Cookie consent

We use cookies to improve your experience on this website. By continuing to browse our site you agree to our use of cookies. Tell me more | Cookie preferences

The 10 prettiest dresses of 2012

Story highlights

  • Jessica Chastain looks beautiful at "Madagascar 3's" Cannes premiere
  • Keira Knightley wore Erdem to the Los Angeles premiere of "Anna Karenina"
  • Julianne Moore took a risk at the 2012 Emmy Awards

What better way to wrap up 2012 than with a look back at the year's loveliest dresses?

Whether soft and sweet like Keira Knightley's pastel Erdem gown, a complete knockout like the Lanvin mini Emma Stone wore, or something in between like Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge's bold and romantic Jenny Packham stunner, these 10 red carpet picks have one thing in common: they're just plain stunning!

Rosie Huntington-WhiteleyEVENT: The Art + Film Gala DESIGNER: GucciWHY WE LOVE IT: Sexy can be pretty too! Especially when the dress is in a vibrant hue and accented with ruffles.

Jessica ChastainEVENT: "Madagascar 3's" Cannes premiere DESIGNER: Giorgio Armani WHY WE LOVE IT: The actress complemented her gown's Old Hollywood glam with side-swept curls and scarlet lips.

Emma StoneEVENT: The Met Gala DESIGNER: LanvinWHY WE LOVE IT: She may have gone blond, but Stone was still red hot on the carpet in her crimson dress.

Biggest Hair Makeovers of 2012

Naomi WattsEVENT: The Toronto International Film Festival premiere of "The Impossible"DESIGNER: Elie SaabWHY WE LOVE IT: A lovely lavender hue made this plunging gown more sugar than spice.

Catherine, Duchess of CambridgeEVENT: The BOA Olympic Concert DESIGNER: Jenny PackhamWHY WE LOVE IT: Talk about lighting up a room! A complementary hue and an off-the-face updo made Catherine Middleton's eyes sparkle.

Julianne MooreEVENT: The 2012 Emmys DESIGNER: Dior Haute CoutureWHY WE LOVE IT: Never afraid to take a risk, the actress's dramatic silhouette and palette definitely paid off!

This Year's Biggest Style Risks

Zoe SaldanaEVENT: The ALMA Awards DESIGNER: Gucci WHY WE LOVE IT: The actress looked every inch a goddess in her plunging, pleated gown.

Keira KnightleyEVENT: The L.A. premiere of "Anna Karenina"DESIGNER: Erdem WHY WE LOVE IT: From her pretty pink lips to her cool mint silk, the actress's pastels were a breath of fresh air. (And who doesn't love a good pocket?)

Biggest Rocks of 2012

Taylor SwiftEVENT: The Teen Choice Awards DESIGNER: Maria Lucia Hohan WHY WE LOVE IT: Everyone loves this singer in romantic flowing gowns, but she looks just as ethereal in a backless goddess mini.

Selena GomezEVENT: The Vanity Fair Oscar party DESIGNER: Dolce & GabbanaWHY WE LOVE IT: Cool silver enhanced the singer's always-radiant glow.

See more of the prettiest dresses of 2012 at InStyle.com.