Flashing the flesh in a bravura show to defy cold

Stephanie Smith Fashion Editor

Britain’s leading ladies braved the cold snap last night with an impressive red carpet display of gutsy high glamour for the Baftas, showing the world how to flash the flesh in style, whatever the weather.

Kate Winslet flew the flag for British fashion in a Stella McCartney sexy scoop-neck long black dress with cut-out lace panels, which was rather more daring than her usual demure award choices, explaining that she felt able to relax her style as she was presenting rather than attending as a nominee.

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Newly-blonde Carey Mulligan, who has been described as fashion’s new darling, didn’t disappoint in a stunning and unusual monochrome floral print long gown with wide neckline and black sash belt.

Kristen Scott Thomas looked vampishly elegant in a long, backless black lace dress.

Joely Richardson exuded old-school Hollywood style in a midnight-blue long satin gown with glittering diamante shoulder brooches and a tiny crystal clutch. Olivia Williams raised eyebrows in her slinky black asymmetric dress that clung tightly and had peek-a-boo slashes all the way down front and back.

Created by royal designer Catherine Walker, it was deemed by some to be on the desperate side of risqu. The actress cheerfully admitted she felt she had something to prove after playing a dowdy teacher in An Education.

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Long trains and fishtails, ruffles, lace, and sexy nude shades, mixed in with some brights, whites and plenty black, plus lots of dripping jewels, ensured London was the style capital of the world.

Many younger international stars chose short dresses, often strapless and ruffled, reflecting the bright, feminine trends wafting in for spring. Anna Kendrick looked fresh in a short bright yellow strapless tiered Pucci dress and Jimmy Choo gold strappy sandals, while Kristen Stewart was definitely one of the night’s most surprising red carpet style icons in her eye-catching short pale strapless Chanel dress with matching satin shoes.

Audrey Tautou was another red carpet winner in her brave bright pink one shoulder short dress with puff sleeves, by Lanvin – a departure from her usual Chanel wardrobe.

Vera Farmiga looked impressively statuesque, but had trouble tripping over in her voluminous long white Grecian-style dress with black sash belt, by Marchesa, and Gabourey Sidibe looked magnificent in her gold pleated glamorous gown.

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