The most show-stopping dresses of 2015

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Anna Pollitt

Megastars have groomed, strutted and posed on acres of red carpet all year long - but who wore the dresses that really stood out?

We've whittled down the year's most outstanding gowns to an 80-strong high fashion spectacular; including Naomi Watts in canary yellow Gucci at the Golden Globes in January, Beyonce in glittering Givenchy at the Met Gala in April, through to Daisy Ridley in Star Wars-themed Roland Mouret for the film's London premiere in December.

This is Stylist's definitive edit of the 80 most outstanding dresses of 2015.

  • Jennifer Lawrence

    January: Monday 5 January is possibly the worst date to throw a party, but Jennifer Lawrence RSVP'd yes to the 26th PGA Awards and she's damn well going to get dressed up.

    She's boldly kicking off January - and a spectacular year of red carpet dresses - in plunging, jewel-encrusted Prada. A thigh-split too? Why not? 2015 is going to be a good year.

  • Jessica Chastain

    January: Liquid bronze becomes a viable party dress colour, thanks to Jessica Chastain and her shimmering Atelier Versace at the Golden Globes.

  • Naomi Watts

    January: Stealing. The. Show.

    Three cheers for canary yellow Gucci and bejewelled snaking asp necklaces.

  • Sienna Miller

    January: The man on the far left - that was us when we saw this Miu Miu frock working so hard on Sienna Miller.

  • Amal Clooney

    January: Well, if anyone's going to bring back opera gloves and shoulder veils, it's a Christian Dior-clad Amal Clooney.

  • Anna Kendrick

    January: Anna Kendrick, we love you no matter what you wear, but in this fairytale Monique Lhullier, you are really spoiling us.


  • Kate Beckinsale

    January: Glitter and glamour, courtesy of Elie Saab. 

    Steely pose and big bun, Kate Beckinsale's own.

  • Kate Hudson

    January: When you look in the mirror and think "Should I?"

    Then think "Obvs."

    She's giving it everything in Versace, at the Atelier Versace show.

  • Jennifer Aniston

    January: It's a bold claim, but we're going for it: This is our favourite dress on Jennifer Aniston. Ever.

    No regrets.

    It's vintage Galliano for the SAGs.

  • Taylor Swift

    February: What? This old thing? It's just an ombre teal Elie Saab I had in the back of the wardrobe.

    Superhero meets Disney princess for Taylor Swift at the Grammys.

  • Rihanna

    February: Not only is this Giambattista Valli frock the outfit equivalent of candyfloss, it took up three seats at the Grammys.

  • Joy Villa

    February: Plastic fence netting, that most underused of dress materials, is a stirring reminder of how one frock can give a rising star a leg up, also at the Grammys.

  • Kim Kardashian

    February: Thank you, brave designer Atsuko Kudo Dusty, for this special, rubbery gift of a dress that has been a year-long source of wonder.

    How will Kim Kardashian top it in 2016?

  • Julianne Moore

    February: Part velvet, part crepe, complete fabulousness - it's vampy Tom Ford for the Baftas.

  • Cate Blanchett

    February: Like crossing a Klimt painting with a game of Tetris.

    Cate is playing this Givenchy gown well at the Cinderella premiere in Berlin.

  • Gugu Mbatha-Raw

    February: Lilac is almost as underused as dresses with pockets, we say.

    Gugu Mbatha-Raw's Prada gown is brightening up the sponsored backdrop at the Baftas.

  • Gwyneth Paltrow

    February: Reminiscent of the Calvin Klein dress she famously blubbed in during her Oscar acceptance speech for Shakespeare in Love in 1999, Gwyneth Paltrow presents the one-shoulder Ralph & Russo version at this year's ceremony.

  • Jennifer Hudson

    February: Romona Keveza, Hollywood favourite curve-enhancer, brings her A-game for Jennifer Hudson's butter-yellow Oscars gown.

  • Emma Stone

    February: Full marks for pairing this delicate beaded chartreuse gown with a punchy coral lip, Emma Stone.

  • Lupita Nyong'o

    February: Stunning, yes, but is this a dress worth doing time for?

    One thief thought so. Lupita's $150,000, 6,000-strong pearl Calvin Klein gown was stolen from her hotel shortly after she wore it to the Oscars.

    It was later dumped by a man who told TMZ the pearls are "fake".

