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Photos: 2011 Vanity Fair best dressed List

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  1. 2011 Vanity Fair Best-Dressed List

    The Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, has already had a banner year, but it's about to get even bigger. She is on Vanity Fair's Best-Dressed List of 2011, along with actresses Tilda Swinton, Carey Mulligan and, representing the men, Justin Timberlake and Colin Firth.

    Carla Bruni-Sarkozy
    France's first lady, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, a singer-songwriter and former model, makes the list for the fourth year in a row. The stunning star, who recently appeared in Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris,” can pull off a Dior ball gown as easily as casual jeans. (Franck Prevel / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Sheikha Moza bint Nasser

    The wife of the emir of Qatar and UNESCO special envoy for basic and higher education, Sheikha Moza bint Nasser is known for her love of fashion, especially couture. She often accessorizes with chic turbans in a wide range of colors. She was also on Vanity Fair’s Best-Dressed List in 2009. (Carlos Alvarez) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Lizzie Tisch

    New York socialite Lizzie Tisch, wife of hotel executive Jonathan Tisch, has shown her stylish support for the fashion industry in a big way. In 2010, Lizzie and Jonathan donated $10 million to the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute, which houses a permanent collection of historical fashion pieces. To boot, the Vanity Fair third-timer has got a spot-on dressing instinct herself. (Stephen Lovekin / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Tilda Swinton

    It’s the third time on the list for actress Tilda Swinton, star of “Michael Clayton” and “Burn After Reading,” who also plays the White Witch in the “Chronicles of Narnia” series. Known for a quirky fashion sense that often finds her in menswear-inspired looks, she has an unwavering commitment to standing out in a crowd. (Valery Hache / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Carey Mulligan

    Oscar-nominated British actress Carey Mulligan, who starred in "An Education," embodies a look that Vanity Fair calls "existential pixie." This is the actress’ second time on the magazine's Best-Dressed List. (John Shearer / Getty Images ) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. The Duchess of Cambridge

    The royal newlywed, famous for mixing high and low-end fashion items, is no stranger to Vanity Fair’s Best-Dressed List: Kate was previously on it in 2008. The Duchess is credited with bringing back hats and making outfit repeats fashionable. (Mark Large / WPA via Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Princess Charlene of Monaco

    Just like her new title, Her Serene Highness Princess Charlene of Monaco, this former Olympic swimmer is long on style sense. The newly minted royal (she married Monaco’s Prince Albert in July) favors such designers as Roberto Cavalli and Giorgio Armani, who designed her wedding gown. Those two joined Chanel’s Karl Lagerfeld as guests at her wedding. Now there’s some fashion street cred. (Gareth Cattermole / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Andrea Dellal

    Former Brazilian model Andrea Dellal recently presented a creation by fashion designer Issa at London Fashion Week 2011. (Gareth Cattermole / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Christine Lagarde

    Christine Lagarde is the very chic managing director of the International Monetary Fund. She succeeded the headline-making Dominique Strauss-Kahn for the job, but the Paris-born attorney by training can make her own news, thank you very much. A vegetarian and yoga practitioner, she favors suits that emphasize her long, lean physique and accessories from Hermes.


    Jane Lauder Warsh, a granddaughter and heiress of Estée Lauder, also made the list for the women. (Win McNamee / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Colin Firth

    Colin Firth is an Oscar-winning British actor renowned for such films as “The King’s Speech,” “Love Actually” and “A Single Man.” Vanity Fair speculates that it was Firth’s experience in the latter film, working with director Tom Ford, that helped him hone his “flawless” style. (Pascal Le Segretain / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Alejandro Santo Domingo

    Wealthy Colombian-American financier Alejandro Santo Domingo, shown here standing next to socialite Karen Lorrain, is a Harvard graduate with an impeccable resume and the former flame of both publishing heiress Amanda Hearst and model Eugenia Silva. (Astrid Stawiarz / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. Arpad Busson

    Swiss financier Arpad Busson has earned a place on Vanity Fair’s Best-Dressed List for a second year in a row. Along with being strikingly fashionable, Busson was voted the seventh-most wanted person at a party in the U.K. in 2006. He has two children with supermodel Elle MacPherson. (Chris Jackson / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. Armie Hammer

    Best known for playing both of the spurned Winklevoss twins in the Facebook film, "The Social Network," Armie Hammer broke onto the Hollywood scene in 2011. And with upcoming roles like the Prince in a "Snow White" remake and The Lone Ranger in the eponymous film, he'll have several more red carpet appearances in 2012 to look show off his Vanity Fair-appreciated style. (Michael Buckner / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. Mario D’Urso

    Mario D’Urso is chairman of Mittel Capital and has a storied background in finance, law and government, having served as both a senator and the Undersecretary of Commerce in the Italian government. (Daniele Venturelli / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. Stavros Niarchos

    Initially known for relationships with Lindsay Lohan, Mary-Kate Olsen and Paris Hilton, Greek shipping heir Stavros Niarchos pursues a stylishly more bohemian vocation than his family’s main concern, opting instead for a career in film. (Jamie McCarthy / Getty Images ) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. Justin Timberlake

    The singer and actor has come a long way from “The New Mickey Mouse Club” and boy band ’N Sync. In between recording Grammy-winning albums and making hit movies like “Friends with Benefits,” the sartorially smart supertar somehow found time to launch the William Rast fashion line with his childhood friend Trace Ayala, featuring premium jeans, jackets, sweaters and polo shirts. He also endorses “Play,” the men’s fragrance by Givenchy. (Jason Kempin / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. Jenson Button

    You may not notice his high fashion when he's zooming past you at more than 200 miles per hour, but this Formula 1 race car driver still turns heads when he slows down. And though this Briton has a World Drivers' Champion cup on the mantel, we're pretty sure he'll make some room for this Vanity Fair honor.

