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10 Moments You Need to Remember from Fashion’s Last Decade

From the deaths of some of fashion's greatest talents to the remarkable strides made in the industry, consider this your fashion cheat sheet going into the new decade!

The year is 2020 and to fully verbalise it feels like the introduction of a fiction film set in the distant future. We are now living in the next decade of an era and as the old cliche reads, change is the only constant. While the world runs on the universal clock, fashion is stuck on a timeline of its own. Working months ahead of time, things are perpetually on the move – the never-ending designer musical chairs, collections that come and go with every passing season, countless collaborations between artists and designers and the list can stretch on and on. With so much that happens within the fashion months itself, it is a tall, tall order to wrap your head around what has transpired throughout the entire decade.

In retrospect, some moments are more consequential than others in shaping the years ahead. Whether you’re in the industry or not, these are the 10 moments you need to know even if you’re entirely clueless about all else. Consider this your fashion 101 going into the new decade!

2010 : Fashion bids its farewell to Alexander McQueen 

In February 2010, the industry said goodbye to Alexander McQueen, the bonafide enfant terrible who stretched the boundaries of the runway far beyond the imagination of most. McQueen’s theatrical collections incited response in ways that few designers had in the years before him. On more instances than one, his dramatic and often dark finales have left me collecting my jaw from the ground. Eventually, consumed by the very darkness he was fuelled by, McQueen succumbed to his demons. A year after his death, an impressive glossary of his works was released in a coffee table book titled Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty – this one remains on my wishlist to date. In 2018, McQueen, a moving tribute to the late designer also looked back on his illustrious career. We pour one out for McQueen.

2011 : Kanye West makes his fashion week debut 

The rapper’s involvement in fashion predates Yeezy (then spelt Yeezi) and Kim Kardashian. Way back in 2011, Kanye West set out to stage his debut fashion week showing with an exclusive runway showcase for an intimate crowd of hundred. While Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan shared the front row, supermodel Anja Rubik opened the show. Little else was said to have impressed beyond the A-lister attendees at West’s maiden fashion outing. Since then, Yeezy has taken off like a storm – and the rest stays behind in history.

2012 : Raf Simons presents his first Dior haute couture collection 

The era of Raf Simons at Dior has come and gone but our hearts have yet to stop aching from the sheer beauty of his creations during his time there. For his couture debut at the maison, Simons lined the walls of the show venue with more than a million fresh flowers. The elegance and ethereal romanticism staged had people in awe and me wishing I was there to smell the flowers. The moment, amongst other highlights of the designer’s tenure, was immortalised in the 2014 documentary film Dior and I.

2013: A conversation on diversity begins at Rick Owens

Diversity may have been THE buzzword of 2019 but six years ago, the push for minority representation was the fight of a woke few in the industry. Amongst them, Rick Owens. At his Spring/Summer ’14 runway presentation, Owens roped in a stomp team to perform. The fierce display by women of all shapes and colour later went on to be a conversation starter about diversity in the fashion realm.

2014: The birth of Diet Prada  

Everyone can be a fashion critic these days but the duo behind the now famous or infamous (you decide) Instagram account Diet Prada were probably the first ones to realise this. Since its conception in 2014, the account has since gathered a whooping 1.7 million followers. From exposing Stefano Gabbana’s racist remarks towards the Chinese to calling out countless designers for copying, you could call them the industry’s self-appointed gatekeepers if you will.

2015: Alessandro Michele takes over the helm at Gucci 

Not many designers have had as much of a polarising effect on the way people dress as Alessandro Michele. When Michele was appointed as creative director at the luxury behemoth, the decision was met with skepticism from both industry insiders and the ones looking in from the outside. A relative unknown at the time, there was little to go off on in gauging Michele’s potential. At his runway debut, Michele made the bold move to wipe the clean slate and establish a new brand of maximalist bohemia. As the rest of the industry took notes, Michele’s vision went on to establish a new era in fashion. Five years on, we are still following close.

2016: Streetwear takes centrestage

It was the year when Demna Gvasali put street wear back into our wardrobes. At Vetements, the label he conceived in 2014, Gvasali presented his anti-thesis to fashion. Graphic sweatshirts and t-shirts were no longer just loungewear – they were in fashion. From collaborating with unlikely cooperations to street casting models and presenting shows at unusual locations, Gvasali marched to his own beat and the rest of the world, followed. After all, this was the man who made the DHL t-shirt a viral sensation. Gvasali has since stepped down from his role at Vetements.

2017: Phoebe Philo bows out from Céline

After nearly a decade as creative director at the French maison, Phoebe Philo announced her unexpected departure in late 2017. During her tenure at Céline, the designer had garnered a cult-following amongst contemporary women. Philo understood women, and in turn, made clothes that empowered women. Undoubtedly a design luminary of our time, Philo started a brand of minimalism in the 2000s that was so distinctly understood as the Céline aesthetic. While the maison has appointed a new designer in place, ardent Philophiles continue cling onto what the now aigu-less Celine once was. Look no further than Instagram for prove.

2018: Diversity takes it home 

Fashion has come a long way in opening up its eye to diversity. In 2018, the push for minority representation celebrated some big wins. Virgil Abloh was named Louis Vuitton’s first black creative director, the Spring 2019 runways featured 44.8 percent of models of colour and also saw an increase in plus-size models. A pat on the back for fashion!

2019: The world mourns the loss of Karl Lagerfeld 

When Karl Lagerfeld missed the Chanel couture show in January last year, the rumour mill started spinning as industry insiders began speculating about his ailing health. A month later, the revered icon’s death was announced. While Virginie Viard, his longterm right-hand woman of over 30 years, has succeeded him at Chanel, Lagerfeld’s legacy will forever live on in the maison’s distinguishable codes.

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