APPOINTMENTS AND EXITS
The continuous “game of musical chairs” in the designer’s world has brought new changes this year: Hedi Slimane exited Saint Laurent and has already been replaced by Anthony Vaccarello, Maria Grazia Chiuri was appointed creative director of Dior, Raf Simons accepted the offer from Calvin Klein. These top changes happen partly due to the crazy pace of fashion, that is really difficult to keep up with (remember Raf Simons’ interview about his time at Dior), partly, because brands have great expectations from their chief designers. Exemplary is the ultra-short tenure of Justin O’Shea at the Italian Brioni. O’Shea, the former head of buying at German e-retailer Mytheresa, was invited to head the brand in February. Brioni, steeped in tradition wanted to enliven their image, and the tattooed and energetic O’Shea seemed to be perfect for the role. Evidently, Brioni regretted giving the new creative director a carte blanche. After showing one collection, re-designing the brand-name and shooting an ad-campaign with Metallica, O’Shea left Brioni. That was the shortest stint of the year.
DESIGNER OF THE YEAR
Without any doubt it is Demna Gvasalia. The Georgian designer, who is still part of the avant-garde fashion collective Vetements, has revolutionised Balenciaga in a way that no one could have ever expected. Experimenting with the heritage of Cristobal Balenciaga, the designer takes a bold twist on Balenciaga’s sophisticated cuts. A bold mixture of cool, edgy and sexy is what comes out of that – and, judging by the brand’s growing revenues, that’s just what people want Balenciaga to be.
MODEL OF THE YEAR
Smart, charismatic and uniquely beautiful – Hari Nef is our favourite model of the year. The girl, who started this year by walking down the Gucci runway, is the torch-bearer of the idea of diversity in fashion. Being a transgender model herself, recently Hari Nef guest-edited Luis Venegas’ Candy Magazine, dedicating it to the subject of trans-beauty.
SHOW OF THE YEAR
The first menswear show by Balenciaga: not only was it the first menswear show in the history of the brand, but it was also contemporary and extremely ironic with its broad shoulders, luxe bomber jackets and agender aesthetics.
REAL PEOPLE ON RUNWAYS
Fashion is often criticised for the lack of diversity on runways. Even the fashion’s most progressive designer Demna Gvasalia has been critiqued for the weird absence of models of colour in his shows. This year the fashion world has answered with including “real people” in fashion shows. Thus, J. Crew’s presentation of their Spring 2017 collection featured a number of journalists and staffers, Wolfgang Tilmanns walked for Hood by Air, Petra Collins made a memorable appearance in Gucci’s show. It is not, of course, the first time in the history of fashion that non-models are invited to show off the clothes (Tom Ford has been doing it for years!), it is the message that has changed: everyone deserves to be a model.
A measure to battle knock-offs, synchronisation is one of the most polarising fashion news of the year. While some brands (think Tom Ford or Burberry) believe that the “see now buy now” strategy will be an effective solution to illegitimate copying, other (just remember that indignant letter from the French Syndicate de la Haute Couture) think it’s harmful for creativity and will only increase the already insane pace of production. Fairly, buyers are not going to have it easy with the coed (men’s and women’s combined) collections.
BREAKTHROUGH OF THE YEAR
Grace Wales Bonner getting the prestigious LVMH prize was one of the most rewarding moments of the year. The designer, who continuously explores the issues of identity, race and gender, does not only have an exceptional talent for storytelling, but also creates elegantly wearable clothes.
FASHION TRENDS OF THE YEAR
What we defined last year as normcore has transformed into something, what could be best described as “normcore with sex appeal”. Vetements and Balenciaga, Off White and Y/Project have been finishing their edgy looks with high heels and transparent pieces, proving that sensuality and empowerment can go hand in hand.
Another empowering tendency is buzz cuts on female models. The radical hair style was made popular by model Ruth Bell, who starred in an ad campaign for Alexander McQueen last year. This year Bell was photographed for a Zara ad, which in itself is clearly a sign of the extreme popularity of the style. In the meanwhile, Louis Vuitton invited a buzz-cut model to walk down their runway, and the i-D magazine featured numerous images of buzz cuts in its issue dedicated to “youth, opinion and style in 2016”.
Even though sneakers still remain the most coveted fashion item, this year it was the bomber jacket that made the record number of appearances on runways. Everyone from Gucci to Astrid Andersen to Vetements has been trying to re-interpret the all-time staple.
THE SOCIAL NETWORK OF THE YEAR
…is Instagram! not only do brands use it for casting models and revealing campaigns, it is actually a social network that seeks worldwide dominance. The newly introduced “Instagram Stories” feature threatens the very existence of Snapchat, while the “Save for later” option might be a serious challenge for Pinterest.
Written by Ira Solomatina