Oscars' best dressed stars

Story highlights

  • Michelle Williams chose a silk and organza Louis Vuitton dress with a peplum waist
  • Rooney Mara went minimal in a white Givenchy gown with a plunging neckline
  • Jennifer Lopez made a stunning entrance in a curve-hugging Zuhair Murad gown
At the 2012 Academy Awards each celebrity came out looking her personal best.
"Gwyneth Paltrow was elegant, Meryl Streep's look said 'I'm a movie star,' and Viola Davis was powerful and majestic," says InStyle Fashion Director Hal Rubenstein. Each woman dressed the way we want to see them and their confidence really shined through. The night wasn't dominated by a singular designer, silhouette or trend, but amazing earrings were the finishing touch on the diverse looks, says Rubenstein.
Check out the night's greatest gowns.
Meryl Streep
For her 17th Oscars as a nominee, Meryl Streep went for the gold in Lanvin's first ever custom-made eco gown, made from eco-certified fabric sourced with help from Livia Firth's Green Carpet Challenge.
Viola Davis
Vera Wang designed the Best Actress nominee's strapless green gown, which featured a pleated skirt detail and embroidered neckline. "She did right by me," "The Help" star graciously said of the designer. Davis completed the look with matching emerald earrings and a sparkling diamond cuff.
Gwyneth Paltrow
The actress wowed in white! Paltrow accessorized her Tom Ford gown and dramatic floor length cape with an Anna Hu Haute Joaillerie diamond cuff and ring and a sleek low ponytail.
Michelle Williams
The Best Actress nominee chose a silk and organza Louis Vuitton dress with a peplum waist, and she had to pool her friends to clarify the hue. "I've been asking everyone what color it is, and they say it's coral or maybe pomegranate," she said. (The label officially called it "burnt orange.") The "My Week With Marilyn" star played up the strapless neckline with a Fred Leighton for Forevermark necklace that featured 30 carats worth of brilliant-cut diamonds.
Rooney Mara
"The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" star and Best Leading Actress nominee went minimal in a white Givenchy gown with a plunging neckline.
Jennifer Lopez
Presenter and "American Idol" judge Jennifer Lopez made a stunning entrance in a curve-hugging, long sleeve Zuhair Murad gown which she accessorized with Lorraine Schwartz jewels and a Salvatore Ferragamo clutch.
Melissa McCarthy
The "Bridesmaids" star and Best Supporting Actress nominee chose a crystal-embellished Marina Rinaldi gown. She wore customized shoes from her "best friend from high school," Brian Atwood. "[The message on the sole] said, 'To my best friend, plus Oscars and the date,'" McCarthy said. "It made me cry."
Tina Fey
Oscar presenter and "30 Rock" star Tina Fey walked the red carpet in a black strapless custom Carolina Herrera peplum gown. Bulgari danglers offset her voluminous updo.
Jessica Chastain
The Best Supporting Actress nominee looked elegant in a black Alexander McQueen gown with an intricate gold overlay and a flowing chiffon train. She finished her look with $2 million of Harry Winston yellow diamond jewels.
Kristen Wiig
The actress, nominated for her "Bridesmaids" script, was the picture of femininity in a nude tulle strapless gown with woven bodice and hand pleated layered skirt by J. Mendel.
Emma Stone
"The Help" star and Oscar presenter complemented her strawberry strands with a scarlet Giambattista Valli dress and Louis Vuitton rubies.