Fashion was more restless than ever in 2015. There were hires and fires, insults and reconciliations, and enough shocking announcements to keep fashionistas on their well-clad toes.
People strutted their stuff in glorious gowns… and took it all off.
The seemingly unending shake-ups at the top labels earned frazzled fashionistas around the world an extra glass of eggnog (fat free, of course) this holiday season.
In July, Alexander Wang announced he was leaving Balenciaga after almost three years to focus on his own line.
Then, following Paris fashion week in October, designer Raf Simons revealed that he would not be renewing his contract with Dior.
The announcement stunned the fashion community, but before they had time to properly mourn, another shocker was dropped on their doorsteps: Alber Elbaz and Lanvin had parted ways—and not so amicably.
Vanessa Friedman in The New York Times called it an “ugly divorce,” and the two parties are taking their grievances to court in Paris.
Amidst the fashion splits, one of the common refrains of 2015 was how relentless the pace of fashion has become.
Designers are expected to produce an insane number of collections each year and often for more than one label.
Rather than work themselves into madness, some, like Simons are starting to choose to jump off the crazy hamster wheel of the fashion cycle. This will be one big issue to watch in 2016.
The Vanity Fair Cover Heard Round the World
For months, the world waited with bated breath to meet Caitlyn Jenner. Would her new name start with a “K” like the other members of the Kardashian Klan? Would her new look cause any fashion waves? When would she finally introduce herself to us?
On the cover of the July issue of Vanity Fair, Caitlyn Jenner posed seductively in nothing but a white silk bustier with long wavy locks, soft makeup, and just a hint of a smile behind the proclamation “Call me Caitlyn.” Cue worldwide jaw drop, and conversations and controversies that continue today.
The Name’s Cookie…
The other reigning fashion queen of the year was the queen of Empire, Cookie Lyon.
Cookie first took her place as a force of fashion in 2014, but 2015 proved she’s here to stay.
She’ll stop at nothing to defend her family and business—and she’ll do it while looking fierce. Giant fur coats, animal prints galore, plunging necklines, and a parade of gorgeous shoes… Cookie’s got it all. No one—not even her arch nemesis, Boo Boo Kitty—can touch her style and swag.
Zendaya Puts the Fashion Police On Blast
Giuliana Rancic put her foot in her mouth during the Oscars episode of the Fashion Police after making an off-color comment about Disney star Zendaya’s red carpet look.
Zendaya was feminine and fierce in an ivory, off-shoulder Vivienne Westwood gown with her hair worn in beautiful, long dreadlocks. Rancic did not take to the look, saying, “I feel like she smells like patchouli oil… or weed.”
The ripple effects were severe, with Kelly Osbourne leaving the show, shortly followed by Kathy Griffin.
But one person did come out on top. Zendaya received an outpouring of support after tweeting a strong and stirring response, calling out the E! News anchor for comments that were “not only a large stereotype but outrageously offensive.”
Not only did people rally around the star and her eloquent response, but Mattel is turning her stunning Oscar look into a new Barbie.
Rihanna’s Yellow Met Gala Gown Gets a Meme of Its Own
When the theme of the 2015 Met Gala was announced—“China: Through the Looking Glass”—fashion critics were a little worried.
Would the stars take it too far? Would we be penning stories about cringeworthy stereotypes and the dangers of cultural appropriation?
But then Rihanna stepped out onto the red carpet and our eyes were gloriously dazzled.
Her stunning, 55-pound, bright-yellow gown by Chinese couturier Guo Pei swept the red carpet and the Internet.
It was the dress that launched a thousand memes, not to mention the international profile of an established Chinese designer.
As for the exhibit in question, “China: Through the Looking Glass” was a blockbuster hit and became the Costume Institute’s most successful fashion exhibition ever.
…And if You Weren’t Dressed in Yellow, You Were Dressed in Nearly Nothing at All
If Rihanna took home the award for “most clothed” with her awesomely intricate gown, Beyoncé was at the other end of the spectrum, strutting her stuff in some strategically placed bling and barely anything else.
The Met birthday suit-sisterhood also included Kim Kardashian and Jennifer Lopez, making this, shall we say, look a full-on trend.
