2013 was surely a year of many noteworthy developments in the world of fashion; some where good, some were a little more controversial and sparked off many a heated fashion debate. It was the year when punk was re-awakened and the distant memory of rebellious youths in the 70s King’s Road was turned into a Saint Laurent catwalk show. It was also the year that “selfies” gained a dictionary entry and “twerking” is well on its way there, as Miley Cyrus’ sexy moves at the VMAs this year caught everyone’s attention to say the least.
So here’s an A-Z of all the fashion happenings of the year that are worth looking back to.
A is for Azzedine Alaia:
The newly renovated Palais Galliera opened its doors in September with a retrospective of Azzedine Alaia’s work. The display of Alaia’s masterpieces from the early 50s until today, showing the architectural precision with which he drapes fabric around the body, the engineering that goes behind creating his signature stretchable jersey fabric and the wide spectrum of references he makes, from Africa to sportswear, makes it clear why Mr. Alaia fully deserves the title of the last living couturier.
B is for Blue is the Warmest Colour:
Following the Palme d’Or the movie received at the Cannes Film Festival last summer, the fashion press just could not get enough of talking about the movie Blue is the Warmest Colour, a story about the love that unfolds between a blue haired lesbian and a girl who is trying to discover herself and her sexuality. But apart from talking about the movie, the young actresses that play the lesbian lovers have also seduced fashion editors around the world. Not only did Lea Seydoux score a cover of the Gentlewoman and an editorial in British Vogue, but along with her co-star Adele Echarchopoulos they star in Miu Miu’s Resort 2014 campaign. The not-so-innocent, seductive presence of the two actresses in combination with the playful and unquestionably girly Miu Miu collection of bejewelled heels and candy-coloured crop tops made for one of the most compelling campaigns of the year.
C is for the Circus of Fashion:
Suzy Menkes’ infamous article The Circus of Fashion that was released during the February 2013 show season out of the journalist’s sheer frustration, I would assume, of the explosion of the street-style scene that even went as far as to overshadow the collections themselves, has got to be the most talked-about fashion article of the year. Menkes poetically compares the myriads of street-style photographers to a scene of the paparazzi in Fellini’s La Dolce Vita, the difference today being that “subjects are ready and willing to be objects, not so much hunted down by the paparazzi as gagging for their attention”. Naturally, bloggers answered back (the responses by Susie Bubble and the Man Repeller being some of the most interesting ones) and the conversation has been ongoing ever since last February, the latest news being of an effort to limit the presence of bloggers at future Fashion Weeks.
D is for Dolce & Gabbana:
Our favourite designer duo, Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana were all over the press last summer, this time for a massive tax evasion scandal though and not for their beautiful Sicilian lace corsets. Thankfully, for all lovers of lace and bling, the designers did not face imprisonment as it was initially said and they were present for the latest Spring 2014 show season, with a collection inspired by their beloved Sicily and its links to Greece which translated into a golden parade, inspired by Greek medallions.
E is for Edie Campbell:
At this year’s British Fashion Awards I was thrilled to see Edie Campbell walk out with the Model of the Year Award, against the powerful competitor that is Cara Delevigne. From long, blond hair and an innocent, sweet-girl look, Edie surprised us all by chopping her hair off in a messy, boyish bob, dying it black and becoming the face of Hedi Slimane’s neo-grunge collection for Saint Laurent, making us all want to pull off lace-up boots, fishnet tights and little, floral dresses as well as she does. Needless to say the award was well deserved.
F is for Fendi Bugs:
They come in all colours of fur from neon yellow to orange red and their fierce, cartoon-like eyes have won the heart of every fashionable lady around the world. Fendi’s furry monster bag charms and key rings, a collaboration between Karl Lagerfeld and Delfina Delettrez have become one of the most popular accessories this year, simply because they allow you to add a child-like touch of humour to your every day life; it’s just impossible not to smile every time you glance at your hand bag if there’s a Fendi bug hanging on it. The collection only keeps growing, so prepare to see a lot more of it in the year to come.
G is for Grunge:
2013 will also be known as the year of the resurgence of punk. Hedi Slimane at Saint Laurent was the leader of the trend and while the critics might have been initially so shocked, they drew comparisons between Primark and Slimane’s clothes, the collection sold out and we all found ourselves lusting for everything tartan and leather and hunting down the high-street equivalents. Let’s hope that apart from Dr. Martens, the rebellious, free-spirit of punk will also stay with us in the new year.
