As the year comes to a close, we take a look back at the most defining fashion moments of the past twelve months. 2014 was an eventful, heart-wrenching and controversial year in the realm of fashion as we said goodbye to a number of fashion icons, saw the downfall of a controversial CEO and made way for exciting design collaborations. Here’s a look at the milestones that were celebrated, the people we lost, and the comings and goings of various designers.
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The death of Oscar de la Renta
Oscar de la Renta, who had been battling cancer for years, passed away at the age of 82. Born in the Dominican Republic, in 1951 he left home for Spain at 19 to study painting. He began drawing clothing to make money, which sparked an interest in fashion. In his long and celebrated career he worked as an illustrator for Cristobal Balenciaga, was president of the CFDA, and became the couture designer for Balmain. In addition to his own ready-to-wear line, he also had bridal, children’s, and home collections. De la Renta, who’s work was known for a classic, feminine style, will be missed.
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Alexander Wang x H&M
2014 could very well be dubbed the year of Wang. The designer pumped out six collections for his eponymous label, two for his diffusion line T by Alexander Wang, and six for Balenciaga (including his menswear lines), and launched a denim collection. In addition to this he teamed up with H&M for a line, which started a frenzy in North America and Europe. Hardcore fans lined up the night before to make sure they could get admission bracelets. This collection was heavily promoted, with a runway event in New York and a VIP party in Paris. Although sales numbers have not yet been released, there were reports of items selling out very quickly. From the high fashion of Balenciaga to the affordable fast-fashion of H&M, Alexander Wang is on top of the game.
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Nicolas Ghesquiere starts at Vuitton
It was a bit of a shock when Nicolas Ghesquiere was fired from Balenciaga in 2012, and naturally people were excited to see his work again. Ghesquiere not only knocked it out of the park with his first collection, but also had a great ad campaign, featuring the work of three very different photographers: Annie Leibovitz, Bruce Weber, and Juergen Teller. The celebrated designer’s absence from the creative world of fashion had been missed, and in the past year it has been a delight to see him work with the history of the iconic brand, yet still making it modern. Clearly LVMH (parent company of Louis Vuitton) hired the right man for the job.
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The death of L’wren Scott
In March American fashion designer L’wren Scott committed suicide in her New York apartment. She was only 46 years old. In addition to being a designer, Scott’s career ran for decades, starting as a model and then working as a stylist. Both she and her work were often described as glamorous. It is still unclear as to why she chose to end her life, although rumors implied that financial trouble in her company caused her a great deal of stress. This was an incredibly sad situation.
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Jean Paul Gaultier’s final bow… sort of
Jean Paul Gaultier made the choice to end his ready-to-wear collection. “Spectacle” does not even begin to describe his final runway show, which featured over 70 looks inspired by luchadores, prominent fashion editors, and beauty pageants, which culminated in a supermodel dance party. If there is one thing that his final show was a reminder of, it was that Gaultier makes fashion fun. Thankfully, he is not completely walking away. Although his ready-to-wear line is now gone, Gaultier will still be focusing on his couture line, as well as collaborations with retailers.
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Galliano announced at Margiela
Forever doing the unexpected, Maison Margiela named John Galliano as their new creative director, or rather, Renzo Rosso (president of the company that owns Margiela) did. It seems as though the house (known for anonymity) found themselves the boldest designer they could. It’s a little jarring to go from a deliberately anonymous design team to one of the most discussed, celebrated, and controversial designers in recent years, but Galliano is nothing if not incredibly talented. His presence in the fashion world has been missed since he was fired from Dior, and despite ideological differences, it will be interesting to see what he does at Margiela. This is certainly something to look forward to in 2015 – Galliano’s debut will be the couture show in January.
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American Apparel Founder Dov Charney Gets Fired
After an extensive internal investigation hipster-wear giant American Apparel made the controversial decision to fire it’s founder and CEO Dov Charney. It was a move that made front page news all over the world. But Dov is no stranger to front page news, in fact frequent sexual harassment allegations, law suits and questionable behavior was the main reason for his termination. In an exciting move, the struggling clothing company replaced Charney with boss lady Paula Schneider, a former top executive at BCBG Max Azria.
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The Row and Victoria Beckham open stores
The Olsen sisters and Beckham have a lot in common: they all had careers in the spotlight (the Olsens as actresses and Beckham as a pop star) before turning to fashion. Despite any preconceived notions people may have initially had, they were all extremely dedicated, and showed talent in the field of fashion. 2014 saw The Row (the Olsen’s high end line) and Beckham in brick and mortar, opening flagship stores in LA and London respectively. In an age when online shopping is increasing in popularity, investing in a real-world space shows how confident these designers are in their lines.
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Frida Giannini leaves Gucci
No one saw this coming – just before the holidays, and in the middle of pre-fall collections being released, Gucci announced that creative director Frida Giannini would be stepping down. Giannini began with Gucci in 2002, and become Creative Director in 2006. According to the official statement her final womenswear collection for A/W 2015 will be presented in February in Milan. It was also announced that Patrizio di Marco, Gucci’s CEO, would also be leaving. While Marco Bizzarri has already been announced as Patrizio’s replacement, there has been no word on who will be filling Frida’s shoes.
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Celebrating the big 4-0
It was the year to celebrate 40! Model Kate Moss celebrated the milestone age by posing for Playboy magazine, while Givenchy creative director Riccardo Tisci celebrated with an elaborate party in Ibiza. But more importantly, Diane von Furstenberg celebrated 40 years of her iconic and career defining wrap dress. The garment was looked back upon by a retrospective in LA titled “Journey of a Dress”, and in November she released her memoirs. Here’s to 40 more!
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Opening Ceremony’s one-act play
In this seemingly bizarre (but completely awesome) event, Opening Ceremony chose to show their collection at NYFW in the form of a one-act play rather than a traditional fashion show or presentation. Written by Spike Jonze and Jonah Hill, and starring Elle Fanning, Catherine Keener, and Karlie Kloss, the play skewered the fashion industry – specifically, fashion shows – with Fanning playing a young model going through the casting process. This was an interesting and lively way to present a collection, and put clothing in context for real-world wearers (actors were seen sitting and moving about, not just strutting).