The end of the year means it’s time to recognize the starlets who, through break-out performances, magazine covers, and practically living on the red carpet, went from up-and-comers to full-blown stars. These 13 models, actresses, and musicians join style blog mainstays like Alexa Chung, Diane Kruger, Kristen Stewart, et al in the pantheon of It Girls.
Cara Delevingne officially arrived when she earned the Model of the Year award at the British Fashion Awards (she accepted in a metallic lime green Burberry dress). The model of the moment (and lil sis to Poppy Delevingne) walked in a whopping 39 shows during fashion month, including Emilio Pucci.
Photos: Mike Marsaland/Getty Images, Imaxtree
Jennifer Lawrence became a critical darling when she starred in Winter’s Bone, but earned mass approval in this year’s box office hit Hunger Games. She appeared in versatile looks on the red carpet, from a moody blue Christian Dior skater dress and dark locks at the Toronto International Film Festival, to a glowing Ralph Lauren gown and golden hair at the Hunger Games premiere.
Photos: Dominic Chan/WENN.com, WENN.com
It’s official, Solange Knowles has stepped out of her sister Beyonce's spotlight. The singer, DJ, and stylista was a constant presence at NYFW—including her head-turning street style in this multi-patterned Diane Von Furstenberg suit. Knowles is known for her fearless fashion sense, rocking gutsy look-at-me pieces with bold colors like the Boxing Kitten romper she wore to the listening party for her album True.
Photos: Andres Otero/WENN.com, Jason LaVeris/Getty Images
Already being hailed as “the new Rihanna,” Rita Ora made a splash this year with big name collaborations and even bigger red carpet style. The popstar looked uber-cool in an 80s-inspired Vivienne Westwood Red Label suit at LWF, and red-hot in Alexander Vauthier at the EMAs where she performed her single RIP.
Photos: Cameron Clegg/WENN.com, Lia Toby/WENN.com
Selena Gomez probably has ex-boyfriend Justin Bieber to thank for her skyrocket to household name this year, but she proved that she’s got star power of her own when she started hitting the red carpet in more grown-up and fashion-forward ensembles, like the Dolce & Gabbana crop top and skirt she wore to the Kids Choice Awards, and the frothy Marchesa gown she wore to a screening of Spring Breakers at the Tortonto International Film Festival.
Photos: Adriana M. Barraza/WENN.com, WENN.com
With a name that certainly gets your attention, Grimes came onto the scene this year as the indie rocker sporting the most cool-girl cred since Florence Welch became a household name and the best bangs since... ever. Though she doesn't spend a lot of time on the red carpet, this hard-to-pin-down girl has a signature taste in fashion to go with her signature musical style. Performing at festivals like SXSW and Pitchfork, she looked hipper-than-hip in wayfarers, grungy flannels and punky boots.
Photos: Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images, Roger Kisby/Getty Images
Allison Williams might be the It Girl who made the biggest impression this year. Going from virtual obscurity at the beginning of the year to designer darling at NYFW, the classic beauty has earned countless style profiles and “one-to-watch” titles. We’ve already been watching—and in terms of her just-risky-enough red carpet choices like the emerald green Oscar de la Renta gown at the Emmys and neon lace Valentino dress at the Gotham Independent Film Awards—we like what we see.
This year Elle Fanning graduated from kiddy flicks to more serious parts such as her role in the drama Ginger and Rosa, but we’re paying more attention to what she’s doing on the red carpet than onscreen anyway. At only 14, she’s the youngest on our It Girl list, but undoubtedly has the best curfew of any tween around—she somehow makes an appearance at a premiere a week, and does it in looks that block out the competition from much more established stylistas. The best part is that she almost always manages to look age-appropriate, even in her gorgeous Rochas gown and cardigan at a screening at the British Film Institute or her daisy-covered Rodarte dress at the Critic’s Choice Movie Awards.
Photos: WENN.com, WENN.com/FayesVision
Rooney Mara grabbed the fashion world’s attention when she hit the red carpet at the end of 2011 to promote The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. Her blunt bangs, ivory skin, and gothic or uniquely structured fashion choices—like the Givenchy Couture gown she wore to the Oscars or the sheer black Calvin Klein number she wore at the Dubai International Film Festival—made her stand out from the sea of sunny colorblock looks this year. Though she’s been a bit M.I.A. in the second half of the year, we can’t wait to see what she has in store for the sequels.
Photos: Apega/WENN.com, Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images
Lana Del Rey
Whether you were floored or freaked out, you probably at least talked about Lana Del Rey’s SNL performance at the beginning of the year. Since then, her album Born to Die blew up and paparazzi began snapping pics of her signature Old Hollywood bombshell style at festival performances in the U.S. and across Europe. If you didn’t see her H&M ad campaign, you were living under a rock.
Newcomer to the spotlight Jessica Chastain made everyone want red hair this year. Her performances in talked about films like Tree of Life and The Help meant that we saw a lot of her on the red carpet, wearing elegant pieces like the delicate Elie Saab dress she wore to the CFDA Fashion Awards and the electric blue Prabal Gurung dress she wore to the premiere of Zero Dark Thirty. Her classic beauty didn’t catch just our eyes, but also the attention of Yves Saint Laurent, who made her a brand ambassador.
Photos: Dan Jackman/WENN.com, Brian To/WENN.com
Cody Horn’s breakout role came this year in Magic Mike, but we were even more excited about what she was doing on the red carpet. This girl has a killer figure and shows it off in sleek but tough numbers like the sporty white halter dress by Cushnie Et Ochs that she wore to the ESPY Awards, and the leather-and-lace Jason Wu mini she rocked at the End of Watch premiere. Though this total newcomer's Wikipedia page currently has about five lines about her, we know there’s a lot in store for this actress.
Photos: FayesVision/WENN.com, Apega/WENN.com