2020 has been a year of firsts, adjustments, and introspection. We watched the world change from the comforts (or discomforts) of our own homes as we woke up to “unprecedented times” each day. Life became virtual, meetings became emails (not sure if we’re mad about this one), and happy hours became Zooms. As the pandemic, Black Lives Matter movement, and life at home unfolded, many of us found escape, joy, and hope in fashion. From Tracee Ellis Ross’s Instagram account, to the virtual runways of Spring/Summer 2021, to the coats in The Undoing, 2020 was not without its share of great fashion moments. To reflect on sartorial highs of 2020, we’ve compiled our favorite, must-see moments below.
Oscars Red Carpet AKA The Last Major Red Carpet
If celebrities knew this would be the last major red carpet IRL, would they have dressed differently? It's impossible to know, but regardless, Hollywood glamour was on full display at the 2020 Oscars, and looking back at that night in February, it almost feels like another era.
January Jones's Bikinis on Instagram
In December, January Jones’s bikini Instagram selfies, which she has been posting throughout the pandemic, caused such a sensation that the National Enquirer called them a “desperate cry for attention” and shared that they had “worried” some of her friends. She responded with a new post on Instagram, seemingly unfazed, with a subtle hand gesture. We don’t think it’s desperate and quite frankly, we’re here for it. Keep posting January!
The Chain Necklace from Normal People
Anyone who has watched Normal People knows that this is no ordinary piece of jewelry hanging around Connell's neck.
Not only did his chain seem to rock the entire Internet, but it also signified an important quality in Connell: worn from the beginning to the end of the series, it’s meant to show the strong connection he holds to his family heritage and working-class background. As noted by Peggy, another character in the show, the necklace is “Argos chic.” (Argos being a store in the UK that is likened to our Walmart.)
Nonetheless Paul Mescal, the actor who portrays Connell, has a big part to play in the popularity of the simple silver chain. If it weren’t for his stunning performance and nature of Sally Rooney’s novel-turned-show, we don’t believe you would be reading this here today.
Tracee Ellis Ross's Instagram
Tracee Ellis Ross has always been fashion forward, but she really gave us the at-home editorial looks we needed while in quarantine. From the Valentino moment here and a Schiaparelli suit to some of the most gorgeous jewelry we’ve ever see, Ross and her stylist Karla Welch have been throwing down this year and truly creating fashion moments to remember.
Princess Diana's Sweaters
Princess Diana has been a style icon since she came onto the scene as Charles’s fiancée in the '80s. Some of her most memorable looks were her graphic sweaters (including this one, recently recreated by Rowing Blazers), and let’s be real, they are just as good decades later. With the premiere of The Crown's fourth season, we were able to refresh our memory with all of her best looks, and they certainly didn’t disappoint.
Beyoncé, Black is King
This summer, Beyoncé released her visual album Black is King to much fanfare. The singer and her stylist, Zerina Akers, created a feast for the eyes with ensembles from designers such as Valentino, Marine Serre, Tongoro, and Loza Maléombho.
Gucci Fashion Shows
Gucci’s “Epilogue” was the first of its kind and according to the brand’s director, Alessandro Michele, it won’t be the last. This movement forwent the traditionally separate menswear and womenswear collections and has created a ripple in the industry that will be seen long after the pandemic. The release of the 20-minute video and shorter episodic videos replaced what would have been Resort 2021. The seven-part series is titled “Overture of Something That Never Ended." As quoted by Michele, “The plot is just an accident that breaks the linear and progressive character of time." The videos are meant to give an insight into the production of a Gucci event and what the future holds for the brand.
#Guccifest was also a noticeable change in the winds for Michele. It was a series of films to highlight fashion’s foremost up-and-coming brands. Some of the more noteworthy collection were Collina Strada, Mowala, and Rui. Each allowed for individually unique and encompassing experiences.
Nicole Kidman's Coats in The Undoing
The Undoing had late-night TV watchers gripped from the beginning. While the plot that hung damply over the entire Upper East Side community, It was the fashion that caught our attention, particularly Grace Fraser and her coats. Noticeably, Nicole Kidman’s quiet character had an affinity for some major flare. In stark contrast to the events that took place, Grace always wore the most put together looks, designed by the incredible Signe Sejilund.
Signe explained that the contrast between Grace’s extravagant outfits and mysterious personality are intentional. The autumnal colors are meant to expose the dark and mystifying qualities of the character. The hooded detail, which can be seen in episode two is a direct reflection of this and of Signe’s genius.
Everything Diane Keaton Did on Instagram
Some people love Diane Keaton’s use of all caps on her Instagram captions but it’s her fashion and style videos that do it for us. We never thought we could be so captivated by belts for a solid 3 minutes and 44 seconds.
The Emma Wardrobe
Director Autumn de Wilde’s Emma was the visual beauty we all needed at the start of lockdown. The period attire and pretty pastels reminiscent of the contents of a macaron box could only spark joy and make you wish you were lounging around your house in one of Anya Taylor-Joy’s empire waist dresses.
The Queen's Gambit
The Queen's Gambit represents another binge-able moment on our list, for the plot but also for the fashion. Anya Taylor-Joy’s Beth Harmon takes us on a journey through the 1950s and 1960s, decades recognizable in not only the sets and props, but also the fashion. Her clothes are used as a means to translate Beth’s position in life, and the audience meets her when she is clad in drab outfits similar to those of the other girls in the orphanage. Moving forward, we can see her insecurity during the school scenes in not owning the signature poodle skirt design and two-tone saddle shoes the other girls are wearing.
