The Most Memorable High-Fashion Looks of 2011

Each year, we sift through hundreds of red carpet looks to highlight the best-dressed women and men. Here are the looks that lingered.

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Emma Stone's peachy Calvin Klein dress at the Golden Globes was one of the year's sartorial highlights.
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Each year, we sift through hundreds of red carpet looks to highlight the best-dressed women and men. Among the looks that lingered, Kate Middleton was one of the year's highlights. While her Alexander McQueen wedding gown was undoubtedly the best outfit of 2011, the soft McQueen gown she wore in Los Angeles represents the kind of style she does best: pulled-together yet effortless.
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In Canada, the Duchess reprised the white Reiss dress that launched a sell-out frenzy across the globe, pairing it with a jaunty red cap and matching shoes.
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Emma Stone wasn't all too well known on the red carpet circuit until she wore this peachy Calvin Klein dress to the Golden Globes, landing on nearly every best-dressed list.
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Her best (and most-photographed) look of the year, however, was this high-fashion pink and red dress by Giambattista Valli.
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The Olsen twins have long been street style trend-setters, but their appearance at the 2011 CFDA Awards in June felt like a coming out party for the duo, who were dressed in the twins' iconic, eclectic style, and toting their just-debuted handbags.nNEW YORK, NY - JUNE 06: Ashley Olsen (L) and Mary-Kate Olsen attend the 2011 CFDA Fashion Awards at Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center on June 6, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images)
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While critics had mixed opinions of the Givenchy haute couture gown that Cate Blanchett wore to the Academy Awards, it was one of the most talked-about gowns of the year, and was -- in our opinion -- a wonderfully bold choice.
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Much like Emma Stone, actress Hailee Steinfeld started off 2011 as the young, charming star of "True Grit," but proved she had serious style chops when she sported this bold Prada gown to the Screen Actors Guild Awards in January.
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By July, Steinfeld was the new face of Miu Miu, and had the wardrobe to back it up. Of all her Miu Miu dresses, this one really stood out for its chic simplicity.
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Of all the many formal gowns First Lady Michelle Obama has worn in 2011, the white Tom Ford dress she sported at a Buckingham Palace gala was the one that stands out the most.
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The most talked-about of Michelle Obama's 2011 gowns, however, was undoubtedly the dazzling, red off-the-shoulder number by Alexander McQueen that she wore to the state dinner honoring Chinese president Hu Jintao that set off a backlash among some Americans in the industry, who wished she had worn an American designer.
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Rooney Mara was a relative unknown before catapulting into the limelight as the star of "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo," and she's since proven she has the fashion chops to match. The edgy Prabal Gurung cocktail dress she wore to the movie's New York premiere is the ultimate example of her style sensibility.
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While not all of Lady Gaga's sartorial moments can be classified as "fashionable," per se, the edgy black look that she sported as the guest of honor at the CFDA Awards in June was our favorite.
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One of the year's biggest announcements happened on the MTV Video Music Awards red carpet, when Beyonce revealed she was pregnant, clad in this billowing, orange-red Lanvin gown.
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Michelle Williams has proven through the years that has spectacular taste in dresses, but her best look was this pearl-encrusted simple Chanel dress on the red carpet at the Oscars.
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Of all the red dresses on all the red carpets during 2011, Anne Hathaway gets the prize for the best, designed by the man who knows red better than anyone else, Valentino Garavani.
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Ryan Gosling has been proving his sartorial prowess at various red carpet events, but the look that epitomizes his new fashionable upswing is this midnight-blue Ferragamo tuxedo, created custom for Gosling to wear at the Cannes premiere of "Drive."
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Of all the dresses that Kristen Stewart wore to promote the latest installment of "The Twilight Saga," this moody, midnight blue, sparkling stunner by J.Mendel was the best and most memorable.
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The simple, glistening Calvin Klein dress that Gwyneth Paltrow wore to the Academy Awards was already a winner in its own right, but it was the fresh addition of a colorful pin and match earrings that landed this look in magazines and newspapers around the globe.
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The lacy Pucci ensemble that Paltrow wore to the Emmys later that year was noteworthy both for its sexy-yet-covered-up appeal, as well as for the fact that it was fresh off the Spring 2012 runway, meaning that it was far from being available in stores.
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While the majority of the red carpet chatter at the Oscars concerned a very-pregnant Natalie Portman, it was her "Black Swan" co-star, Mila Kunis, who stole the night with this ethereal, lavender dress by Eile Saab.
