Year In Review 2012: Fashion Recap For A Momentous 12 Months Of Style [PHOTOS]

on December 21 2012 2:13 PM
Michelle Obama
U.S. first lady Michelle Obama applauds after concluding her address to delegates during the first session of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, September 4, 2012. Reuters

Coco Chanel once said fashion is not purely about dress, but rather "is in the sky, in the street. Fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening." And what was happening with this year's fashion was nothing short of memorable.

From a wacky, Twitter-using cat to a "Cat Daddy," from a man dress to "meggings," and from a hot dog/hamburger feud to a curvaceous model sexily eating burgers, 2012 was a momentous year in style news.

From the best dressed on the red carpet, to memorable moments -- both good and bad -- to unexpected sartorial surprises, fashion designers and celebrities made 2012 truly fashionable.

 

Michelle Obama U.S. first lady Michelle Obama applauds after concluding her address to delegates during the first session of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, September 4, 2012.  Reuters

Michelle Obama

It's hard to pinpoint only one standout moment for the FLOTUS, whose unforgettable wardrobe provided a myriad of successes in style. The same way pundits and supporters focused attention on her husband's policies and appearances, Mrs. Obama's sartorial choices were in the spotlight constantly, down to the very last details like her nails. In fact, a piece in The New York Times chronicled the spike of business in Artistic Nail Design's nail polish line, which completely sold out of the blue-grey color called "Vogue" practically at the same moment Obama slathered it on her fingernails. But while the first lady attempted to be thrifty by donning repeat outfits -- like the indigo Preen dress from the first presidential debate -- Obama did recycle a favorite designer in her most notable outfit of the year: The Tracy Reese dress she wore to the Democratic National Convention. Along with a speech that moved many to tears, Obama dazzled in the pink silk jacquard brocade frock so much, that the dress caused Reese's website to crash. A small price to pay for an estimated $14 million in business on average a designer gets from Obama backing.

 

Marc Jacobs Designer Marc Jacobs arrives at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Benefit celebrating the opening of the "Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations" exhibition in New York, May 7, 2012.  Reuters

Marc Jacobs

From his Spring 2013 collection for his eponymous line with such a fast-paced show that resembled an acid trip, to the ultra-mod swinging show for the Spring 2013 collection for Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs had a stellar year in fashion behind-the-scenes. But the 49-year-old designer also stole the spotlight himself at the Met Gala by showing up in a lace dress sporting his white boxers underneath. The designer said, “I just didn't want to wear a tuxedo and be boring.” Well, kudos, Marc, you win. From the pilgrim shoes to his lightly tousled hair, Jacobs was the antithesis of boring.

 

Psy South Korean rapper Psy attends a news conference before a free concert at the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore December 1, 2012.  Reuters

Gangnam Style

Despite its lack of originality, it would be naive to say viral video hit "Gangnam Style" didn't influence us all a bit stylistically this year. It seems everyone is channeling their inner Seoul thanks to Psy, the man responsible for that catchy tune "Gangnam Style." Aside from being a popular Halloween costume, the style -- which has now become a household name -- reflects the luxury of Psy's homeland, where everyone apparently wears saddle shoes, bow ties and flashy suits. You'd swear the Korean rapper was the trailblazer of the tuxedo.

 

Brant Brothers Peter (L) and Harry Brant arrive for the 2012 New York City Ballet Fall Gala at the Lincoln Center in New York September 20, 2012. This year's event celebrated fashion designer Valentino Garavani.  Reuters

Peter Brant II and Harry Brant

Fashion's newest dynamic duo, brothers Peter Brant II and Harry Brant, had quite a year. Peter II, 18, and 15-year-old Harry, the sons of super-duper-model Stephanie Seymour, have become top priority on New York gossip columnists' late night party coverage as the "It" boys who follow around the fashion set like Derek Blasberg and post witty banter on Twitter. While the hermanos may not have hit the mainstream as much as say, the Jenner sisters, the Brants are slated to be part the best-dressed elite for years to come.

 

 

label shakeups From (L-R, Top-Bottom) Betsey Johnson, Raf Simons, Alexander Wang, Hedi Slimane.  Reuters

Label Shakeups

 

With fashion ever-evolving from season to season, so are its labels.

