Top 10 Fashion Figures of 2011

kate middleton snubbed for british fashion council style award
Photo: WireImage
The Duchess had quite a stylish year.

Let's face it: 2011 hasn't been the rosiest of years for some (John Galliano, Christophe Decarnin, anyone who dared cross Christian Louboutin).

But for the 10 people below, life is looking pretty good ... at least as far as the fashion world is concerned.

From superstar models to a new breed of style muses, these sartorial stars played a major role in influencing fashion this year.

How else to explain our Miss Piggy manicure and blue Issa wrap dress?

Kate Middleton: She was named a Time's Person of the Year runner-up and bagged a prince. What did you do this year? Whether Catherine is dazzling the world with her elegant lace Alexander McQueen by Sarah Burton wedding gown or causing Reiss dresses to fly off the shelves, the newly minted Duchess has seen her influence felt at both the high street and luxury levels. She's also a great champion for British designers like Burberry, Jenny Packham, and Mulberry, which is why we're forgiving her for inspiring that whole sheer hosiery trend. Could a baby be in store for 2012? And, if so, can we put in a request for a McQueen maternity line?

top 10 fashion figures

Photos: Patrick McMullan | | Facebook (Andrej Pejic) | Getty Images (Marilyn Monroe; Elizabeth Taylor; Rooney Mara)

Clockwise from top left: Marilyn Monroe, Andrej Pejic, Rooney Mara, Miss Piggy, Alexander McQueen, Elizabeth Taylor, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Mario Testino and Florence Welch

Andrej Pejic: He's got long baby blond hair and cheekbones you could cut butter with. If this androgynous male model weren't so charming, we might hate him just for being so darn pretty. Still, you have to admire a guy with the balls to model push-up bras, play the blushing bride ... twice (for Jean Paul Gaultier and Out, which named him Stylemaker of the Year), and wear a skirt to meet the Queen, all while squeezing in campaign shoots for Marc by Marc Jacobs and Gaultier.

Miss Piggy: The Muppets brought this porcine princess back into our lives, and we couldn't be more delighted. Besides fronting her own MAC campaign and getting a high-fashion makeover courtesy of InStyle, this little piggy inspired OPI nail polishes and an Opening Ceremony collection. It may not be easy bein' green, but pink seems pretty perfect.

Mario Testino: Mario had the Midas touch this year, getting tapped to snap not only Prince William and Kate Middleton's engagement portrait and wedding program (nabbing an invite to the royal wedding in the process), but Kate Moss's wedding story for September's Vogue as well. Along with a few plum campaigns for Burberry, the Peruvian-born lensman also managed to sneak in some memorable cover shoots, a gig guest-editing V alongside Carine Roitfeld, and a ceremony honoring him with the first-ever Etoile Award from Möet & Chandon.

Marilyn Monroe: Nearly 50 years after her death, the iconic blonde nabbed a cameo in a Dior commercial and inspired a fashion line, countless auctions and exhibits, and even a slightly pervy statue. Thanks to Michelle Williams's uncanny turn in My Week with Marilyn, she's also become the muse du jour for photo shoots in Vogue, British Vogue and InStyle. Nicely done, Norma Jean.

Rosie Huntington-Whiteley: Men worship her (and, according to a new study, get a drug-like high off her looks), and women want to be her. Sounds like RHW is doing something right! This year the former Victoria's Secret Angel broke out of her model shell to replace Megan Fox in Transformers: Dark of the Moon, which she quickly followed up with a nearly nude Burberry Body fragrance campaign (we're still mopping up the drool) and countless cover shoots. If Karlie Kloss is the next Kate Moss, this British beauty is the next Cindy Crawford.

Elizabeth Taylor: The violet-eyed screen legend sadly passed away in March, but, in true Liz fashion, had the last laugh with an epic, record-breaking auction that drew high-profile buyers like Kim Kardashian, Coco Rocha and Lorraine Schwartz. All told, the icon's jewelry and haute couture fetched more than $156.6 million (a portion of which will benefit her AIDS Foundation). Taylor's death also inspired an entire issue of V devoted to her beauty (see Kate Winslet channeling the icon), while her White Diamonds fragrance remains the best-selling celebrity scent of all time.

Rooney Mara: With her shaved head, bleached brows, and numerous body piercings, it's tricky to label Mara as just your average ingenue. The star of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo landed a W cover before the film's trailer even came out, while Vogue bestowed the relative unknown with a starring role on its November issue. Already armed with a Golden Globe nomination, the football scion seems poised to be the next red carpet favorite, provided she keeps stepping out in things like this white-hot Givenchy Couture number.

Alexander McQueen: The man, and the label. A year and a half after his tragic suicide, Lee McQueen's incredible work was honored by the Met Costume Institute's Savage Beauty exhibition, which drew a whopping 661,509 visitors. And while we'll always, always, always cherish the man who made things like mini armadillo heels possible, his successor Sarah Burton has managed to take his label from strength to strength in his absence. Whether it's whipping up the ultimate fairy-tale wedding dress for Kate Middleton or indulging our own personal fashion fantasies with a glittering, too-gorgeous-for-words Spring 2012 collection, Burton couldn't be a more worthy heir to the McQueen throne.

Florence Welch: In a climate rife with fashion-forward pop stars, the bewitching vocalist of Florence and the Machine is by far the most interesting to watch. Both Gucci's Frida Giannini and Karl Lagerfeld count her as a muse, and we're still genuinely excited every time she lands a magazine cover (take note, Gaga). And c'mon, that fiery red hair and faerie queen getups? Who can resist?

In related news, check out the most controversial ads of 2011.