Last year I had the foresight to create a Pinterest board, starting in January to keep track of all the amazing looks that would hit the red carpets throughout awards season, Cannes, the MET Gala and the numerous film premieres and press tours and make my life easier when it came to my compile my annual list.
It’s my favourite part of the year because it’s a treat to be reminded of all those epic dresses that were debuted and some of them I had forgotten about. It was clear early on who would definitely earn themselves a spot high on my list (*ahem Lupita*) but also those looks that still deserve a mention despite not making it on to my list.
Jessica Chastain’s stunning electric blue Atelier Versace and lilac Elie Saab gowns, Amal Alamuddin Clooney’s whole wedding weekend, Lily Collins’ Elie Saab at the Rome Film Festival and Emily Blunt’s vivid red Prada at her New York film premiere for Edge of Tomorrow and Elizabeth Banks’ breathtaking Elie Saab confection from the London premiere of Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1. Also who could possibly forget Kim Kardashian West’s Givenchy wedding dress and Angelina Jolie’s unique Atelier Versace wedding dress.
10. Diane Kruger
Always one to push the envelope with different silhouettes, hair, accessories, colour and beauty, Diane Kruger is a rare celebrity in that she can never look bad.
I’ve been a massive fan of the actress for years now, and of course being one half of a beautiful couple always does favours. She has the best accessory around in her long-term partner Josh Jackson and is always radiant on the red carpet.
My favourite look from Diane this year was her black and floral embellished Elie Saab gown that she wore to the Critics’ Choice Television Awards in June. I had this on my wish list for the red carpet when I saw it float down the runway and I was more than happy to see my favourite style icon wear it. Other fabulous looks include her Valentino Couture dress from the Vanity Fair Oscars party and a beautiful velvet Preen ball gown she wore to Sean Penn’s Help for Haiti annual ‘do.
9. Taylor Swift
I have had a strange love affair with Taylor Swift this year. It wasn’t long ago I was professing my absolute hatred at how annoying the starlet was, but then the songstress gave herself a total makeover and I fell a little bit in love.
A couple of things happened to Taylor this year, she chopped off her hair released a brand new album and a major style turning point came in April when she wore that black and white J.Mendel gown to the American Country Music Awards instead of her usuall glittery sequined outfits. The haircut is still a little twee, but it has a hint of BFF supermodel Karlie Kloss about it and was a nice refresh. I cannot tell you how jealous I am of her gravity-defying side-swept fringe, if only.
Taylor Swift is one hellishly busy lady so it was near impossible to include every look she’s ever worn just this year alone because she treats the pavement like her catwalk too and dishes out plenty of high end designers amongst high street brands like ASOS and Topshop.
One of my favourite looks from Taylor came at the American Music Awards where she wore a custom turquoise Michael Kors column dress tied definitely with her super-sexy Zuhair Murad look for the Victoria’s Secret after party.
8. Kate Hudson
Kate is always a feature in my lists, she doesn’t hit every red carpet going but when she’s on one you definitely know it because she will be easily the best dressed there.
The actress hit a home run early on in 2014 at The Oscars where she turned up in a jaw-dropping Atelier Versace gown that topped my looks of the evening. She then didn’t stop there but arrived at the Vanity Fair Oscars after party in a black Zuhair Murad gown that was equally as beautiful.
My favourite look from Kate, apart from her Oscars gown of course, was her purple Stella McCartney dress that she wore to the Baby2Baby Gala in November. Showcasing her bangin’ body is Kate’s go-to and this cutout look is perfect for the Californian beauty.
7. Ashley Madekwe
British-born Ashley is one of those celebrities that is not recognised enough as a style powerhouse, yet you look back at every single red carpet she’s appeared on and you would never find a bad look. Ever.
A massive style and beauty crush of mine (I owe the discovery of MAC’s Ruby Woo to her), she has worked a lot of red carpets this year in designers from Dior to Elie Saab to Burberry.
I struggled to pick one look as a standout because I was massively torn between her burnt orange Wes Gordon slip dress she wore to the amFar Gala in Milan, her white hot Banana Republic suit at the recent BFAs, or her super chic Burberry look at London Fashion Week. Pick for me?
