The fashion year that was: 2012

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

From departures and new beginnings at world-famous design houses to Stella McCartney's Olympic triumph and our well-dressed monarch, it's been an eventful 12 months, says Gemma Hayward

Designer Musical Chairs

Not since the late 1990s has there been so much chopping and changing at so many of the world's leading fashion houses. In March, Raf Simons left Jil Sander after a seven-year tenure and following his swan-song collection for that label in Milan there was not a dry eye in the house.

It wasn't long, though, before spirits lifted: Jil Sander returned to her eponymous brand for the third time (she's nothing if not a trooper) and, in April, it was announced, after months of speculation, that Simons had been given the top job at Dior. As if that weren't enough, Stefano Pilati stepped down from Yves Saint Laurent that same season. Hedi Slimane has since replaced him. That'll be two menswear designers heading up womenswear giants, then, and both are doing very nicely, especially Simons.

Not so nice – news that Nicolas Ghesquiere was leaving Balenciaga broke in November and, with that, among the most talented designers of the past 20 years left a name that is famed for its rigour, imagination and pioneering sense of proportion. The New York-based designer Alexander Wang took over as Balenciaga creative director at the end of November and the jury is still out as to what Ghesquiere will do next.

Elsewhere, Christopher Kane departed from the Versace sister label, Versus; J W Anderson will replace him and Net-a-Porter founder Natalie Massenet took over from Harold Tillman as head of the British Fashion Council (BFC).

A Stella Show

It was generally considered that Stella McCartney's decision to play down the red in Team GB's kits was a chic and tasteful move. It was something of an honour to design these and McCartney rose to the challenge admirably. To acknowledge her contribution and that her signature label, which she shows in Paris, continues to go from strength to strength, she won two gongs at the British Fashion Awards: Brand of the Year and Designer of the Year. A double whammy for an increasingly accomplished British designer.

London's Calling

When McCartney, Kane, Alexander McQueen, Victoria Beckham, Burberry and Dame Vivienne Westwood were asked to come up with outfits for the Olympics Closing Ceremony it came as no surprise that all were gold. And with models Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell, Stella Tennant, Lily Cole, Karen Elson, Jourdan Dunn and David Gandy all making an appearance in their designs this was a golden moment for British fashion as a whole. Also fuelling the capital's profile, McQ, the Alexander McQueen second line, staged a show at London Fashion Week in February and in June the first London Collections Men kicked off with a bash at St James's Palace in the presence of Prince Charles. At London Fashion Week in September, meanwhile, Philip Treacy proved that the spirit of the late Nineties' Cool Britannia is alive and kicking with an all-singing, all-dancing fashion show that featured some of his most awe-inspiring millinery worn with an archive of Michael Jackson's jackets.

A Royal Moment

Look at the Queen looking beautiful in this sparkling white and silver Angela Kelly dress, which she wore for the Diamond Jubilee in June. If ever a woman knew how to dress for age and station then it is she. The dress in question was a year in the planning, by all accounts, and it was made by the Queen's own small but perfectly formed in-house team. The frill is perfection. So elegant. So restrained.

More pared down still was the Duchess of Cambridge's first public appearance since the announcement of her pregnancy – at the Sports Personality of the Year Awards earlier this month. The Duchess of Cambridge looked sophisticated, not to mention pin thin, in bottle-green tailored jacket and split ankle-length skirt courtesy of Alexander McQueen.

High-street heroes

It has been quite a year for high street collaborations, too.

The most high profile (and ultimately successful) was Maison Martin Margiela's tie in with Swedish high street chain H&M. The house took some of the designer's most iconic looks and re-edited them to suitably spectacular effect. Not quite so fashion forward was the Kardashian link up with Dorothy Perkins. The launch – featuring Kardashian look-a-likes on podiums wearing the collection – was quite something. As for the clothes… they were just as look-at-me sexy as might be expected. More questionable was Yoko Ono's collaboration with Opening Ceremony, complete with handprints on crotches. A concept too far? I'd say so.

News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Arts and Entertainment
Friends is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year
tvSeries celebrates 20th anniversary
News
news
Life and Style
Jack Cooksey goes for the grand unveiling - moments before dropping his new iPhone 6 on the floor
iphone launch
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't
tv

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

Sport
Yaya Touré (left) and Bayern Munich’s Spanish defender Juan Bernat
football
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
Sport
A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo
football

Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear
tv

Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Fashion

    English Teacher

    Competitive Salary: Randstad Education Group: We have an urgent requirement fo...

    Senior BA - Motor and Home Insurance

    £400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: **URGENT CONTRACT ROLE**...

    SEN Teaching Assistant

    £55 - £65 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: We are looking to recruit two ...

    Primary supply teachers required in Ipswich

    £21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Primary teachers requ...

    Day In a Page

    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    The Imitation Game, film review
    England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

    England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

    Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week