In the world of fashion and beauty, things were equal parts wacky and wonderful this year. Have a look back at 2017.
Everybody’s talking about runway diversity, which generally refers to including women of color and plus sizes on the catwalk. And for sure, designers such as Michael Kors and Prabal Gurung showed plus sizes. But it was Christian Siriano who put on a New York Fashion Week show that was meant to embrace all, he said: “men, trans, small, large, everyone.” Backstage, he told Newsday, “This show is about celebrating beauty, and you can tell by who sits in my front row that I want everyone to know they can look beautiful in their own way in one of my dresses.” Indeed, that front row was breathtaking in its range and included “Orange Is the New Black” actress Danielle Brooks, Vanessa Williams, Patricia Clarkson, Gina Gershon, Cardi B and Leslie Jones, who almost stole the show with her joyous reaction to supermodel Coco Rocha.
Here's the dirt
Perhaps designers and big brands sensed their 2017 customers wanted clothes not only pre-worn, but pre-stained or torn. Such was the case with the Nordstrom PRPS Barracuda straight leg baked-on, mud-splattered jeans sold to folks who are “not afraid to get down and dirty.” And — eek — they sold for $425. Reebok trolled them (a joke) with a pre-sweat-stained T-shirt for the same price, but Maison Margiela wasn’t kidding around with its Future Destroyed High-Top Sneakers that sold at Neiman Marcus for $1,425 while looking like a dog mistook them for a chew toy.
There was a surge in experimentation in 2017 — some of it bordering on bizarre, starting with the ReeRomp by Reebok, dubbed a “Romphim” or “Bromper”: a little romper for guys that sold for $89 and was not particularly well received. There were see-through lace shorts for men (shown with tighty whities beneath). Blue jeans remained tattered, but Topshop caused Twittersphere meltdown with its Clear Knee Mom Jeans followed by the Moto Clear Plastic Straight Leg Jeans ($100, BTW), which exposed — yes — everything. And then came the $425 “detachable cut-out front jeans” from Parisian company Y/Project that were sold on the Opening Ceremony website.
First lady Melania Trump is a fashion pro, having been a model and in the limelight for many years. However, despite her husband’s “buy American” declaration, she seems to have a penchant for European designers, including Givenchy, Alexander McQueen and Valentino. When she arrived in Sicily, she wore a $51,500 Dolce & Gabbana multicolored embellished coat that garnered a lot of attention. That said, she also has donned J.Crew, Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren — overall, very elegant. While all first ladies get critiqued, she has almost avoided it entirely. Her biggest fashion kerfuffle to date occurred when she wore sexy snakeskin stilettos to a flood zone in Texas after a hurricane. In fairness, she changed into sneakers upon arrival.
The Kardashian family has licensed its names to makeup, perfume and skin care brands in the past. But Kim Kardashian has taken on her own, wholly owned KKW Beauty collection, sold direct to the consumer. She is killing it. In June, she introduced her Crème Contour & Highlighting Kit. (Kardashian apologized for appearing as if she were wearing blackface in photos for this collection.) It reportedly sold out in three hours, generating an estimated $14.4 million dollars in sales. Then came a fragrance launch for Crystal Gardenia, which reportedly made $10 million in one day. In December, she posed covered in glitter for her new collection of highlighters and glosses.
A fresh face
Watch out, Kendall Jenner. Step back, Gigi Hadid. The newest face on the model circuit is Kaia Gerber, 16, daughter of legendary model Cindy Crawford. Gerber made her runway debut at the Calvin Klein Spring 2018 show in NYC and walked others, including Ralph Lauren and Alexander Wang. Then it was on to Europe, where she strutted the runways of Versace, Chanel and Prada.
Not just any pink, but millennial pink. It’s more of a movement than a color — a toned-down version of Pantone’s 2016 color of the year, Rose Quartz. In ’17, the hue got toned down and was diluted into a blush-beige-peachy-grapefruity-salmon shade — and basically became the color of a generation that deemed it a neutral. Some point to the consumption of rose as being caused by pink lust, but it has been embraced by fashion, beauty, food, interior design and home goods.
The charm was in the arm, as sleeves stole the spotlight. There were gigantic, modernistic bells; sweet bishop sleeves gathered at the cuff; tiered, romantic ruffles and voluminous balloons.
The Markle effect
When Prince Harry and his fiancée, Meghan Markle, stepped out to announce their engagement recently, Markle donned a crisp, white coat from the Ontario-based brand Line the Label. The coat retails for $750, and the brand’s co-founder John Muscat told Women’s Wear Daily that it sold out within minutes, and the site crashed several times. “We’re not a huge company, and it’s the end of the season, so we don’t stock a lot of these coats.” That said, the company plans to recut the coat next season and call it “The Meghan.” Stay tuned for Markle’s influence on fashion.
Where have all the designers gone at New York Fashion Week? Many were missing last season. Among them: Tommy Hilfiger, shown here, who showed in London. Thom Browne, Joseph Altuzarra and Lacoste joined Proenza Schouler, Rodarte and Monique Lhuillier in Paris. Ralph Lauren ferried folks to his upstate Bedford garage in Uber cars and Alexander Wang showed on the streets of Brooklyn. Whether this signals the fizzling out of fashion week as we know it is unclear, but designers are obviously seeking change.
Death of a master: Azzedine Alaia
The Tunisia-born designer, known as “The King of Cling” for his artfully sculpted dresses and his celebration of the female form, died of a heart attack on Nov. 18. Considered one of the greatest designers of the 20th and 21st centuries, he was usually dressed in Chinese pajamas and was often photographed, as here, with muses such as supermodel Naomi Campbell, whose career he helped launch. His designs, equal parts feminine and powerful, drew women from all spheres, including Tina Turner, Michelle Obama, Madonna and Lady Gaga.