by Chloé Harris

At the 82nd Annual Academy Awards, Madame Streep had the post-orgasmic glow of a woman who has snuggled in a foxhole with Clooney, sizzled with Tucci and romped in the hay with a Baldwin—all during this year of the Meryl. But last night, in what was the 15-time Oscar nominee's most stunning red carpet appearance yet, the Hollywood royal played muse to a San Francisco queen.

Chris March, the Project Runway alum noted for his outrageous costume chapeaux for the stage of Beach Blanket Babylon, draped Streep's white gown to elegant perfection. (March also designed her easy belted number for this year’s Golden Globes.) With simple Fred Leighton jewelry, a chic Swarovski clutch and skin like milk and honey, Streep was our pick for best dressed at the Oscars. Baldwin may rock her in the sack but, on the red carpet, March becomes her.

Meryl's lesbian lover also dazzled in a slinky Marchesa with a beautifully embroidered bodice, but it was young Carey Mulligan who proved the true heiress to Streep's Hollywood throne. In Prada’s gothic sweetheart frock adorned with tiny scissors and knives, the 24-year-old star of An Education schooled red carpet regulars with a look that was both classic and cutting edge. We wish the same could be said for perennial style maven Sarah Jessica Parker, who looked pregnant in yellow Chanel Couture. Poor SJP knew it too: Throughout the night, a self-conscious hand over her lady bits strategically smoothed the belly of the beast. Zoe Saldana, meanwhile, hid her candy beneath an unwieldy purple piñata. Perhaps Ms. Mulligan could lend her some scissors.