Lupita Nyong’o, Alfre Woodard, and Oprah Toast African American Women In Film At the Annual Oscars Sistahs Soiree in Beverly Hills

It was a night full of genuine sisterhood at the Alfre Woodard and Rémy Martin Annual Oscars Sistahs Soiree, where some of Hollywood’s leading ladies toasted African American women in film and honored stars Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave), Oprah Winfrey (Lee Daniels’ The Butler), Naomie Harris (Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom), and Yolanda Ross (Go For Sisters) for their remarkable achievements in entertainment. ”I’m honored to be in that room with that group of women. I mean the guest list is shocking and to be honored in that room it means a lot,” Nyong’o tells InStyle. “I’ve been looking forward to this day, so I’m keen to go down there and be with them…so it’s a great night.”

The 29 guests—which included Angela Bassett, Gabourey Sidibe, Rosario Dawson, and more— sat down around a table decorated with monochromatic red bloom centerpieces where they not only enjoyed a three-course meal of pepper-crusted seared Ahi tuna and vegan and gluten-free delicacies, but the women bonded over shared intimate conversations. “We put four [women] out as honoraries, but then have many toasts at the table. Everybody was able to stand up and say, you know what, I saw you in this this year and that was so great.  You recognize all the contributions,” Woodard explains to InStyle. “This is all the African-American women who’ve ever been nominated before in the acting category. It is for a specific reason and it was during Oscar week to get these women together first of all, so before they go out onto the carpet into the world [they] know that there are all these sisters who are pulling for them,”  she adds. “By gathering us together, that becomes our frame of reference for each other and we’re walking the same journey.” To go inside the intimate evening, look through our gallery to see what the stars had to say about their special sisterhood.

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What Costumes Won Big for Film and Television This Year? Inside the Costume Designers Guild Awards

One of the reasons we love our favorite films and television shows is the costuming—and the top designers were honored at the 16th annual Costume Designers Guild Awards over the weekend. Held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles, California, stars like Kerry Washington, Tony Goldwyn, Olivia Munn, Mindy Kaling, and Kiernan Shipka came out to celebrate the event, which was hosted by Scandal‘s Joshua Malina. The Guild handed out competitive awards for costume design excellence in seven categories for film, television, and commercial work, with the costumers behind Blue Jasmine, 12 Years a Slave, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, House of Cards, Downton Abbey, and Behind the Candelabra all taking home top honors.

This year, five-time Academy Award nominee Amy Adams was honored with the Lacoste Spotlight Award, which honors an actor whose talent and career personifies an enduring commitment to excellence, including a special awareness of the role and importance of costume design. ”I just had such an amazing privilege working with so many extraordinary costume designers and so many wonderful costume departments, and I’ve learned so much,” Adams says. ”[Costume designers] have taught me that clothing is a language, but that costume is an art… I am so, so lucky to work with amazing artists.”

Additionally, writer, producer, and director Judd Apatow was recognized with the Distinguished Collaborator Award for his support of costume design and creative partnerships with costume designers. “I feel like this is really more for all the costume designers that I’ve worked with over the years,” Apatow tells InStyle. “They really work with us to create these characters.” Congratulations to all the night’s big winners!

Want more photos from this week’s parties? Look through our gallery to see some of your favorite celebrities out and about town! 

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Reporting by Brianna Deutsch

Beyonce Was A Sight Of Swarovski Crystals In Her Vrettos Vrettakos Gown At the Brit Awards In London

No one could keep their eyes off of Beyonce during her surprise performance at the 2014 Brit Awards in London last night, and for good reason! Not only was her appearance at the show her first in a decade—she previously performed “Crazy In Love” in 2004—but she also sparkled onstage in a green-blue Swarovski-encrusted Vrettos Vrettakos long-sleeved gown complete with sheer panels along the sleeves. What’s more, the gown is embellished with over 100,000 crystals and if it reminds you of Beyonce’s iconic blue catsuit from the Mrs. Carter World Tour, it’s because both looks were designed by the Greek designer himself.

So why all the glitz and glam for Beyonce’s performance at the awards show? Well first because she is Queen B and secondly because the singer performed her hit song “XO” off her self-titled visual album for the first time ever for a televised performance, which she lovingly dedicated to her “incredible fans.” We love you like XO too Beyonce! Scroll down to watch the singer’s full performance from the 2014 Brit Awards.

Want more party photos from this week’s parties? Look through our gallery to see some of your favorite celebrities out and about the town! 

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Inside InStyle’s Exclusive New York Fashion Week Kickoff With Alice Smith

What’s the best way to kick off New York Fashion Week? With a party of course! And InStyle‘s first-ever Fashion Week celebration was the place to be last night, where fashion tastemakers and editors—including our very own Ariel Foxman and musician Babyface—brushed shoulders at Bar Nana in New York’s Meatpacking District for an intimate evening with singer-of-the-moment, Alice Smith. ”The moment I saw her perform I texted our celebrity bookings editor and asked how quickly can we get this woman into the pages of our magazine,” Foxman explains to his guests. “Our 10 million readers need to know about this woman and her music and we rushed as quickly as we could to the photo studio to get her into the February issue. It’s all about spreading the words, the magic, getting her music out there. I’m so excited to have her here tonight.”