The advancement of her chess game brings new-found earnings that Beth uses to develop her own sense of style. Although she does end up with her own pair of saddle shoes, we can see her opting for more streamlined and sophisticated garb, no doubt to assist in her older, male opponents taking her seriously. Now emboldened with a wardrobe of classic silhouettes and monochromatic palettes, Beth takes the chess world by storm.
No spoilers, but Beth ultimately references the almighty queen in her final outfit choice of the series.
Emily in Paris
Emily Cooper took over our living rooms this October with bright colors, bold patterns, and eclectic layering that somehow managed to work, we think, despite hints of outrageousness. Whether you see Paris as the City of Lights or the City of Love, there is no denying that it's the fashion capital of the world. So while Emily landed a gig at Savoir, she also landed among some of the city's chicest denizens.
Here, Emily balances the sporty nature of the graphic top with a soft layer of feminine lace, and that juxtaposition is just one moment that had everyone talking this fall. Although viewers were divided on cultural matters, such as whether it was arrogant of her to arrive not knowing a lick of French among a few other things, the show—and those outfits—offered viewers a reprieve from our significantly less fanciful lives.
Matthew Williams for Givenchy
Matthew Williams’s first collection for the legendary heritage brand Givenchy was a major news story during the Spring/Summer 2021 fashion week. As a cofounder of 1017 ALYX 9SM Studios, Williams had critics and fashion fans alike on the edge of their seats leading up to the collection reveal. It was received with mixed reviews, but Williams's modern, streetwear-inspired vision for Givenchy is crystal clear.
At the start of this year, the calendar went off as planned, with fashion weeks beginning in New York and ending in Paris, but we did not know that a looming pandemic would change everything. Gone were the days of flitting between events in various cities across the globe, and fashion houses had to rethink the age-old custom of in-person events.
A new thought-process was born and with it were digital events accessible with the touch of a button. The accessibility also meant increased flexibility as viewers could watch from their living rooms, no matter where they were. Paradoxically, it also allowed for more personable, creative experiences. Who could forget JW Anderson’s "Show In a Box," Ferragamo’s augmented reality goggles, or Balmain replacing their rows with virtual renditions of guests?
Most recently, Yves Saint Laurent wowed at-home onlookers with cinematic, panoramic desert views as the backdrop for its newest collection. The big takeaway? With technology and innovation, fashion knows no bounds.
R.I.P. Kenzo Takada
The passing of Kenzo Takada shocked and saddened fashion lovers worldwide. Takada founded his fashion house after moving to Paris from Japan in 1965; at the time, he barely spoke French. From there, his presence grew and he began to create colorful, boldly printed clothing that channeled elements of Japanese culture.
Over his lifetime, Takada created a legendary fashion house, and touched the lives of everyone who loves fashion.
This year was full of historic political firsts. Notably, Delaware elected their first openly transgender state senator, Sarah McBride. In Georgia, Kim Jackson became the first out lesbian to be elected to into the state's Senate chamber. And significantly, Kamala Harris became the first Black woman and the first South Asian woman to be elected vice president.
When Harris walked out onto the stage in Wilmington, Delaware, however, the media raved the most about one thing—her suit. The stark white suit, designed by Carolina Herrera, and pussybow blouse, was a nod to the women’s suffrage movement. It was also a show of solidarity toward the women of color who came before her: Shirley Chisholm, the first Black woman elected to Congress in 1968, also wore white.
Harris said it best herself, “While I may be the first woman in this office, I will not be the last.”
Princess Beatrice's Wedding
Princess Beatrice’s wedding to fiancé Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi in mid-July this year was a moment of beauty and joy. After postponing their original plans, the couple wed in an extremely intimate ceremony at the Royal Chapel of All Saints at Royal Lodge in Windsor.
The dress fulfilled the bride’s “something old” and was a loan from the Queen who previously wore the piece in 1962 at the premier of Lawrence of Arabia. (Beatrice added organza puff sleeves to make it church-appropriate.) Topping off the beautiful gown, was Queen Mary’s diamond fringe tiara, in all its glory, also on loan from the Queen, who had worn the sparkling headpiece at her wedding to Prince Philip. A look full of sentiment and family history, Princess Beatrice wowed her guests (and the whole world) on her big day.
Black Lives Matter Gear
The Black Lives Matter movement of 2020 was ignited by the death of George Floyd at the hands of police. This prompted world-wide action as people from Minneapolis to the UK organized BLM protests in not only George’s name, but in the names of so many others including Breaonna Taylor, Rayshard Brooks, Atatiana Jefferson, and Philando Castille.
At the height of nationwide media coverage, protestors in Portland gathered for more than 100 consecutive days. Even after the cameras were gone, the protests continued. People of every race and ethnicity united in solidarity with those who have lost their lives at the hands of police.
Support also came in the form of Black Lives Matter-related merchandise, both handmade and produced by some of our favorite companies, most of whom donated a portion if not all of the proceeds from related items to a variety of associated organizations such at The Bail Project, the ACLU, and more.
Meghan Markle's Last Appearance as a Royal
January brought with it the news that Harry and Meghan would be taking a step back from their senior roles in the royal family, but the couple’s last appearance in a working royal capacity at the Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey in London didn't take place until early March. Clad in an emerald Emilia Wickstead cape dress, a matching hat by William Chambers, nude Aquazzura pumps, and a mini bag by one of her favorite designers Gabriela Hearst, the Duchess looked rather regal for her last public outing as a working royal.
As the couple continues their philanthropic works and remain in the spotlight, we expect to see her fashion statements for many years to come.
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