That was fast, wasn’t it? Yeah, with the blink of an eye, 2013 came to a close. But in these short 12 months, there was no shortage of drama, spectacles, and undeniably iconic fashion moments. Let’s get a little nostalgic for a second and reflect on some of the most noteworthy fashion events in 2013.
- Hedi the Drama King
What would 2013 be without Hedi Slimane pissing a few people off? The designer stirred up quite a bit of controversy when he arrived at the house of Saint Laurent last year and gave the brand an entirely new image. Slimane initially received lots of negative criticism for removing “Yves” from the label and sending the iconic Parisian elegance out with it. It didn’t help that he started off his tenure with totalitarian PR regulations for his shows, while he carried last year’s beef into 2013. However, it seemed that things were at peace for Mr. Slimane for most of the year.
That is, until he reminded us not to get on his bad side, making an example of French retailer, Colette. In response to the store’s sale of t-shirts that read “Ain’t Laurent Without Yves,” Führer Slimane ordered the cancelation of $285,738 worth of Colette’s spring 2014 orders. He also uninvited their creative director from the following Saint Laurent show and banned Colette’s sales of Document magazine, which featured a cover that he photographed.
Despite a few bizarre or irrationally overpriced items, Hedi Slimane truly is a talented designer, proven through just a few pieces from a single collection. Unfortunately, his ongoing power trip has made it difficult to show appreciation, as the latest Saint Laurent-related drama is always drawing attention. To the disdain of many fashion critics, Saint Laurent now represents a tough, grungier image, while Hedi Slimane’s attitude is definitely appropriate. It’s that rock ‘n’ roll spirit that’s been in the air for almost all of 2013.
The Modern Cool
Hedi Slimane wasn’t the only one to get angry this year. With the announcement of this year’s Met Gala theme, Punk: From Chaos to Couture, the fashion world quickly got in the spirit. Becoming a big trend on the fall 2013 runways and in this year’s most hyped street style, it seemed like everyone was ready to throw all of their fucks out the window and start a riot…but in the “chic” way, of course.
While many attendees at the Met Gala underwhelmed with their misinterpretations of the theme, the Costume Institute’s 2013 exhibit showed a celebration of freedom, liberation, and creativity, and how these concepts have unified music and fashion. The punk rock movement may not be nearly as strong as it once was, but with a few edgy icons on the rise, maybe 2014 will bring a bit of a resurgence in more than just an editorial context.
- Kim the Kouch?
When one celebrity’s outfit makes the cut for the most memorable moments in fashion during a given year, you know that it’s either incredibly impressive or unbelievably unappealing. Unfortunately for Kim Kardashian, her look at the punk-themed Met Gala was the latter. After Anna Wintour put her alleged disdain for Kim aside and allowed her to attend the Met Gala, the reality TV star showed up looking like a vintage couch.
Kanye West has been sharing his fashion expertise with Kim since the pair got together in 2012, resulting in usually pleasantly surprising looks from Ms. Kardashian; even when she was extremely pregnant and possibly torturing her body, Kim’s outfits were pretty interesting. However, she ironically turned in her black and leather gear for fashion’s punk party and traded it for a floral maternity gown, complete with attached gloves. Eek…
Okay, so maybe it wasn’t the worst look of all time, but you have to look pretty damn hard for it to appear acceptable. The most surprising part about this is that Riccardo Tisci custom-designed this piece for Kim as a way to welcome her into the tight-knit “family” he shares with Kanye West and other fashion insiders. This look didn’t quite help Kim’s attempt at achieving fashion icon status. But luckily for Tisci, this was just a minor flop in an ultimately epic year.
- The Year of the Tisci
Self Service Magazine
From stunning ad campaigns to innovative collections, even Riccardo Tisci’s less-than-favorable work showed vast depth and creativity at Givenchy. Throughout the past year, his employment of urban elements has added a modern edge to his maintenance of the iconic Parisian fashion house, while his global references have informed a true sense of artistry. Tisci has balanced his logic with a touch of genius, conveyed through wearable yet inspirational items that express an irresistible sense of dark sensuality.
