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Forget the films – it's always the outfits that steal the show. Rebecca Gonsalves selects the red carpet's most blockbusting frocks from ceremonies gone by

As the mercury fell last night so did the hemlines on the red carpet. Black was a staple,as Meryl Streep and Christina Hendricks wowed in Vivienne Westwood's signature hourglass silhouette. On the sleeker side, Melissa George and Joanne Froggatt wore black Victoria Beckham column gowns on the day the designer showed her latest collection in New York, while Livia Firth wore a slim Paul Smith tuxedo.

Michelle Williams and Octavia Spencer both turned to monochrome outfits – Spencer in a chiffon embellished black skirt and crisp white shirt and Williams in a custom made H&M strapless gown with a white bodice. White on its own was worn by Tilda Swinton – who looked statuesque in full-length Celine – and Kristen Wiig in a column gown from Alberta Ferretti.

Gillian Anderson was just one of the stars who turned to Wiliam Blanks-Blaney of William Vintage for her vintage gown. "He knows dresses, he knows couture and how a woman should look," said Anderson.

Metallics were popular. Jessica Chastain shone in a pale gold lamé Oscar de la Renta gown, while Christina Ricci wore a gold Givenchy gown split to the thigh. Perhaps hoping to encourage the on set of spring were Viola Davis, who opted for coral Valentino and Naomie Harris who wore a yellow chiffon gown with a bandage detail bodice.

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