In March, Yves Saint Laurent's creative director Stefano Pilati left the label and was replaced by Hedi Slimane. The newly named designer came in with a new name for the label – now called Saint Laurent Paris – and moved its headquarters to Los Angeles.

 

In April, iconic designer Betsey Johnson, best known for her whimsy designs and runway cartwheels, filed bankruptcy and liquidated all of her stores. That same month, Raf Simons replaced John Galliano as creative director of Dior, freeing up his post for designer Jil Sander to return to her eponymous label.

Most recently, Alexander Wang was named the new creative director for Balenciaga, taking over for Nicolas Ghesquiere, who reportedly left after 15 years because of a dispute with parent company PPR. But according to Vogue's Grace Coddington, Ghesquiere "will bide his time and come back. He's too brilliant to just disappear." Perhaps 2013 will bring him to the Schiaparelli label, which still is without a creative director.

 

Cathy Horyn Cathy Horyn of The New York Times.  Creative Commons

Fashion Feuds

 

For many, fashion is worth fighting for, even if it means getting violent.

At the Zac Posen Spring 2013 show (which saw Naomi Campbell walk the runway) in September, French magazine editor Jennifer Eymere reportedly slapped publicist Lynn Tesoro over seating arrangements. Meanwhile, IBTimes was fine and dandy in our seats and enjoyed the show which channeled society mavens a la Cecil Beaton's classic American elegance.

 

That same season, a nasty review from The New York Times' fashion critic Cathy Horyn for Hedi Slimane's debut collection with Saint Laurent resulted in a Twitter feud and her banishment from SL runways shows.

 

Horyn was full of drama for the Spring 2013 season, causing more trouble when she characterized Oscar de la Renta as “far more a hot dog than an éminence grise of American fashion.” The designer then took to WWD, buying out a full page for an open letter in which he fired back and called her “a stale, three-day-old hamburger.” Thankfully, a report from Dec. 11 alleged they have reconciled after grilling each others' meat.

 

Tory Burch and husband Christopher Burch also spent most of the year battling in dramatic fashion after his new line C. Burch allegedly copied her eponymous label. The case will go to court in 2013.

 

Kate Upton CFDA Guidelines and Kate Upton All hail to curves, thanks to the CFDA's new guidelines for models and the breakout model that brought sexy back, Kate Upton. In February, the CFDA issued new rules that models must be over the age of 16 to model in runways shows and promoted a healthier body image to combat eating disorders which frequent the modeling and fashion industries. Conde Nast and Vogue mimicked these efforts. 2012 was also the year Upton, the Sports Illustrated's Swimsuit Edition cover model, after she hit the YouTube waves with her "Cat Daddy" dance. Another video of her flouncing around by photographer Terry Richardson catapulted the model into spreads with high fashion magazines like Harper's Bazaar and Vogue, not to mention a few fast food ad campaigns.  Creative Commons

CFDA Guidelines and Kate Upton

 

All hail to curves, thanks to the CFDA's new guidelines for models and the breakout model that brought sexy back, Kate Upton. In February, the CFDA issued new rules that models must be over the age of 16 to model in runways shows and promoted a healthier body image to combat eating disorders that afflict  the modeling and fashion industries. Conde Nast and Vogue mimicked these efforts.

 

2012 was also the year of Upton, the Sports Illustrated's Swimsuit Edition cover model, after she hit the YouTube waves with her "Cat Daddy" dance. Another video of her flouncing around by photographer Terry Richardson catapulted the model into spreads with high fashion magazines like Harper's Bazaar and Vogue, not to mention a few fast food ad campaigns.

 

kanye-west Kanye West's Skirt and Meggings An event doesn't have to be good to be memorable, like Kanye West's leather Givenchy skirt he wore to the 12-12-12 Hurricane Sandy benefit concert in New York City. The 35-year-old rapper, and self-proclaimed stylist for girlfriend Kim Kardashian, rocked the "skants" trend, pairing the pleated skirt (which he's actually worn before) with a pair of "meggings," or leggings for men. Everyone's skirts were in such a knot that it became nearly impossible not to poke fun at West's skirt, which even became the subject of a Twitter account, @KanyesSkirt.  Reuters

Kanye West's Skirt and Meggings

 

An event doesn't have to be good to be memorable, like Kanye West's leather Givenchy skirt he wore to the 12-12-12 Hurricane Sandy benefit concert in New York City. The 35-year-old rapper, and self-proclaimed stylist for girlfriend Kim Kardashian, rocked the "skants" trend, pairing the pleated skirt (which he's actually worn before) with a pair of "meggings," or leggings for men. Everyone's skirts were in such a knot that it became nearly impossible not to poke fun at West's skirt, which even became the subject of a Twitter account, @KanyesSkirt.