H is for Harry Styles:
As if stealing every teenage girl’s heart was not enough for the One Direction singer, Harry Styles also stole every fashionista’s heart from Cara Delevigne, to Sienna Miller and every blogger who went to the shows and made sure to post a selfie with the charming celebrity. Harry claims to love fashion and as a true supporter of British designers, he made regular front-row appearances during the September ’13 London Fashion Week, while at the British Fashion Awards this month, he was officially rewarded for his great looks with a Style Award.
I is for Isabella Blow:
Isabella Blow is the ultimate British Fashion Editor who created extravagant, escapist fashion images full of historical references and the most beautiful fashion of the time, that both enlightened and challenged the readers of the publications she worked for, ranging from the Sunday Times Style, to Tatler. She was also the first to see and nurture the talents of Alexander McQueen, Phillip Treacy and Julien McDonald. This year the fashion world pays tribute to Isabella Blow and her service to the industry with a moving exhibition in Somerset House, while SHOWstudio interviews some of her closest friends and collaborators shedding light into this mysterious personality, for all of us who were not lucky enough to have met her when she was still around.
J is for J.Crew:
J. Crew is the shop that can dress everyone from your grandmother (they do great tweed jackets) to Lady Gaga, while Jenna Lyons, the creative brains behind the American brand, is one of the most successful women in the world whose style everyone wants to copy. In November 2013 J.Crew opened its first UK flagship in Regent Street and the lust for tailored shirts, jewelled cashmere jumpers and printed trousers was transported across the Atlantic.
K is for Karl (and his quotes):
Apart from the designer that keeps our favourite Parisian design house alive, Karl Lagerfeld also happens to be a real character with extremely interesting views on the world; so interesting that his quotes about everything from wearing sweatpants, to life attitudes and Pippa Middleton have been recently published in a book titled “The World According to Karl”. Definitely one of the most humorous reads of the year.
L is for Label Lust:
Apart from a return to the 90s with dungarees, crop tops and athletic, oversized trousers, there’s also a return to our soft point for logos, as a way of showing off what label we are wearing. In the 90s it might have been all about Dior and Gucci monograms but this year it was all about the Kenzo tiger sweater, Brian Lichtenberg’s HOMIES t-shirts (a humorous take on the Hermès logo) and leather gloves and skirts with Alexander Wang’s name labelled all over them.
M is for the Man Repeller:
As the discussion on bloggers has reached a peak this year (Are they offering anything of substance or is it just a bunch of wealthy girls taking pictures of their designer outfits? Should they be banned from Fashion Week?), I always look back to The Man Repeller for reassurance. Her site is funny, personable, it includes your usual outfit post from time to time yet behind every image, every joke, every sentence she writes there’s always an interesting point to be made on the evolution of the fashion industry. The book she published (read my review here) earlier this year is yet another indication that some bloggers have a lot more to offer to the world than #OOTDS (outfit of the day).
N is for Nick Knight:
Nick Knight is the fashion photographer that has really been revolutionising the multi-million dollar industry that revolves around fashion imagery. In fact, in a talk at the London College of Fashion he claimed that he is no longer a photographer but an image-maker and there is no point in using anything other than your i-Phone camera to shoot. He used his iPhone to shoot the latest Diesel campaign with Nicola Fornacchetti and the catalogue for the Isabella Blow exhibition, but the most controversial work he delivered this year would have to be Kanye West’s latest music video, where he rides a motorcycle with Kim Kardashian against a background of not-so-realistic graphics that were created by Knight.
O is for Opening Ceremony:
Opening Ceremony staged its first runway show this year, which involved Lamborghinis on the runway and celebrities like Rihanna and Justin Bieber on the front row.
P is for Pink:
Pink is no longer reserved for your childhood’s Barbie and Reese Whitherspoon of Legally Blonde. Thanks to the likes of Carven, Simon Rocha and Celine who showed us candy-coloured, sweet-enough-to-eat pieces on the runway, the pink coat was elevated into the most fashion-forwarad, coveted piece of the season allowing us to embrace our feminine, romantic sides. In fact the trend was so popular that you’ll be seeing a lot more pastel pinks in the year to come.
Q is for Quintessentially British:
Attention on London Fashion Week and British designer has been ongoing for a while but this year, when LVMH and Kering, the luxury groups that monopolise the industry looked to London for new investment. Christopher Kane joined Kering group, while Nicholas Kirkwood and J.W Anderson joined LVMH, with J.W. Anderson also being appointed creative director at Loewe, which only serves as yet another sign of London getting bigger and better.
