A year in review: Fashion – What Was Hot and What Was Not

In our penultimate ‘A year in review’ feature, Aoife Valentine explains who the winners and losers of fashion were in 2011

What Was Hot

The Middletons

It was difficult to avoid coverage of the Royal wedding in April this year, not least the rave reviews of Kate’s wedding dress and Pippa’s ass in her own dress. Whether or not Pippa intended for the world’s focus to be on her ass during her sister’s wedding to Prince William, it was. Both dresses were beautifully designed by Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen and were stunning in their relative simplicity. Not content with wowing the world at large at the wedding, the sisters have consistently appeared on best-dressed lists, seemingly incapable of making choices that aren’t both stylish and elegant.

Versace for H&M

While Gianni Versace probably rolled over in his grave when his fashion label took to the high street in the form of a collaboration with H&M, Donatella looked suitably at home on a pink carpet on Regent Street this year. The collection sold out in less than half an hour and two security guards were hospitalised on the launch day. The collection was a throwback to classic early-Versace flamboyance with its bright, flashy numbers mixed with some more minimalist sophisticated pieces, closer to the brand’s image today. It was true Versace style brought to the mass market. Or, at least, the part of the mass market willing enough to be trampled for it.

Alexander McQueen ‘Savage Beauty’ at the MET

The MET’s ‘Savage Beauty’ exhibition, honouring the late Alexander McQueen, was the museum’s second biggest opening day, with only the infamous 2005 Van Gogh exhibition attracting more visitors. Featuring one hundred of his designs, it truly captured the man behind the clothes, and offered an insight into his often dark nature. Hosted in the same location as the renowned designer’s very first postgraduate show, it was a fitting and elegant tribute to one of Britain’s most talented and creative designers.

Period Drama on the Runway

It would seem that this year it wasn’t only us that were glued to Downton, with designers at several fashion houses seeming to take inspiration from it as well as shows such as Mad Men and Boardwalk Empire. Collections with a retro feel to them hit runways everywhere this year, with particular emphasis on 1920s trends. Period dramas were never hotter.

Ombre Hair

Everyone from Jessica Biel to Rachel Bilson to Drew Barrymore tried out the ombre hair trend this year, with dark roots flawlessly blending into lighter tips being seen everywhere you turned. Even Alexa Chung, in all her hipster glory, couldn’t resist jumping on the dip-dye bandwagon. If it’s done wrong, it might just look like you’ve let your roots grow extremely long, which means you are lazy and unkempt, but done right it’s the perfect blend of messy-sexy.

What Was Not

John Galliano

A forty-five second grainy video ended Galliano’s reign as creative director of fashion powerhouse Dior, when it revealed him drunkenly hurling anti-Semitic abuse at a couple in Paris. It instantly shattered people’s perception of him as an eccentric genius, and marked him as a racist. Karl Lagerfeld of Chanel was seething, Natalie Portman, Dior’s then latest cover girl for ‘Miss Cherie’, refused to wear Dior on the red carpet as was expected, major retailers pulled his line from their stores and it seems as though Kate Moss, whose wedding dress was Galliano, is one of his few sympathisers. His position at Dior however, remains unfilled nine months later.

The Situation

The Situation, ‘star’ of Jersey Shore was paid off by Abercromie and Fitch to stop wearing their clothes. The show’s success has afforded Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino and his co-stars numerous endorsement deals with bronzer and weight loss supplements among other products, but Abercrombie and Fitch offered to pay him to “wear an alternate brand,” claiming it was upsetting their fans. If this wasn’t a huge publicity stunt, Abercrombie and Fitch need to take another look at who their target audience is in reality.

Princess Beatrice’s hat

It is really best not to dwell on what the ridiculous hat Princess Beatrice wore to the Royal wedding looks like, but it was quite the spectacle. Princess Eugenie, whose hat was also a questionable choice, is lucky she stood next to Beatrice in the now famous photos, because she may not have gotten off so lightly in the ridicule stakes had Beatrice’s hat not been asking for it. Beatrice took it all very well however, and raised €93,150 for charity by auctioning the hat, which she was presumably never going to wear a second time, on Ebay. Even so, it still shouldn’t see the light of day again.

Kanye’s Fashion Range

Kanye West couldn’t just create a scent and call it ‘Kanye: Man’ like most other celebrities who know nothing about fashion design. No, he decided to create a fashion line, and more than that, he decided to debut it at Paris Fashion Week, alongside many, many accomplished and renowned designers. The industry at large just lolled.

Nicki Minaj

A poor man’s Lady Gaga, she takes it over the top and right back around to all the wrong kinds of mental. Perhaps her fearless style is something to be celebrated, but it flops too often for it to not just become offensive to your poor eyes. What Gaga gets away with and is renowned for, Minaj simply cannot, and with that in mind, she should really stop trying.