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The 10 prettiest dresses of 2012

December 28, 2012 -- Updated 1302 GMT (2102 HKT)
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Rosie Huntington-Whiteley
Jessica Chastain
Emma Stone
Naomi Watts
Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge
Julianne Moore
Zoe Saldana
Keira Knightley
Taylor Swift
Selena Gomez
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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

(InStyle.com) -- 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-Whiteley EVENT: The Art + Film Gala DESIGNER: Gucci WHY WE LOVE IT: Sexy can be pretty too! Especially when the dress is in a vibrant hue and accented with ruffles.

Jessica Chastain EVENT: "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 Stone EVENT: The Met Gala DESIGNER: Lanvin WHY 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 Watts EVENT: The Toronto International Film Festival premiere of "The Impossible" DESIGNER: Elie Saab WHY WE LOVE IT: A lovely lavender hue made this plunging gown more sugar than spice.

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge EVENT: The BOA Olympic Concert DESIGNER: Jenny Packham WHY 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 Moore EVENT: The 2012 Emmys DESIGNER: Dior Haute Couture WHY 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 Saldana EVENT: The ALMA Awards DESIGNER: Gucci WHY WE LOVE IT: The actress looked every inch a goddess in her plunging, pleated gown.

Keira Knightley EVENT: 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 Swift EVENT: 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 Gomez EVENT: The Vanity Fair Oscar party DESIGNER: Dolce & Gabbana WHY WE LOVE IT: Cool silver enhanced the singer's always-radiant glow.

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

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Copyright © 2011 Time Inc. All rights reserved.

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