A look back: The 22 biggest fashion moments of 2014
This year in fashion has been one of directional debuts and devastating blows, new faces and feminist movements... Let's celebrate together the passing of 2014's most memorable, style-led moments before seeing in a brand new year of luxury launches and important occasions. From Dolce & Gabbana's guilty verdict being overturned, to Michael Kors making a surprise collaboration with Duracell for a line of high-tech accessories, to the drama that is Dov Charney, to John Galliano's celebrated return. It's all here...
Oscar de la Renta
The fashion industry was rocked in October when legendary designer Oscar de la Renta lost a long battle with cancer, aged 82. The cherished creative talent continued to work almost right up until the end, ever-charming his loyal followers with the release of his final collection in December, Pre-Fall 15, an edit of signature glamour and floral detail to sign off a truly iconic career. Read our tribute to the true fashion legend here.
After establishing his own romantic calling card at Nina Ricci, it was announced in early October that Peter Copping would be taking up the position of creative director at the esteemed fashion house of Oscar de la Renta. His brief is to set the design direction across all product categories and, at the time, report to Mr. de la Renta and Alex Bolen, the company's CEO. It was unfortunately a short-lived plan when the former passed away during the same month, and Copping took up his post on November 2. His first collection to be revealed in February.
The Apple Watch reveal
September saw fashion week interrupted in New York and much of its VIP guests fly west for Apple's highly anticipated iPhone 6 and Apple Watch reveal. Available to buy early in 2015, Tim Cook called it "the most personal device we've ever created." As Macintosh introduced the mouse and the iPod introduced the 'Click Wheel', the sleek, rectangular Apple Watch now introduces the 'Digital Crown'; a versatile tool that answers the challenge of how to magnify content on a small display. It also has a flexible Retina display, which is laminated to a single crystal of sapphire, the hardest transparent material after diamond – with Infrared and visible-light LEDs, detecting your pulse rate. Since the reveal in September, many similar wearables have come to the surface – but none have excited tech fans as much as the Apple Watch.
John Galliano for Maison Martin Margiela
Following months of speculation, controversial designer John Galliano was confirmed in October as the new creative designer at Paris-based fashion house Martin Margiela. Italian entrepreneur Renzo Rosso, whose group OTB controls the Margiela brand – announced that the move has been made ahead of Haute Couture SS15 which will show in January. "Margiela is ready for a new charismatic creative soul," said Rosso. "John Galliano is one of the greatest, undisputed talents of all time - a unique, exceptional couturier for a maison that always challenged and innovated the world of fashion. I look forward to his return to create that fashion dream that only he can create, and wish him to here find his new home."
Frida Giannini and Patrizio Di Marco depart from Gucci
Earlier this month it was shockingly confirmed that both Gucci's creative director Frida Giannini, and its CEO Patrizio di Marco are stepping down from their roles at the luxury fashion house. Kering have since announced that Marco Bizzarri has been appointed CEO in di Marco's place for the time being and the Gucci duo, who are also a couple and have a child together, will depart the label early in 2015. Di Marco will leave his CEO position on January 1, whilst Giannini will depart at the end of February after showing her final collection at Milan Fashion Week AW14. The brand is said to be actively looking for a new creative director, with rumours saying that Gucci's new head honcho could be Givenchy's Riccardo Tisci or Christopher Kane or Pucci's Peter Dundas and even Joseph Altuzarra.
Nicolas Ghesquière made his Louis Vuitton debut
Freja Beha Erichsen was first out on the Louis Vuitton runway in March, sporting the first ready-to-wear look for the house not designed by Marc Jacobs. This was Nicolas Ghesquière's new vision for Vuitton, free from any other influence. New prints, new bag shapes, new fabrications, new models and a few familiar faces. "Today is a new day. A big day," Ghesquière wrote in his personal show notes. "You are about to witness my first fashion show for Louis Vuitton. Words can't express exactly how I am feeling at this moment..." And now, a season on, long may those moments continue...