Could I ever really do a best dressed list in 2014 and not include Rihanna? This woman marches to the beat of her own drum and doesn’t not give one shiny f**k what anyone thinks.
By no means has every look that Rihanna wore this year been commended, I mean her Givenchy black lace green-lipped look at the iHeartRadio Music Awards was scary, not to mention the times she stepped out looking like Smurfette, but the rest of the time she will be the major star on the red carpet pulling something off that absolutely no one else could even dream of (yes I’m talking about you Rita Ora).
My favourite looks come courtesy of Rihanna’s stunning red Zac Posen gown she wore to her inaugural Diamond Ball for her Clara Lionel Foundation, that super chic pink tweed Altuzarra suit, her white Ulyana Sergeenko nightie she wore to the MTV Video Music Awards and that super fun Stella Jean bodycon dress that she wore when visiting the White House larking around pretending to be Olivia Pope.
I can’t include Rihanna without mentioning that naked Adam Selman dress she wore, because yes her areolas were on display and so was her bare arse, but the make up, the matching Swarovski-adorned bandana and jewels was one of those moments you will always list when talking about the pop star. And she looked hot, and if you hadn’t figured already she’s Rihanna she can do what she wants.
5. Emma Stone
Emma knows what works for her and that’s her red hair. She had a brief dalliance back to her natural blonde colour not so long ago for her part in Birdman (which FYI is brilliant go and see it immediately), but her red roots make her looks really pop.
So from wearing a vivid yellow Atelier Versace to her Spider-Man London premiere or a forest green Valentino at the Birdman premiere at the Rome Film Festival she will always top the best dressed in my eyes.
Emma has worked several different silhouettes this year, with a particular stand out being the Saint Laurent check suit she wore doing press at the BBC Radio One studios and that adorable red sixties-inspired Valentino dress she wore for an appearance at the Empire State Building.
My favourite look from Emma Stone this year was the beautiful white Prada dress she wore for the New York Spider-Man premiere. I’m always surprised when I see a particularly spectacular red carpet look from Prada because Anne Hathaway’s 2013 Oscars dress is still burned in my mind.
4. Blake Lively
The Queen of Cannes Film Festival this year, Blake Lively was on a high right at the beginning of 2014. Basically every time the blonde appeared jaws dropped to the floor.
Her beauty is absolutely her best accessory not to mention those long luscious L’Oreal preened locks of hers. When she strutted out as part of her ambassador role for the cosmetics powerhouse we expected nothing short of magnificent, and we were not disappointed.
Not only did Blake work the Cannes carpet to astonishing effect, but she also still managed to pull out yet another epic Gucci Premiere gown for the MET Gala with her perfect plus one hubby Ryan Reynolds. Then she announced her pregnancy and looked even more blooming lovely, can this woman ever fail?
Wearing one of my favourite looks of the whole year number one comes in the guise of Blake’s black and white tuxedo-inspired Gucci gown from the Cannes premiere of Ryan’s film Captives.
3. Lupita Nyong’o
A major player early in the game, Lupita Nyong’o absolutely nailed red carpet dressing this year. A newcomer to the awards circuit, she was nominated at every major awards for her role in 12 Years A Slave which culminated in picking up the Best Supporting Actress gong at The Oscars.
What a way to start the year for this amazing woman, not only picking up awards but a fashion campaign with Miu Miu, a beauty campaign with Lancome and a coveted Vogue cover in July, Lupita is a major voice in the rights for black women should be given in the entertainment industry. She gave a particularly amazing and inspirational speech at the ESSENCE Black Women in Hollywood Awards that is well worth a listen.
Lupita’s favourite look for me this year has to be the red haute caped Ralph Lauren dress that she wore to the Golden Globes. It literally won award season for me, as soon as I saw it, I knew it was the one. But let’s not forget the stunning turquoise Gucci dress she wore to the SAG Awards that popped against her skin and that custom white Calvin Klein she wore to the Critics’ Choice Movie Awards. I wasn’t as in love with the star’s pale blue Prada Oscar dress but can appreciate how beautiful it made Lupita look, and her jewel green Dior dress she wore to the BAFTAs.
