Cutout dresses and illusion panels are more popular than ever, and it seems like no one loves them more than Stella McCartney. Her collections in recent seasons have been full of them, which sent these dresses to red carpets everywhere. The most recent example of such Stella McCartney dress is the yellow lace one from the designer Spring 2013 collection worn by the gorgeous Jessica Chastain for the after-party of the Heiress Broadway premier. I like the lace and love the color, but the weird asymmetric cutout is a major OCD trigger and makes the dress look off-balance.
Just about everyone on the Blogsphere hated the dresses Kylie Minogue and Anne Hathaway picked from the same Stella McCartney collection. I actually like Gingham (at least in theory or for retro table cloths), and prefer Kylie's version over the other ones. It's more balanced than the yellow lace and certainly less awkward than Anne Hathaway's strategically-placed cutouts (for her July appearance on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon). It's kind of hard scolding someone "my eyes are up here!" when one wears a dress with this particular focal point.
A much more successful illusion dress was the celebrity favorite from McCartney's Evening 2012 collection. It came in several versions- long and short, black like Gwyneth Paltrow's or blue, with or without white panels. As you can see on Brooklyn Decker, these dresses have somewhat of a construction problem. They photograph well from some angles, but if you're the sister of the bride or something I'd advise you to pick another designer and/or style.
Photos: Zimbio and Just Jared.