 

Chanel A model presents a creation by German designer Karl Lagerfeld for French fashion house Chanel as part of his Spring/Summer 2013 women's ready-to-wear fashion show during Paris fashion week October 2, 2012.  Reuters

Bizarre Accessories

 

Audacious accessories were all the rage this year, like the Chanel Hula Hoop Bag, Celine's fuzzy slippers, Yoko Ono's Opening Ceremony Line and Marc Jacob's Pilgrim collection, to name a few. Chanel's Karl Lagerfeld left many asking questions if the cat-loving designer had gone "officially nuts" for sending a giant quilted purse which took the form of a hula hoop down the runway at Spring 2013 Paris Fashion Week. Similarly, Celine's fuzzy slippers by designer Phoebe Philo seemed like an allusion to Sesame Street, namely Big Bird, Elmo and Cookie Monster. But before that, Jacobs included furry hats straight from the Mayflower or Alice in Wonderland for his Fall 2012 collection. And if that wasn't bizarre enough, Ono unveiled a menswear line with Opening Ceremony, which aside from handprints on the crotch of pants, also included a $200 jock strap with an LED light and a $400 Bell Board chest plaque with ring-able bells "for service."

 

Angelina Jolie Actress Angelina Jolie poses at the 84th Academy Awards in Hollywood, California, February 26, 2012.  Reuters

Angelina Jolie's Leg And Brad Pitt's Chanel No. 5

 

Even power couples can turn a fashion triumph into a tragedy from time to time. One of the biggest flops of the year was Brad Pitt's Chanel No. 5 commercial, which starred the actor as the first male face of the classic fragrance. However, his well-coiffed face became the brunt of jokes from pundits like those guys on "SNL" who showed no mercy. Similarly, his wife-to-be Angelina Jolie became the laughing stock of the Oscars red carpet when she was spotted jutting out her gam purposefully in a high-slit velvet Atelier Versace dress. Her leg became a life of its own when many Internet users parodied the image and even created a Twitter account for the leg, @AngiesRightLeg.

 

Paltrow Actress Gwyneth Paltrow arrives at the 84th Academy Awards in Hollywood, California, February 26, 2012.  Reuters

Gwyneth Paltrow

 

Simplicity was key this year, with designers like Alexander Wang and Phoebe Philo sending out monochromatic designs with modern silhouettes. Perhaps it's a knee-jerk reaction to 2012's obsession with audacious nail art. Case in point, there was arguably no better red carpet moment this year than Gwyneth Paltrow, who wore a Tom Ford cap dress to the Oscars. A vision in white, Paltrow kept her hair sleek and makeup minimal by simply pairing the gorgeous -- and well-fitted gown from the designer's Fall 2012 collection -- with a diamond cuff bracelet.

 

Choupette Lagerfeld Karl Lagerfeld's cat, Choupette Lagerfeld.  Twitter

Choupette Lagerfeld

 

Colonel Meow, Grumpy Cat Tard and other feline memes move over; Kaiser Karl Lagerfeld's cat stole the show. With two maids, an iPad and a Twitter account full of witty banter, Choupette Lagerfeld was top dog – er cat – this year. The fancy feline even made a debut in Harper's Bazaar where it posed for photos with its “Daddy” Karl. Turns out, it was a girl from New York running the Twitter account all along.

 

Honorable Mentions:

 

Charlize Theron in Dior Haute Couture at the 2012 Golden Globe Awards

Mass Market Collaborations: Neiman Marcus for Target, Maison Martin Margiela for H&M and Kirna Zabete for Target

Diana Vreeland Documentary, “The Eye Has To Travel”

The Prada and Schiaparelli “Impossible Conversations” exhibit at the Costume Institute at the Met.

RIP Helen Gurley Brown, editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan, (Feb. 18, 1922-Aug. 13, 2012)

RIP Vidal Sassoon, (Jan. 17, 1928-May 9, 2012)

Kate Moss' Stella McCartney illusion dress

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