Celebrity wardrobe hits and misses of 2012

Special to the Los Angeles Times

Strike a pose

If you’re Madonna and you plan to stage the most fashionable Super Bowl halftime show in years, there’s only one way to kick it off: Perform the 1990 smash hit “Vogue” as classic Vogue covers are projected on stage. The Queen of Pop’s performance featured numerous costume changes and included Givenchy couture, Bulgari jewelry, custom stretch leather Miu Miu boots and a glittering headpiece by star milliner Philip Treacy. But all was almost overshadowed when rapper M.I.A. had a “finger malfunction” during the show and accidentally flipped off everyone who was watching. (February)

Red-carpet disaster

Nicki Minaj arrived at the Grammys in a Versace-designed Red Riding Hood cloak with what failed to be 2012’s hottest accessory: a pope impersonator. (February)


Red carpet triumph

Gwyneth Paltrow was stunning at the Oscars in an ivory cap-sleeve cream evening column and cape from Tom Ford’s Fall 2012 collection, garnering “best dressed” nods the world over. (February)

A lot of leg

While Paltrow may have won the Oscar style stakes, Angelina Jolie’s leg stole the red-carpet show when she struck a suggestive pose in her black Versace gown, slit thigh high. (February)



Kate Upton had a wild year. In February, just 12 months after Sports Illustrated named her Rookie of the Year in the 2011 swimsuit issue, she graced the cover of the 2012 issue. Shortly afterward, a Victoria’s Secret booker said the brand would never use Upton as a lingerie model because she had a “too obvious” face, and the website called the voluptuous miss “lardy.” But by year’s end, Upton had the last laugh with appearances in the pages of Cosmopolitan, GQ, Esquire and Vogue. Upton capped her breakthrough year by appearing on the November cover of Vogue Italia (her first Vogue cover) with a simple cover line: “Seductive.” (February, November)

Fashion coup

If there were any doubt that child actors-turned-style mavens Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen had reached the heights of the fashion cognoscenti, it was quashed when their minimalist line the Row took the top award for Womenswear Designer of the Year from the industry group the Council of Fashion Designers of America. (June)

Fairy tale weddings

When Drew Barrymore married art dealer Will Kopelman, she chose to wear Chanel. But Barrymore didn’t select just any Chanel dress. Instead, Chanel head designer and creative director Karl Lagerfeld personally designed a muslin and organza gown embroidered with tulle flowers and feathers. Later in the year, Jessica Biel wed Justin Timberlake in a frothy pink Giambattista Valli gown, and Jennifer Aniston nabbed a ginormous engagement ring from fiance Justin Theroux. (June, October, October.)

Guggenheim goes Gaga

Lady Gaga maintained her reputation as the world’s leading Dadaist performance artist when she threw the launch party for her new perfume, Fame, at New York’s Guggenheim Museum. Guests got to watch Gaga as she feigned sleep while lying inside a giant reproduction of a Fame perfume bottle. She eventually “woke” to the sounds of the David Bowie hit “Fame” — naturally — and proceeded to get dressed and spray herself with perfume. The pop star spent the remainder of the evening inside her perfume bottle, where she got a cherub tattooed on the back of her head. Fame, by the way, is the first-ever black eau du parfum. (September)


Hair-raising moment

TSA agents at Miami International Airport stopped singer-DJ Solange Knowles to search her afro wig. Knowles later tweeted about the incident, “Discrim-FRO-nation. My hair is not a storage drawer. Although, guess I could hide a joint up in here.” (November)

Head-scratching celebrity collection

In 1969, Yoko Ono presented John Lennon with a collection of sketches for male fashion that would show off his “sexy bod.” This year, Opening Ceremony opted to team with Ono and turn the sketches into real clothes. The collection includes pants with a see-through mesh seat, long-sleeve pastel mesh T-shirts, suit coats with holes cut in the sides and a “transparent chest plaque with bells and leather neck strap.” If your tastes are more conservative, you can buy a hoodie featuring a cartoon illustration of Lennon’s butt. (November)

What-were-they-thinking wardrobe choices

What’s going on with young men north of the 49th Parallel? Former Palin family associate Levi Johnston recently got married in a camouflage hunting vest and straw cowboy hat. But the worst fashion faux pas of the year was the ensemble Justin Bieber chose for a meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper: overalls with one strap undone, a black baseball cap and bright yellow sneakers. He also had fashion watchers scratching their heads when he took to wearing drop-crotch — and we mean knee-grazing — harem pants at, for instance, the American Music Awards. (All in November)

Guess who?

Controversy was all but guaranteed to break out when Guess announced the new face of Guess Kids: Dannielynn Birkhead, better known as the 6-year-old daughter of the late Anna Nicole Smith. Dannielynn’s father, Larry Birkhead, has said that modeling will help the girl form a connection to the mother she never knew. Critics have questioned Birkhead’s decision to permit his daughter to model at such a young age. (November)


Royal expectations

The Duchess of Cambridge set off a maternity frenzy. The eagerly awaited pregnancy was announced after the former Kate Middleton was rushed to the hospital to be treated for acute morning sickness. She made her first public appearance after the announcement at a sports awards ceremony, wearing a forest-green Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen gown with a peekaboo slit in the skirt. (Was she perhaps inspired by Angelina Jolie’s Oscars attire?) The gown was gorgeous, though a far cry from maternity wear. (December)

Concert kilt

Kanye West shocked some fans by rocking a Givenchy leather kilt for his performance at the Sandy relief concert in New York. No surprise: The kilt had its own Twitter account within minutes. (December)

Booth Moore contributed to this report.