In 2016, the biggest trend in fashion was inclusiveness.
Consider designer Christian Siriano, who not only cast five plus size models in his September Spring 2017 show and dressed supermodel Ashley Graham to sit front row, but also quickly came to the rescue of actress Leslie Jones when other fashion insiders refused to style her for the July “Ghostbusters” premiere. In turn, Siriano created a crimson, off-the-shoulder gown reminiscent of Julia Roberts’s character Vivian Ward in “Pretty Woman.”
Coach’s creative director Stuart Vevers also pulled a Siriano-like move later this year for the aforementioned Graham when other designers refused to dress her for the model’s January 2017 British Vogue cover, according to editor Alexandra Shulman.
And say what you will about the incoming Trump presidency, but Tommy Hilfiger is open minded about new First Lady Melania and First Daughter Ivanka telling WWD, “I think Melania is a very beautiful woman and I think any designer should be proud to dress her. Ivanka is equally as beautiful and smart, although she wears her own clothes. I don’t think people should become political about it. Everyone was very happy to dress Michelle [Obama] as well. I think they look great in the clothes. You’re not gonna get much more beautiful than Ivanka or Melania.”
With those moments in mind, read on for the top eight most inclusive fashion happenings from the past year.
Christian Siriano Dresses Leslie Jones: At the end of June, Leslie Jones made headlines when she revealed on Twitter that no fashion insiders wanted to dress her for the upcoming Ghostbusters premiere. “It’s so funny how there are no designers wanting to help me with a premiere dress for movie. Hmmm that will change and I remember everything.” Like a quick acting fairy godmother, “Project Runway” alum Christian Siriano quickly replied that he would be happy to help and, in turn, created a crimson, off-the-shoulder gown. Jones was more than pleased with the results as evidenced by her over-the-top grin at the inevitable film premiere!
Coach Helps Ashley Graham Cover British Vogue: Coach’s Creative Director Stuart Vevers also pulled a Siriano-like move for Ashley Graham when other designers refused to dress the supermodel for her January 2017 British Vogue cover, according to editor Alexandra Shulman. Of the shoot, the journalist said, “The shoot was put together fairly last-minute and we are all very grateful to the people at Coach who, under the creative direction of Stuart Vevers, moved speedily to provide clothes for us that had to come from outside their sample range. They were enthusiastic about dressing a woman who is not a standard model, but sadly there were other houses that flatly refused to lend us their clothes. It seems strange to me that while the rest of the world is desperate for fashion to embrace broader definitions of physical beauty, some of our most famous fashion brands appear to be traveling in the opposite – and, in my opinion, unwise – direction.”
While Other Designers Refuse, Tommy Hilfiger Says He’ll Dress First Lady Melania Trump: While others are not willing to dress a Trump regime, Tommy Hilfiger is open minded about new First Lady Melania and First Daughter Ivanka, telling WWD, “I think Melania is a very beautiful woman and I think any designer should be proud to dress her. Ivanka is equally as beautiful and smart, although she wears her own clothes. I don’t think people should become political about it. Everyone was very happy to dress Michelle [Obama] as well. I think they look great in the clothes. You’re not gonna get much more beautiful than Ivanka or Melania.”
Ashley Graham Debuts Dressbarn Collection: Model Ashley Graham makes this list twice, not only for her upcoming British Vogue cover, but also for her debut fashion collection with Dressbarn. Dubbed “Beyond by Ashley Graham,” the capsule offering focuses on everyday dresses available in sizes 4-24. Clearly, the brand is more than proud of their collaborative efforts saying, “Ashley continues to empower women with her message that all women should have access to well-made clothing that makes them feel confident and beautiful, no matter their shape or size.”
Tome Designers Cast Plus-Size Model Marquita Pring: Ryan Lobo and Ramon Martin got the bigger is better memo too, as the duo cast model Marquita Pring to walk amongst sample size models for their Spring 2017 fashion show. Yet another example that good style comes in all sizes.
Designer Tracy Reese Casts Models of All Sizes, Races, and Ages: Designer Tracy Reese went one step further including not just plus-size models in her Spring 2017 presentation that featured clothing available in sizes 0 to 18 and XS to 2XL, but also beauties of all races and ages.
J.Crew Shuns Models: J.Crew, for their part, got a considerable amount of fanfare for casting real people in their Spring 2017 presentation, from their very own employees to editors from W magazine.
Kanye West Cast The Most Diverse Show of the Year: While the conditions certainly weren’t great for the models—blistering heat and uncomfortable heels, among them—Kanye West certainly gets credit for casting the most diverse show of the year for his Yeezy Season Four collection. In fact the rapper-turned-designer specifically asked for “multiracial women only.”