Year in Review 2011: Top Moments in Fashion

From the epic collapse of John Galliano at Dior to the McQueen wedding gown that had the world on the edge of their seats, here are the fashion moments that made 2011.

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John Galliano
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The biggest fashion story of 2011 is likely the epic collapse of John Galliano. Once on top of the fashion world at both Dior and his own label, his arrest for anti-Semitic slurs in February prompted LVMH to fire him from both positions, and forced him into rehab and seclusion.
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The firing led to a massive void at the helm of one of fashion's top ready-to-wear and haute couture labels. In Galliano's absence, the creative team has taken the helm at Dior while the fashion community awaits word on a successor.
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Though Galliano has been shunned by many members of the fashion community, others have continued to give him a safe harbor. He designed the wedding dress for close friend, Kate Moss, and was featured adjusting her train in the pages of an epic spread in <em>Vogue</em>'s September issue.
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While the rumored frontrunners to succeed Galliano at Dior have run the gamut from Haider Ackermann to Alexander Wang, the most likely candidate remains Marc Jacobs, who has been designing for Louis Vuitton (another LVMH property) for years.
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In addition to the vacuum left at Dior, there have been an unprecedented number of departures at the head of top labels including (but not limited to) Marios Schwab at Halston, Giles Deacon at Ungaro, Hanah MacGibbons at Chloe, and Christophe Decarnin at Balmain.
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No wedding dress in recent memory has been awaited with the kind of breathless anticipation given to Kate Middleton's royal wedding gown. After a flurry of rumors and red herrings, the wait was worth it: the McQueen gown chosen by the bride was breathtaking, and set off a rash of copycat gowns.
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The house of McQueen didn't forget the bride's sister: Pippa Middleton's perfectly-cut white gown nearly stole the spotlight and turned the fashion spotlight on her as soon as the wedding was over.
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Another royal at the wedding, Princess Beatrice, caught the press's eye for a less stylish accessory: her odd Philip Treacy hat. After launching a myriad memes on the Web, Beatrice got the last laugh by selling the hat for a whopping $130,000 on eBay, which she donated to charity.
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Following the wild success of the McQueen dress that Sarah Burton designed for the royal wedding, the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Exhibit for 2011 centered on the breathtaking work of Alexander McQueen. Attendance at the McQueen exhibit surpassed any other fashion exhibit in the Met's history.
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While the last few years have offered a slew of collaborations between high-fashion labels and mass retailers, 2011 gave us one of the best: Versace for H&M. The hotly-anticipated collection featured classic patterns and a launch party where Prince and Nicki Minaj performed.
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Missoni's collection for Target was not only broad in scope, it was also broad in popularity: The majority of the collaboration sold out in days, and even crashed Target's Web site, setting off a wave of resentment among shoppers who missed their chance at the brand's signature patterns.
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Macy's
Even iconic designer Karl Lagerfeld got in on the mass retail action this year, launching an affordable collection for Macy's as part of its Impulse line. Soon after, the designer announced he'd be debuting a new, permanent addition to his empire with lower price points called "Karl."
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The most famous of all bridal designers, Vera Wang, partnered with retailer David's Bridal to offer her iconic take on wedding style for the masses. She even created replicas of two of Kim Kardashian wedding gowns, which will still be released even though the marriage only lasted 72 days.
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Celebrities and stylists, too, tried their hands at design in 2011, starting with Gaga's stylist, Nicola Formichetti, who re-invigorated the Thierry Mugler line under a new name -- Mugler -- with a little help from his mega-star friend and collaborator.
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A flurry of rumors finally proved true when Kanye West unveiled his very own fashion line in Paris. While critics were unimpressed by the show's tailoring and use of fur for a spring collection, the star boasted a star-studded front row and an impressive roster of models.
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The Kardashian sisters -- Kourtney, Khloe and Kim -- launched a fashion line for Sears called "The Kardashian Kollection." Adding to the hype around the launch, Annie Liebovitz shot the promotional photos for the label, starring the sisters wearing the clothing.
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Botkier, Sears
Since the Kollection's launch, however, the pieces have come under fire for strongly resembling the work of other designers. For example, this leopard print Kardashian bag has been accused of looking quite a bit like a bag by New York designer Monica Botkier (at left).
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Celebrities also stepped up their presence at New York Fashion Week. Here, a pregnant Beyonce makes an appearance at Vera Wang's runway show.
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Fashion Week itself, however, came under dispute late in the year, as the organizers of Milan Fashion Week declared their plans to move their shows in September 2012 to an earlier date, creating a conflict with both New York and London's fashion weeks. New York and London insist they're sticking to their original dates for 2012.
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Neiman Marcus
Designer Christian Louboutin made strides to protect what he considers to be his label's signature -- those sexy red soles -- by filing several lawsuits against those he considers to be copycats, Yves Saint Laurent among them. The courts have yet to make a final ruling.
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Michelle Obama's dazzling red McQueen dress, worn on the occasion of a visit from President Hu Jintao of China, garnered sharp criticism from designer Oscar de la Renta and the CFDA, who felt the First Lady should have worn an American designer for the occasion.
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The skin-tight white dress by Kimberly Ovitz that Lindsay Lohan wore to a court appearance evoked a very different type of reaction. Despite the scandalous nature of Lohan's continued legal troubles, the $575 white dress sold out soon after she wore it.
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The styles of the '30s made a splash on the runways led by labels like Miu Miu, boasting midi-length skirts, hair topped with "victory rolls," and peplum waists.
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The Row
The Olsen twins' line, The Row, has earned fans for its sleek silhouettes and luxurious fabrics, but 2011 was the year that they entered into new territory when it came to luxury in creating a handbag line that included a $20,000 backpack.
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A classic pattern that's no longer cutesy, polka dots also cropped up on numerous runways. Marc Jacobs led the charge, lightening up his snug silhouettes with graphic black spots.
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Every year, the myriad fashion weeks offer up a dazzling array of runway sets, but this year, Chanel's Spring 2012 show blew them all out of the water (ahem), with a set designed to look like an pearly underwater scene.
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The show's biggest highlight: Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine performing inside a giant clam shell.
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