It’s no surprise that Tisci’s impressive advances in the fashion industry earned him a spot as a co-chair at this year’s Met Gala. Even with a small blunder in his styling of Kim Kardashian, the designer’s general open mind and free-thinking ideology showed the perfect concept for the edgy theme. It also doesn’t hurt that this year’s collections packed an extra punk rock punch. We also can’t forget his achievement of the 2013 International Award from the CFDA, a coveted title showing international strength in the fashion world.
And whether it was the Madonna motif, the doberman visage, the Bambi and fire items, florals, high-tech African prints, or even a sporty top that read “Pervert,” everyone’s spent the whole year obsessing over those iconic graphic tee’s. Showing a powerful ability to mélange his conceptual, artistic designs with the pivotal duty of selling a garment, Riccardo Tisci certainly had a successful year in 2013.
- Throwing in the Towel
Unfortunately, not every designer went as hard as Riccardo Tisci did in 2013. For the third time in her career, Jil Sander stepped down from her position as creative director of her namesake label, this time due to personal issues.
But Jil wasn’t the only one to step away from fashion. Ann Demeulemeester shocked the fashion world when she announced her departure from her eponymous brand just after her spring 2014 ready-to-wear presentation.
Though both women’s immense talent will be difficult to match, it’s not like we haven’t seen things like this happen before. The past year has shown us quite a few cases of musical chairs in the fashion industry.
- The Revolving Doors
Staying on the topic of designers coming and going, where else could this be more prevalent than between the houses of Balenciaga and Louis Vuitton?
After disagreements caused Nicolas Ghesquière to leave the former in 2012 (and break the hearts of many), “it-boy” Alexander Wang quickly snatched up the helm as creative director. Wang debuted his new designs through Balenciaga’s fall 2013 ready-to-wear collection, while he continues to balance his new position with his work at his own New York-based label.
But Marc Jacobs chose to do the exact opposite, leaving his post as creative director of Louis Vuitton womenswear to focus on his own namesake in New York. He made the official announcement just after his spring 2014 Louis Vuitton show in Paris, which presented a highly theatrical, grandiose retrospective on his long-lasting tenure at the house. Though entirely black, the rather celebratory collection was something of an encyclopedia of Jacobs’ work at Louis Vuitton, with a cornucopia of inspiration to enhance the magnificent set and showgirl-inspired ensembles.
Immediately after, rumors all-but-confirmed that Nicolas Ghesquière would make a comeback by scooping up Jacobs’ spot, though the LVMH didn’t set the record straight until a few weeks later. After all the chaos and speculation, it’s good to end 2013 knowing that Nicolas Ghesquière will finally have an outlet to present his mind-blowing creativity.
- Stepping in the Right Direction
Fashion Bomb Daily
While Marc Jacobs’ final presentation for Louis Vuitton was certainly a huge spectacle, no other show this year (or in the past several years, for that matter) could come close to Rick Owens’ spring 2014 presentation.
Replacing standard runway models with four teams of eccentric step dancers, Owens showed his collection in a raw, realistic context. The majority of the dancers were non-white and non-sample size, which many considered a gimmick in light of this year’s hot topic of race in the fashion industry. But regardless of how certain people interpreted it, Rick Owens’ spring 2014 show made a bold statement on diversity through presenting an often-unseen look on the runway, all while being supremely creative.
- Racing Runways
Although this has been an ongoing problem for years, 2013 brought the race debate in the fashion industry to a boiling point. Early in the year, several reports and comments were released, demanding change. And things got really serious when Naomi Campbell, Bethann Hardison, and Iman went public with their battle to diversify the runways.
New York Fashion Week showed noticeable improvements during the recent spring 2014 presentations, as designers like Diane von Furstenberg and Francisco Costa for Calvin Klein Collection featured a variety of beautiful non-white faces. Even Prada, who many blamed for starting the trend of the identical white mannequin in the mid 90’s, cast models who more realistically reflect our multiethnic society.
