NEW YORK, N.Y. - Every year fashion offers up the good, the bad and the ugly. But what the industry is really built on — and consumers respond to — is buzz.

Here are the top moments of 2012 that made our heads turn:

—Angelina Jolie at the Oscars. The leg that peeked out of the high thigh-high slit of her Versace gown was the most exciting appearance on the red carpet. The gown fit perfectly into the sleek, simple, sexy mould that Jolie favours, but it was Jolie's picture-perfect pose to expose just enough thigh that launched a thousand memes. Her companion Brad Pitt gets an honourable mention for his scruffy appearance in a Chanel fragrance ad that left many scratching their heads.

RELATED: Worst-Dressed Stars Of 2012

Loading Slideshow...
  • Miley Cyrus

    Wearing a bralette on national TV is a bold choice, especially when paired with a <a href="">skirt painted</a> with the New York City skyline. Unfortunately, the combination makes for a very distracting look. The Tonight Show With Jay Leno, October 12th Photo Credit: NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

  • Nicki Minaj

    A skin-tight bodysuit is really never OK. Add lace, <a href="">sequins</a> and a policeman's hat and you've got an S&M look down pat. 2012 MTV Video Music Awards, September 6th Photo Credit: WireImage

  • Ke$ha

    This <a href="">overly patterned look </a>is giving us a migraine. The key to wearing a bold print is focusing on one standout piece, and then keeping the rest of the outfit sleek and subtle. Los Angeles, March 24th Photo Credit: Getty Images

  • Naomi Watts

    The <a href="">"J. Edgar" actress</a> must be going batty: Her oversized sleeves look like wings and overshadow the rest of her outfit. London, November 19th Photo Credit: WireImage

  • Vivienne Westwood

    Take a page from the <a href="">designer</a>: Gather up everything on your bedroom floor (and your kitchen table, for that matter) and put it on. All at once. London, December 4th Photo Credit: Getty Images

  • Kim Kardashian

    The<a href=""> reality star</a> looks like she is wearing a dress made of black credit cards. Eco-friendly or not, there must be a better way to recycle plastic. Frankfurt, November 11th Photo Credit: WireImage

  • Nicole Kidman

    The hat reminds us of those homes that have grass growing on the roof for insulation. Melbourne, November 3rd Photo Credit: Getty Images

  • Vivica A. Fox

    The <a href="">actress</a>' hairy fur shrug is one thing, but what strikes us as unfortunate in this ensemble is her complete lack of a waist. New York City, October 19th Photo Credit: Getty Images

  • La Toya Jackson

    Shiny, flammable material should be avoided at all costs. A bright purple suit made out of something that looks like it belongs on <a href="">Hugh Hefner</a>'s bed is a no-no. New York City, October 12th Photo Credit: Getty Images

  • Macy Gray

    This comical gown brings Ursula from "<a href="">The Little Mermaid</a>" to mind. The black tulle layers are an added layer of witchiness. A fitted dress would have been much more flattering. New York City, October 3rd Photo Credit: WireImage

  • Joan Rivers

    Fluffy feathers plus statement jewelry make for a mess of an outfit. We've said it before and we'll say it again: <a href="">one statement piece</a> per look does the trick. Us Weekly's 25 Most Stylish New Yorkers Event, September 12th Photo Credit: FilmMagic

  • Rachel Zoe

    The <a href="">star stylist </a>is drowning in ruffles. The fluffy nature of her dress is a marked contrast to her super slim frame. We think she looks best in a sleek, sophisticated suit. Paris, October 2nd Photo Credit: WireImage

  • MIA

    The rapper was taken hostage by the overwhelming print in this outfit. A simple, black top and blazer would have kept the pattern in check. Versace Haute Couture Show, July 1st Photo Credit: Getty Images

  • Katy Perry

    The "Part Of Me" <a href="">singer</a> looks like she is dressed as She-Ra for a Halloween party, not for a red carpet. A simple, sleek hairdo and a fully lined skirt would have helped, but ultimately, the molded plastic top is just silly. Toronto, June 17th Photo Credit: WireImage

