As we welcome a new year, we look back at some of fashion’s most unforgettable moments from the rise of the Kardashians to the year’s hottest trend – normcore.
The Style Stars
It was one thing when Carine Roitfeld put Kim Kardashian on the cover of CR, but the world wasn’t prepared when Anna Wintour dedicated Vogue US’s April Cover to Kimye. Everyone had something negative to say including actress Sarah Michelle Gellar who pledged to cancel her Vogue subscriptions. Wintour however was the smuggest of them all, as sales exceeded expectations (it’s estimated that they sold over 300,000 copies). As for the couple, their fashion status was later sealed when they attended the high profile Met Gala the following month.
While the fashion jury is still out on Kimye, the one Kardashian they were happy to embrace is Kim’s statuesque stepsister and model, Kendall Jenner. In less than a year the 19 year old has gone from bratty reality TV star to opening some of the biggest shows at Paris Fashion Week and fronting campaigns for mega brands like Givenchy and Estee Lauder. There’s no doubt that she is the current model du jour – that is until baby sister Kylie decides to steal her thunder!
The Power Moves
This year marked change for some of the world’s biggest luxury brands as new and familiar faces stepped into various creative roles. The fashion season kicked off with a range of debuts including Asian designer Jason Wu who brought some glamour to German brand Hugo Boss while Jeremy Scott’s tongue in cheek collection at Moschino poked fun at fashion and consumerism by way of McDonalds. The one that everyone had their eye on however was ex-Balenciaga designer Nicolas Ghesquiere who showed his first collection for Louis Vuitton featuring an uber luxe collection of staples that everyone woman wants to wear from 1970s style dresses and understated leather coats.
And while Rihanna caused a stir when it was announced that she is joining Puma as its new creative director, the one we will all be watching come March is John Galliano. After laying low for two years our favourite couturier will be making a comeback as creative director for cerebral fashion house Maison Martin Margiela. We already got a sneak peak of what’s to come when Anna Wintour stepped out wearing a Galliano for Margiela piece recently. Apparently even Margiela himself approves.
Fashion’s obsession with technology took a new turn this year as we moved from digital content to wearable technology. And we’re not just talking Nike Fuelbands.
It started with designer Diane Von Furstenberg teaming up with Google to give their Google Glass frames a fashionable makeover (she first showed them on her catwalk show in 2012). Retailer Opening Ceremony partnered with Intel to create a luxury smart bracelet dubbed MICA while Tory Burch collaborated with FitBit. In September Ralph Lauren chartered new territory by bringing the trend to clothing by dressing ballboys at the US Open in a black shirt that can monitor heart rate, breathing and stress levels.
The one item however that everyone wants a piece of is Apple’s iWatch. In September Apple invited several high profile fashion editors to the launch to reveal the watch’s functions which include health, home and mobile payments. A few weeks later at Paris Fashion Week designers like Karl Lagerfeld attended a private presentation at Colette to see the designs including an ultra luxe gold version. It’s even made the cover of Vogue – and isn’t even on sale yet! Surely that’s a sign of good things to come?
As Heidi Klum has said time and time again, in fashion one day you are in, and the next day you are out. Several designers ended their contracts this year including Christophe Lemaire at Hermes, Peter Copping at Nina Ricci, Guillaume Henry at Carven and Marco Zanini who left Schiaparelli after presenting just two collections. At Gucci there was a double whammy as both creative director Frida Giannini and her boyfriend, chief executive Patrizio di Marco announced they were leaving. Giannini’s final show for the brand is not until February, but everyone is already speculating which designer will fill her shoes. Who knows, maybe 2015 will be the Year of Gucci’s Reinvention?
Beyond the catwalks, we lost some of our most beloved designers and influencers. Designer L’Wren Scott tragically took her life earlier this year. Designers mourned the loss of Central Saint Martin’s professor and mentor Louise Wilson. Fashion commentator Joan Rivers disappeared from our TV screens following her death in September. The biggest shock however was the loss of designer Oscar de la Renta, who still found time to dress George Clooney’s wife Amal Ammudin for their high profile wedding, before succumbing to cancer in October. RIP.
Fashion works in cycles which is probably why many of the trends we spotted on the catwalks this year had a strong sense of deja vous from the 1990s throwback (hello cropped tops and logo sweaters) to fringing, geometric prints and cut outs. Then there was the usual round of inexplicable celebrity trends inspired by the likes of Miley Cyrus, Rihanna and Pharell – don’t get us started on that hat!
The most influential fashion movement of the year however took place on the streets as women gave up on caring about their looks altogether by embracing “normcore” (which according to wikipedia can be defined as “a unisex fashion trend characterised by unpretentious, average-looking clothing.” ) Cue the rise of non-descript clothing ranging from simple black blazers and T-shirts to jeans and even sneakers. Designers also jumped on the bandwagon, adding their own luxe take to everyday essentials. Celebrities weren’t immune either as red carpet arrivals this year lacked their usual lustre. Just as well Joan Rivers wasn’t around to witness it.
An edited version of this article first appeared in the South China Morning Post