  • Jennifer Lopez

    February: Jennifer Lopez: "I'd like a dress that rules the red carpet, hands down."

    Elie Saab: "Done."

  • Rita Ora

    February: When your tattoos are so good, they deserve their own dress.

    She's working all the angles at the Vanity Fair Oscars party.

  • Amy Adams

    February: The waterfall effect is what makes this Atelier Versace gown so mesmerising, at the Vanity Fair party.

  • Amy Willerton

    February: Fulfilling a million Disney princess dreams in Celia Kritharioti haute couture at Elton John's Oscars bash.

  • Suki Waterhouse

    March: After toting around a big machine gun in Insurgent, Suki Waterhouse makes a feminine statement in ethereal Reem Acra for the film's New York premiere.

  • Zoe Kravitz

    March: Zoe Kravitz, on the other hand, sticks to the otherworldly theme in an outstanding superhero-inspired Christian Dior cape dress.

  • Amanda Seyfried

    March: This hot red Valentino dress and tight plaits are working for us at the While We're Young premiere in New York.

  • Christina Hendricks

    March: This beautifully crafted Zac Posen behemoth was made for standing still and posing.

  • Kate Bosworth

    March: Kate owns this playful Christian Dior haute couture gown at the Mid-Winter Gala in San Francisco.

  • Rosie Huntington-Whiteley

    April: A mac-minidress fusion hot off the Burberry catwalk marks Rosie Huntington-Whiteley's sartorial moment of 2015, for the label's London in Los Angeles party.

  • Olivia Palermo

    April: We want to be cocooned in this floral Marchesa.

  • Laverne Cox

    April: Dicing with a mermaid style is tricky, but it's OK, Laverne Cox has placed her faith in Marc Bouwer and makes this shimmering aqua gown work for the Time 100 Gala in New York.

  • Chrissy Teigen

    April: Redefining the thigh split in an impossibly gorgeous Zuhair Murad gown for the White House Correspondents Dinner.

  • Beyonce Knowles

    April: Givenchy spreads the glitter just right for Beyonce, at the Met Gala.

  • Solange Knowles

    April: A 3-D Giles mini dress printed with goldfish keeps Solange Knowles at the top of her game at the Met Gala.

  • Alexa Chung

    April: Who can forget this Erdem stunner at the Met Gala?

    Bonus points for making sidies cool.

  • Zendaya

    April: It's risky, she knows it, and she doesn't care, at the Met bash.

  • Kerry Washington

    April: Switching up her usual style to a bubblegum pink Prada gown for the Met bonanza.

  • Olivia Wilde

    April: Pink was the colour du jour at the Met and Olivia's accessorising her Prada to the max.

  • FKA Twigs

    April: Because there aren't enough gowns featuring penis imagery and feet.

    This is another Met Gala number, naturally.

  • Jourdan Dunn

    May: A delicate and beautifully structured Vera Wang fishtail gown plants all eyes firmly on Jourdan Dunn at the amfAR Gala.

  • Karolina Kurkova

    May: This Alexis Mabille Couture gown is a reworked shirt dress and it's one of our favourite alternative ballgowns ever. Well, this year, at least.

  • Doutzen Kroes

    May: Simple, structural and super, in Margiela.

  • Toni Garrn

    May: Yes, they are goldfish and this look at amfAR totally works, especially when she swishes around.

  • Araya Hargate

    May: Bringing the drama to Cannes in an Ashi Studio couture gown for the Sicario premiere.

  • Rita Ora

    May: Remember that '90s interiors obsession for gold stars on everything from curtains to cushions?

    They're making a comeback at the Billboard Music Awards thanks to Rita Ora's Fausto Puglisi gown.

  • Sophie Ellis-Bextor

    May: Embracing fashion's fun side at the Life Ball in Vienna.

  • Sofia Vergara and Reese Witherspoon

    June: Special K they aint.

    Sofia Vergara's fierce in Amanda Wakeley, while Reese Witherspoon is uncharacteristically edgy in a Saint Laurent by Hedi Slimane dress for the Hot Pursuit premiere in Mexico.

  • Naomi Campbell

    June: Naomi Campbell first wore this custom-made fringed Versace gown in 1998 and still looks bang on in it at the Fragrance Foundation Awards.

  • Maisie Williams

    June: A Clueless-inspired Ashish dress had our hearts a-flutter.

