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21 FASHION MOMENTSOF 2021

by Kyle MacNeill

In, you guessed it…21 words. Featuring gorpcore, mushrooms, B-corps, electric red hair and Zendaya.

Until we either all become nudists, reach global apocalypse (about time!) or a bit of both, fashion will continue to be at the epicentre of pop culture. Thank our lucky stars, too, as it’s the gift that keeps giving, a vertiginously rotating carousel of looks, drops, collabs, scandals and shade. This year’s had it all – knits, plastic bags, mushrooms, crocs – and that was just the return-of-festivals backpacks we saw. We’ve done our best to sum up the biggest moments, by no means exhaustive, but by all means quite exhausting. The challenge? Make it 21, both in the number of choices and the exact number of words we wrote on each talking point. So, in absolutely no particular order…

This year, festival crowds became seas of bobbing fluffy bucket hats, in eye-popping, Insta-friendly colours. Avant Basic, you win once again.

From mycelium-based bags (Hermes, Stella) to mushroom-based motifs (Eirinn Hayhoe, MCQ) there was a whole stroganoff of fungi pieces to enjoy.

Gucci opened their digital Vault platform back in September, packed with emerging sustainable designers (Gui Rosa, Rave Review) and preloved pieces.

We all caught the millennium bug this year. Y2K took over thanks to nostalgic capsules from Marc Jacobs and TikTok trends.

Gabriella Hearst’s ever-gorge label Chloé officially became a B Corp this year, cementing its position at the vanguard of sustainable luxury.

Balenciaga! Justin Bieber! Palace! Crocs collaborated with pretty much everyone worth talking about this year, upping how extra it would go.

Fashion lost an inimitable maverick this year when Virgil Abloh passed away from cancer in November. His legacy will prove eternal.

Priya Ahluwalia continued to concern her increasingly concaving awards shelf, bagging the Queen Elizabeth Award and the BFC Designer Menswear Fund.

Gorpcore, neologised by The Cut a few years ago from ‘good ‘ol raisins and peanuts’, took rugged outerwear-as-fashion into the mainstream.

The impish Balenciaga team continued to turn heads and blow minds when they created a deepfake audience for their SS22 show.

Fashion grappled with the concept of the NFT following their explosion, from Gucci auctioning in Christie’s to specialist brands like Overpriced™.

Following lockdowns spent knitting, fashion continued the thread with hand-crocheted jumpers and fuzzy, cozy knits galore. We’re not spinning yarns, OK.

Gigi Hadid, Ciara, Sophie Turner, Zendaya – red hair had a semi-permanent moment, likely leading to a lot of Crazy Color accidents.

Forget the Metaverse – it was the Met that stole the show – giving us AOC’s Tax The Rich dress and Bennifer’s kiss.

Yeezy x Gap offish launched back in September, following an eye-watering $1bn deal. The inaugural hoodie broke Gap’s single day sales.

Forget the Tesla waiting list – the Telfar waiting list is now of mythical length, their shoppers becoming the it-bags of 2021.

House of Gucci made alpine fashion, Louis Vuitton put their models on skis, Miu Miu took their show to the slopes.

Fruity suiting pipped everything else in summer, shown off by the likes of Rihanna and Hailey Bieber and mastered by Jacquemus.

From Lady Gaga’s House of Gucci premiere dress to Olivia Rodrigo’s coloured ‘Sour’ vinyl, purple became a symbol of newfound optimism.

The collab became obsolete and was replaced by ‘hacking’, seen in Gucci and Balenciaga’s ‘Hacker Project’ and Fendi and Versace’s ‘Fendace’.

Squid Game grabbed us all by its tentacles, and overnight, HoYeon Jung became a megastar, recently breaking into Calvin Klein’s Insta.

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