AN A-Z OF THIS YEAR IN FASHION
The future of fashion is taking its course as another annual cycle begins. But before 2019 takes its course, the Couturesque team marks the end of the year gone by with a compilation of fashion’s favourite moments, top to bottom, from A to Z.
A. ASAP Rocky, hip-hop king of the new high-fashion guard Although he’s not the first rapper to simultaneously “expand and conquer” both the music and the fashion scene, his omnipresence at the most notable fashion events and his remarkable collaborations with brands like Calvin Klein, Gucci, Dior and more makes him a clear influencer like no other. With the summer release of his latest album “TESTING” and accompanying music videos featuring Skepta, FKA Twigs and other fashion forward thinking artists, ASAP Rocky, continues to prove that he and his fellow rappers and hip-hop heads, tired of being dismissed by the high fashion elite are pushing the boundaries of contemporary fashion. In a typical rapper fashion, he affirms his place as the hip-hop king of the ‘new high-fashion’ but instead of excluding the rest, ASAP offers his exuberance and influence as a tool to reach audiences who have long been overlooked. The year 2018 has seen the rise of a hip-hop influence on every scale of fashion as ASAP affirms that “[f]ashion is for everyone and the more you try to exclude people, you’ll find out that those are the same people you need to include the most," as told to BoF.
B. The Balenciaga Layered Parka
It was the parka that launched a thousand memes. Balenciaga’s Fall 2018 collection at Paris Fashion Week dared us all to ask, “How many layers can I fit on my body at one time?” The brand’s $9,000 seven-layer parka particularly took off thanks to comparisons to Joey’s iconic lewk from Friends.
C. Céline’s new era
Having worked as the creative director of Dior Homme and Yves Saint Laurent , French photographer and designer Hedi Slimane has recently been named artistic, creative and image director of the famous French fashion house Celine. This coveted title translates to a full control of the designing, production and marketing of Celine pieces and products, from the mannequins in the atelier, to the mannequins in the window displays. As a fan and promoter of unconventional couture and androgynous silhouettes, Slimane’s appointment means that the reputed label will finally enter a new era as he introduces Celine’s first-ever menswear division and a modern take on style and shape that would appeal to fresh audiences, though his debut was certainly met with disdain by a number of fashion critics.
D. Diet Prada
Finally, a fashion police force patrolling more than women’s bodies and clothing choices! If there’s a fashion scandal, Diet Prada is usually the first to catch it. From catching copycat designers to calling out Dolce & Gabbana’s homophobia and racism, the Instagram account has had a hand in revealing all the nitty and gritty of the industry.
E. Ezra Miller
From the moment we saw those Moncler dresses (See M), we were waiting for the day someone would be daring enough to wear one. Thank god Ezra Miller was there to answer our prayers. In 2018, Ezra became the androgynous fashion icon of our dreams. Whether he’s dressed as what can best be described as an intergalactic Givenchy cloud on the red carpet or sporting sequins and mesh as a Playboy bunny, Ezra brings his A game.
F. Fur Free
As we move into a new era of consciousness in fashion, more brands are moving towards more ethical practices, including discontinuing their use of fur. Labels such as Burberry, Versace, Chanel, and the previously notorious Gucci, all adopted fur free policies. In an industry that is often behind the curve on sustainability, we’re glad the big names are finally catching up!
G. Gender-fluid fashion
Men in skirts, women in suits, the renaissance of New York Fashion Week is here and it’s gender-free! We may still have men and women’s fashion weeks, but everyone, from brands to celebrities, seem to finally be embracing fashion that isn’t defined by the binary. And while the changes in New York may be the first to come to mind, the gender-fluid fashion movement is international, with big names such as Gucci and Vivienne Westwood leading the charge abroad.
H. Heavenly Bodies
The biggest bash in fashion thrown by Vogue to inaugurate the latest exhibitions at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute celebrated "Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination." Controversy aside (more on our take on that here), the night brought 2018 some of its most memorable looks: Zendaya in full chainmail as Joan of Arc 2.0, Alessandro Michele, Jared Leto, and Lana Del Rey pulling out all the Gucci stops, Solange serving pure excellence, Frances Mcdormand going full Frances in Valentino, and Rihanna in all her papal glory... well... owning the whole damn night.
