The way we wore: A year in Fashion 2007
It was the year when C-3PO became a style icon, the Croc rocked, and Naomi Campbell mopped floors in couture. So was it a sartorial success? Susannah Frankel looks at the highs and lows of the past 12 months in fashion
Thursday 27 December 2007
With the cold snap still upon us, it was only good and proper that the new collections made their way into store. These decreed that, for the following six months, we would mostly be wearing metal leggings. The prototype was Balenciaga and a snip at a mere 20,000 a pop. Why not buy two pairs? Well, the gold lozenges were sewn on to cashmere mesh by hand. Mere mortals enamoured of Terminator good looks or simply enamoured by the thought of having shiny legs bought the American Apparel alternative.
The rest of us had our eye on more strictly practical spring/summer style statements. Take, for example, the neon orange bandage dress. Yes: as well as suggesting that the world might like to spend the early days of 2007 dressed as androids, designers proposed the revival of body-conscious fashion or body-con, as it swiftly and rather inelegantly became known. Christopher Kane, the bright young thing of the London fashion scene, was the chief protagonist although he insisted that his clothes were aimed at fresh-faced young girls and not (heaven forbid!) anything so obvious as a Wag. Talking of Wags, nobody cared about them any more; they were just so 2006.
As far as 2007 accessories were concerned, bags were bigger, heavier, more hardware-laden and generally more ostentatious than ever before. Shoes were of the towering platform-soled variety this has not been a good year for the stiletto. And, just when one could be forgiven for thinking that everyone had gone completely mad, enter Miuccia Prada, who single-handedly revived the turban, best in jewel-coloured satin. Hmmm.
Incidentally, this was also the month Whitney Houston's wardrobe (knickers included) went on sale after she failed to pay her storage bill. It was doubtless more accessible than any of the above.
London Fashion Week! Cool Britannia! As always, slightly embarrassing, not to mention parochial, hysteria surrounded the event a situation marred only by the "size zero" debate over underweight models. These being the autumn/winter collections, however, there wasn't as much flesh-flashing as there might otherwise have been. That meant that the models working at the international collection were, for the most part, spared from media speculation over their weight, or lack of it. It can surely be no coincidence, however, that the look of the forthcoming autumn/winter season was fast establishing itself as just as voluminous as the current one was skin-tight. Alexander McQueen offered up egg-shape clothing. Meanwhile, in Milan, Miuccia Prada showed alpaca teddy-bear coats and decreed that, from henceforth, real fur and structured skin-tight clothing were "boring".
Also boring, incidentally, was the red carpet at the Oscars. Is it not amazing that beautiful, rich actresses don't let their hair down once in a while and take more risks in their dress choice so that we mere mortals can have a laugh at their expense?
At the Paris shows, Paulo Melim Andersson, formerly of Marni, unveiled his first collection for Chlo, to mixed reviews. The label that west London girls loved to love was rather less girlish and more confrontational in flavour in this new young designer's hands. Notably, the boots in the collection had more in common with Dr Martens than anything more obviously fashionable.
Also in the French fashion capital, immediately following the unveiling of his conversely very ladylike and lovely collection for Louis Vuitton, New York's fashion darling Marc Jacobs checked into rehab in Arizona. His business partner Robert Duffy said that Jacobs had been sober "for seven years. When he relapsed, he wanted to deal with it right away."
While her friend was taking care of his substance-abuse issues, the model Naomi Campbell was instructed to clean floors in a New York municipal warehouse as part of a five-day stint of community service her punishment for throwing a mobile phone at her housekeeper, as you do.
The court also insisted that the model attend an anger management course. Campbell looked fabulous throughout, of course so much so that the American super-glossy W couldn't resist photographing her in her wardrobe.
Her supermodel sister Kate Moss also did her bit, in this case voluntary, when she played Vicky Pollard's sister for Comic Relief, uttering the line: "I'll do anything for a packet of Quavers."
This was the cruellest month. Isn't it always? Crowds began queuing at Sainsbury's for Anya Hindmarch's 5 cotton shopper emblazoned with "I'm not a plastic bag" as early as 2am on the day it was launched. Hindmarch, until then a purveyor of classic accessories, swiftly became a household name.
