Jennifer Lawrence (AdMedia/Retna Ltd.); Kerry Washington (RD/Collin/Retna Ltd.)

The Oscars’ Red Carpet is the crowning glory of the fall/winter awards season fashion extravaganza. While we were treated to plenty of breathtaking glamour and glitter, most of this year’s looks were rather understated (almost austere) compared to the bold pops of color and super-sexy silhouettes that took center stage on the many red carpets leading up to the 85th Academy Awards.

Soft pastels, winter whites, and muted metallics dominated the festivities. The stars kept the focus on their gowns with tastefully minimal décolleté, low-key jewels, and loose (yet sleek), unfussy ‘dos.

Singer, and new mom, Adele—who accepted her award for Best Original Song for Skyfall bucked the pastel trend in a dazzling, jet black beaded Jenny Packham creation, while presenter Kerry Washington wowed in coral Miu Miu. At the opposite end of the spectrum Amy Adams (in dove grey Oscar de la Renta) and Jennifer Lawrence (in ballet pink Dior Haute Couture) went for full-on princess fantasy gowns with bountifully voluminous skirts. The effortlessly stunning J-Law took home the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for Silver Linings Playbook and gained adorability points by gracefully laughing off the fall she took on her way to the podium. Backstage she responded to a press query about what happened: “I tried to go up stairs in this dress!”

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Best Actress nominees Jessica Chastain and Naomi Watts (both in Armani Privé) glittered in structured, body conscious columns. Jessica’s beaded blush number exuded old Hollywood glamour while Naomi made a modern statement with an asymmetric neckline and head-to-toe gunmetal sequins. The always über stylish Charlize Theron lived up to her edgy fashionista reputation sporting a strikingly short pixie cut and an architectural, white Dior Haute Couture column.

We have to give a nod to Little Q (or Quvenzhané Wallis) who, at nine years old, is the youngest Best Actress nominee for Beasts of the Southern Wild. She was absolutely priceless in a cobalt Armani gown. She wins best accessory of the night for forgoing the usual clutch and carrying a stuffed puppy purse that she told E!’s Ryan Seacrest is named Sandy after her own dog.

Finally the grand finale: Michelle Obama made a surprise appearance via satellite to announce the Best Picture Winner. Our sartorially blessed First Lady was fabulously glitzy in a silver Naeem Khan sheath.