I. Instagram Goes Theme-less
In its infancy, the saying "less is more" could never be applied to Instagram; once a breeding ground for intensely curated flat-lays and staged outfit photos that helped birth the age of the influencer, 2018 ushered in the age of no-editing, candid photos, embracing the lo-fi, the flash picture, the "ugly" selfie, and taking self-deprecation to new extremes.
J. Jeff Goldblum (a.k.a the Internet's Zaddy)
Besides being a silver fox (and arguably zaddy of the year), legendary actor, and jazz purest, Jeff Goldblum emerged from 2018 a burgeoning style icon. It’s not simply his thick framed glasses, stacks of golden rings, or penchant for turtlenecks and bold print blouses that’s made his style so impactful, but rather the confidence and sass with which he’s worn them all year long.
K. Kim Jones
Back in March, Central Saint Martins graduate and former Louis Vuitton menswear creative director, Kim Jones was named creative director of Dior Homme. His appointment as the creative leader behind one of the fashion industry’s elite houses will surely perpetuate the wave of increased representation and approachability that characterizes the current state fashion. During his 7-year tenure at YSL, during which time the brand was first introduced to streetwear shape and style in collaboration with leisure brands like Supreme, his work has clearly been oriented towards finding a balance between streetwear and couture, which he deems to be quite symbiotic worlds. “You wear clothes in the street, so everything’s streetwear. You can wear a couture gown down the street and that turns it into streetwear,” the designer declared to High Snobiety. With that being said it is clear that the future of Dior Homme is in talented and creatively brilliant hands.
The 2014-founded label was one of our stand-out brands this year with its unapologetic anarchy. Pink buzzcuts, clown makeup, devil-horned hoodies met with cutouts, asymmetry, intense colours, bold textiles, and sharp tailoring, designer Raul Solis continued to explore contradiction through his collections this year as well as postmodernism and modernity of fashion through a kaleidoscope lens of subcultures (nightclub, skate, American Western).
M. Moncler dresses
Sleeping bag but make it fashion. Against all odds, Pierpaolo Piccioli managed to turn down, which may be fashion’s least favorite fabric, into the chicest thing we’ve seen all year. Moncler’s puffer gowns are the answer to all of my browser history’s questions about staying warm while managing to still look good. Even better, they’re Ezra Miller (see E) approved! These dresses are the only thing we need to survive this winter.
N. New York's Skate Kitchen
This past year has been about highlighting niche and subculture narratives in all creative realms. With the 2018 release of the film Skate Kitchen, the world is finally being exposed to the burgeoning female skater community that highlights a facet of skate culture that has been long overlooked. This coming-of-age story of female skaters in NYC treads on subjects like the contested definition of femininity and the suffocating predominant male-oriented narrative of skate and style. This ensemble crew of talented females, not only represent an underrepresented subculture of skateboarding but they also manage to refashion the traditional skater style in a way that reaches audiences and key players of the fashion industry alike. The film’s cast has since been featured in a Miu Miu fashion film; in popular publications like Dazed Magazine, Elle and Vogue U.K. and have given an antidote to the highly-polished femme influencer image.
O. Online shopping
Fashion is clearly changing, but so are the mechanisms around it. With the rise of connectivity facilitated by the technological revolution, in a commercial aspect, the year 2018 can be deemed as the year of online shopping. Stores like FashionNova, which Cardi B and the Kardashians have marketed through online platforms, are the embodiment of the rising success of online shopping in a world where products succeed on the basis of convenience and celebrity buzz. Today, e-commerce is reaching its peak as every brand, label, fashion house continues to increase their online presence and platforms through online stores and endorsements.
P. Pyer Moss
Winner of 2018’s Fashion Fund prize from the Council of Fashion Designers of America, Pyer Moss is one to watch. Identifying itself as a celebration of black culture, Pyer Moss fuses political activism with impeccable tailoring. In 2018, the label has become as known for its poignant messages as for its bright colors and flowing fabrics, so keep an eye out!
Q. Queens, princesses, and duchesses
This past year, the British Royal Family welcomed a new member into the royal family, and we’re not talking about little Prince Louis of Cambridge, but rather the Duchess of Sussex formerly known as the American actress known for her breakout role in the show Suits, Meghan Markle. Since her wedding to Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, and her subsequent debut in the international limelight, she’s made fashion statement after statement as she continues the legacy of the worldwide fascination with the increasingly contemporary and inclusive British monarchy. Everything from the Stella McCartney evening dress she donned at her wedding's afterparty, to the elegant Givenchy off-the-shoulder dress she wore at the Fashion Awards, the Duchess of Sussex is the next modern queen of royal fashion (even if she might never actually get to be Queen).
