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Newcomer Lupita Nyong'o is taking the lead in fashion

This year's best dressed Hollywood newcomer is Lupita Nyong'o, the Yale School of Drama-educated actress garnering awards buzz for her role as the abused slave Patsey in "12 Years a Slave."

Nyong'o, who is styled by Micaela Erlanger, has been working the red carpet circuit since September and hasn't made a misstep yet. What's she doing right?

She's got range, and each look has something special to say.

Nyong'o is comfortable in everything from an indie cool Rodarte flame-colored brocade and leather dress (an inspired choice for a film festival in the Mardi Gras capital of the world, New Orleans) to an old world Chanel Couture high-neck black tile sequin dress and double-breasted tweed jacket, worn to a benefit in New York City honoring style icon Tilda Swinton. 

FULL COVERAGE: Oscars 2014

She doesn't shy from color (note the whimsical Miu Miu Deco bird print dress she wore to the L.A. premiere of her film). But she can also master the classics, including the sublime black-and-white Lanvin goddess gown with ribbon detail across the neckline she chose for the Britannia Awards.

She can rock modest long sleeves (the crystal-dusted ivory Prada gown she wore to her Toronto Film Festival premiere) as well as flirty cutouts, as seen on the Christopher Kane black bodycon dress in which Nyong'o stepped out at her London premiere.

The message? My career is just beginning. I can be a model or spokeswoman for anyone and everyone. And just to make sure the fashion world is taking notice, Nyong'o in October made the rounds at Paris Fashion Week too.

booth.moore@latimes.com

MORE OSCAR COVERAGE

PHOTOS: Show highlights

Oscars 2014: Behind the scenes

PHOTOS:Red carpet arrivals


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