"American Hustle" costume designer Michael Wilkinson went into the Academy Awards on Sunday night hoping to win a trophy for the film - and to score a few points for fashion freedom.

“American Hustle” costume designer Michael Wilkinson went into the Academy Awards on Sunday night hoping to win a trophy for the film — and to score a few points for fashion freedom.

“The ‘70s were a time when people used their clothing to really tell people who they are,” he said by phone a few weeks ago. “There was a sense of taking some risks and not really giving a damn. Today there’s a fear of being on worst-dressed lists. It would be great to see people using clothes as a tool for self-expression again.”

As if on cue, the stars showed an independent streak on Sunday.

Though the forecast called for a “Frozen” palette of frost- and blush-colored gowns, many leading ladies diverged from that, in colors across the spectrum. They seemed to agree on only one trend: the sparkly statement necklace. (Swarovski and others will surely translate their Tiffany and Harry Winston diamonds to our pocketbooks.)

Men put new twists on the standard-issue tux. Many wore an ivory dinner jacket. And one of them generated the skin-baring controversy of the night. Pharrell Williams exposed his shins in a Lanvin tuxedo in a clam-digger length.

Red is definitely Jennifer Lawrence’s color. Though she stumbled yet again as she arrived (it has become her awards-show signature), her red Dior on Sunday may well be her red-carpet best.

As flawless as the driven snow, Naomi Watts dazzled in an ice-encrusted Calvin Klein Collection gown.

One of the few prints, Christine Teigen’s black Monique Lhuillier gown bloomed with pink flowers.

Amy Adams turned up in a tuxedo-inspired Gucci Couture dress in sapphire blue.

Lupita Nyong’o wore an ice blue Grecian gown from Prada. She said it reminded her of her native Nairobi.

Charlize Theron’s black Dior had a bodice that seemed to defy gravity but was held up by transparent straps.

Oscar winner Jared Leto wore a Saint Laurent cream dinner jacket with a red bow tie and black pants.

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