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.

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Life and Style
love + sex
Arts and Entertainment
Victoria Wood, Kayvan Novak, Alexa Chung, Chris Moyles
tvReview: No soggy bottoms, but plenty of other baking disasters on The Great Comic Relief Bake Off
Sport
Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
footballNewcastle 0 Man United 1: Last minute strike seals precious victory
Life and Style
Tikka Masala has been overtaken by Jalfrezi as the nation's most popular curry
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Seth Rogan is one of America’s most famous pot smokers
filmAmy Pascal resigned after her personal emails were leaked following a cyber-attack sparked by the actor's film The Interview
News
Benjamin Netanyahu and his cartoon bomb – the Israeli PM shows his ‘evidence’
people
Arts and Entertainment
80s trailblazer: comedian Tracey Ullman
tv
News
i100
Life and Style
A statue of the Flemish geographer Gerard Kremer, Geradus Mercator (1512 - 1594) which was unveiled at the Geographical Congree at Anvers. He was the first person to use the word atlas to describe a book of maps.
techThe 16th century cartographer created the atlas
Arts and Entertainment
Stephen Tompkinson is back as DCI Banks
tvReview: Episode one of the new series played it safe, but at least this drama has a winning formula
News
i100
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

    Recruitment Genius: UI / UX Designer

    £25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This firm are focussed on assis...

    Recruitment Genius: General Processor

    £7 per hour: Recruitment Genius: A vacancy has arisen for a General Processor ...

    Recruitment Genius: Outbound Sales Executive - B2B

    £18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A great opportunity has arisen ...

    Recruitment Genius: Online Sales and Customer Services Associate

    £14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Full time and Part time positio...

    Day In a Page

    War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

    Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

    Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
    Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

    What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

    Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
    The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

    Setting in motion the Internet of Things

    British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
    Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

    Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

    Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
    Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

    Cult competition The Moth goes global

    The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
    Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

    Pakistani women come out fighting

    Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
    Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

    Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

    The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
    LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

    Education: LGBT History Month

    Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
    11 best gel eyeliners

    Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

    Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
    Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

    Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

    The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
    Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

    Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

    After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
    Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

    Climate change key in Syrian conflict

    And it will trigger more war in future
    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
    Is this the way to get young people to vote?

    Getting young people to vote

    From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot