There’s no question that 2019 has been an eventful year for fashion: There were lots of endings, but also new beginnings; moments that made us cry, and those that made us leap with excitement; some events that had us shaking our heads with discontent, while yet others had us clapping our hands with delight. As we enter the new year, let’s close the chapter on 2019 by taking a moment to reflect on some of the most memorable moments in fashion over the past year (listed in chronological order here), that will surely go down in the history books.
Celine launched its inaugural men’s collection
Hedi Slimane closed the FW19 Men’s Fashion Week in Paris by presenting an inaugural menswear collection for Celine. Previously the creative director at Dior Homme and Saint Laurent, Slimane is known for his love for the youthful, ’80s rock ‘n’ roll aesthetic, and for introducing that ultra-skinny silhouette that reigned supreme across menswear for over a decade. However, while his debut standalone menswear collection for Celine was highly anticipated, the first round of feedback came in both hot and cold, with many deeming that though the creations were undoubtedly beautiful, they seemed a bit too familiar.
Karl Lagerfeld passed away at 85
Legendary fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld passed away in Paris at the age of 85, capping off an incomparable multi-decade career that saw him rise to the top of the industry as the most iconic and prolific designer of our time. His last collection — co-designed by his successor Virginie Viard — was unveiled at Paris Fashion Week just two weeks later, and contained pieces he was still working on shortly before his passing.
The fashion industry, along with the rest of the world, were left mourning the loss of the creative genius, and a special memorial, Karl for Ever, was held in June (co-organised by Chanel, Fendi and Karl Lagerfeld) that saw 2,500 guests — including top designers, business titans, models, actresses and artists — gathered together to celebrate the extraordinary life of the designer.
Lady Gaga’s Met Gala outfit change
Taking the theatric theme ‘Camp: Notes on Fashion’ to heart, Lady Gaga — who’s also Met Gala’s co-chair this year— went above and beyond by wearing not just one but four outfits on the pink carpet. Putting on a mini-performance, she first entered the venue dressed in a voluminous fuchsia-coloured dress by Brandon Maxwell, topped with dramatic eyelashes and a gigantic bow, before surprising everyone by taking it off to reveal three other outfits underneath.
Rihanna made history with her own LVMH label
Rihanna has signed a deal with LVMH, the world’s largest luxury group, to launch a luxury brand bearing her name, Fenty. Not only is it the first fashion brand the industry titan has launched from scratch since Christian Lacroix in 1987, it also makes Rihanna the very first female designer of colour within the group. The brand’s first collection officially debuted in May, covering a range of ready-to-wear topped with empowering design aesthetics.
Wait, there’s more…
The pop star also caused a frenzy over the launch of her size-inclusive lingerie line, Savage x Fenty (developed in partnership with TechStyle), during New York Fashion Week. Other than top models including Gigi and Bella Hadid and Cara Delevingne, the cast also involved women in all colours, shapes, sizes and even orientation, topped off with live performances by Normani, Laverne Cox and more — an empowering performance that championed diversity and redefined the idea of sexy all together. (It also might or might not be responsible for the cancellation of Victoria’s Secret’s annual fashion show).
Céline Dion slayed the street style scene at Paris Couture Week
Céline Dion‘s Haute Couture week appearance was certainly one of the hottest topics of the year. The 51-year-old singer stepped into the streets of Paris dressed in one after another of awe-inspiring looks, from a sophisticated feather-embellished Valentino mini dress to a visually mesmerising Iris Van Herpen couture dress, and even went pants-free in a daring Off-White leotard and blazer ensemble. She also knows how to make an entrance like nobody else, whether it’s donning a Richard Quinn floral-printed bow-topped gown while walking a pair of weimaraner dogs, or arriving at a show in an electric scooter wearing head-to-toe Gucci.
Versace, Coach and Givenchy apologised to China over controversial t-shirts
Fashion brands Versace, Coach and Givenchy have all issued apologies to Chinese consumers after images of each of the brand’s t-shirts went viral on weibo, all featuring designs neglecting to list Hong Kong, Macau (both special administrative regions of China) and Taiwan (which, despite China’s protest, is still currently a self-ruling island) as a part of China. As angry Chinese netizens called for a boycott while also screening products and websites of any brands they could think of (Asics, Gap, Swarovski and more took the hit soon after), Chinese celebrities were quick to sever ties, starting with actor Yang Mi, who announced the termination of her contract as Versace’s brand ambassador almost immediately, followed by supermodel Liu Wen’s resignation from her role as the brand ambassador of Coach, and TFBoys member Jackson Yee, who pulled the plug from a collaboration with Givenchy.
Bottega Veneta’s major breakout
Phoebe Philo’s era at Celine might have ended, but Daniel Lee, who’s worked under Philo and spent seven years at the brand, has been here filling that void for the sensual, minimalistic and sophisticated aesthetics since he took over at Bottega Veneta. Under his new creative direction, Lee has given the Italian fashion house a complete makeover that’s made it one of the most lusted-over brands in the world.
According to Global fashion search platform, Lyst, the brand has climbed 21 places and, for the first time, ranked as one of the top 20 coveted brands in the world. Its square-toe Lido padded sandals, in particular, are officially the world’s hottest women’s shoes of Q3, topping the search engine along with the highly covetable ‘Pouch’ bag. On top of that, Lee has also took home not one but four awards — including British Designer of the Year Womenswear, Accessories Designer of the Year, Designer of the Year and Brand of the Year — at the recent British Fashion Awards 2019, sealing Bottega Veneta as the major breakout brand of 2019.
Chanel encountered a runway crasher
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Presented at a make-believe Parisian rooftop at the Grand Palais, Chanel’s Virginie Viard debuted her SS20 ready-to-wear collection at Paris Fashion Week — but the show was rudely crashed by comedian and YouTuber Marie Benoliel (better known as Marie S’Infiltre). The intruder — dressed in her mother’s 1986 Chanel suit — clambered onto the catwalk during the finale, inserting herself into the line-up of models and started posing for photos. Bemused by her act, she was confronted by Gigi Hadid, who ushered the gatecrasher towards the backstage exit, shortly before Viard appeared on stage for her bow.
Jennifer Lawrence’s surprise runway appearance at Versace
At Versace, Jennifer Lopez made a surprise appearance strutting down the runway wearing none other than a reworked version of that plunging jungle-themed dress she famously wore to the Grammy Awards in 2000 — the same one that caused the creation of Google Images. The fabulous reunion was arranged by Google, who, according to a statement, reunited with Donatella Versace “to celebrate nearly two decades since this iconic moment in fashion (and Google) history.”