & Gabbana signature," said Rubenstein. "She's not really a glamour girl. She doesn't really love the whole idea of dressing up, so I think it actually fit her. She felt comfortable when we were talking to her. She looked like she was happy with who she was."
Verdi called it "an interesting casual vibe for the Globes" but a little bit "like she was trying a dress on at a sample sale without going to the dressing room. You know, just pull it on over your street clothes."
Stephenson was not a fan.
"I wanted to jump on the red carpet and loosen Julia up. I would have taken away the white shirt and let down her hair. She is such a beautiful woman but she looked too buttoned up," she explained. "This is a case of less would have been more. It would have looked much better without the white shirt and undone hair would have added some sexy sizzle."
The pregnant Washington showed up in Olivia Pope white from "Scandal" and earned some raves, including a special nod from Stephenson for "pregnant perfection," along with Olivia Wilde, who wore emerald Gucci.
"They both showed how styling your baby bump can be glamorous, sexy and fun," Stephenson said.
Drew Barrymore, also very pregnant, was not so much, Stephenson said. "Kerry and Olivia showed off their bodies rather than trying to hide them," she noted.
Washington's sleeveless white gown with a low neck and jacket-like top was Balenciaga. Stephenson called the dress "so sweet and beautiful. Baby bumps can sizzle."
While Stephenson included Zoe Saldano as one of her risk-takers in a black, blush and embellished gown — sheer at the calf — from Prabal Gurung, Lena Dunham of "Girls" got Verdi's attention in a bright yellow Zac Posen that showed off all assets.
"I loved the color," he said. "Lena has three fashion people trapped in her head. One is a naughty little girl. The other is a tatted-up Harley-riding chick and the third is a martini-drinking mom from the 1950s. That's her Bermuda Triangle of fashion."
Follow Leanne Italie on Twitter at http://twitter.com/litalie