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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Timeless elegance, fitted bodices and mermaid trains ruled the Golden Globes' red carpet on Sunday as A-list celebrities channeled old-style Hollywood glamour.
Angelina Jolie looked like Grace Kelly in her white-satin Atelier Versace gown with a twist of Marlene Dietrich thanks to a red fold over collar, matching red lips and red clutch. "Modern Family" actress Sofia Vergara seemed Jayne Mansfield-esque in her strapless teal Vera Wang gown, ruffled train and Harry Winston jewels.
Charlize Theron could have passed for Lana Turner back in her heyday in Dior Couture with a plunging neckline and thigh-high slit dress, while Evan Rachel Wood was a modern-day Joan Crawford in her sparkling green Gucci Premiere gown, also with a plunging neckline.
"It's old Hollywood glamour. We've never seen this many 40s-style fit and flare dresses," said style expert and TV host Sam Saboura. "It's all about the mermaid shape, the hour-glass shape."
Saboura cited Jolie, Theron, Wood, Vergara, Reese Witherspoon, Kate Beckinsale, Rooney Mara, Salma Hayek, Elle McPherson and Debra Messing as just a handful of actresses who opted for some sort of "fit and flare" dress, many with embellished fishtails of ruffles, tules or feathers.
"So many women wore pink! " said designer Rachel Pally, referring to the likes of Theron, McPherson, Mary J. Blige, Octavia Spencer, Natalie Portman, Sarah Paulson and Heidi Klum.
"Pink is a tricky color to pull off because it can often come across as too cute or too young. But it was great to see different shades of pink, like soft blushes and pastels. They were pretty without being too sweet," Pally said.
Saboura said pastels will be big in fashion this coming spring, as seen in the soft pinks and lavenders, but he noted that many fashion-forward stars were already skipping to fall 2012 on the red carpet, choosing to wear dark, rich colors.
Vergara, Freida Pinto, French actress Berenice Bejo, Tilda Swinton, Helen Mirren and Madeleine Stowe opted for dark blues or peacock tones. Burgundys and rich purples were favored by Michelle Williams, Viola Davis, Juliana Margulies, Emma Stone and Tina Fey, while greens were seen on Melissa McCarthy, Laura Dern and Kelly Macdonald.
"Headbands were also a trend, whether you like them or not," observed Saboura of the accessory worn by Theron and Williams. "With films like 'The Artist' and the forthcoming 'The Great Gatsby,' this is just the beginning of this type of '20s style that we're going to see."
But the consensus among experts seemed to be that Jolie's red fold over collar and matching red lips and clutch purse was among the most stunning looks of the night.
"She looked amazing," said celebrity designer Bruno Schiavi. "The top of the dress was very structured -- I bet it had some corsetry inside -- with a small train at the bottom that was not too over done. She wanted people to look at that red accent with the color red being daring, dangerous and sexy. She was very much 'Mr. & Mrs. Smith,' but not too overdone because she's still a mum."
Reporting by Zorianna Kit; Editing by Bob Tourtellotte and Sandra Maler