Mena Suvari's black cutout dress was a daring statement, not a wardrobe malfunction, according to fashion experts who have lauded her choice of evening attire for the Beverly Hills Hotel's 100th-anniversary bash.

The actress, who has been out of the limelight since 1999 -- when she was a Hollywood darling for her standout performance in Oscar-winning film American Beauty and her comedic role in American Pie -- stunned Sunday night in a little black dress (LBD) bearing much of her midriff by way of a sizeable cutout.

The dress has been the talk of the fashion world Monday, as it has been called everything from racy and gravity-defying to a sweet spot in the near-wardrobe malfunction category of dresses. But Mena Suvari managed to avoid baring too much, unlike her American Pie co-star Tara Reid, who showed off nearly an entire breast in 2007 in one of several major dress slips she's had over the years.

The black dress had a plunging neckline that clung uncomprehensibly above her chest, and a short sheer skirt, all tastefully offset by a white slip underneath.

Not all of Mena Suvari's recent dress choices have been as fawned over by fashionistas, as evidenced by the reaction she got to another LBD she wore to a screening of her new film American Reunion in April.

The Huffington Post lambasted the frock, saying that her gauzy black dress might have revealed a bit more than she intended as it was sheer enough to reveal much of her backside.

The Beverly Hills Hotel is a famous Los Angeles landmark, but it is not to be confused with the Beverly Hills Hilton, which hosts the Golden Globe Awards every year and was in the news for being the site of Whitney Houston's death earlier this year.