  • Poppy Delevingne

    July: We knew boho was really back with a bang when Poppy Delevingne turned up to the Tiffany party in this trippy Valentino number.

  • Charlize Theron

    July: Charlize Theron breaks away from her usual floor-length gowns for a playful summer Dior frock at the Dark Places premiere in LA.

  • Kendall Jenner

    July: She's worn many, many dresses this year, but sheer fitted Alexandre Vauthier gown at the Espy Awards won our vote.

  • Katerina Graham

    August: The vintage Versace of our dreams at the VMAs.

  • Kylie Jenner

    August: Keeping the Balmain vibe in the family, Kylie's crocheted mini was the talk of the VMAs (along with Miley Cyrus, naturally).

  • Julianne Hough

    September: A fiery ombre sequinned Jenny Packham gown puts Julianne Hough on our radar at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards.

  • Pixie Lott

    September: The sheer dress phenomenon gets a sweet spin thanks to Pixie Lott's applique floral Blumarine gown at the amfAR gala dinner in Milan.

  • Emily Blunt

    September: Emily Blunt's red sequin Prada dress is a work of art at the London premiere of Sicario.

  • Nicki Minaj

    September: Givenchy's show was the hottest ticket at New York Fashion Week and Nicki Minaj rises to the occasion in a silhouette ravishing leopard print gown, matching cape and shoes.

  • Lady Gaga

    September: A modern take on the famous Marilyn moment for Lady G in Brandon Maxwell at the Emmys. 

  • Tallia Storm

    September: The young singer has big fun with the floral trend at the Scottish Fashion Awards.

  • Allison Williams

    October: It's a Grace Kelly homage for the Girls star in laser cut Prabal Gurung, at the Park Avenue Armory Gilded Gala.

  • Claire Danes

    October: Looking a million miles away from her corporate-dressing Homeland character Carrie in a tweed Victoria Beckham dress and top heavy scarlet lip for an appearance on The Late Show.

  • Izabel Goulart

    October: We appreciate this Alexandre Vauthier outfit on Brazilian model Izabel Goulart because it looks just like a high-fashion homage to Cindy Crawford in her supermodel heyday.

  • Nicole Scherzinger

    October: Like us, Nicole  Scherzinger subscribes to the idea that if you're going to wear a cape, you may as well make a big deal about it. She's voluminous in Marc Bouwer at the American Ballet Fall Gala in New York.

  • Iggy Azalea

    October: Leaving a trail of blue feathers in her wake in Armani Privé at Vogue's 10th anniversary party in China.

  • Selena Gomez

    November: Patent red leather, sheer sleeves and a Peter Pan collar - this dress looks like it's straight out of the pages of a comic book. In a great way.

  • Erin O'Connor

    November: Only Erin O'Connor could make us look at peach and brown horizontal stripes in a new light. She's at the La Legende de la Palme D'Or screening in London.

  • Cheryl Fernandez-Versini

    November: A feminine, boho twist on this year's ubiquitous sheer trend at the British Fashion Awards.

  • Jenna Dewan

    November: A total queen of a Monique Lhuillier dress at the Baby 2 Baby Gala.

  • Dakota Johnson

    November: The Fifty Shades star is doing justice to this gorgeous Michael Kors gown at the label's flagship store opening in Tokyo.

  • Sarah Paulson

    November: Nevermind Christmas jumpers, we'd wear this dress every day of December if we had the chance. It's a festive offering from Etro for the Carol film premiere in New York.

  • Salma Hayek

    November: Salma Hayek is rocking a sculptural low-cut Alexander McQueen gown for the Evening Standard Theatre Awards.

  • Diane Kruger

    November: We were entranced by this torn-up, zip-up organza Chanel two-piece gown on the SS16 catwalk and we're just as taken with Diane Kruger in at the MoMA Film Benefit's tribute to Cate Blanchett in New York.

  • Daisy Ridley

    December: A ha, we see what you did there, Roland Mouret.

    The hottest star of the moment is wearing the opening credits of the year's most anticipated flick in high fashion form, at the premiere of Star Wars: The Force Awakens in London.


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Anna Pollitt

Anna is a freelance writer and editor who’s been making her dime from online since 2007. She’s a regular at, ITV News and Emerald Street and moonlights as a copywriter and digital content consultant. The baby is borrowed.

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