The other hot look was black, mostly strapless or off-the-shoulder numbers, with Penelope Cruz, Kyra Sedgwick, Courteney Cox, Lea Michele and Heather Graham finding a way to make a statement with their versions of not-so-basic black. Cruz's lace gown, from a 2005 Giorgio Armani Prive collection, for example, had a dramatic floral-pattern neckline and ribbon striping.
Amy Adams did the popular one-shoulder silhouette in a black Carolina Herrera that embraced her pregnant shape.
Meryl Streep's black gown even slid off her shoulder.
Mariah Carey's black, body-hugging Herve Leger gown gave a new definition to "open neckline."
Linda Wells, Allure magazine's editor-in-chief, said black can be a little boring but it was a better choice than the beige and gray that also had a strong presence.
"The problem isn't even the weather, it's that those colors don't look good on TV -- and if it doesn't look good on TV, you've missed the boat," Wells said. "Those colors look beautiful in real life but not on camera."
Wells' favorites included Bullock's bold orchid strapless gown by Bottega Veneta and Blunt's pale-pink frothy gown by Dolce & Gabbana.
Those light-toned cosmetic colors, however, did catch the eye of InStyle fashion director Cindy Weber Cleary -- and she liked what she saw, especially on Kate Hudson â in white Marchesa â and Nicole Kidman. She also picked Blunt as a winner.
"There wasn't a lot of hideousness. People were tasteful, prettier, more feminine. ... It was overall less flashy than it's been in the past," Weber Cleary said.
Ruffles replaced bling in many cases but ruffles in the wrong places can draw unwanted attention. Kruger, in Christian Lacroix, and Christina Hendricks, who wore a ruffle-covered Christian Siriano gown in a light apricot color, might want to remember that.
They both wore the trend-right up-do hairstyle and bright lipstick, though. But the must-have item of the night was the oversized red-and-white striped umbrella stamped with The Beverly Hilton logo.
Stars such as Cruz, Paul McCartney, Ricky Gervais, Jon Hamm, Adrian Grenier and Lisa Edelstein were eager to show off their red-yellow-and-blue ribbons pinned to their purses and lapels that were to remind each other as well as TV viewers of the plight being suffered by Haiti's earthquake victims.
Olivia Wilde wore a fully beaded jet-and-silver sequined Gucci with a pageant-style drape that ran along one side of the plunging V-neck. Wilde announced that Gucci would be donating it for an auction to benefit Haiti relief efforts.
Edelstein wore a silver halter gown with a deep V-front and diamond flower at her waist. She wasn't bothered by the rain: "I'm from the East Coast and I'm Irish, so it's not that bad."
But Jennifer Garner, in a slate beaded Versace with a complicated strappy back, told E! the weather posed the biggest challenge for hairdressers. "It was an Aqua Net kind of day."
Jane Krakowski wore a one-strap purple gown by J.Mendel, Heidi Klum did an off-the-shoulder number in dove gray by Roberto Cavalli and Julianna Margulies wore a Narciso Rodriguez dress with a red beaded neckline and black column bodice.
The new guard who left a stylish impression included Ginnifer Goodwin in an indigo cocktail dress by Vionnet, and "Glee's" Lea in a tiered, strapless Oscar de le Renta.
And actress January Jones, whose fashion-plate character on "Mad Men" may have singlehandedly brought back nipped waists and full skirts to the everywoman's closet, wore an understated black wool gown by Lanvin. "I tried to avoid doing the '60s look."