Versace, Gucci, Burberry and more went fur-free
2018 is the year fashion got serious about social responsibility. Gucci announced its decision to ditch fur in October 2017, which created a domino effect the following year: fashion powerhouse brands like Versace, Furla, Tom Ford, Jimmy Choo, Burberry and Chanel followed suit, each making considerable strides towards a commitment to ethical business practices a la Stella McCartney, the OG queen of green luxury. Environmental activists also saw another victory when London Fashion Week banned animal fur, making it the first fashion capital to do so. Will 2019 be the year that the fashion industry says goodbye to fur for good?
The fanny pack became the new must-have accessory
Just like logomania, fashion's obsession with belt bags does not seem to be waning. In fact, in 2018, the nifty pouch accounted for 1% of fashion accessorie sales, overtaking totes, shoppers and messenger bags. (Fun fact: according to surveys by Lyst, Gucci's Marmont belt bag was the most coveted of the bunch.) It's no coincidence that other practical bag silhouettes, such as backpacks and luggages, were also popular, reflecting fashion's growing preference for utilitarian design.
Moncler Genius changed the collaboration game
It has been collaborations galore this past year. We saw all our favourite designer labels pairing up to create fashion merch that were instant hits: Moschino x H&M, Nike x Off-White, Gucci x Dapper Dan, Burberry x Vivienne Westwood and the 10-strong dream team that was Commes des Garçons with Gucci, Burberry, Maison Margiela and several more.
Moncler did things differently: instead of creating one-off capsules, the brand launched Moncler Genius, a unique collaborative project where eight other designers including Valentino, Craig Green, Simone Rocha and Kei Ninomiya reinterpret its iconic down jacket each season. The beauty of Moncler Genius is that it lets the creativity and vision of each designer to truly take centre stage, not just through their distinctive Moncler puffers but also through their compelling installations for the Moncler Genius presentations at Milan Fashion Week.
Rihanna redefined our idea of lingerie
Before 2018, dressing up in pretty lingerie was a privilege that only Victoria's Secret models or women with their picture-perfect bodies could afford. And then Rihanna happened. Last September, the singer-slash-beauty mogul launched her lingerie label, Savage x Fenty, at New York Fashion Week, with the same diversity-driven approach that we've seen at Fenty Beauty.
Models of all shapes, colours and sizes (most notable of them was a very pregnant Slick Woods) appeared at the fashion show, which was more of a performance art piece celebrating confidence and inclusivity than a straightforward runway show selling sex. "It was important to me to push the boundaries, but also create a line that women can see themselves in, " said Bad Gal RiRi. "I want to make people look and feel good." Let's hope that attitude spreads to the rest of the industry in 2019.
Virgil Abloh made history as the first black designer to helm Louis Vuitton
Throughout its 164-year history, Louis Vuitton has only been headed by Artistic Directors that are white and formally trained in fashion — two things that Off-White's creative director, Virgil Abloh, is not. That's why of all the designer reshuffles at major luxury brands that we've seen this past year, Abloh's appointment as Louis Vuitton's Artistic Director of Menswear was the most surprising. The move was a monumental moment in fashion, officially making Abloh the third African-American designer ever to join the ranks of the heads of other French heritage houses, such as Karl Lagerfeld, Nicholas Ghesquière and Clare Waight Keller.
It goes without saying that Abloh's rainbow-infused debut Louis Vuitton show was a big deal, featuring a diverse cast of models and a star-studded front row that included Kim Kardashian, Bella Hadid, Rihanna and his long-time collaborator Kanye West. The show also underscored the rising influence of streetwear in the world of luxury fashion, something that Abloh's predecessor Kim Jones helped pave the way for.
Menswear embraced femininity thanks to Kim Jones
With brands like Jacquemus, The Row and Celine establishing menswear lines, the message is clear: menswear was bigger than ever in 2018, and it's even expected to overtake womenswear as the dominating market in the next two years. With that said, Kim Jones points us to the new direction that men's fashion is headed: one that takes inspiration from fashion's feminine couture past and distills it into elegant and modern tailored offerings. That's what he presented with his debut Dior Men collection last February, which saw an array of softly-hued and impeccable suits, coats and shirts bearing delicate details like lace, embroidery and florals — another motif that popped up in Jones' follow-up Dior Men Pre-Fall 2019 collection. Mark our words: the future of men's fashion is pale pink.
Hedi Slimane transformed Céline into CELINE
Undoubtedly the most controversial debut of 2018, Hedi Slimane's first Celine collection spelled disaster for Philophiles who craved subtle, elegant and wearable luxury. On the other hand, dedicated fans of Slimane's glamorous, rock'n'roll-inspired aesthetic — which he established during his tenure at Saint Laurent and Dior Homme — had reason to rejoice, especially after Slimane's two-year absence from fashion. The Italian designer's appointment as Celine's artistic director also saw the introduction of Celine's first menswear line, with a signature house fragrance to follow in 2019. Missing é's aside, Slimane's takeover opened up a conversation within the industry about the state of women's fashion today, as well as the (mostly male) figures who lead it. Is the future of fashion female after all? We'll see in 2019.
Daniel Lee became the new Creative Director of Bottega Veneta
If Lee had replaced Tomas Maier before Phoebe Philo's departure from Céline (and fashion altogether?), his move might not have made as many waves as it did. As it turned out, his experience as the former Director of Ready-to-Wear Design at Céline meant that his first Bottega Veneta collection was cast under the spotlight, especially by those eager for a new luxury fashion brand to turn to after Slimane's aforementioned takeover. Thankfully, the British designer delivered: satin blouses, finely tailored jackets and sensual slip dresses all echoed Philo's minimalist approach with an Italian twist.
Riccardo Tisci ushered in a new chapter of British fashion
Evidently, 2018 saw no shortages of reinventions at heritage fashion houses. Riccardo Tisci became the new Chief Creative Officer at Burberry in March, ending Christopher Bailey's 17-year reign at Britain's biggest fashion house. The Italian designer showed a diverse collection of 134 looks for his first Burberry show, catering to everyone from the working woman and the tailored gentleman to the girls and boys with street-luxe sensibilities. Aside from broadening Burberry's appeal across generations, Tisci also launched the "B Series", a line of limited-edition unisex pieces that are released through streetwear-style flash drops. And let's not forget that he teamed up with legendary British designer Vivienne Westwood for a punk-inspired capsule for his first Burberry collaboration. With all the buzz around it, there's no doubt that Tisci's Burberry will continue to conquer in 2019, one shade of beige at a time.
Raf Simons exited Calvin Klein
After two years as Chief Creative Officer of Calvin Klein, Raf Simons abruptly stepped down from his role last week. The American brand's disappointing sales under Simons were apparently to blame, despite the fact that Simons's collections had a good track record in the eyes of fashion critics (the Belgian designer even bagged three CFDA awards for his work at Calvin Klein). Naturally, we're all wondering who will fill the gap that Simons has left at Calvin Klein, but also at New York Fashion Week. With his celebrity status, Simons's shows kept New York on the fashion map, despite the departure of several key American-based designers such as Alexander Wang from the NYFW calendar in the last two years. Simons's absence will undoubtedly be felt, but it just might be the trigger for a new era of American fashion in 2019.