Best of 2016: Fashionista of the Year

Fashionista of the Year is always our favorite category…and now it’s here!

This year, our favorite fashionistas landed at the top of our list yet again—sizzling on the red carpet in head-turning prints, jaw-dropping gowns, and looks that flaunted their every curve. From our reigning champ (who is also a social media star, co-producer of the television show she stars in, newly-minted fashion designer, and a social justice activist) to an Academy Award-winning actress who repped for African designers this year, let’s see who is nominated for 2016.

1. Zendaya

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Zendaya is back to hold down her crown! She has transformed from one to watch to the one to pay attention to. With America’s Next Top Model judge and famed stylist Law Roach by her side, she was literally flawless both on and off the red carpet.

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She can effortlessly switch from a chic and streamlined Michael Kors Collection LBD to a girly and unabashedly glamorous Reem Acra look. Zendaya always has fun with fashion and it’s just one of the many reasons why we’re obsessed with her style.

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This year, she officially launched her unisex Daya by Zendaya fashion line, as well as starting filming on Spider-Man: Homecoming.

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Zendaya was a judge on Project Runway’s Season 15 finale episode and she literally stopped traffic at the Met Gala in a futuristic Michael Kors Collection gown. Clearly, the iconic American fashion house is one of her faves.

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She was also the star of numerous covers including Allure, Footwear News, The Hollywood Reporter, and Essence.

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K.C. Undercover is back again next year, her Spider-Man installment should be released in 2017, and we fully expect to see Zendaya front row at a slew of fashion shows. Perhaps even her own!

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View all of the reigning Fashionista of the Year’s looks here.

2. Solange Knowles

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Just when we think Solange Knowles cannot get any more dope, more fly, or cooler, she completely proves us wrong. This year, she continued her love for indie designers and brands of colors, while cementing herself in the fashion history books as one of 2016’s biggest forces of style. All while looking effortlessly chic!

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Solange Knowles Performs on Saturday Night Live in Erickson Beamon Custom Crystal Dress and Earrings

She released A Seat At The Table: easily one of the best albums of the year and a complete tour de force that we consider a forever fave. Solange landed a Grammy nomination for her latest body of work, but also found time to make her presence felt front row at Fashion Week.

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Whether performing on Jimmy Fallon in a look designed by her own mother or taking to a stylish party in a fiery red Prabal Gurung look, she was always bold, fearless, and gorgeous. It’s no surprise that she’s one of our most beloved.

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LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 22: Solange Knowles attends a private dinner hosted by Michael Kors to celebrate the new Regent Street Flagship store opening at The River Cafe on June 22, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images for Michael Kors)

"BROOKLYN, NY - MAY 12: Singer Solange Knowles attends the launch of the Jean-Michel Basquiat for Etnia Barcelona Collection on May 12, 2016 in Brooklyn, New York. (Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for Etnia Barcelona )"

Her eye-catching, yellow David Laport look at the Met Gala is what high-fashion dreams are made of.

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And the colors darling! No one does vibrant hues quite like Solange.

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The star is so unpredictable that we aren’t quite sure what she’ll be up to in 2017, but we’ll definitely be keeping up with her every stylish move.

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See all of Solo’s big fashion moments from 2016 here.

3. Kim Kardashian

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Kim Kardashian was in fitness hyperdrive this year after having son Saint in December 2015. That didn’t stop her from slipping on sultry looks that flaunted her every curve.

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But after a harrowing robbery in Paris, the media mogul took a major step back from the spotlight. She still hasn’t returned to her own accounts just yet, but we’re taking the last few days of 2016 to reflect on her slew of looks from January through early October.

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Neutrals were on the agenda for Mrs. Kardashian-West, with looks from her husband’s Yeezy label in the lineup—along with Kardashian-Jenner family favorites like Balmain and Givenchy.

Curves ahead! It couple Kim Kardashian and Kanye West were spotted heading out of their hotel in Miami.

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Kim dared to bare and pushed the envelope almost as far as it could go. Many wondered if Kanye was behind her showstopping looks and we don’t doubt that he played a big part in many of them.

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And it was all about the return to her natural, dark tresses in 2016. Naturally, she may switch it up again on us next year.

7 Kanye West's Yeezy Season 4 Fashion Show + On the Scene Featuring Kim Kardashian, Kendall Jenner, Kylie Jenner, and more!

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Kim Kardashian was a complete head turner as she made her way through New York City.

Kim’s confidence is always one of her best accessories. That makes it all in a day’s work for her to pull off latex frocks, barely-there looks, and mesh with aplomb.

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And who could forget her many style moments with daughter North? Taking mommy and me fashions to whole new heights!

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7 Kim Kardashian's Celine 41075 Orange Mirror Mask Sunglasses + Her Rick Owens Silver Mirrored Mask Shades

We have to admit: we’ve had less work to do without Kim in the picture. And we miss her!

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But we know she’ll be back soon. She absolutely has a new set of Kimojis around the corner and we’re hoping she feels up to attending at least NYFW in February.

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Kim Kardashian rocked a new sleek bob at The Nice Guy in West Hollywood.

