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Brad Pitt, Isaac Mizrahi, Angelina Jolie
Amy Sancetta  /  AP
Angelina Jolie gets a leg up at the 84th Academy Awards. Jolie's leg, that peeked out of the high thigh-high slit of her Versace gown, was the most exciting appearance on the red carpet.
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updated 12/14/2012 9:48:26 AM ET 2012-12-14T14:48:26

Every year fashion offers up the good, the bad and the ugly. But what the industry is really built on — and consumers respond to — is buzz.

Here are the top moments of 2012 that made our heads turn:

Angelina Jolie at the Oscars
The leg that peeked out of the high thigh-high slit of her Versace gown was the most exciting appearance on the red carpet. The gown fit perfectly into the sleek, simple, sexy mold that Jolie favors, but it was Jolie's picture-perfect pose to expose just enough thigh that launched a thousand memes. Her companion Brad Pitt gets an honorable mention for his scruffy appearance in a Chanel fragrance ad that left many scratching their heads.

Michelle Obama and Ann Romney's matching hues
The wives of the presidential candidates turned out to the second debate between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney in practically the same shade of hot pink. But they weren't by the same designer: Romney's was by Oscar de la Renta, and Obama's by Michael Kors. A potential matching prom dress-style embarrassment was chalked up to timing: October's breast cancer awareness month.

Barack Obama, Mitt Romney
Carolyn Kaster  /  AP
President Barack Obama embraces first lady Michelle Obama on stage after the presidential debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y. The wives of the presidential candidates turned out to the second debate between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney in practically the same shade of hot pink.

Marc Jacobs' Louis Vuitton show
Many of the designer runways seemed more of the same — stark stages, thumping music and audiences distracted by their electronic gadgets — but the Louis Vuitton fall catwalk in Paris commanded attention. Models dressed in their very best traveling clothes stepped off a reconstructed retro steam train. Valets carried the vintage-inspired hat boxes and vanity cases. The trip seemed refreshingly refined and modern.

Two-tone Stella McCartney dresses
McCartney, no stranger to the red carpet, has created a style that celebrities can't get enough of. Her ultra-flattering "silhouette" dress has become almost ubiquitous. It features one color on the bodice and back, and a graphic opposite on the sides and sleeves. Kate Winslet has worn several versions, and Brooklyn Decker, Kate Moss, Edie Falco and Liv Tyler have, too. The best turn might have been Jane Fonda at the Cannes Film Festival.

Getty Images
Beyonce Knowles wowed the crowd at the Costume Institute Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 7.

Beyonce's back-from-baby body
Some new mothers claim they feel sexier than ever. Beyonce was living proof at the Met Gala, the important industry event co-hosted by Vogue's Anna Wintour. Beyonce's skin-tight, largely sheer — save the bodice beading and feathered fish-tail train — gown by Givenchy announced that Ivy Blue Carter's mom wasn't going to hold back. An honorable mention goes to Jessica Simpson, who dieted her way to a Weight Watchers ad then wound up pregnant again.

007's slim suits
Daniel Craig's wardrobe in "Skyfall" is impeccably tailored — and quite tight. Unlike the James Bonds that came before him who all liked the traditional looser, longer cut of a Savile Row-style suit, Craig, whose wardrobe is created mostly by Tom Ford, takes his suits Euro style with tapered legs and shorter rises. There's no question Craig's super spy Bond will go down in history as one of the best, but it's fair to ask if he could pull off those impressive chases in clothes that tight.

Supermodel reunion at the London Olympics
Gold was the new black at the closing ceremony with a parade of supermodels wearing gilded gowns in a tribute to British fashion. Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell both had on Alexander McQueen, Georgia May Jagger's was by Victoria Beckham, Karen Elson was in Burberry, and Stella Tennant donned a Christopher Kane Swarovski-crystal catsuit. The soundtrack — of course — was David Bowie's "Fashion."

Another supermodel reunion at New York Fashion Week
Alexander Wang's show has become must-see viewing, partly for influential hipster clothes, but also for the model line-up, a who's who of top catwalkers. It was a coup even for him, however, to get the likes of Gisele Bundchen, Carmen Kass, Frankie Rayder and Shalom Harlow, who all very rarely do shows, to walk in February. Start the wish list now of who he'll nab for his debut at Balenciaga next year.

Image: Julianne Moore gives a thumbs down sign after winning the award for outstanding lead actress in a miniseries or movie at the 64th Primetime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles
Lucy Nicholson  /  Reuters
Julianne Moore gives a thumbs down sign after winning the award for outstanding lead actress in a miniseries or movie for "Game Change" at the 64th Primetime Emmy Awards.

Miley Cyrus' cropped cut
When Cyrus cut off the long hair her fans had become used to, she took some heat. She has said (and Tweeted) repeatedly, though, that she was pleased with the new punk-pixie look and was sticking with it. Short hair turned out to be a big trend, with Alicia Keys, Rihanna and Anne Hathaway all ending the year with much shorter locks than they started with.

Julianne Moore at the Emmys
Moore's neon-yellow Dior Haute Couture outfit (really a sweater and ball skirt) spawned a love-it-or-hate-it debate among armchair style critics. What was largely left out of that conversation, however, was that it was Raf Simons' big celebrity debut for Dior, which he took creative control of after the John Galliano scandal. At least Simons can claim the better reviews when it came to his showdown of next-gen designers at historic French houses against Hedi Slimane at Saint Laurent Paris.