R is for Rick Owens and his spectacular shows:
With most shows being live-streamed, many are starting to wonder whether there is even a point left for fashion shows and fashion weeks, when we can now watch the collections front-row from the comfort of our couch. Rick Owens Spring Summer ’14 show last September, that was presented by curvaceous step dancers who delivered a powerful performance that made for a very unusual way of presenting a collection, proved all the cynics wrong; no matter how much technology evolves some experiences can only be fully appreciated in real time.
S is for Selfie:
Selfies (photographs taken of oneself) are no longer mere pictures bloggers update on their Instagram accounts but a global phenomenon. President Obama was seen taking one at Nelson Mandela’s funeral to many people’s shock, the term gained a dictionary entry and it’s quite unlikely to walk into a female bathroom anymore without seeing girls pouting their lips and taking selfies to show off their perfectly-done make-up and designer clothes. Whether we like it or not, it looks like #selfie is here to stay.
T is for Twerking:
You’ve probably already heard of Miley Cyrus’ epic VMA performance, where she ditched the image of sweet and innocent Hana Montana for nude PVC underwear and overly sexualised dance moves. It was the debate that was sparked off by the performance that was the interesting part however: mothers were horrified as their teenage daughters who previously idolised Hana Montana were now starting to twerk like their favourite pop idol and this led to arguments about the lack of suitable female role models. Of course those who are team Miley argued back, claiming that this judgment is a sign of sexism, as male performers can easily get away with these things. One thing is for sure, the debate is going to continue heating up in the new year.
U is for Ugly Shoes:
2013 was the year that most women defied their devotion to abnormally high, double-platform heels for the one type of shoe that would have normally produced nothing but a feeling of disgust in them, were it not for Phoebe Philo and Miuccia Prada. But when the ‘Birkenstock’ label was removed from the infamous orthopaedic shoes and it was replaced with neon yellow fur at Celine, giant gemstones at Miu Miu and floral patterns and silver hardware at Givenchy, those same ‘ugly’ shoes became cool and fashion-forward. Can you say blinded by the label?
V is for Video:
As the digital world evolves, video seems to be the way forward and more publications and brands seem to be investing in it. Chanel for instance might still be shying away from online sales yet they have recently introduced a story-telling video series about the history of the brand, to allow customers to engage with the brand. “The video revolution reminds me of the photography revolution in the late 1990s and 2000s” says Jefferson Hack, founder and editorial director of Dazed Group whose newly launched “in-house video arm” is one of the most influential of the market.
W is for Wang X Balenciaga:
You might have thought that a young, New York-based designer with a sportswear aesthetic has nothing to do with a Parisian Couture House but Alexander Wang’s appointment as creative director this year proved all of us wrong. There were sleek, marble printed tops, peplum-shaped trousers and a sophisticated new handbag design that’s growing in popularity by the minute. A promising start that left editors and buyers alike excited for the future of this unexpected creative collaboration.
X is for X-Rated:
Given the buzz that the sadomasochistic novel Fifty Shades of Gray created last summer, it was a matter of time until its influences became evident on the catwalk. BCBG was the first brand to pair leather harnesses over ethereal summer dresses, which resonated so well with fashion fans that a few months later you’d see girls pairing harnesses over their usual jeans and t-shirt outfits. And just like that a sex toy was transformed into an innocent, fashion accessory.
Y is Yasmin Sewell:
Yasmin Sewell is the fashion consultant behind some of London’s new, influential brands, as well as the creative force who introduced brands like Acne to Browns and completely renovated Liberty London. Apart from having an impeccable eye for spotting talent and an unmistakable business savvy, she also seduced photographers and fashion fanatics alike with her personal style. During the September show season, we saw her in everything from Marc Jacobs maxi, beaded dresses during the day, to dusty pink Simone Rocha ensembles and oversized culottes. There’s something very endearing (and perhaps reassuring as well) in watching a mother and successful entrepreneur look so impeccably fashion-forward.
Z is for Zara:
Our favourite Spanish retailer has really outdone themselves this year. While we might initially try to argue that copying is a horrible thing, their offering of grunge, lace slip dresses, tartan shirts and leather jackets that bared a dangerous resemblance to the Saint Laurent runway, for a fraction of the price, was simply impossible to resist.
To a great year in fashion and to a more exciting one to come,