However, there’s still a long way to come, as white models are still considered the norm on magazine covers and in advertisements. While there have been great strides forward, let’s hope that 2014 brings even more advances.
- Magnificent Malaika
Tired of reading about Malaika Firth? Well, too bad, because the new face is here to stay. Firth is actually a key player in the improvements regarding non-white models, most notably with her appearance in the fall 2013 Prada ads, making her the first black model to do so since Naomi Campbell in 1994.
You also probably know by now about how she killed it during her first season, featured in some of the most coveted runway spots. The Kenyan-born, London-raised stunner has showed more success in a debut season than any newcomer, displaying a sense of professionalism and grace to adequately back up her fresh look. Finally, as Malaika traveled across the globe with her mother at her side, the pair displayed an ideal sense of keeping a model supervised and grounded throughout her hectic career.
- Model Regulations
The Model Alliance
Malaika’s parental supervision is one of many things the Model Alliance sought to implement in 2013. While the apparent white supremacy that dominated the catwalks was extremely disturbing, we can’t forget about all of the issues that accompany a young model when she flies solo in the often corrupt fashion industry.
Sara Ziff and co. made some serious progress this year by establishing a model Bill of Rights, working towards creating a worker’s union in the modeling industry. After continuous instances of girls (and boys) being taken advantage of financially, sexually, and in alcohol and drug-related circumstances, these “clothes hangers” are finally getting a voice. New York State Legislature passed several laws last week to protect the rights and safety of models under the age of eighteen. Though these rules will mainly apply to New York Fashion Week, the moral ideals will hopefully carry on to the rest of the world’s fashion capitals.
- There’s Something About CaraSpeaking of models, who could forget Cara Delevingne? Once another face strolling down the catwalk, the British beauty quickly captivated the entire world with her quirky persona and strong social media presence. Her influence has surpassed that of the fashion industry, essentially making her a celebrity.
But Cara’s also been a bit polarizing. With legions of teenaged Tumblr-crazed fans rabidly shouting her name outside of show venues, and with many people considering her an exaggerated caricature, she’s become both the darling and the demon in 2013. Delevingne has been minimizing her recent overexposure and getting back into those legitimate fashion ads and editorials, but regardless of what comes in 2014, it’s hard to deny that Cara’s got that same type of hype that came with the supermodels of yesteryear.
- Queen Kate
The Citizens of Fashion
Another polarizing factor about Cara Delevingne is her alleged status as “the next Kate Moss” (how many times have we heard that one?). But Kate Moss herself was quick to prove that there can and will only be one.
Queen Kate’s noteworthy runway appearance at Louis Vuitton early in the year reminded us that she’s always here to stay. Meanwhile, she made waves towards the close of 2013 with her racy Playboy cover and spread and her new position as an editor at British Vogue. So in case you forgot that Kate Moss is an ultimate icon, she truly defined the meaning of “supermodeel” in 2013. Always broadening her horizons, there’s no doubt that 2014 will bring even more success to the OG.
- The Other Kate
Fashion took a liking to another Kate this year, too. But while Moss originally influenced the “waif” look in the early 90s, Kate Upton represented a completely different image.
At just 20-years-old, the all-American girl took the world by storm in 2013, boasting a totally different body from what the fashion industry was used to. While her sexy curves seemed almost uniform in her Sports Illustrated features, Upton really made headlines with covers and features in both the American and Italian editions of Vogue, major achievements for even the most slender sample-sized models. Kate also made her runway debut at Marc Jacobs’ final show for Louis Vuitton, regally lounging on a carrousel.
Of course, many people in fashion were quick to condemn the healthy, conventionally beautiful blonde. But with all of these huge accomplishments already under her belt, maybe Kate Upton will continue to share her more natural body type with the fashion industry in 2014.
