We are almost at the end of a tempestuous year in the fashion industry and things are happening as I write this article. Surprising changes at the helm of top fashion labels, tragic exits, divergent trends, tech infused collaborations and unlikely style icons have all put a lasting mark on the fashion world.
To start on a colorful note, Pantone, the global leading name in the color business has announced as early as last December that Radiant Orchid is the color of the year and 2014 begin its journey covered in a brilliant purple aura. First ladies of the world, artists, celebrities (Oprah too) have all been seen wearing this joyous, vibrant hue. Not only was it a predominant color in clothing, accessories and house décor, the purple ombre-hair dye job was everywhere to be seen this year.
2014 may well be remembered as the year of “we’re hiring!” in the fashion industry. Luxury fashion houses traded their lead designers in order to find the most suited (wo)man for the job: John Galliano made his comeback as Maison Margiela’s first couturier and Anna Wintour showed her support wearing Galliano’s design at the British Fashion Awards on December 1st. Nicolas Ghesquière replaced Marc Jacobs at Louis Vuitton and Alexander Wang presented his successful first collection for Balenciaga on February at Paris Fashion Week. Latest fashion shock news comes from Kering group announcing just yesterday that Gucci’s creative director Frida Giannini and CEO Patrizio di Marco, will step aside from their roles. It has been said that Kering’s biggest brand have gone through serious notoriety and sales loss in the recent years.
The tragic disappearance of two fashion talents has overshadowed the industry this year: the sudden death of L’Wren Scott, who committed suicide on March 17 in her New York apartment, showed once again the dark face of this glamorous profession and the ongoing struggle of a brilliant designer whose personal and financial problems lead to this regrettable event. On October 20, after a long battle with cancer, legendary fashion designer Oscar de la Renta, founder of the eponymous American label, passed away at his home in Kent, Connecticut. The creator of the “American haute couture” left a heavy task for his successor, designer Peter Copping.
The most commented trend this year was the ambiguous Normcore (the term is a blend of ‘normal’ and ‘hardcore’) which can be described as a deluxe take on the average look or as Vogue calls it: “high-end pedestrian dressing”, an unpretentious, logo free, unisex fashion trend that implies self confidence beyond style. Inspired by the very simple uniform of fashion designers, this year’s anti-style movement seems like the next logical step from the 90’s minimalist streak of past seasons.
(Although to blend in the fashion crowd you would need some well thought staples, such as: a good number of well cut t-shirts, cashmere sweaters or cardigans, a high-end tracksuit or tailored trousers, a pair of straight-leg jeans, a boyfriend coat, and plain skate shoes. Easy peasy!)
Fast food inspired fashion, a trend born early this year within the Fall 2014 fashion week season and immediately adopted by fashion editors and street style stars, unleashed some of the most social shared looks of the year: including the french fries purse from Moschino’s McDonald-inspired collection, the milk-box shaped bag as seen in the supermarket collection of Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel to various yummy snack prints of countless fashion labels.
2014 was also the year of controversial fashion stars like Reality TV famed Kim Kardashian that graced the April issue cover of American Vogue along with husband-to-be rapper Kanye West or Barbadian pop star Rihanna who was chosen Fashion Icon of the year by the Council Of Fashion Designer in America. To enhance the awe she attended the CFDA awards held on November the 4th in the most talked-about outfit of the year: a Jazz Age see-through Swarosvki-covered gown designed by Adam Selman, paired with a matching headscarf and a pink fur stole.
Ricardo Tisci has accustomed us with his choice of non-models for Givenchy ad campaigns, for last seasons he captured the raw beauty of artists Marina Abramovic and Erykah Badu and for the upcoming spring 2015 the Italian designer announced Oscar-winning actress Julia Roberts as the new face of the French luxury brand.
Wearable deluxe gadgets: luxury brands teamed up with tech giants to deliver high-end futuristic accessories including the limited collection of Google smart eye-wear designed in collaboration with Diane Von Furstenberg, MICA messaging bracelets, the smart accessories designed by Opening Ceremony and engineered by Intel, the glamorous fitness devices created by Tory Burch exclusively for Fitbit and last but not the least the leather headphones created by Fendi in collaboration with Apple-owned company Beats by Dr. Dre.
Along with the glamorous tech accessories, new exciting team-ups between designers/style icons and fashion chain stores kept the headlines coming : Adidas enrolled once again Raf Simons to create a limited edition of unisex trainers, Vivienne Westwood created an ethical bag line for internet retailer Asos, Kate Moss partnered with Top Shop, Joseph Altuzara with Target and the long awaited Alexander Wang collaboration with H&M launched just last month.
Ending on a high note, the inaugural Canadian Arts & Fashion Awards held on February 1st celebrated for the first time the outstanding achievements and emerging talents in Canadian fashion design industry. Held at Fairmont Royal York Hotel in Toronto, CAFA awards gala gathered top winners including Coco Rocha for Model of the Year and Dean and Dan Caten, the renowned Dsquared2 design duo winning Outstanding Achievement. Other awards went to Womenswear Designer of the Year Jeremy Laing and Emerging Talent Award, Sarah Stevenson.