It's been a year filled with major changes in the fashion industry, from designer departures – Raf Simons from Dior, Maria Grazia Chiuri from Valentino and Hedi Slimane from Saint Laurent – to co-ed shows and historic runway venues. Here are Buro 24/7 Middle East's  top 16 fashion moments for 2016...

1. Franca Sozzani passes away

Buro 24/7 Middle East's biggest fashion moments of 2016

Last week, the world lost one of fashion's most respected editors, Franca Sozzani. As the Editor in Chief of Vogue Italia, Sozzani was awarded the inaugural prize for British Fashion Council's Swarovski Award for Positive Change and around the region, was seen at Jeddah's Vogue Fashion Experience earlier this year. 

2. Gigi Hadid announced as Model of the Year

Buro 24/7 Middle East's biggest fashion moments of 2016

Earlier this month, Gigi Hadid was named Model of the Year at the 2016 British Fashion Awards. The Jordanian-American model has been seen fronting several ad campaigns for some the world's most coveted brands including Stuart Weitzman, Versace and BMW, while walking the catwalk for Balmain, Elie Saab, Chanel, Fendi and Bottega Veneta. Hadid also teamed up with Tommy Hilfiger to create an exclusive limited-edition capsule collection and wrapped her first #TogetherTour with a pit stop in Dubai. 

3. Raf Simons joins Calvin Klein 

Buro 24/7 Middle East's biggest fashion moments of 2016

Calvin Klein faced a creative change this year as the brand's former Womenswear Creative Director Francisco Costa and Menswear Creative Director Italo Zucchelli announced their exit from the brand in April. Hoping to create a unified creative vision, the American brand appointed Raf Simons as Chief Creative Officer, and will see his debut collection, as well as the brand's first-ever co-ed show, on February 10, 2017 during New York Fashion Week.

4. Vera Wang drops New York Fashion Week

Buro 24/7 Middle East's biggest fashion moments of 2016

In November, Vera Wang was honoured with a French knighthood, to be awarded at the Chevalier of France's National Order of the Legion of Honour on February 28, 2017. To acknowledge the achievement, Wang announced that she will drop her traditional runway shows in her native New York in favour of Paris Fashion Week instead. 

5. Gucci takes over the Westminster Abbey in London 

Buro 24/7 Middle East's biggest fashion moments of 2016

In February, Gucci announced that its Cruise '17 collection show will be showcased at Westminster Abbey in London to pay tribute to high British fashion. Four months later, Creative Director Alessandro Michele took his artistic vision to the runway and created a coveted Gucci-esque collection inspired by both the Victorian era as well as punk music. This marked the first time a fashion brand has ever showcased a collection within the gothic-inspired iconic building. 

6. Simi & Haze walk 'The Walk' with Michael Kors

Buro 24/7 Middle East's biggest fashion moments of 2016

Michael Kors tapped Saudi-born Palestinian twins Sama and Haya Khadra – also known as Simi & Haze – to front its holiday campaign, aptly titled The Walk. The street style campaign captured the duo flaunting the American brand's latest accessories and signature handbags –think Sloan Select, Sloan Editor, Sloan Tango and the Scout camera bag – while roaming the streets of New York. 

7. Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia take the reigns at Oscar de la Renta

Buro 24/7 Middle East's biggest fashion moments of 2016

Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia, the design duo behind Monse, were announced as Co-Creative Directors of Oscar de la Renta. The Spring/Summer '17 collection showcased during New York Fashion Week however still saw the creative vision of the brand's former Creative Director Peter Copping, who announced his departure from the brand in July

8. Remembering Sonia Rykiel

Buro 24/7 Middle East's biggest fashion moments of 2016

During Paris Fashion Week, the Sonia Rykiel Spring/Summer '17 show paid tribute to the late designer, who passed away in August due to a long-term battle with Parkinson's disease. Still continuing to showcase her signatures stripes and knitwear through future collections, the French designer will always be remembered in the fashion industry through her eponymous label. 

9. Fendi celebrates its 90th anniversary at Trevi Fountain

Buro 24/7 Middle East's biggest fashion moments of 2016

To celebrate 90 years of their Italian craftsmanship and excellence, Fendi hosted an iconic runway show at Rome's historic location, the Trevi Fountain. Designed by Karl Lagerfeld and Silvia Venturini Fendi, the collection, aptly titled the Haute Fourrure, featured embroidered coats and capes, 3D fur applications, detailed lace and crochet. 

10. Dior appoints first female Artistic Director

Buro 24/7 Middle East's biggest fashion moments of 2016

After Raf Simons announced his departure from the French fashion house, Dior appointed Maria Grazia Chiuri as its newest creative head. Marking the first time in history the coveted brand has appointed a leading lady, Chiuri has already injected her fierce, yet feminine approach as seen in her Spring/Summer '17 runway collection during Paris Fashion Week and Dior's newest Spring/Summer '17 campaign

11. Burberry unfolds its first straight-to-consumer collection

Buro 24/7 Middle East's biggest fashion moments of 2016

Burberry underwent several changes this year ­– think Christopher Bailey becoming President, its collaboration with Brooklyn Beckham and its Art of Trench campaign – but the biggest change of all was announcing their first straight-to-consumer collection in August. With influences from English history, the collection, aptly titled September, was showcased during London Fashion Week at its newest show venue, Makers House.

12. Miroslava Duma's Buro Fashion Forward Initiative with Farfetch

Buro 24/7 Middle East's biggest fashion moments of 2016

In the midst of Paris Fashion Week, Buro 24/7's Miroslava Duma hosted a star-studded event with Farfetch. A platform for regional designers to gain global recognition, the Buro Fashion Forward Initiative welcomed a star-studded guest list which included Kim Kardashian West, Kourtney Kardashian and Courtney Love. 

13. Mario Testino brings Heat to the Middle East

Buro 24/7 Middle East's biggest fashion moments of 2016

Celebrated fashion photographer Mario Testino brought his first exhibition to the Middle East. Titled Heat, the exhibition saw some of Testino's distinctive portraits, fashion and fine art, alongside some never-seen-before pieces. Also, the photographer showcased works from his Alta Moda range, which paid tribute to his Peruvian roots. 

14. Chanel's Cruise '16 collection in Cuba

Buro 24/7 Middle East's biggest fashion moments of 2016

Chanel hosted its first Cruise 16/17 collection show on the streets of Havana, Cuba, marking the first time a luxury brand has showcased a major fashion event in the country since the revolution. The highly-anticipated event saw Karl Lagerfeld's classic aesthetic injected into a Cuban-esque collection consisting of signature tweed and colourful bright hues.

15. Anthony Vaccarello becomes Saint Laurent's Creative Director 

Buro 24/7 Middle East's biggest fashion moments of 2016

After Hedi Slimane left his post at Saint Laurent, the French maison turned to Anthony Vaccarello to take the helm. The Italian designer debuted his first vision for the brand through a series of monochromatic images, followed by his runway debut during Paris Fashion Week

16. Louis Vuitton debuts Cruise '17 collection in Rio de Janeiro

Buro 24/7 Middle East's biggest fashion moments of 2016

Providing the ultimate backdrop for Louis Vuitton's Cruise '16 show is the Netrói Contemporary Art Museum in Rio de Janeiro. The coveted French label is the first brand to ever host a fashion event at the museum – which celebrated its 20th anniversary this year –and presented its colour-blocked leather line on the bright red ramp. 

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