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13-year-old Elle Fanning emerged from her sister, Dakota's shadow in 2011 and established herself as a formidable force when it comes to fashion. The outfit that won the hearts of the fashion set was this charming Valentino ensemble, worn on the red carpet at the Met's Costume Institute gala in May.
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Speaking of younger sisters, Elizabeth Olsen also emerged from her twin sisters' shadows this year, showing she has impressive taste in clothes, as well. This vintage embellished Valentino, which she wore to the Gotham Awards, was the year's big highlight.
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While Jennifer Aniston always makes chic, flattering choices, her red carpet looks rarely provoke lingering reactions. The sexy orange Vivienne Westwood dress she wore to launch her first fragrance, however, left a lasting impression.
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Tilda Swinton makes some of the most playful, interesting choices when it comes to fashion, and her choice of this citrus-hued Jil Sander look -- paired with the palest of pink heels -- was irreverent, fresh, and fun, even if it didn't appeal to everyone.
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Proenza Schouler, helmed by Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez, has many celebrity followers, but the graphic cocktail dress Liv Tyler wore to the CFDA Awards was one of the year's finest red carpet appearances by the label.
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Daphne Guinness might just beat Lady Gaga when it comes to over-the-top fashion on the red carpet, and her most impressive look of 2011 was the spectacular feathered gown by Alexander McQueen that she wore to the Met's Costume Exhibit gala, looking like a resplendent swan.
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Kanye West made his big fashion debut with a fashion collection this year, but his best sartorial moment was when he wore this Celine blouse (from the women's collections, mind you) at his Coachella performance over the summer.
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Diane Kruger consistently makes our year-end best-dressed lists, and her '40s-influenced look at a Miu Miu party, wearing the dress of the collection, was her best look of the year.
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Singer Florence Welch truly arrived on the fashion scene in 2011, thanks to her unmissable shock of red hair and a wonderfully unconventional taste in red carpet attire, like the bohemian tiered Valentino dress she wore to the Academy Awards.
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Welch's other note-worthy fashion moment, however, occurred in a less likely venue -- inside a pearly clam shell -- where she wore Chanel haute couture during a Chanel runway show.
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Blake Lively's fashion sense can be hit or miss, but thanks to a partnership with Chanel in 2011, the delicate couture dress Lively wore to the "Green Lantern premiere," embellished with floral appliques, was an absolute hit.
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Similarly, Rihanna can often cross the line between fashion-forward and just too forward with her sartorial choices, but the asymmetrical black lace Stella McCartney gown that she wore to the Met's Costume Institute gala was utter perfection: edgy, but still ladylike.
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Jennifer Lopez has also had her fair share of misses -- one too many sheer, sparkly bodysuits, for example -- but the glittery Marchesa dress she wore to Glamour's Women of the Year Awards, complete with an up-to-there slit, was perfection.
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The body-hugging cocktail dresses from Stella McCartney's Fall 2011 collection that featured sheer panels with delicate polka dots made more than a few appearances at parties around the world this year, but Kate Winslet did it best at a party back in March, just after the dresses had hit the runway.
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Jessica Chastain had a break-out year both on the screen and on the runway, but her best look was the canary-yellow Zac Posen dress she wore to debut "The Tree of Life" at Cannes, exuding an old Hollywood glamour.
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Alexa Chung has become more famous for her street style and red carpet looks than the quickly-forgotten TV show that she once hosted. Of all her looks this year, this charming Christopher Kane dress was our favorite, exemplifying the quirky, girlish style for which she has earned legions of fans (not the cat flats!).
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Actress Ginnifer Goodwin surprised fans when she revealed that the sexy emerald-green cut-out dress that she wore to the Met's Costume Institute gala wasn't from any designer's couture collection, but rather an altered design by Topshop.
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Rose Byrne is as stylish as she is funny, and the off-the-runway Marc Jacobs lace dress she wore to the "X-Men: First Class" premiere in May was utter perfection, from the retro-inspired hair 'do to the nude pumps.
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While the gala at the Met's Costume Exhibit celebrating Alexander McQueen featured plenty of over-the-top looks, supermodel Gisele opted for this rather classic McQueen gown, rendered in a look-at-me red hue and a dramatic pleated skirt.
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While Emma Watson may have had a number of note-worthy red carpet gowns this year, it was the flirty, chartreuse cocktail dress by Marchesa that she wore to an after-party following the MTV Movie Awards, of all things, that proved her most striking sartorial moment of the year.
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