    Nicholas Foulkes also made the list for the men. A British historian, author, and journalist, Nick Foulkes not only chronicles the beautiful people of the beau monde in such books as “High Society: The History of America’s Upper Class” and GQ magazine; he dresses like them. (Ryan Pierse / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  18. Marcus Samuelsson

    Between winning Bravo's "Top Chef Masters," opening his lauded restaurant Red Rooster in New York and starting Food Republic, a foodie website for men, celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson has had a big year. Now, he can add becoming a fashion icon to the list. His favorite way to express his style? His kicks. “Sneakers for me are the ultimate,” he told The New York Times. (Andrew H. Walker / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
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By
TODAY contributor
updated 8/3/2011 9:52:52 AM ET 2011-08-03T13:52:52

On a best-dressed list that gives nods to the Obamas for being as fashionable as they are powerful, cites Lady Gaga for being a true original, and lauds NBC’s Brian Williams for becoming a sartorial luminary, it’s still Kate Middleton who takes the clothes cake.

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In revealing her magazine’s 72nd annual Best-Dressed List on TODAY Wednesday, Vanity Fair’s Amy Fine Collins told Ann Curry that new bride and newly minted Duchess of Cambridge Kate led the way among the fashion insiders who vote for who makes the prized list.

“Kate Middleton is the hands-down winner this year,” Fine Collins said. “She got so many votes — she is the style leader for 2011.”

Middleton also made the list in 2008, which led some Brits to scratch their heads at the time because she wasn’t generally seen in her homeland as being fashionable. In the end, however, Middleton proved to be on the right side of history in a year in which she’s become the most-watched woman in the world.

“Kate has brought back items we never thought we’d see again in fashion, including hats and nude stockings,” Fine Collins told Curry. “She also knows how to combine clothes that are mass market, off-the-rack with real designer clothes.”

Entertainment royalty too
The always eagerly awaited Best-Dressed List, created by fashion publicist Eleanor Lambert in 1939 and the domain of Vanity Fair magazine since 2004, includes a host of first-timers from Hollywood. While past honorees such as Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie didn’t make the cut this year, the likes of Johnny Depp, Colin Firth, Justin Timberlake and Armie Hammer all received their first nods.

Firth, who claimed the Oscar for Best Actor earlier this year in portraying King George VI in “The King’s Speech,” has stepped up his game in the fashion department, and Fine Collins believes his association with renowned designer Tom Ford, with whom he worked in the 2009 film “A Single Man”, had a lot to do with it.

The Look: The latest trends in fashion, beauty and more

“I think Colin is sexy and he’s masculine and he’s learned a lot about clothes from Tom Ford,” she told Curry. “He cleaned it up, he slimmed down and he’s is very, very quietly elegant.”

Video: Vanity Fair’s Best-Dressed list for 2011 (on this page)

And it was no surprise that an entertainer who wears meat and pops out of embryonic eggs would also make the Best-Dressed list in the “originals” category. Lady Gaga appeared on the list for the second year running, joining Depp, his long-time girlfriend Vanessa Paradis, and singer Janelle Monae on the originals list.

“She knows about fashion as self-expression,’ Fine Collins said of Gaga. “She is an individual and she has created the new normal in her outrageous way … just making it a little crazier, more fun.”

Along with Middleton, the Vanity Fair list was well-represented by global royalty, including Prince Charlene of Monaco, Qatar’s Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, and Greece’s royal couple, Nicolas Mirzayantz and Princess Alexandra. But, as with previous editions of the Best-Dressed List, France first lady Carla Bruni-Sarkozy stood out, making the cut for the fourth time.

Slideshow: 2011 Vanity Fair Best Dressed List (on this page)

“[She] knows how to wear blue jeans and ball gowns with equal ease,” Fine Collins told Curry. “She has that European ability to be both ladylike and sexy.”

But U.S. first lady Michelle Obama has an even longer run than Bruni-Sarkozy, making the Vanity Fair list for the fifth year running. This year, she took husband Barack along for the ride, with the pair entering the couple’s category for the first time.

NBC’s own Brian Williams will no longer appear on future Vanity Fair lists, as he is being honored — and retired — into the magazine’s fashion Hall of Fame after four appearances. Fine Collins lauded the “Nightly News” anchor for marching to his own beat in a rugged yet dressed-up way.

“Brian deserves to be in the Hall of Fame because he represents male glamour,” Fine Collins said. “He’s dashing, he’s manly.”

Still, Curry smiled and said she “finds it insane” that her co-anchor Matt Lauer, a previous honoree, didn’t make the grade this year. “I’ve got to sit next to that guy every day and try to keep up with him,” she said.

Fine Collins replied: “Now that Brian has been elevated to the Hall of Fame, there’s room for Matt to get back on.”

© 2013 NBCNews.com  Reprints

Video: Vanity Fair’s Best-Dressed list for 2011

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