Lupita Nyong'o
Actress Lupita Nyong'o attends HBO's Post 2014 Golden Globe Awards Party held at Circa 55 Restaurant on January 12, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Mike Windle/Getty Images)

She may have lost out to Jennifer Lawrence in the best supporting actress category, but newcomer Lupita Nyong’o definitely won the top red carpet fashion award at the Golden Globes.

“Lupita Nyong’o was by far the best dressed last night at the Golden Globes,” celebrity fashion stylist Beagy Zielinski told theGrio. “Her Ralph Lauren dress actually looked better on her than on the runway model who wore it in the show! The color against her skin was divine. The dress was tailored to perfection.”

Nyong’o’s breathtaking, bright red gown earned the 12 Years a Slave actress accolades before the Hollywood Foreign Press Association began giving out its awards during Sunday’s broadcast. Twitter users and professional journalists alike went simultaneously agog on social media in response to the dramatic, cape-sleeved gown cut with a sensual, slim silhouette.

“ALL the awards for this dress Lupita Nyong’o has on. #GoldenGlobes,” tweeted Aljazeera America news producer Dexter Mullins in a reaction that was shared by countless onlookers.

Great dress, hot hairstyle

According to the Page 6 gossip column of the New York Post, both Gucci and Prada vied to dress the actress that night — but American designer Ralph Lauren won out.

In addition to a stunning frock, Nyong’o debuted a subtly new hairstyle. Known for her low Afro, at Sunday’s Globes — which are well-known as a precursor and predictor of the Academy Award nominations — she wore a straighter look. While not “bone-straight,” Nyong’o’s tresses were slightly spiky instead of coiled. Her clearly-cropped part complemented the nearly-shaved perimeter of her coiffure.

“Her short haircut showing off her great shoulders really made the look regal and I love that she went with minimal jewelry,” Zielinski elaborated about Nyong’o’s ensemble. “But what made her stand out the most was her humble confidence. When interviewed by E! about whether she felt pressure to look good after being named one of Vogue‘s Top Ten Rising Style Stars of 2014, she replied ‘no, because I only wear what speaks to me.’  It made me love her that much more, because it shows that she isn’t just another celeb with a great stylist. She also has a great sense of style herself.”

That innate sense of style is being rewarded by numerous magazine covers — and a luxury fashion contract. Yes, Lupita Nyong’o is benefiting from this attention as part of the Spring 2014 Miu Miu print ad campaign.

Poised for greater laurels

For style watchers, this latest rep carpet coup is part of a trajectory for Nyong’o that will likely continue into the stratosphere.

“She has been working the red carpet circuit since September and hasn’t made a misstep,” writes Los Angeles Times fashion critic Booth Moore. “She has shown remarkable range, and every look she has chosen has been special.”

This might be small solace to those who are disappointed that the recent Yale graduate did not take home a statue for her portrayal of the tortured slave Patsey in 12 Years a Slave. But it does give us hope to know that, regardless of whether she receives a nomination for an Oscar later this week, Nyong’o’s presence in Hollywood is solidly cemented at center stage through both her acting talent and her style.

Follow Alexis Garrett Stodghill on Twitter @lexisb