Rather less honorably, elbows were sharpened outside Primark's new flagship store in London, where an unruly queue pushed and shoved to the point where the doors were knocked off their hinges by 10am on day one. The reason behind such fashion mayhem? Jeans cost 8, bikinis 2. Primark was (and still is) as cheap as the proverbial chips. There was, quite simply, nothing that we wouldn't do for a fashion bargain.
May will go down in fashion history as the month when Kate Moss's collection arrived at Topshop stores and grown women were again forced to queue in the name of fashion, this time for clothing supposedly designed by the world's most famous model. (Strictly speaking, this happened at 8pm on 30 April, but only at the Oxford Street store.) The day that had previously been known as May Day was duly christened K Day, such was its impact on sus, a nation whose love affair with cheap copies of designer fashion comes a close second to our love affair with celebrity.
Gianfranco Ferr, "the architect of Italian fashion", died. And Glastonbury was a washout, but re-established the Hunter wellington boot as the festival footwear to see and be seen in.
There was no way that Victoria Beckham was ever going to move to America quietly, and news that the Spice Girls were planning a reunion tour at the end of 2007 was only a very small part of this picture. However, no one could have predicted the sheer volume of attention she would attract. In June, she threw the first pitch at an LA Dodgers game wearing wedge-heeled trainers . There followed an endless array of quite the most ostentatious outfits imaginable, particularly given the fact that the lady's new hometown is famously a place where celebrities dress down.
Over the summer, VB styled her friend Katie Holmes for Harper's Bazaar; appeared with husband David on the cover of W magazine; filmed a guest appearance in Ugly Betty; and starred in her very own TV documentary, a reality TV show that quite bizarrely wasn't actually very real at all.
Whichever way one chooses to look at it, the lady clearly just doesn't do low profile.
Only minorly less major as VB is wont to describe, well, everything was John Galliano's show celebrating the 60th anniversary of the house of Christian Dior. Even by the standards of the haute couture collections, this was the most extravagant affair the fashion world has witnessed. Located at the Orangerie in Versailles, a symbol of power and wealth if ever there was one, and inspired by artists ranging from Raphael and Velazquez to Picasso and Cocteau, every model worth her fashion credentials walked the walk Linda, Naomi, Shalom et al, alongside all the big new names. Afterwards, guests dined on paella served from a dish the size of a flying saucer in the formal gardens, and then danced until dawn. The show was dedicated to Galliano's long-time friend and creative collaborator Steven Robinson, who died in April.
Other July anniversaries included 25 years of Karl Lagerfeld at Chanel; 20 years since the opening of the house of Christian Lacroix; and, of course, 40 years of Valentino, for which the great Roman couturier gave Mr Galliano a run for his money, threatening to take over the entire Italian capital with an exhibition and party that were as star-studded as might be expected, given that this has long been the international socialite's designer of choice.
Nothing ever happens in August, fashion-wise. The big names of Paris and Milan close up and leave town for the beach. The glossies are as slim for lack of advertising as the models who appear in them, and anyone together enough to be thinking about buying a winter coat this early, when they could be sitting in the garden sipping Pimm's, has to be borderline obsessive-compulsive.
This year, however, the autumn/winter collections arrived this month, featuring the aforementioned voluminous looks. The pieces of the season included the Balenciaga blazer probably the most copied style of autumn 2007 and jodhpurs from the same label, probably the second most copied style of autumn 2007. Ground-breaking styles also came courtesy of Stefano Pilati at Yves Saint Laurent, whose collection was understated to the point almost of austerity. "Who wants to wear yellow in winter?" pondered the designer in a moment of pragmatism that seemed rare.
Pragmatism was also the reasoning behind the dominance of Crocs throughout the silly season. They were no-where near as good-looking, however.
Keira Knightley fever was upon us as the actress appeared in that green dress (admittedly quite fabulous) in the screen adaptation of Ian McEwan's Atonement. More fashion and film; work on the feature-length version of Sex In the City commenced, although whether anyone will be interested by the time it comes out remains to be seen. The words "missed", "boat" and just plain "dated" spring to mind.