At the MTV Video Music Awards in August, five stars showed up in what we assume were very expensive next-to-nothing’s: Nicki Minaj, Miley Cyrus, Chrissy Teigen, Britney Spears, and FKA twigs.
2015 was, by no means, the first year that some well-placed bling was all that was required for a formal look, but it was the year the nearly-nudes took over the red carpet.
The Pirelli Calendar Goes Leibowitz
The infamously sexy Pirelli Calendar, on the other hand, got a more conservative makeover.
Under the artistic direction of photographer Annie Leibovitz, the publication known for shooting tastefully saucy pin-up photos of models like Naomi Campbell, Kate Moss, and Gigi Hadid, went a more high-minded route for its 2016 version.
Leibowitz chose to showcase (mostly fully-clothed) women known for their cultural impact, like Tavi Gevinson, Serena Williams, Patti Smith, and Yoko Ono.
Only one of the “models” embraced the spirit of past Pirellis—always funny Amy Schumer looked serious posing on a stool with a cup of coffee… and wearing nothing but a pair of high heels and dainty underwear.
Natalie Massenet Leaves Net-a-Porter
Natalie Massenet skyrocketed to fame after founding the online retailer Net-a-Porter in 2000.
Changing the way the wealthy shop for their designer duds, Massenet seemed like an unstoppable force—which is why the fashion world was shocked (once again), when it was announced in September that Massenet would be leaving her company following its merger with Italian e-shop Yoox.
Massenet, who said in a press release that it was “the right time for me to move on to explore new ideas and opportunities,” apparently has a new project already in the works. The merger, on the other hand, may not be going quite as smoothly as it seemed, according to The New York Times, with some Net-a-Porter investors, as well as Massenet, angry the company was sold for too little.
The Fashion World Mourns Ingrid Sischy
In July, the fashion and art critic, Ingrid Sischy passed away at the age of 63 from breast cancer.
Throughout her career, she wrote for Interview, The New Yorker, and Vanity Fair and was known for her incredible talent as an observer of culture and society, not to mention her outstanding creativity and sense of fun.
In an emotional tribute, Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter wrote that Sischy “could write about anything, but what interested her most were art and fashion, and she traversed those two hothouses like a bemused empress… She was a fun, conspiratorial gossip, but never with malice or envy.” She will be missed.
Au Revoir, America’s Next Top Model
After 12 years and 22 seasons, the show that introduced ordinary Americans to the ins and outs of modeling—and added a whole new chapter to our vocabulary (don’t forget to smize and beauty tooch this holiday season when you pose for some flawsome family photos)—came to an end this year.
We’ll miss the antics of the show’s queen bee, Tyra Banks, the outrageous challenges wannabe models were forced to endure, and the pure entertainment served up by one of the first reality competition shows.
Not to Overlook These Notable Mentions
Donna Karan stepped down, and the Public School boys stepped up to take the reins at DKNY.
The world went gaga over Princess Charlotte, but fell even harder for Prince George and his adorable knee socks.
Speaking of Gaga, the Lady Monster toned it down this year at the Emmy’s, while boy bander Harry Styles embraced his wild fashionisto.
Céline said “no thanks” to supermodels and chose literary rockstar Joan Didion as the face of its brand.
Fashion publishing took a hit when Style.com, Lucky, and Details were all shuttered. Legendary Women’s Wear Daily publisher John B. Fairchild died in February; two months later, the magazine officially moved to online-only.
There was that time Kim Kardashian went platinum blond, and the time when we couldn’t stop fighting over whether a dress was white and gold or blue and black.
Rick Owens earned the most runway jaw-drops in 2015. His models traipsed down the Paris runway in January letting it all hang out.
Owens then outdid himself with his Spring/Summer ready-to-wear collection featuring models wearing, well, models.
And the fashion world went happy-crazy when two surprise guests walked the Valentino runway in March: Derek Zoolander and Hansel are back!
Finally, Anna Wintour Wishes She Was Karl Lagerfeld’s Cat
While presenting Karl Lagerfeld with the Outstanding Achievement Award at the British Fashion Awards in November, Anna Wintour, the Queen of Fashion, revealed a shocking secret: “I have often thought that in my next life, I would like to come back as Choupette, [Lagerfeld’s] extremely beautiful and bourgeois cat, who has two maids, a chef, a personal hairdresser and many diamond necklaces.” Who can blame her?