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Best, Brightest and Most Outrageous Red Carpet Looks of 2012

By Lisa Marsh | December 28, 2012 2:23pm

NEW YORK CITY — The party people never disappoint. 

While major events like the presidential election and Hurricane Sandy came to define 2012, celebrities, socialites and New Yorkers about town were serious about their going out — working different looks like regular people work their MetroCards. 

And predictably, there were highs and lows, looks that were interesting and those that appeared to defy logic.

Jessica Biel had a banner year, not only marrying Justin Timberlake in Italy, but never slipping on the red carpet once.

Olivia Wilde, spending much more time in New York because of boyfriend Jason Sudeikis, always looked smashing and even daring in a jumpsuit at the "Django Unchained," premiere.

Gwyneth Paltrow had highs and lows, working a cutout Michael Kors dress and a stunning Tom Ford number, but falling flat at the Costume Institute Gala in a poorly fitting Prada dress.

The year, however, belonged to actress Anne Hathaway, who was always impeccable, including her bold Tom Ford outfit at the premiere of "Les Miserables."

What would a red carpet be without the entertainers? We don't mean the talent, but those who dress only to impress — and more often fall short. Professional fashion muse Michelle Harper is game for almost anything. Figure skater Johnny Weir gave Liberace a run for his money, and legendary filmmaker John Waters marched to the beat of his sportcoats. And then there's Lady Gaga. Who could have ever imagined she would get a tattoo at the Guggenheim?

The stars "Twilight" were seemingly looking for new work by baring their bodies, with Kristen Stewart and Ashley Greene showing some skin on the red carpet. 

But the "most improved" award improbably goes to Courtney Love, who cleaned up nicely for the opening of the Metropolitan Opera at Lincoln Center. 

Until next year...