Supermodel Karolina Kurkova was a hit in Marchesa: She wore a tiered, midnight blue dress in satin organza, covered with white flower details. Less well-received: Katie Holmes, also in Marchesa, this one a bright yellow off-the-shoulder number.
Also in midnight blue: Kim Kardashian, who walked the red carpet in blue Lanvin with a very high slit in front, accompanied by her beau, Kanye West.
Actress Idina Menzel evoked her recent success voicing the movie "Frozen" with an icy all-white white concoction with a feathery train by Donna Karan Atelier. Also in all white: Rihanna, in a sleek, midriff-baring McCartney design. Right behind her on the red carpet was Kate Bosworth in pale pink McCartney. Also in pale pink: Taylor Swift, in a de la Renta floor-length sheath with a train. (Trains were huge on this night.)
And Blake Lively earned praise for her old-movie star look in a blush Gucci gown with, yes, a dramatic train.
There were, though, pronounced bursts of bright color: Actress Emmy Rossum wore a bold floral Carolina Herrera gown in yellow and purple. Allison Williams of HBO's "Girls" wore an orange de la Renta gown. Actress Emma Stone was also looking bright in a midriff-baring purple top and long red skirt by designer Thakoon. Reese Witherspoon wore a bright, deep pink gown by McCartney.
Like Nyong'o, actress Zoe Saldana divided fashionistas with her boldly shaped Michael Kors dress. Kors himself was full of praise for James' designs. "He made complicated clothes that look simple, and isn't that what we all want to do?" he said.
One of the busiest designers of the evening seemed to be Ralph Lauren. Not only was he dressing a host of stars; he was dressing his fellow designer, Calvin Klein.
Klein was wearing a Lauren black tuxedo tailcoat with a white pique formal shirt, white pique vest and bowtie. Lauren also dressed actress Rachel McAdams, who wore a pale pink silk evening dress with a chiffon train, and gold leather heels.
Also in Lauren: soccer great David Beckham, who accompanied his wife (dressed in her own, all-white gown) to the gala in a white shawl collar tuxedo jacket and black tuxedo pant, and Johnny Depp, in a black tuxedo tailcoat and white pique vest (and a cane.)
TV personality Andy Cohen also wore Lauren as he accompanied Parker on the red carpet. He joked in interviews that, given the size of her outfit, it was like bringing the Statue of Liberty to the ball.
Actress Rashida Jones in a purplish Tory Burch gown said, on the red carpet, "If I stop moving, I might fall."
Others who wore Calvin Klein: Anne Hathaway (in a bright red midriff-flashing number) and Adam Shulman; Christy Turlington Burns and Ed Burns; actors Bryan Cranston and Paul Rudd, and TV late-night host Seth Meyers.
Associated Press writer Leanne Italie contributed to this report.