The year in style
While the invasion of this country’s malls and main streets by foreign retailers from Target to Mulberry redefined the buying landscape, it was Canadian department stores that made the biggest plays for shopper attention in 2013. Hudson’s Bay both sealed its deal to buy swanky Saks Fifth Avenue (which it intends to bring north in the not-to-distant future) and opened the largest women’s shoe department in Canada at its Toronto flagship (think 95,000-plus pairs). For its part, Holt Renfrew debuted its off-price HR2 concept and announced a revamp of Ogilvy in Montreal.
Comings and goings
In an age and industry marked by look-at-me showiness, the maturity and restraint that 30-year-old Alexander Wang displayed in his first two collections for Balenciaga were refreshing. Although his affinity for street style is well established, Wang signalled that he isn’t going to reinvent the august brand overnight, but rather evolve it gradually – at his own pace and in his own way.
Before Marc Jacobs, Louis Vuitton was simply a purveyor of luxury leather goods. Over his 15-year tenure, however, the maison became a ready-to-wear powerhouse, showcasing both the designer’s vast creativity and its own savoir-faire. In October, Jacobs delivered his swan song for LV with an all-black, showgirls-themed runway extravaganza, but his imprint on the brand will remain indelible.
As if Burberry’s chief creative director didn’t already have enough responsibility, Christopher Bailey was also named the iconic British label’s CEO this fall; he will succeed Angela Ahrendts, who departs for Apple in the spring. This type of creative/financial double duty, largely unheard of in fashion, has no blueprint to go with it. If Bailey’s appointment was widely discussed, his first year on both jobs should keep tongues wagging well into 2014 and beyond.
Best in shows
Everyone in Paris can go home now: Rick Owens just won fashion month. Show goers know to expect the unexpected from Owens–he’s not the most conventional designer. But this year he managed to out-do even himself by hiring a competitive step dance team to model his spring 2014 collection. the dance team was brought in from the US–and you don’t bring in a step team to just walk the runway, obviously. They stomped, mean-mugged, and downright owned it.
For Chanel’s fall/winter 2013 collection, Karl Lagerfeld envisioned a gargantuan rotating globe pinpricked with illuminated flags marking every one of the company’s 300-plus boutiques, confirming (for those who didn’t already suspect it) that his goal is nothing short of world domination.
It’s rare for a designer to share the spotlight during a show, but Dries van Noten did just that when he shone one – literally – on Radiohead’s Colin Greenwood, who played bass guitar during his spring/summer 2014 presentation. Reinforcing the friendly, informal vibe, the models remained in place after their final walk, allowing guests to get close to and snap pictures of the lushly detailed collection.
Print of the year
Over the decades, fashion designers have riffed on a wide range of references, both high and low. This year’s standout reinterpretation, which falls in the Where-have-I seen-that-before? department: Pheobe Philo’s elevation of dime-store laundry-bag weaves into glamorous Céline must-haves. Talk about effective brainwashing.
Object of desire
Unveiled at Milan’s Salone del Mobile in April, industrial designer Konstantin Grcic’s Medici chair for the Italian furniture maker Mattiazzi is an impressive feat of geometry, as mesmerizingly angular as it is inviting. Its Renaissance namesakes would have approved.
Color of the year
Pantone’s Radiant Orchid, selected as its Color of the Year will, in theory, will have a strong presence in fashion, beauty, home design and consumer products. Radiant Orchid reveals a brighter, fresher tone than the lowly, grayish mauve of yore. Most millennials won’t remember this, but in the 1980s, there was a color similar to Radiant Orchid called mauve.
Fur is a perennial fashion-world tool, but this year saw it put to truly monstrous use. During New York Fashion Week, both Joseph Altuzarra and Alexander Wang showed cartoonishly oversized fur mittens at their fall shows. But it was the designer Jeremy Scott, Moschino’s recently appointed creative director, who pushed this micro-trend the furthest for his eponymous line, sending the model Lindsey Wixson down the runway in a Yeti-inspired faux-fur onesie complete with hood and tail.
Musical man muses
Cher has Bob Mackie to create her touring duds. Madonna tapped Gaultier to memorable effect. This year, though, it was male singing stars who formed the most fruitful relationships with designers. For his outré wardrobe on the Yeezus Tour, Kanye West partnered with Maison Martin Margiela, which provided the rapper-dilettante with his printed trousers, embroidered jackets and jewel-encrusted masks. Toronto-born Drake, meanwhile, hooked up with Italo Zucchelli, the men’s creative director at Calvin Klein, who reinterpreted several of the label’s spring 2014 street-wear-inspired looks for his Would You Like a Tour show. Most impressive, however, were the 600 exquisitely tailored pieces Tom Ford supplied for Justin Timberlake’s 20/20 Experience, which saw JT, his dancers and his backing band in sync stylistically.
Jennifer Lawrence can do no wrong. The actress who turned her Oscar-night pratfall-in-a-ballgown into a genuinely winning moment also had the most-buzzed-about haircut of the year: a choppy pixie do that’s very short at the back and long and sideswept in the front. Girl on fire indeed.
Bad as they wanna be
Out went Hannah Montana and in came twerking, provocative Miley! Wherever your allegiance lies, there is no denying her talent. We enjoyed the show [can’t wait to see what’s next]. Twenty, rebellious, and hot; Go Miley!