Chanel's feminist movement
During the final days of Paris Fashion Week in September, the unthinkable happened: feminism met the world of high fashion. Chanel's models walked down the catwalk brandishing placards demanding women's rights, in a 'protest' that was hailed as a breakthrough for a new wave of feminism. Under the imposing roof of the Grand Palais, along a catwalk fashioned to look like a Parisian boulevard, Lagerfeld's models swapped handbags for banners, with Gisele Bündchen and Cara Delevingne leading the way and shouting through megaphones – naturally encased in lush leather padding, and heavily branded with the Chanel logo.
The White House Fashion Workshop
"I mean, come on. You're in the White House. There are some of the most impressive people in fashion here to teach you all and to reach out and to mentor you. And there's food. What more could you ask for?" joked Michelle Obama in October, as she welcomed a host of American designers to the White House's first ever Fashion Education Workshop. She wore a blue dress by FIT graduate Natalya Koval, the winner of a design competition associated with the workshop and the private event drew Diane von Furstenberg, Narciso Rodriguez, Jenna Lyons, Prabal Gurung, Phillip Lim, Thom Browne, and Maria Cornejo, among many others to mentor students from Parsons, FIT, and the Pratt Institute.
The Vogue Fashion Dubai Experience II
The second annual Vogue Fashion Dubai Experience took place under the guidance of Emaar, from October 30 – November 1, seeing one of the world's most innovative fashion events held in the Dubai Mall and the Armani Hotel Ballroom. VFDE this year showcased a plethora of new talent, with its theme focused on the young generation. The event culminated with Ciara singing on stage in front of the Burj Khalifa at the VFDE charity dinner, hosted by Franca Sozzani and His Excellency Mohammed Alabbar.
The MET Gala
Fashion's biggest night out arrived in May 2014, as New York's Costume Institute held its annual MET Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The event is always an intensely glamorous affair, however this year's theme – the glamour of the technologically advanced couturier Charles James and white tie (with decorations, for men) – ensured that the red carpet parade certainly did not disappoint. Take a walk down memory lane here.
The Alexander Wang x H&M collaboration
If there was an award for high street collaboration to set the retail world alight this year, it would surely go to Mr Alexander Wang and his work with H&M. Announced at Coachella earlier on in 2014, the results hit shop floors in October and their chic, sporty aesthetic ensured the collection sold out immediately.
The CFDA Awards
The Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) Awards took place in New York in June at Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall – an event deemed equal to the American fashion industry's 'Oscars' – and in the most prestigious category for 'Best Womenswear Designer', Joseph Altuzarra was the overall winner of the category. There was also a very funny skit courtesy of Anna Wintour, Rihanna, and some clever editing, take another look at it here.
The British Fashion Awards
Honouring the most forward-thinking designers, models and style icons, London saw one of the biggest awards ceremonies in the fashion industry take place earlier this month. The red carpet, which had 12kg of loose Swarovski crystals sprinkled over it, dazzled with the city's stylish A-listers and international stars who all gathered for to find out the winners of this year's prestigious British Fashion Awards. Anna Wintour also received a special award from a tearful John Galliano, for 'Lifetime Achivement' in the fashion industry.
The Kendall Jenner effect
Kendall Jenner is fast becoming fashion's new darling, much to the disdain of the anti-Kardashian contingent. However with work for Vogue, walking most major runways throughout fashion month, and a recent cover for Dazed & Confused under her belt, we think this young model on the rise is going to get the last laugh. The 19-year-old also secured the Holy Grail of beauty campaigns – becoming the face of Estée Lauder, with big sister Kim telling Elle UK in a recent interview "I think she will be bigger than I have ever been". We think so too Kimberly.