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Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Photos: Michelle Obama’s effortless style

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  1. Michelle Obama's effortless style

    The first lady looks as sophisticated in designer dresses as she does in outfits from J. Crew. Take a look at her great style:

    First lady Michelle Obama and her mother Marian Robinson visit with Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan at the Diaoyutai State guest house on March 21, 2014 in Beijing, China. (Andy Wong / Pool via Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Ping-pong fun

    Michelle Obama plays table tennis at the Beijing Normal School, a school that prepares students to attend colleges overseas, in Beijing, China on March 21, 2014. (Andy Wong / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Welcome to China

    Michelle Obama waves as she and her daughter Sasha leave their plane at Capital International Airport in Beijing on March 20, 2014. (Alexander F. Yuan / Pool via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Green day

    Vice president Joe Biden, first lady Michelle Obama, and Irish Prime Mininster Enda Kenny's wife Fionnuala O'Kelly smile during a St. Patrick's Day reception in the East Room of the White House on March 14, 2014. (Ron Sachs / Pool / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. We're green with envy

    Kermit the Frog is welcomed by Michelle Obama at a screening of Disney's "Muppets Most Wanted" on March 12, 2014 in Washington, DC. (Win Mcnamee / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Seeking shades

    President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama make their way to board Air Force One before departing from Homestead Air Reserve Base in Homestead, Florida on March 9, 2014. (Mandel Ngan / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Pretty prints

    Michelle Obama delivers remarks during s workshop titled "I'm Every Woman: The History of Women in Soul" with (L-R) Grammy Museum Executive Director Robert Santelli, and music artists Melissa Etheridge, Janelle Monae and Patti LaBelle in the State Dining Room at the White House March 6, 2014 in Washington, DC. (Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Jump to it

    Michelle Obama sports a chic black jumpsuit during an interview with Jimmy Fallon on Feb. 20, 2014. (NBC; Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Pretty as a painting

    Michelle Obama, in a bold print skirt, is escorted by Rose Cameron, CEO and founder of WAT-AAH!, a line of bottled water targeted to kids and teens, as they view the "Taking Back the Streets" art exhibit at the New Museum in New York on Feb. 20. (Richard Drew / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Snow bunny

    Michelle Obama skis at Buttermilk Mountain in Aspen, Colo. on Feb. 15. This is the third year in a row that Michelle Obama has vacationed in Aspen over the long President's Day weekend. (Chris Council / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Ultimate elegance

    President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama, in a dramatic Carolina Herrera ball gown, arrive at a state dinner at the White House on Feb. 11. The dress featured a sheer black top with hand-embroidered and beaded appliques and sleeves that dipped just below the first lady's elbows. (Jewel Samad / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. Lady in red

    First lady Michelle Obama, French President Francois Hollande, and President Barack Obama wave at the balcony of the White House on Feb. 11. (Alex Wong / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. Deep green

    Michelle Obama, in a hunter green Azzedine Alaïa dress, waves next to U.S. Army Ranger Sgt. First Class Cory Remsburg, who was injured while serving in Afghanistan, prior to President Barack Obama's State of the Union speech in Washington on Jan. 28, 2014. (Joshua Roberts / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. Vision in blue

    First Lady Michelle Obama smiles as she listens to President Barack Obama speak at an event on expanding college opportunity in the South Court Auditorium of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington on Jan. 16, 2014. (Mandel Ngan / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. Bold bling

    Michelle Obama wore a festive lucite necklace while speaking about education in underserved communities in the State Dining Room following a screening of the movie "The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete" at the White House on Jan. 15, 2014. (Saul Loeb / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
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Video: Beyonce bares post-baby bod at A-list gala

  1. Closed captioning of: Beyonce bares post-baby bod at A-list gala

    >>> oscars of the east coast , the metropolitan museum 's costume gala here in new york where the world's fashion designers and stars dress to impress, sometimes even shock on the red carpet . giuliana rancic was there last night covering the action. nice to see you.

    >> good morning. matt lauer was there last night.

    >> you were actually covering it.

    >> i was.

    >> a lot of risk takers there.

    >> we got to start with beyonce. did you guys see this dress?

    >> strategically placed yes.

    >> it was very revealing this dress. and she actually arrived very fashionably late. she was the last one on the red carpet . but when you're wearing a dress like this you're allowed to be the last one on the red carpet .

    >> was it see-through top to bottom?

    >> look at that. yes, it was all there. so she was definitely showing off that post-baby body in this kind of, you know, puddle of feathers. it was quite a statement.

    >> yeah. what else stood out to you.

    >> carolina kirkova, she's a victoria's secret model. she was with rachel zoe wearing rachel zoe . i thought this was a stunning dress. the turban on the other hand, some people weren't big fans of. i thought it was gorgeous. if you're going to wear a turban anywhere, the met gala is the place to do it. so she just looked so statuesque and stunning.

    >> big hairdo that's making a lot of buzz i guess is tom brady 's. a guy.

    >> i know, right. usually we look for the women for crazy hair and wild hair. yeah, okay. so it's kind of off to the side a little bit. i know. what do you -- as the men here? it looked a little bit --

    >> no matter what he wears

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