Yet "business in the front and party in the back" was how Les Misérables star and Oscar winner Anne Hathaway described her halterneck pale pink Prada dress, which sparked a frenzy of interest on social networking sites.
That concept of elegance with a twist echoed throughout the style choices made by Tinseltown's leading ladies who predominantly chose sophisticated, old-school glamour enlivened by the modern details delivered by the world's top fashion houses.
There was a return to the full-blown tiered skirt for best actress winner Jennifer Lawrence in a blush Christian Dior gown, The Master star Amy Adams in a grey tulle Oscar de la Renta gown, and award presenter Jennifer Anniston in scarlet Valentino.
Zero Dark Thirty's Jessica Chastain, wearing strapless Armani Prive, and Catherine Zeta-Jones, in Zuhair Murad, borrowed from the influence of that much-coveted gold statuette with glittering metallic designs.
Fortune favoured the brave for The Impossible's best actress nominee Naomi Watts whose unusual, asymmetrical neckline on her dazzling, gunmetal grey Armani Prive won plaudits, as did Zoe Saldana's adventurous belted Alexis Mabille dress.
The puppy-shaped shoulder bag of nine-year-old Quvenzhane Wallis, the Oscars' youngest leading actress nominee, also drew much attention.