Alexander McQueen – Savage Beauty
Hands-down the biggest exhibition of the year (in fashion or otherwise) was the Alexander McQueen retrospective at London’s V&A Museum. From March to August, just under half a million people flocked to South Ken to discover the work of one of the UK’s most iconic and boundary-breaking designers, from his 1992 MA graduate collection to his last collection for A/W10, which was left unfinished in the wake of his death. Throughout the exhibition, McQueen’s avant-garde creations were brought to life with an atmospheric combination of installation and performance art, along with catwalk films, styled mannequins and even a Kate Moss hologram.
If there’s just one name you learn in fashion this year, Alessandro Michele is it. 2015 saw him catapulted from relative unknown to the helm of one of the biggest labels in the world, when Italian powerhouse Gucci named Michele as their new creative director. The news initially came as something of a surprise, following predecessor Frida Gianni’s shock departure in January, but the designer soon proved his mettle with a well-received A/W15 menswear range created in just five days. However, a month later it was Alessandro’s debut Gucci womenswear collection that truly marked him out as a major force to be reckoned with in fashion. Casting aside Gianni’s approach to start again from scratch, the new Gucci woman combined contemporary styles with a quirky retro vibe, redefining geek chic styles with a fresh, new twist.
Style Tech on the Catwalk
As you may or may not know, we’re huge fans of wearable tech and style-inspired innovation. While there’s still a long way to go before these kind of developments become truly mainstream, but 2015 saw a number of exciting experiments take place on the catwalk. At Paris Fashion Week S/S16, Iris Van Herpen’s show saw Game of Thrones actor Gwendoline Christie lay motionless on a platform as a dress was woven onto her body by robots using a combination of laser-cutting, 3D printing and hand-weaving, while Chalayan‘s runway included two models standing under a shower, their clothes literally dissolving in the water to reveal different designs.
We know, we know – it might be 2015, but the fashion industry still has a lot to answer for. From campaigns to catwalk shows, a lot of criticism is levied at the fact that very young, very skinny and predominantly white women are held up as the ideal beauty standard, which many argue has a negative backlash on the general public’s self-image. However, steps are starting to be made towards a fairer, more inclusive representation of fashion. This year, the debate weight reached new heights, as British model Rosalie Nelson successfully lobbied an All-Party Parliamentary group to consider her petition to increase weight regulation, proposing that the use of dangerously thin models be outlawed in the UK. Elsewhere, at New York Fashion Week, FTL Moda’s A/W15 show featured an array of disabled models from all over the world take to the catwalk, while American Horror Story actress Jamie Brewer became the first ever woman with Downs Syndrome to walk the runway for Carrie Hammer. Other highlights included an & Other Stories’ campaign that featured transgender models (and shot by a transgender team), as well as Rihanna being named as Dior’s first black campaign star.