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Old Hollywood may be the perennial source of direction at major award shows such as Sunday’s Golden Globes, but, thankfully, many A-listers and their beauty brigades are opting for more modern looks in hair and makeup.

Undefined eyes, neutral lips and a blushed, glowing cheekbone, says L’Oréal consulting makeup artist Collier Strong, topped the night’s best trends. “It’s an elegance that’s a bit more easy and new,” he observed.

Instead of going retro-glam with ivory skin and ruby lips — a look that Julianna Margulies pulled off magnificently, yet only added to Scarlett Johansson’s too-literal channeling of a Forties siren — several stars went with just the opposite.

Charlize Theron, Jennifer Garner, Claire Danes, Mischa Barton and Natalie Portman gave their otherwise classic frocks a fresh modernity by staying away from being too overdone — and too undone.

People — both the stars and fans — are so overtired of the messy or too-done look,” observes Oscar Blandi, who created the polished down-’do for Garner. “On the red carpet you’re going to see more hair that is dressed — no more tussled hair, and absolutely never overdone. It can’t be too much anymore. That doesn’t work.”

If it wasn’t worn down, then it was combed back into a ponytail that wasn’t pulled as tight as in years past. The no-fuss look let Hilary Swank, Renée Zellweger and Portia de Rossi shine even more.

“With such elegant dresses and finished makeup, we don’t want contrived hair,” said de Rossi’s hair stylist Sean James of Fred Segal Beauty. Adding texture to the style was key, which James did by running Kerastase Lumiere Nutri-Sculpt through with his finger tips to create slight grooves.

The most modern effect of the night, though, was the face — and neckline and whatever other skin was on display. It’s what Dior makeup artist Shane Paish calls “that Bündchen glow. It’s that fresh, Brazilian look that Gisele and the rest of the new girls have that allows for these dresses to look more about today.” The Australian created Theron’s peachy glow to go with her newly tanned skin and jet black bob.

This story first appeared in the January 18, 2005 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

(Theron’s hair color is another trend du jour, what with Zellweger and after party-bound Mena Suvari among the crop of new brunettes.)

While Theron’s tawny skin evidently came from a recent trip to Brazil, Swank’s bronze sheen came courtesy of a combination of Dior products, from the So Cheek creme blush to a luminous dusting powder. “We went with the idea of a beachy bronze goddess — but I want to stress it wasn’t about being over tan,” says artist Pati Dubrof, in reference to some of the Mystic Tan-OD’s of the night.

The goal, says Dubrof, “is no hard lines on her face. The only strong points are black mascara and a groomed brow.”

Those not going for such a monochromatic look touched on a little peach, lavender or pink. Ashley Judd’s artist Moyra Mulholland went with shades of light purple and nudes from the American Beauty collection, a new line of cosmetics and skin care products the actress is promoting.

Adds Blandi: “These women still want to look like movie stars, but they don’t necessarily want to set extreme trends. They just want to feel beautiful.”

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