R. Raf Simons leaves Calvin Klein
Sometimes fashion is predictable (Hedi turning Celine into YSL, excuse me, Saint Laurent 2.0), and sometimes it really throws you a curveball. Raf exiting Calvin Klein six months before the end of his contract is a change we definitely didn’t see coming. In just two years, the Belgian designer turned Calvin Klein into an even stronger powerhouse, helping to revive and revitalize New York Fashion Week. Please excuse me as I wipe the tears dripping onto my ski mask. To say the least, he will be missed.
S. Sandy Liang
Sandy Liang was another one of our stand-out brands this year. With another year of interesting, fresh, and completely covetable collections we actually can and want to wear, Liang made the Forbes 30 Under 30 list and opened up her design studio on Rivington Street in the Lower East Side.
T. Tiny Shades
The year? 1999. The film? The Matrix. Buttery, delicious black leather dusters and slick PVC-fits aside, the Keanu Reeves cult-classic revived one of this year’s mopular accessories - tiny sunglasses. The smaller and unpractical, the better.
U. Underwear, but make it Rihanna
After single-handedly saving the beauty industry with last year's Fenty Beauty launch, RiRi did it again with Savage x Fenty, her ultra-inclusive (and actually affordable) lingerie line. We stan a body positive, sex positive, entrepreneurial queen.
V. Virgil at Louis Vuitton
Virgil Abloh made history in March when he became the first black artistic director of Louis Vuitton, being appointed to head up menswear. His debut in Paris in June, a vibrant kaleidoscope entitled The Vocabulary According to Virgil Abloh, also further signified the emergence of streetwear and high, luxury fashion.
W. Wild, Wild West
This year saw a reclamation of cowboy culture and the style of the American West, and for those from schools with Future Farmers of America chapters, a reintroduction to an old friend. Stetson hats, cowboy boots, bolos became some of this year’s “it” accessories, artists like Kacey Musgraves, Post Malone, and Harry Styles served as spokespeople for this neo-Western glitz, and brands like Neon Cowboys were back. Pyer Moss whose fall/winter 18 campaign starred Cowgirls of Color (a team which competes in the Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo, an event celebrating black cowboys and cowgirls), and Mademe with their collaboration with Converse redefined who and where western style can be worn.
X. Xander Zhou and contemporary Chinese designers
In an increasingly globalised world, like most billion-dollar industries, fashion from under-recognised countries is getting its due attention. One of these up-and-coming voices is that of Chinese designer Xander Zhou who is offering a fresh perspective on fashion through the Asian tradition of craft. Zhou is not only changing the game by introducing a new face and culture onto the fashion stage but he’s making key statements with eye-grabbing concepts. During his spring/summer 2019 show, New World Baby, he paraded male models wearing prosthetic pregnancy bumps down the runway, questioning the boundaries of human capabilities in the new age of technology. The title of his latest show also predicts a shift in his view of the international world order, foreshadowing the transformation of China and fellow rising powers, that were once overlooked by the West, as the new frontier of fashion and innovation.
Y. Y2K Style
Now, whether we’re here for it or not, 2000s style is beginning to experience a resurgence. Juicy Couture, high-shine lip gloss, Von Dutch, Ugg, *gulp* low rise jeans, basically everything we and the scions of our youth found trendy in 2002 is making a comeback thanks to nostalgia and fashion’s latest obsession with “bad taste-is-good taste” aesthetic. Paris Hilton, Legally Blonde’s Elle Woods, The Cheetah Girls, and more are style icons once again. Y/Project sent thigh-high Uggs down the runway to complement an oversized casual collection for the brand’s AW18 menswear show, the Dior Saddle bag - launched during Galliano’s tenure in 1999 - made its revival on their AW18 runway, and nearly every brand is opting into the classic 00s concept of logomania.
Z. Generation Z
After an exciting year in fashion it’s safe to say that the next generation is left with so many opportunities to explore their potential and perhaps redesign the structure of style. Our final words to up-and-coming generation Z creatives : the fashion legacy continues.