  • Carly Rae Jepsen

    The "<a href="">Call Me Maybe</a>" singer went overboard with trends here: The leather carwash dress, statement jewelry and severe hair and makeup are an overwhelming combination. We would have preferred if she had chosen one of the trends and kept the rest of her look simple to avoid costume territory. Toronto, June 17th Photo Credit: WireImage

  • Emma Stone

    Wearing voluminous shapes is tricky, but when done right, they contrast the more sleek parts of an outfit. Unfortunately, "<a href="">The Amazing Spiderman</a>" star's venture into volume wasn't successful. Instead, the all-brown ensemble looked like it was too big, and it drowned her waifish frame. Tokyo, June 13th Photo Credit: ChinaFotoPress via Getty Images

  • Lady Gaga

    What is there to even say about this sloppy look? London, September 17th Photo Credit: FilmMagic

  • Rihanna

    The <a href="">pop star</a> is unapologetic ... about mixing stripes and wearing oversized coats that make her head look tiny. November 19, 2012 London, England

  • Snooki

    Floppy hat, statement jewelry, leather pants and knee-high boots make for an in-your-face trendy look that is too much. November 13, 2012 New York, NY

  • Christina Aguilera

    Really? A Mickey Mouse T-shirt and pink hair on a red carpet? We are speechless. October 25, 2012 Los Angeles, CA

—Michelle Obama and Ann Romney's matching hues. The wives of the presidential candidates turned out to the second debate between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney in practically the same shade of hot pink. But they weren't by the same designer: Romney's was by Oscar de la Renta, and Obama's by Michael Kors. A potential matching prom dress-style embarrassment was chalked up to timing: October's breast cancer awareness month.

—Marc Jacobs' Louis Vuitton show. Many of the designer runways seemed more of the same — stark stages, thumping music and audiences distracted by their electronic gadgets — but the Louis Vuitton fall catwalk in Paris commanded attention. Models dressed in their very best travelling clothes stepped off a reconstructed retro steam train. Valets carried the vintage-inspired hat boxes and vanity cases. The trip seemed refreshingly refined and modern.

—Two-tone Stella McCartney dresses. McCartney, no stranger to the red carpet, has created a style that celebrities can't get enough of. Her ultra-flattering "silhouette" dress has become almost ubiquitous. It features one colour on the bodice and back, and a graphic opposite on the sides and sleeves. Kate Winslet has worn several versions, and Brooklyn Decker, Kate Moss, Edie Falco and Liv Tyler have, too. The best turn might have been Jane Fonda at the Cannes Film Festival.

—Beyonce's back-from-baby body. Some new mothers claim they feel sexier than ever. Beyonce was living proof at the Met Gala, the important industry event co-hosted by Vogue's Anna Wintour. Beyonce's skin-tight, largely sheer — save the bodice beading and feathered fish-tail train — gown by Givenchy announced that Ivy Blue Carter's mom wasn't going to hold back. An honourable mention goes to Jessica Simpson, who dieted her way to a Weight Watchers ad then wound up pregnant again.

RELATED: Best-Dressed Stars Of 2012

Loading Slideshow...
  • Octavia Spencer In Tadashi Shoji

    <a href="">"The Help" star</a> shows off her shape in fitted, structured dresses that accentuate her hourglass figure. The lilac color of this gown shone against her skin tone. Golden Globes, January 15th Photo Credit: Getty Images

  • Sofia Vergara In Vera Wang

    The "Modern Family" star is a true siren -- she knows how to dress for her curves. The deep blue of this gown complements her olive skin tone, while the mermaid silhouette shows off her hourglass shape. Golden Globes, January 15th Photo Credit: WireImage

  • Julianne Moore In Dior Couture

    Not many people can pull off a bright yellow gown on the red carpet, but Moore is a pro. The sunny hue is drop-dead gorgeous with her pale skin and red hair, while the sleek top and voluminous skirt emphasize her toned upper body and tiny waist. Emmy Awards, September 23rd Photo Credit: WireImage

