2011 Met Costume Institute Gala: Kristen Stewart, Dianna Agron, Taylor Swift Impress

Usually when it comes to red carpets, we’re all about the sleek and the chic, but once a year we’re willing to make an exception for the an event where over-the-top fashion is not only encouraged but expected. We’re talking of course about the Met Costume Institute Gala Benefit, where the motto is go big or go home. Luckily, the event, which was attended last night by a mix of stars from various genres you generally don’t see sharing a red carpet, including Kristen Stewart, Taylor Swift and Lea Michele, didn’t disappoint. The night, which was in honor of legendary designer Alexander McQueen this year, was flooded with trends we’ve seen before this season, including lots of nude and red gowns and a heavy dose of sparkles, but they all had a fresh and very dramatic flare. Check out our fashion recap below to find out who brought their best and who brought the crazy.

Now, Kristen hasn’t always made the cut on our best-dressed lists, but last night she earned a spot right at the very top. KStew arrived on the carpet in a sleeveless, dark red Proenza Schouler floor-length gown with black circular patterns. The look was clean and modern and her hair and makeup were simply flawless. Like Kristen, “Twilight” co-star Ashley Greene has also wavered when it comes to our fashion recaps, but last night she made our jaws drop in a stunning, strapless nude gown by Donna Karan. The beaded outfit stood in stark contrast to Kristen’s modern style, but we loved it just as much. Also, bonus points for the classic up-do and dangling earrings—a perfect choice to accompany her dramatic gown.

We’re used to seeing Taylor hit the red carpet in classic looks, and her one-shoulder J. Mendel gown certainly fit the bill, except with one major twist: it was darker and edgier than her usual style. We liked that Taylor amped up the drama and adored her bold, layered train. As for singer Rihanna, well to put it simply, she reminded us of a mermaid (we’re not sure if that’s a good thing yet) in a one-sleeve, see-through black Stella McCartney dress that she paired with a cascading red braid. We see what she’s trying to do but we’re not so sure she pulled it off (maybe it’s the distracting strappy shoes that are taking away from the “wow” factor?).

Lea went for the usual last night in a strapless red (trend alert!) J.Escada dress. While the look was was perfectly fine, we wish she had opted for something a little more unexpected (although, shout-out to the elegant side-part). “Glee” gal Dianna Argon also arrived in a red ensemble (which was very reminiscent of Jennifer Lawrence’s Oscar 2011 look). Her style, while similar to Lea’s, was much more modern and definitely caught our attention.

Blake Lively wore a sari-style Chanel gown with a nude, sequined bodice that would make even her uber-stylish “Gossip Girl” character Serena van der Woodsen proud. Unfortunately, we can’t say the same about “GG” co-star Leighton Meester, who arrived in a lack-luster black Louis Vuitton dress (seriously, Blair would not be okay with this).

Could we be anymore obsessed with Jessica Alba? Seriously, the mommy-to-be (who rocked a super-cute headpiece) totally earned top red carpet honors in a shimmery, strapless gown by Ralph Lauren. Fellow preggo, Kate Hudson also arrived in a champagne-tinted dress (with a similar accompanying head piece!) by Stella McCartney. The takeaway? Head-pieces are so in.

Click on any of the photos above to see our entire Costume Institute Gala fashion flipbook including Dakota Fanning, Evan Rachel Wood, Ashley Olsen and more!

What were your favorite looks from the 2011 Costume Institute Gala? Tell us in the comments and on Twitter!