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LOS ANGELES At the 71st annual Golden Globe Awards Sunday in Los Angeles, most actresses turned up the volume on the red carpet with billowing skirts in lieu of the usual body-conscious red-carpet columns.

Jessica Chastain, Greta Gerwig and Julianna Margulies chose elegant black ballgowns by Givenchy, Donna Karan Atelier and Andrew Gn, respectively. “It’s kind of epic,” said Gerwig of her gown. “When I put it on, the dress and I melded and became one. It was a magical moment.” Would anything else be expected for her first Golden Globe nomination? “At first I thought, ‘Am I asking too much of a dress?’ But then I thought, ‘No, you’re supposed to feel like you just got married to showbiz.’”

This story first appeared in the January 13, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Lupita N’yongo made a splash in a Ralph Lauren cape dress in red, one of the night’s most popular shades, also seen on Julie Delpy in Romona Keveza, Bérénice Bejo in Giambattista Valli and Julia Louis-Dreyfus in Narciso Rodriguez.

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“Downton Abbey” star Michelle Dockery said of her silver Oscar de la Renta ballgown, “I had a couple of things to choose from but I just fell in love with this one.” As for how she felt in the stately gown, “I feel a bit like Lady Mary, actually,” she laughed.

On her heels was Zooey Deschanel, also in de la Renta. “Something about it reminded me of Jackie O., so I was instantly drawn it to it,” said the retro-loving starlet.

In the tight-fitting camp, a few adventurous fashionistas chose cut-crystal-embellished satin numbers — Adèle Exarchopoulos in backless navy Miu Miu, Margot Robbie in cream Gucci and Zoe Saldana in Prabal Gurung.

Designers, take note: It seems that personal touch is the key to an actress’ heart. Said Saldana, “[Gurung] sent this dress to my stylist Petra Flannery with a note that said he was thinking of me when he designed it. When you hear that, it’s a rocker writing you a love song. You have to wear it.”

Along the way, there were the usual starry collisions, with Channing Tatum fist-bumping Chris Hemsworth and Jon Voight greeting Bruce Dern and daughter Laura. Taylor Swift and Jennifer Lawrence breezed past reporters clutching one another’s arms, while Emma Thompson took off her Louboutins and ran down the carpet to make the final call before the awards.

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