London Fashion Week came round again and the results of the British Fashion Council's model health inquiry were published to much fanfare, although nobody would argue that it was overly stringent in its requirements. Yet it was a move in the right direction, and the fact that Beth Ditto appeared in the style bi-annual Pop, following in the iconic footsteps of Kylie Minogue, Elizabeth Hurley, Madonna and more, went to prove that those above a "size 0" may in fact have a place in fashion. Oliviero Toscani waded into the debate with a billboard campaign advertising Nolita and featuring a nude shot of an anorexic model, Isabelle Caro.
Much contemplation on the shape and size of models aside, this was largely deemed to be the most successful London season for years. The Hoxton club Boombox was pulling in the crowds, and Christopher Kane and the then reigning British designer of the year, Giles Deacon, were among the young designers attracting international attention. At Matthew Williamson's show, The Twinz opened proceedings and Prince performed live. Anna Wintour deigned to attend the week, although she hardly overdid it, appearing at no more than a handful of shows.
The British Vogue editor Alexandra Shulman and John Galliano hosted a gala dinner at the Victoria & Albert Museum to celebrate the opening of the exhibition of the year, The Golden Age of Couture: Paris and London 1947-1957. Le tout London and quite a lot of Paris was there, and the show lived up to the hype.
Finally, the fashion world was rocked by the news, coming after his 40th anniversary celebrations, that Valentino would be retiring and that his last couture show would take place in January 2008.
Valentino showed his last ready-to-wear collection in Paris and received a standing ovation. Alexander McQueen's collection was dedicated to and inspired by his friend and muse Isabella Blow, who committed suicide in May. After her show in the French capital, Vivienne Westwood announced that, although she had been a lifelong Labour supporter, henceforth she would be voting Conservative.
Marc Jacobs blew kisses at Victoria Beckham when, fresh out of rehab and newly buff, he came out to take his bows following his show for Louis Vuitton. He also appeared naked on the cover of Arena Homme Plus, photographed by Juergen Teller and looking extremely tanned proof, if any were needed, that he had more in common with his new best friend than it might hitherto have seemed.
The 2007 British Fashion Awards took place in London. Stella McCartney was crowned British Designer of the Year; Agyness Deyn and her peroxide blonde crop scooped Best Model; Christopher Kane was awarded Best Young Designer; and Dame Westwood was given a gong for Lifetime Achievement. Whoops! She was in the ladies powdering her nose when her prize was announced. And anyone who believed that this was anything other than a marvellously orchestrated publicity stunt courtesy of this media manipulator par excellence is frankly far too naive to be reading these pages.
The Spice Girls tour commenced. Thewardrobe of the ladies inquestion was a more expensive version of the one they started out with: animal-print for Scary, pink for Baby, gold for Posh, red for Sporty and, yes, a mini printed with the Union flag for Ginger.
Rather more obviously stylish was the first-ever show in London courtesy of the house of Chanel. It was the last word in chic, from the (Chanel) black cabs that ferried special guests to and fro, to the audience (never have so many quilted handbags and boucle wool jackets been seen in the UK in one place) and, of course, the collection itself. Happy New Year.
So, what's new for 2008?
By Rebecca Armstrong
So 2007 brought us the skater skirt and Balenciaga leggings modelled on C-3PO how can 2008 top that? Well, with a sea of stonewashed denim from of Karl Lagerfeld at Chanel. He didn't just use the it for jeans in his spring/summer collection; he made everything out of it, including swimsuits, blazers and dresses.
Next year will be the year of the flower, thanks to a bouquet of designers splashing fantasy florals over skirts and frocks. Those of you of a romantic disposition will love 2008's flamboyant trends, including balloon sleeves, ruffles, flounces and layers of chiffon. Trousers will be wider than the Mississippi or gathered at the ankle. Waists will still be nipped in and the crazier the belt, the better (smart girls will snap up Alexander McQueen's "Obi" belt).
Colours will be bright and bold candy pinks, electric blues, canary yellows. Wear colours to punch up a neutral outfit, à la Christopher Kane, or go for a full-colour explosion, as Rei Kawakubo did at Comme des Garons.
Footwear will defy belief, and physics. McQueen's double-stilt heels and Balenciaga's spike-heeled, knee-length gladiator sandals will demand a sturdy ankle and a steely nerve. But by far the scariest thing coming is Victoria Beckham's debut as the face of Marc Jacobs' spring/summer collection. There's just no accounting for taste.
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