The soulful crooner serenaded the crowd with her signature blend of jazz, blues, and R&B, all in a sparkling Dolce & Gabbana emerald frock no less. But what got guests cheering aside from her powerful vocal cords? A surprising rendition of “Happy Birthday” to the one and only, Mr. Foxman!  ”I wasn’t going to,” Smith excitingly explains to InStyle.com. “I like Ariel and I’m really grateful to him for putting me in the magazine, and he’s really nice and it’s his birthday! So why not? And why wouldn’t I? I really wasn’t gonna. I was gonna say happy birthday and move on because I’m very serious about my thing, but it was nice and I’m glad I did it.” As for the birthday boy’s thoughts? “It was amazing and it was such a surprise!” 

With Fashion Week dawning (now in full gear!), guests mixed and mingled as they enjoyed what InStyle.com’s Senior Fashion Editor, Violet Gaynor calls ”the calm before the storm,” while sipping InStyle-inspired cocktails compliments of D’ussé cognac and Marquis Vodka. “Everything with InStyle is very much about enjoying fashion, looking good, and feeling good about yourself,” says Style Director Melissa Rubini. “It shouldn’t be that makes you feel stressed, it should make you feel happy.” To get your very one VIP pass to last night’s event, take a look through our gallery! 

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—Josephine Cusumano, with reporting by Andrea Cheng

Robin Wright, Jane Krakowski, and More Kick Off New York Fashion Week at amfAR’s Annual New York Gala

New York City kicked off New York Fashion Week in style last night with the annual amfAR Gala. ”This event is meant to coincide with fashion week,” Kenneth Cole, amfAR Chair of the Board,  told us at last night’s glamorous event held at the Cipriani Wall Street. “The fashion community has always been wonderfully supportive of everything amfAR does, which gives that much more substance to the evening.” And they were out in full force. Karlie Kloss, Chanel Iman, Lindsay Ellingson, and more were among the slew of models who came out to show their support, and designers such as Donna Karan were also in attendance as amfAR announced their latest initiative: Countdown to a Cure for HIV/AIDS by 2020. “It’s just a great, wonderful time in this journey,” Cole continued. “It’s treacherous outside! It’s slushy. It’s cold, and people came all the way downtown anyway, and they come down looking great with smiles on their faces, so we’re very excited about tonight.”

The excitement he described was contagious as a stream of enthusiastic A-list actors, including Robin Wright, Liam Neeson, Ethan Hawke, Jane Krakowski, and more made their way into the venue. “I love these nights!” Krakowski said. “Especially tonight with the fashion element and the beautiful, beautiful people here — I’m hoping [my] personality is going to come out on stage!” And that it did. Her humorous and uplifiting opening remarks set the tone for the evening, as Cole and the rest of amfAR honored legendary photographer Peter Lindbergh and actress Vanessa Redgrave and her daughter Joely Richardson, who received their award from Chelsea Clinton. “A cure for AIDS is no longer just a dream, it’s now a visible, achievable, and as it has always been a necessary goal,” Clinton said in her speech. “I think we should all take inspiration and obligation from how far we have come — those are what will pressure us to finish the job.”As the final remarks were made on stage and the last bids placed, the room prepared to dance the night away to live performances courtesy of two musical legends: Nile Rodgers & The Chic and Grace Jones. And as you can imagine, the uplifting tunes reinforced the positive energy that engulfed the room. To see more celebrity photos from this week, take a look at our gallery!

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From Dame to Hasty Pudding’s Women of the Year, Helen Mirren Celebrates (and Twerks) At Harvard University

Say hello to Harvard University’s 2014 Hasty Pudding Woman of the Year, Dame Helen Mirren! The actress was honored with the award by the university’s theatrical society based on her contributions to the arts and celebrated with a day fit for a queen (after all, she was The Queen).

The day began with a parade along the streets of Cambridge, Massachusetts, where the 68-year-old shared a convertible with Hasty Pudding members dressed in drag, followed by a celebratory roast and award presentation where she even showed off her twerking skills. “I was made a Dame of the British Empire, I had to go to Buckingham Palace and I was honored by—actually not her Royal Highness—but by Prince Charles, but that didn’t come anywhere close to this,” Mirren laughed as she accepted her award. “This is the greatest honor, so thank you very, very much.”

Mirren joins an array of Hollywood women who were also honored with the Hasty Pudding Women of the Year award—including Julia Roberts, Drew Barrymore, Sandra Bullock, Halle Berry, Claire Danes, and more. Mirren’s pudding pot trophy will fit nicely in her awards case, right next to her Oscar, don’t you think so?

Want more Helen Mirren? Look through her transformation gallery dating back to 1969!

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