2. Emma Watson
Emma made my year when she turned up to the Golden Globe Awards in vintage Dior Couture. Not only was in a unique look but she was in trousers and still made it to the top of every best dressed list out there. Trousers are not a brand new thing that nobody has done before – it was just all in Emma’s execution. I’ve never understood why celebrities have to do that looking-over-the-shoulder-arse shot but if it were not for that then we would have never seen the beauty of Emma’s look.
From this moment on Emma has been seen in several more Dior looks, which lead me to championing the Harry Potter actress to take over as the new face for the brand over Jennifer Lawrence. It always amazes me at how hit-and-miss Jennifer is when appearing on the red carpet in Dior, yet those who are not loyal to the brand can put the Hunger Games starlet in the shade. Maybe 2015 will be the year for Emma to land her own fashion campaign, if not for Dior then Ralph Lauren at least.
Emma has been slowly shedding that sugar coated Hermione look for a few years now, after drastically cutting her hair into a pixie crop to going sexy minis. She seems to have found her signature style this past year that suits her, not overtly sexy but so sleek, chic and oozing old Hollywood glamour.
I loved her style during fashion week with the Valentino FROW look a particular fave, and it seems that Emma has a thing for trousers sporting no less than six more red carpet masculine-inspired looks throughout 2014.
Emma also launched the movement for gender equality campaign HeForShe, in which she gave an impassioned speech on how men are also welcomed into the fight for equality between gender which you can listen to here. She wore possibly the most perfect Dior frock coat that I just can’t get enough of proving once again just how well she is suited to the French design house.
My favourite look of Emma’s this year is tied between the red Dior look and her white Ralph Lauren gown she wore to the London premiere of Noah.
1. Solange Knowles
To the winner. Hands down. Without a shadow of a doubt. Solange Knowles killed it in 2014. Her wedding to Alan Johnson in New Orleans may have had something to do with her taking my number on best dressed celebrity of this year in her custom Kenzo wedding gown, but just take a look back at her rainbow-tastic wardrobe and you’ll soon agree she never misses a beat.
The more stylish Knowles sister (sorry Bey) never shies away from a bright colour palette favouring mostly yellows, oranges and blues and when you see Solange in black it’s always a treat because it very rarely happens.
Solange is the queen when it comes to dressing in just one colour. From jewel red in Paper London, to head-to-toe orange MaxMara and then yellow Paper London at Coachella, a hot pink Gucci suit is a favourite, to more yellow in Christopher Kane and Christian Siriano.
One look to really test the senses was her Milly FROW look – a bold electric blue coat by the brand, paired with a vivid orange hued look topped off with Barbie pink stilettos. I mean no one else could even think about this without looking like some sort of Sesame Street character.
Other beautiful moments came via her Calvin Klein embellished dress she wore to the CFDAs harking back to the classic Diana Ross vibe with her amazing ‘fro and the yellow Cedric Charlier strapless dress she wore for her mother’s birthday.
But of course the crowning moment for Solange comes at her wedding in November. The bride wasn’t happy to go with just the usual one look, instead choosing three Stephane Rolland jumpsuits to complement her custom Kenzo gown. She rocked up to the church on a bike strewn with flowers working a low-cut backless caped off-white jumpsuit with her husband-to-be in a matching tux. Then there was that beautiful gown adorned with simple gold cuffs which was followed by a one-legged ruffled jumpsuit then to top off the trifecta of trousered looks a jumpsuit that worked elements of both in with a deep cleavage and caped ruffles.
Solange Knowles was the best dressed bride this year, I mean she was competing with Kim Kardashian West, Amal Alamuddin Clooney and Angelina Jolie and in my eyes she easily came out on top. Well done Sol, keep on rocking in 2015.
Do you agree with who I picked for my best dressed of 2014 list?
Who would you have placed in the top spot, check out my Best Dressed of the Year 2014 Pinterest board and let me know in the comments below or tweet me @nlcorner with your top choices!
Sources: RCFA, Zimbio, JustJared