Washington, D.C., didn't know what hit it.

The sartorially conservative capital was hardly recognizable Sunday evening as the stars came out for the Kennedy Center Honors gala. The event recognizes those in the performing arts for lifetime contributions to American culture.

Oprah Winfrey, Paul McCartney, dancer-choreographer Bill T. Jones, country singer Merle Haggard and Broadway composer Jerry Herman were honored by many of their peers throughout the evening's festivities.

This year's televised special on the gala will air on CBS on Dec. 28. But check out now what frocks caught our fancy.