The Fondation Louis Vuitton
Designed by Frank Gehry, the imposing Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris was unveiled this year to much fanfare and critical acclaim. Visually, it's stunning – a moderm mass of crystal like windows in the garden of Bois de Boulogne. "Louis Vuitton is the brand in our group that probably has the strongest links with artists – and for the longest time," said Bernard Arnault, Chairman and CEO of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton on the eve of the opening event, which was peopled by fashion designers, Hollywood actress muses such as Marion Cotillard with Raf Simons and Michelle Williams with Nicolas Ghesquière, plus politicians, artists and LVMH names-to-know.
The Pradasphere project
In November, the ambitious Pradasphere exhibition that first debuted in London in May, landed in Hong Kong. The unique showcase traces the multivalent obsessions of one of the world's most iconic brands: Prada. It serves as a organic history of the label – exploring a coveted collection of archival objects arranged to reveal the complex, often intertwined, references of Miuccia Prada, her atelier, and a tight-knit circle of collaborators.
Always one to push (and more often than not, break) boundaries, Anna Wintour has had a huge year. The 65-year-old editor-in-chief of Vogue became artistic director for Condé Nast in America, put a stop to Style.com/print, moved her magazine's office from its old location to Trade Center's brand new building. Plus, she caused worldwide pandemonium by placing Kim Kardashian and Kanye West on the cover of Vogue's April issue, ahead of their summer wedding, later saying: "I think if we just remain deeply tasteful and just put deeply tasteful people on the cover, it would be a rather boring magazine! Nobody would talk about us. It's very important that people do talk about us."
The rise of the young designers
Of course, fashion likes to focus on what's fresh; but never before has there been such a spotlight on young talent. An all-star jury featuring Karl Lagerfeld, Marc Jacobs, Nicolas Ghesquière, Raf Simons, Phoebe Philo and Riccardo Tisci, along with Kenzo’s Humberto Leon, anointed Thomas Tait the inaugural winner of the first ever LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton fashion prize in May, valued at 300,000 euros. It was open to anyone between the ages of 18 and 40 who has presented and sold at least two collections, and a total of 1,221 designers applied for a chance to win.
Designer's issues with the tax man
This year wasn't positive for certain Italian designers and accusations related to tax. It brought a dramatic end to the much watched trial of Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana with an acquittal and a reversal of verdict at Italy's highest court in October, and then authorities began to investigate Miuccia Prada and her husband, Patrizio Bertelli, in a case that's yet to be resolved.
There's nothing like a little fashion-related drama to round off the year, and currently that's being provided by Dov Charney and his royal exit/buy back game of hokey cokey with American Apparel, the company that he founded in 1989 and was recently fired from, for nearly running it into the ground. And now it seems he wants it back... To be continued.
Alibaba's monumental IPO
E-commerce mastermind Jack Ma — who founded the Alibaba online marketplace in 1999 and built the company into huge digital empire in China — made a record-setting stock offering on Wall Street this year. The brand raised $25 billion in September in the biggest ever initial public offering ever, not bad for something that was almost entirely off the Western World’s radar just a year ago. It is said that Alibaba now controls 82% of the online shopping market in China, serving 300 million people.
The rise of wearable tech
Aside from the aforementioned Apple Watch, the influx of other wearable tech options for 2015 is impossible to ignore. It's now a market estimated to be working to 278 million units by 2017 and $30 billion in sales by 2018 — and has cleverly reached out to designers: Google with Diane von Furstenberg, who designed five new frames and eight new shades for Google Glass, its eyewear that can search, navigate, share via social media, send messages and more. Fitbit collaborated with Tory Burch on an accessories collection. Whilst technology-savvy Rebecca Minkoff joined forces with Case-Mate to create a collection of tech accessories “that you’ll actually want to wear,” and Intel has been very smart and teamed up with Opening Ceremony to develop My Intelligent Communications Accessory, or 'MICA' which is being sold at Barneys New York and Opening Ceremony. Ralph Lauren also debuted a phone-charging Ricky bag and Michael Kors wowed us with his pioneering collaborative collection with Duracell – take another look at it here.