When we look back on a year in fashion, it’s always hard to believe just how much can happen within twelve months. The fashion world started out in mourning after one of the most significant fashion moments of 2019 – the death of major designer and style icon, Karl Lagerfeld. But we were only to be perked up a little again a few months later by the excitement and merriments of the Met Gala. We’ve seen dozens of groundbreaking new collections, witnessed the effects of politics and the economy on certain fashion brands, and seen just how far trends and tastes have evolved. 

So here, join us as we take a look back at the good, the bad, the ugly, and the very very stylish moments in fashion this year. May next year be just as exciting!

[Feature image: Chanel; Hero image: Dior]


Celine showed their first ever men’s collection

A label previously known best for their signature Luggage handbag and sleek peplum dresses, Celine presented a men’s collection for the first time in the brand’s history. The house’s new creative director, Hedi Slimane, was before a designer at Yves Saint Laurent and is commonly referred to as the man who began the skinny suit trend. It looks like he brought his vision for sharp androgynous dressing to Celine; the first men’s collection is a lookbook of classic English school boy looks and post-punk aesthetics. Oh, and women walked the runway too.


The death of Karl Lagerfeld

One of the most prolific and certainly recognisable fashion figures of the 20th and 21st century, Karl Lagerfeld sadly passed away on 19 February this year, aged 85. As creative director of Chanel (for an incredible 36 years!), a former director at Fendi, and founder and director of his own eponymous brand, the designer had a richly varied and diverse career in fashion. Lagerfeld’s death is one of the most significant fashion moments of 2019 — and possibly ever. He will always be remembered for his iconic suit-and-sunglasses ensemble, his wry humour, and his love for his cat –Choupette.


Instagram officially launched the in-app purchasing function

Clearly, Instagram is no longer just a filter-clad-photo sharing platform. The Facebook owned social media app officially rolled out their in-app shopping function earlier this year after a few trial runs with just a small number of brands. Before this year, users had to leave the app to visit the website of the product in order to buy it. With the burst of mega influencers and brands selling through the app itself, it seems a no-brainer that Instagram should have their own in-app e-commerce function.


Dior chose BTS as the brand’s first ever stage collaboration

The world should never underestimate the power of Asian pop bands. The insanely popular South Korean boy band, BTS, became the first to capture the hearts of French fashion house Dior for a stage collaboration. This kind of collaboration is the first in the brand’s history. Dior designed bespoke outfits for each member on their world tour earlier this year. 


Lady Gaga made an entrance with four outfit changes at the Met Gala 


Red Carpet history was made this year when Lady Gaga arrived at the camp-themed Met Gala with an entertaining performance that incorporated four outfit changes. The first was a voluminous bright pink gown, tended to by six tuxedoed dancers. She then stripped that off to reveal a strapless black gown, and then a slinky pink dress underneath that. The finale? Gaga stripped down to her lingerie — black and sparkly — complete with fishnet tights and 10-inch platform heels. What could be more Gaga?


Rihanna made history with LVMH


In one of the most significant fashion moments of 2019, Rihanna became the first ever woman, as well as person of colour, to create an original label with luxury brand conglomerate, LVMH. Fenty was launched this spring, joining the ranks of Givenchy, Louis Vuitton, and Marc Jacobs amongst many others. This is the first fashion brand to be created by LVMH since Christian Lacroix in 1987.


Nike 1972 shoes sell at auction for world record price


How much would you pay for a new pair of kicks? Or rather, a very old pair? Nike’s 1972 ‘Moon Shoe’ sold for a $437, 500 at a Sotheby’s auction in July, setting the world record for the most expensive pair of sneakers ever sold. These Moon Shoes are one of only 12 pairs that were made for the 1972 US Olympic Trials by Nike co-founder Bill Bowerman. They’re an incredibly important piece of the brand’s history, and no other unworn pairs are known to exist. The buyer was Miles Nadal, a Canadian businessman who founded the investment firm Peerage Capital. 


Barney’s files for bankruptcy


Once known for their famously haughty sales people and glossy black shopping bags, Barney’s New York was forced into humility this year when they filed for bankruptcy. A victim of high rents and online competition, the department store closed 15 of their 22 stores from Chicago to Las Vegas and are currently relying on their $218 million of funds until a buyer is found. Representing the downfall of brick-and-mortar retail, this is one of the most significant fashion moments of 2019. 


The death of Peter Lindbergh


As a mostly unseen face in fashion, Peter Lindbergh is the photographer responsible for some of the most seen faces in fashion. Known for his signature unadorned black-and-white photos, Lindbergh shot for the biggest fashion magazines. He famously shot for Anna Wintour’s first cover as Editor-in-Chief of American Vogue, as well as some of the most iconic images of Kate Moss. 


Vans’ shoe-design competition faced backlash from Hong Kong Protests


We all know how much the Hong Kong protests have affected their economy and political stability. But the turmoil has done its fair share of damage to the fashion industry too as brands are finding themselves having to choose sides too. One of the biggest incidents was with the shoe brand Vans when they decided to pull out an entry for their shoe-design competition. The design featured emblems of the protestors and Hong Kong’s national orchid — receiving the most number of votes. The brand faced heavy backlash when they removed the entry with the statement: “As a brand that is open to everyone, we have never taken a political position and therefore review designs to ensure they are in line with our company’s long-held values of respect and tolerance.” 


Giambattista Valli launched a collaboration with H&M


After a lot of hype throughout the entire year, the Giambattista Valli x H&M collaboration went officially live in November this year. Queues lined the front of H&M stores all over the world with people waiting to buy the iconic frothy tulle dresses and lavish Roman-influenced pieces at a more affordable price. Having Kendall Jenner as the face of the campaign, as well as a stunning fashion show inside Rome’s historical landmark, Palazzo Doria Pamphili, definitely secured the collaboration’s success.


The Victoria’s Secret fashion show will not be aired this year

For the first time since their first runway show in 2001, the Victoria’s Secret fashion show was cancelled this year. The reason? The brand decided it needed to time to rethink and reshape their image and marketing. The lingerie brand has lost favour in recent years, having had several clashes with the #MeToo movement and being criticised for their lack of diversity in models. In an age where the public increasingly looks for authenticity, inclusivity, and transparency in fashion brands, it seems only a matter of time that Victoria’s Secret would have to change their image in order to stay relevant.

Karn Chatikavanij
Style Writer
A globetrotter with a love for sushi and Miu Miu, Karn is a fan of all things upbeat, delicious, and well-dressed. Her frequent activities include packing for beach trips, listening to 80s music, and trying to make daytime pyjamas happen.