As the world collectively winds down for the holidays, the fashion folk will start pulling out their strappy stilettos, mother-of-pearl cufflinks, and whatever else makes up a good party outfit. Because we’d all want to go out in a bang, and does it count if you didn’t upload an Instagram photo?

For our last fashion roundup of the year, we focus on both ends of the spectrum. There’s Francisco Costa launching his own beauty brand. Then, we also have sneak previews courtesy of Donatella Versace and Yoon Ambush on what we can expect in stores next year, and let’s not forget Raf Simons’ exit from Calvin Klein. Keep reading on for all the fashion news to round up this year in style.

Raf Simons leaves Calvin Klein

On Saturday morning, we woke up to news that Raf Simons and Calvin Klein have parted ways. This comes as a huge surprise, seeing as the Belgian designer still had another eight months left on his contract, and had only been at the brand for just shy of two years.

“Both parties have amicably decided to part ways after Calvin Klein Inc. decided on a new brand direction which differs from Simons’s creative vision,” the company said in a statement. The brand would also not be showing a runway presentation during the upcoming season in February.

During his tenure as chief creative officer, he rebranded Calvin Klein’s ready-to-wear line as 205W39NYC which saw huge success that was furthered by the logomania that was so dominant then.

Shalom Harlow makes a return to Versace with her supermodel moves

It’s always a treat to get a peek into the behind-the-scenes of the fashion industry. Thankfully for Instagram (and great publicist, perhaps), we saw what it looked like during the photoshoot for Versace’s upcoming Spring/Summer 2019 campaign.

After closing the runway for the very same campaign, supermodel Shalom Harlow returned to the studio and served us some funky dance moves, complete with a wind machine that just amplified her energy. According to Vogue, it took seven crew members to make this meme-worthy moment, including superstar makeup artist Pat McGrath and the hairstylist to the stars, Guido Paulo.

In the midst of the tomfoolery, photographer Steven Meisel captured the winning photo that effectively froze the sort of vibrancy and vitality Donatella Versace hoped to achieve with her SS19 collection. It wouldn’t hurt to see more of these sneak peeks more often.

Francisco Costa reinvents himself with the launch of his beauty brand, Costa Brazil

Yes, it already has been two years since Francisco Costa left Calvin Klein as the head of womenswear, a post he held for 14 years. Since his departure, he has been relatively quiet, save for a teaser back in August that listed him as the founder of Costa Brazil. Now, the brand has finally launched, and the former fashion designer is now branching into beauty.

As we move into 2019, it’s heartening to see that brands are embracing sustainability more and more, and Costa Brazil is not one to miss out. Their products are sustainably sourced from the depths of the Brazilian rainforest, cruelty-free, and all-around environmentally responsible—including the packaging, which can be recycled.

livecostabrazil.com

Yoon Ambush feeds the bling, sharing close-ups of the Dior Men’s pre-fall jewellery

It’s hard to keep focused during a fashion show with all the moving parts. That’s why we’re glad that after their futuristic extravaganza a few weeks ago, Yoon Ambush, jeweller for Dior Men’s, is sharing with us some details we might have missed.

First, it was an android ring, a homage to fellow Dior collaborator Hajime Sorayama (he designed the statuesque robot centrepiece for the pre-fall show). Now, it was a close-up shot of a Dior gold pendant and an accompanying Dior pin in the same logotype as seen on the first look in the show. The whole futuristic theme was dreamt up by the designer Kim Jones and Sorayama, and Ambush just helped bring that to a bigger audience with the unisex accessories.

Michelle Obama rocks up in a pair of thigh-high Balenciaga boots—which promptly sells out

That’s a wrap! When I think about all the people who have come out to our events over these past few weeks, I think about a little working-class kid named Michelle LaVaughn Robinson—an ordinary girl who had some tales to tell, some failures and some successes, too. She had a lot to learn, a lot to experience, a lot to give—more than she ever could have imagined. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about my story lately, and what I keep coming back to is that no matter where we came from, we all share so much. People of all backgrounds, skin colors, and political persuasions can relate to feeling uncertain or overwhelmed. We’ve all been a little frustrated by the slow, frustrating growth necessary to get where we want to go. We’ve all struggled with the balancing act that can take over days, years, or decades of our lives. And I want us all to remember that these are the moments and lessons that make us who we are — every little twist and turn, every little bump and bruise, and ultimately every joys and every triumph, no matter how large or small. So I hope all of you believe in your story. I hope you recognize that what you see as a weakness might actually be a strength. I hope you recognize the power of your voice. And I hope you remind yourself that there isn’t one right way to be an American. There isn’t one way to make your contribution in this country. So thank you all for your part of our story. Thank you for being who you are. And to everyone who’s read my memoir, or come to one of our events, or posted something online, thank you for being on this journey with me. Thank you for helping me continue to become. I hope my story can serve as a boost in your own process of becoming, too. I love you all. #IAmBecoming

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Since she stepped into the White House more than a decade ago, Michelle Obama has been influencing the wardrobe choices of women everywhere. But she’s not letting her tenure as “a former First Lady” define her life. While on the road promoting her latest book, Becoming, she promptly broke the Internet when she stepped out on stage in a pair of sequined thigh-high Balenciaga boots.

Make no mistake, as these aren’t just your regular Balenciaga boots. They were first shown on the Spring 2018 runway, and they are as bold as they come. Despite costing US$3,900 (S$5,700), they are now almost sold out everywhere online.

“I did know that my clothes were making a statement, I knew that was the case,” said Obama in conversation with Sarah Jessica Parker. Oh, and what a statement those boots made. Carrie Bradshaw would be so proud.

Prada apologises for a blackface key charm

A few weeks ago, Prada launched a bunch of cutesy key charms just in time for the festive season. The series was called Pradamalia and featured seven different creatures. One of them, however, did not sit so well with the public. It was a caricatured trinket called Otto that highly resembled a blackface character from 1899, Little Sambo.

In an era where fashion brands are highly scrutinised for their inclusivity or exclusivity and portrayal of racial stereotypes, this incident from Prada should not have occurred in the first place. The brand swiftly issued a statement apologising for and condemning their actions, and are pulling the products from the stores. They are also setting up a council to better understand how diversity, inclusion, and culture works, which frankly, is what all fashion brands should be doing.

Josiah Neo
Writer
Josiah Neo is a tech writer who contributes occasionally to the fashion, travel, and culture beats. When he’s not busy keeping up with the keynotes, he’s probably stuffing his face with the best Melbournian donuts (at Shortstop, BTW) or watching his favourite esports team, the Los Angeles Valiant, pummel their opponents into oblivion.