Modern details, unexpected colors, and elegant silhouettes turn this year's standout gowns into striking works of art.

Think traditional with a twist: A guipure-lace caraco tops a strapless silk-taffeta bustier and a full pickup skirt, updated with a high-low balloon hemline.

Caraco, $2,290, bustier, $1,390, and skirt, $3,590, Oscar de la Renta. Earrings, Verdura. Ring, H. Stern. Shoes, Giuseppe Zanotti.

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