  • Gwyneth Paltrow In Tom Ford

    Like <a href="" target="_hplink">Cate Blanchett in Givenchy Couture</a> the year before, this look will go down in style history as one of the best red carpet moments ever. Who would ever have expected a cape? The sleek column gown, paired with the cape and the Oscar-winner's golden skin and blonde hair is just stunning. Academy Awards, February 26th Photo Credit: Getty Images

  • Viola Davis In Vera Wang

    "<a href="">The Help</a>" star killed us with her Oscars look. The combination of her natural hairdo, stunning earrings, emerald-hued gown and toned arms had us swooning. Academy Awards, February 26th Photo Credit: WireImage

  • Reese Witherspoon In Zac Posen

    The <a href="">mom to baby Tennessee</a> has spent much of 2012 out of the spotlight, but her appearance at the Golden Globes in January left a lasting impression. Her red fitted gown showed off her svelte figure, while also complementing her light hair and skin. Golden Globes, January 15th Photo Credit: NBC via Getty Images

  • Michelle Williams In Jason Wu

    Normally navy has us yawning, but not here. The "<a href="">My Week With Marilyn</a>" star looks gorgeous in this sapphire-colored column gown. The belt at her waist creates curves, while the pretty shade plays nicely off her blonde hair and pale skin. Golden Globes, January 15th Photo Credit: NBC via Getty Images

  • Charlize Theron In Dior Couture

    <a href="">Theron</a>'s high-drama gown stole the show at the Golden Globes. Her hair and makeup was regal, calling to mind Grace Kelly. The deep V balanced out the volume at her waist nicely, while the slit showed off her gorgeous legs. Golden Globes, January 15th Photo Credit: NBC via Getty Images

  • Emma Stone In Lanvin

    "<a href="">The Amazing Spider-Man</a>" star knows her way around a red carpet. She takes risks and wears fashion-forward designs ... and we love her for it. This sweet red frock is a youthful silhouette (love the high waist and full skirt), but those legs are pure sex appeal. Her updo and sky-high heels make for a grown-up and gorgeous ensemble. Met Gala, May 7th Photo Credit: Getty Images

  • Kristen Wiig In Stella McCartney

    The <a href="">comedienne</a> looks lovely in bright hues that set off her pale complexion and her rich, dark hair. The sleeveless dress shows off her ams, while the full skirt calls attention to her tiny waist. Met Gala, May 7th Photo Credit: Getty Images

  • Solange Knowles In Rachel Roy

    <a href="">Beyoncé's little sister </a>has made a name for herself, both in music and in the fashion industry. She plays with fun colors and outlandish shapes that show off her curves. Bright yellow pops against her skin, while the sleek shape works nicely with her 'do. Met Gala, May 7th Photo Credit: WireImage

  • Kate Hudson In Atelier Versace

    "<a href="">The Reluctant Fundamentalist</a>" actress goes for the gold in this metallic column gown that shows off her willowy frame. The metallic hue looks gorgeous against her radiant complexion, and her simple hair and makeup are the ideal backdrop to such a dramatic dress. Premiere, August 29th Photo Credit: Getty Images

  • Taylor Swift In Elie Saab

    Sheer lace and the crimson color of this gown are surprising choices for the "<a href="">Red</a>" singer, but both worked to her advantage. The bold shade was a dramatic opposition to her pale skin, while the peek-a-boo panels added sex appeal. Billboard Music Awards, May 20th Photo Credit: WireImage

  • Beyoncé In Stephane Rolland Couture

    Blue Ivy's mama has kept a low profile since her baby's arrival, but she really turned up the volume in this <a href="" target="_hplink">poison-green gown</a>. The belt nipped in her waist, while the fitted top accentuated her bust line and the slit showed off those stunning gams. BET Awards, July 1st Photo Credit: Getty Images

  • Kim Kardashian In Tom Ford

    <a href="">Kanye West</a> has had quite an influence on the reality TV star. Gone are the ripped jeans and more-is-more style ethos. Instead, Kardashian focused on a minimalist black and white color palette, and kept her silhouettes simple. Case in point: Kim showed off her curves in this sleek sheath dress that let her hair and makeup take the spotlight. BET Awards, July 1st Photo Credit: Getty Images

