by Jordana Urman | Impressionist
‘Tis the season to recap the 10 biggest fashion stories of the year. 2014 has been a big year from the acquittal of Dolce and Gabanna for tax evasion to Karl Lagerfeld’s Barbie doll. Putting those two side shows aside, here are the 10 biggest stories of the year:
Perhaps the biggest loss of the year was the death at 82 of the world-renowned designer, Oscar de la Renta. Recognized as one of the last “greats” by the New York Times, his death left a hole in the fashion industry. De la Renta established himself as a designer who dressed socialites with a refined and luxurious style, as well as being a socialite and king of the red carpet. With an eye for detail, class, and the future, he will be sorely missed. In Diane von Furstenberg’s tribute she was quoted as saying: “…the only way that we can actually honor him is by all of us loving life, and loving fashion, and loving gardens…”
I am never a fan of saying this year was ‘someone’s year’. However, if this year was anyone’s, it was Cara Delevingne. From becoming the face of Mulberry and DKNY, to being featured in Karl Lagerfeld’s Chanel short video alongside Pharrel, Ms. Delevingne has taken this year by storm. Her dominance, with thick eyebrows and cat-like features unfolded slowly; first with stories about a link to Harry Styles, but then, in an ad, then on the cover of a magazine, and now, she is everywhere you look. With famous friends, a gorgeous face, and a great personality to boot, here’s to you Cara Delevingne. May you continue to reign as the ‘It’ girl for years to come.
Remember John Galliano? Of course you do. The chief designer of Givenchy and later Christian Dior is hard to forget. In 2011 Galliano was suspended from Dior after going on an anti-Semitic rant in a bar in Paris. After denying the reports (even though they were caught on camera) he was terminated from his position at Dior. This year however, he has begun to make a stunning comeback. In 2013, after receiving absolution from the Anti-defamation league for his seemingly changed ways, he received a temporary position on Oscar de la Renta’s design team. This year he is being welcomed back into the fashion world, taking the reins at Maison Martin Margiela, speaking at events, and even planning to feature his “comeback couture collection” in London. If Hugo Boss and Coco Chanel can survive and flourish it is no surprise Galliano is being welcomed back into the fold.
2014 marks Conde Nast’s move from the fashion district to the Freedom Tower, in the Financial District. While a move like this may sound somewhat irrelevant, it could mean a tide of change for the fashion district in midtown. In 1999 Conde Nast was the first to move to midtown, signifying the safety of the area for other fashion giants to follow suit. Will this move lead to yet another migration? 2014 could mark the beginning of a massive change to the fashion skyline.
2014 brought about a major acquisition for Neiman Marcus. MyTheresa.com is one of the leading online luxury retailers. With an anchor store located in Munich, they have taken Europe by storm and have established themselves as quite a strong luxury force. The acquisition sets Neiman Marcus apart from its other retail competitors such as Nordstroms, Lord and Taylor, Saks 5th Ave. and even Bloomingdales. Neiman Marcus now has something none of the others have, a significant presence in the European luxury market. Generating over 100 million Euros, MyTheresa is a thriving company that Neiman Marcus can now use to its advantage. Best of luck on your newest venture, and other retailers, beware; Neiman Marcus may have just acquired magic beans.
Fast Fashion has been on the rise for a while now but only really took off this year. The premise is that clothing from the catwalk can be in stores almost immediately. With Alexander Wang creating a line for H&M and Altuzarra creating an affordable and yet luxurious line for Target, Fast Fashion has established itself in the industry as a trend that will continue to thrive. Luxury as an exclusive commodity is rapidly becoming a thing of the past with high fashion designers offering lines at lower prices. Wang even had select pieces from the runway featured only in H&M giving even more incentive to shop at H&M for his pieces. 2014 brought in high fashion and luxury for all! Let them all eat cake!
WWD, the fashion industry bible, was purchased by Penske. The previously owned Condé Nast newspaper is one of the most read fashion papers in the United States. It has been reporting on the industry for decades and has been a trusted source of all fashion news. Mr. Penske has grand plans for the future of WWD meaning we, the avid readers, can expect to see welcomed changes. The global reach of the newspaper will be expanded through licensing deals, more writers will be hired, and the online presence will be increased. WWD will be brought into the 21st century. We are waiting for it and Santa to arrive.
The fight between the blogger and the fashion editor has been brewing for some time. One blogger has gone so far as to take the position that bloggers have more right to the front row at the fashion show than editors. The argument is that an editor has to write monthly articles… while bloggers report live. Editors counter that they work for well respected, established, influential papers and magazines with confirmed circulations, while bloggers, well, work for no one. I have the utmost respect for certain bloggers and street-style writers, however, the quality of bloggers and their audience reach (and, therefore, their influence) is uneven and their credentials vary. Editors are just on a different level. To demand that a blogger deserves a seat as much as Anna Wintour does, is just blasphemy. This year the fashion industry took a position. Oscar de la Renta vowed to invite only a little over 100 spectators to his show in order to leave seats for those who have earned them. In 2014 we saw editors retake their rightful seats.
2014 saw the rapid growth of the wearable technology trend. All different forms of wearable tech have come out including the fitbit, Polo Ralph Lauren’s tech shirt, and Rebecca Minkoff’s charm bracelet. Designers are creating apparel, accessories, and fitness wear that can do everything from monitor your heart rate to charge your smart phone. Each company is trying to win the research war and provide the most instantaneous information to wearers who are addicted to information, each seeking to come out with more elaborate yet user friendly pieces of technology that are fashionable. This fall Tommy Hilfiger came out with the Solar Panel Jacket that features charging pockets as well as solar panels on the outside of the jacket. Techno wear goes much further than providing information; it uses technology because it can. Amy Winters, the designer of the Rainbow Winters clothing line, makes garments that respond to their environment. For example, the dress is made with holographic leather and reacts to sound. As volume increases, it begins to illuminate and make what Winters describes as “visual music.” There are now bathing suits reacts to light, with the center panel turning into purple dots in the sun. Wearable tech is the future. (Chanel earrings that double as headphones? Who knows!)
Lucky began as the first magalog in 2004. With rumors of Lucky’s demise in the air, it joined forces with Beachmint to create The Lucky Group. Beachmint, which owns private-label online brands like Stylemint and JewelMint, will provide the technology for a brand-new e-commerce destination. Condé Nast will still print monthly issues. According to new president, Gorman Round, “there are a lot of digital properties out there, many of whom I love, and they’re now adding a print product or an editorial viewpoint, but the reality is that they’re coming from commerce and back ending it; we’re starting with the editorial viewpoint.” The Lucky Group will be an independent company. Eva Chen will be its chief creative officer and Anna Wintour will be an advisor. E-commerce platforms seem to be an established commodity. Whether Lucky can deliver a competitive edge is a roll of the dice.