And of course she was on a slew of magazine covers this year. Billboard, Wonderland, Harper’s Bazaar, and Forbes were all on the list. Can you say girl boss?

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There’s a whole lot of stunning Balmain that Kim needs to don soon, so…hurry back!

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2 Kim Kardashian-West's LAX Mark Wong Nark Gray Couture Shell Dress and Yeezy Season 2 Beige Knit High Boots

See all of Kim’s 2016 looks here.

4. Rihanna

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Anti dropped in January of this year and Rihanna has been on a roll ever since. She always stepped out in style, though most of her snaps were on the street this year—with the Bajan beauty making less appearances on the red carpet than ever before.

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From stylish appearances in her own FENTY x PUMA line to showstopping accessories from her collaboration with Manolo Blahnik, the bad gal became the best ambassador for her own brand that any designer could ever ask for. Her PUMA creepers were this year’s hottest shoe and now she has an award to prove it.

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Rihanna Hits New York City in Manolo Blahnik x Rihanna Fur Boots, a Dries Van Noten Sweater and Pants, a Faustine Steinmetz Pleated Sweatshirt and Trackpants, and More!

No one is bolder and more confident than Ms. Fenty. Her swag is always through the roof!

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NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 12: Rihanna walks the runway at the FENTY PUMA by Rihanna AW16 Collection during Fall 2016 New York Fashion Week at 23 Wall Street on February 12, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by JP Yim/Getty Images for FENTY PUMA)

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And her beauty looks are another set of showstoppers. From long faux locs to waist-grazing tresses, she can and did do it all this year. We know women were taking screenshots of her hair and makeup to the salon all around the world.

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Her looks at the 2016 MTV Movie Awards were all head turners—befitting of the Video Vanguard Award winner. And her W cover by Steven Klein will absolutely be etched in the fashion history books forever.

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Rihanna's OVO Fest Feng Chen Wang Orange Parachute Coat and Vetements x Manolo Blahnik Thigh High Boots

Naturally, there were a slew of magazine covers, high-fashion spreads, and campaigns under her belt. Rih continued as one of the faces of Dior.

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We’re expecting more FENTY x PUMA goodness next year and though Ocean’s 8 isn’t set to be released until June 2018, we’re hoping some form of trailer starts to take shape by the end of 2017.

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Rihanna looked chic will wearing Gucci's floral embroidered matching set while out in New York City. WERK!

For everything Rihanna did this year, click here.

5. Jennifer Lopez

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There’s nothing J.Lo can’t do. She completely demonstrated that in 2016.

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Her television show Shades of Blue became an instant hit, though she also released new music and opened her Vegas residency.

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The woman simply gets better and better each year: complete and utter #goals if ever there were some.

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She wore a slew of brands that were both tried and true for the red carpet and new to the mix. Vatanika, Zuhair Murad, Balmain, and Anthony Vaccarello were all on her 2016 style lineup.

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1 Jennifer Lopez's Memorial Day Drai’s Beach Club Emilio Pucci Mosaico Printed Zip Hoodie, Multicolor Mosaic Printed Bikini, Fendi Cat Eye Sunglasses, and Gucci Sandals

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And whenever we put Jenny on the ‘gram, the likes and comments are through the roof! With a burgeoning romance with Drake, we know she’s going to completely shut 2017 down.

5 Jennifer Lopez's American Idol Zuhair Murad Fall 2015 Couture Sheer Embellished Black Gown

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She slayed on the covers of W and InStyle this year, though there were also jaw-dropping fashion spreads for Harper’s Bazaar and The Hollywood Reporter on her agenda.

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Who could forget the gilded Michael Kors Collection jumpsuit she wore while making an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live!? Or her vibrant Giambattista Valli gown at the Golden Globes? 2016 was a complete power year for the star in the style department.

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With almost 56 million followers on Instagram and close to 39 million on Twitter, all eyes will be on Jennifer Lopez. And she’s always an amazing sight to behold.

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Get a recap of J.Lo’s year in style here.

6. Lupita Nyong’o

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Lupita Nyong’o solidified her place as one of fashion’s darlings this year, though she made major moves in the acting and theater worlds as well. Her roles in Queen of Katwe, The Jungle Book, and Eclipsed all garnered rave reviews.

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With the help of stylist Micaela Erlanger crafting her looks and the expert work of hairstylist Vernon Francois, the beauty literally dropped jaws on every red carpet.

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Embellishment, vibrant prints, traditional geles: nothing was off limits for Lupita and she owned it all.

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Vogue, Elle, Variety, and InStyle came calling for her flawless face on their covers.

Lupita Nyong'o for In Style Magazine April 2016

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Star Wars: Episode VIII will drop next year, which will mean a slew of international promo tour stops for Lupita. We cannot wait! And of course Black Panther is one of the most talked about releases of 2018, so we’re anxiously awaiting what that will bring at the end of next year.

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1-Lupita Nyong'o's AOL Build Gucci Spring 2016 Floral Print Embellished Long Sleeve Shirt And Matching Pleated Skirt

Look back at the highlights of her year here.

So what do you think? Who deserves the Fashionista of the Year title?

Who Should Be the 2016 Fashionista of the Year?

 
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