  • Katy Perry In Dolce & Gabbana

    What a pleasant surprise from the<a href=""> pop sensation</a>. Perry looks feminine and pretty in this floral gown that emphasizes her neckline without showing too much of her famous décolletage. Dream Gala, November 16th Photo Credit: WireImage

  • Michelle Obama In Michael Kors

    The <a href="">FLOTUS</a> has us giddy at the sight of her in this pleated gold gown. The intricate detail at the top calls attention to her lovely face (and those arms!), while the metallic hue gives her just enough sparkle. White House Event, December 2nd Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images

  • Diane Kruger In Chanel

    The <a href="">German beauty</a> is a trendsetter, and for good reason. She takes risks and wears looks that show off her lean frame (it also helps that designers like Karl Lagerfeld count her as a muse). This is our favorite look of 2012: The "Farewell, My Queen" actress stunned in this Chanel dress with elaborate embroidery and a nipped-in waist that contrasted beautifully with the full skirt. Her elegant 'do and sexy pumps completed a practically perfect outfit. 2012 amfAR's Cinema Against Aids, May 24th Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images

  • Zoe Saldana In Prabal Gurung

    Sleek and sexy, the <a href="">New Jersey-born actress</a> kept her look simple. That's all you need when you're this gorgeous. CFDA Awards, June 4th Photo Credit: FilmMagic

  • Rihanna In Giorgio Armani

    The <a href="">pop superstar</a> looks amazing when she keeps her look simple ... and sexy. Her plunging hemline and high slit create interest, while her curly 'do and pretty jewelry add a feminine touch to her otherwise minimal look. Grammy Awards, February 12th Photo Credit: WireImage

—007's slim suits. Daniel Craig's wardrobe in "Skyfall" is impeccably tailored — and quite tight. Unlike the James Bonds that came before him who all liked the traditional looser, longer cut of a Savile Row-style suit, Craig, whose wardrobe is created mostly by Tom Ford, takes his suits Euro style with tapered legs and shorter rises. There's no question Craig's super spy Bond will go down in history as one of the best, but it's fair to ask if he could pull off those impressive chases in clothes that tight.

—Supermodel reunion at the London Olympics. Gold was the new black at the closing ceremony with a parade of supermodels wearing gilded gowns in a tribute to British fashion. Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell both had on Alexander McQueen, Georgia May Jagger's was by Victoria Beckham, Karen Elson was in Burberry, and Stella Tennant donned a Christopher Kane Swarovski-crystal catsuit. The soundtrack — of course — was David Bowie's "Fashion."

—Another supermodel reunion at New York Fashion Week. Alexander Wang's show has become must-see viewing, partly for influential hipster clothes, but also for the model line-up, a who's who of top catwalkers. It was a coup even for him, however, to get the likes of Gisele Bundchen, Carmen Kass, Frankie Rayder and Shalom Harlow, who all very rarely do shows, to walk in February. Start the wish list now of who he'll nab for his debut at Balenciaga next year.

—Miley Cyrus' cropped cut. When Cyrus cut off the long hair her fans had become used to, she took some heat. She has said (and Tweeted) repeatedly, though, that she was pleased with the new punk-pixie look and was sticking with it. Short hair turned out to be a big trend, with Alicia Keys, Rihanna and Anne Hathaway all ending the year with much shorter locks than they started with.

—Julianne Moore at the Emmys. Moore's neon-yellow Dior Haute Couture outfit (really a sweater and ball skirt) spawned a love-it-or-hate-it debate among armchair style critics. What was largely left out of that conversation, however, was that it was Raf Simons' big celebrity debut for Dior, which he took creative control of after the John Galliano scandal. At least Simons can claim the better reviews when it came to his showdown of next-gen designers at historic French houses against Hedi Slimane at Saint Laurent Paris.


Samantha Critchell tweets fashion at and can be reached at