- Karlie Gets Sexy
On the topic of sexy girls, who would’ve ever thought Karlie Kloss would fit this description? The Saint Louis native has always been a fashion industry favorite due to the balance of her girl-next-door charm with her high fashion tendencies. However, it was quite a surprise when she took her appearance on Victoria’s Secret’s catwalk to the next level by signing a contract with the lingerie powerhouse.
With her blunt bob and long, slender physique, it’s not that shocking that people furiously questioned Kloss’ initiation into the ring of commercially appealing “Angels.” But her look definitely adds something special to the cast of cookie-cutter catalog girls, while this position further confirms Karlie’s status as a modern-day supermodel.
Karlie and Cara’s omnipresence harkens back to the days of the supermodels, while girls like Joan Smalls and Edie Campbell are also getting in on the action. But that’s not the only thing about 2013 that’s been giving us 90s flashbacks.
For better or for worse, Hedi Slimane’s single-handedly revived grunge for fall 2013, while Olivier Rousteing went 90s-crazy all year at Balmain. Meanwhile, several other designs played on the ideas of neons, crop tops, wild prints, and over-the-top kitsch. A decade full of various ideas, all of which were the pinnacle of fun and creativity, it’s been good to have the 90s back.
Potentially a result of the 90s fad, logos have been making a huge comeback in 2013. For many, simple and chic seemed to be out, as street style stars were all about explicitly letting us know who they were wearing. The Kenzo tiger face was possibly the biggest example of this craze; you couldn’t go to a fashion show without seeing at least 30 variations of the popular style. At the same time, Versace brought back their famous Medusa motif, no longer subtly placed on garments, but instead brazened across jewelry and t-shirts.
A huge part of this fad was probably the logo parodies that came along with it. Who could forget the “Homiés,” “Comme des FUCKDOWN,” “Célfie,” or other ridiculous slogans we saw all over 2013’s blogosphere? Originally cute and amusing, the tops and beanies eventually became belabored and obnoxious, though they were essential in this year’s obsession with Instagram, Twitter, and other social networks.
Fashion has essentially become a slave to social media, confirmed in 2013. From models’ alluring selfies to Insta-runway show documentation, and from retailers using Instagram advertising to the old-fashioned practice of Twitter promotion, you’re almost irrelevant if you’re not blowing up someone’s news feed. And that doesn’t even begin to touch on the fact that everyone’s a blogger these days.
It is the 21st century, and we’re all about technology and sharing each other’s business. And yes, social media is probably one of the best ways to muster up interest and enthusiasm for all things fashion-related. But does it sometimes feel like social media has gone too far?
- The Circus
To answer that last question, yes, it does. Suzy Menkes couldn’t have said it better in her brilliant piece, “The Circus of Fashion.” Expressing a true concern for the fashion industry’s current blog-obsessed state of being, Menkes describes the utter chaos surrounding the street style phenomenon and how it ultimately tarnishes the fundamental meaning of fashion week.
The piece was published back in March, just after the fall 2013 shows came to a close, but the spring 2014 shows didn’t show any signs of the hectic atmosphere coming to an end. Yet Suzy Menkes isn’t the only one expressing frustration, as designers like Vera Wang and Carolina Herrera are allegedly pulling out of presenting at the upcoming New York Fashion Week to avoid the madness. It’s unfortunate that things must come to such extremes, but hopefully the social media craze can continue peacefully without interfering with the true meaning of Fashion Week.
The High Low
Maybe the madness will come to an end soon, as the year ended with New York Fashion Week officials announcing their plans to downsize by about 20%. Invitation lists will be shorter, venues will be smaller, and there will be exponentially fewer bloggers in attendance at these shows.
While it’s a bit discouraging for many fashion industry hopefuls who try to gain entry to the shows out of a true appreciation for the collections, it’s good to see New York taking a major step in the right direction. Hopefully now we can start to focus on what really matters: the fashion.
And just like that, the year came to a close. Sure, maybe something groundbreaking could happen in the next few days before 2014, but otherwise, here’s to a happy New Year and plenty more exciting fashion moments!