School’s not quite out for winter, but we’re counting down the days on the advent calendar. So it seemed like a good time to stop doing any real work and reflect on the year that’s about to end.
Here are 17 of the biggest style lessons that we learnt in 2017, from the best and worst looks to the menswear movements you need to know for the next 12 months.
Never knowingly understated, Conor McGregor dropped napalm on the promotional fire ahead of his circus act with Floyd Mayweather by sporting a three-piece suit with a pinstripe that, on closer inspection, was in fact the repeated epithet “Fuck you”. (This wasn’t even the most offensive thing about the press tour.)
The Notorious’ tailor David August subsequently made the punchy fabric available by popular demand. Which begs the question of where exactly buyers are planning to wear it – the inevitable rematch?
By no means an isolated example of people getting dropped over the latest drop, fights broke out at the VLONE pop-up in London this summer. A police presence at streetwear launches is now a thing and it comes to something when even Hypebeast is asking whether sneaker hype is too rabid. “Clout” indeed.
In November, fans of the eighties-tastic Netflix series crashed the Science Museum of Minnesota’s website in their enthusiasm to cop the perma-permed geek’s purple brontosaurus hoodie he sports in the opening episode of season two.
Meanwhile Nicolas Ghesquière, Louis Vuitton’s artistic director of womenswear collections, designed a Stranger Things T-shirt featuring Dustin and his fellow party members and sent it down his SS18 catwalk, while Topman’s eerily similar merchandise turned the high street upside down.
The overwhelming impression that the Trump administration is only just being held together by sticky-back plastic was reinforced by the revelation that the most powerful man in the world uses Scotch tape to affix the slim end of his inexplicably long ties to the other. (Sad!)
It’s perhaps the most bewildering sartorial decision made in the White House, closely followed by Anthony Scaramucci’s blue aviators, Sean Spicer’s stars-and-stripes suit lining and Steve Bannon’s shirting Inception. Maybe make tie clips great again instead?
The Swedish homewear institution responded to Balenciaga’s $ 2,000 leather “homage” to its iconic blue carrier in style, with a tongue-in-cheek ad explaining “How to identify an original Ikea Frakta”.
Suspicion persists that the French house’s artistic director Demna Gvasalia – he of the infamous £185 DHL T-shirt – is in fact some kind of satirical performance artist.
We’re talking about the cringe-inducing, DVT-preventing skinny legwear. Not what you’d call quad goals. But that was only one crime against fashion in this summer’s muscle-fit, brain-drain reality TV hit. The worst? Everyone dressing exactly the same as everyone else. Like, exactly. Not what you’d call squad goals, either.
Thanks to technological advances like stretchy knitted uppers, futuristic-looking trainers with no laces or tongues are being lapped up, from Adidas’ urban ninja City Sock to Balenciaga’s Speed Trainer, which sells out faster than Supreme-branded hot cakes. Acne Studios’ Tristan is even striped like a classic business sock – but is still NSFW in most offices.
We’re still some way off the Los Angeles imagined in the 2019-set original, but not that far, as Raf Simons’ spring/summer 2018 collection was a convincing replicant of the 1982 film in both rainwear and neon-lit Chinatown setting (albeit in New York).
And while the shearling worn by Ryan Gosling in Blade Runner 2049 was a custom one-off, his boots – by US military supplier Bates – can be bought on Amazon by voice command, if not quite yet delivered by robots.
Dolce & Gabbana sent a stream of millennial social media influencers down the catwalk instead of models at its show at Milan Fashion Week at the start of the year. Meanwhile, Shawn Mendes – AKA the next Justin Bieber – closed Emporio Armani’s SS18 show in Milan. Feel old yet?
2017 was the year that nineties style really came back: sportswear, streetwear, massive logos, even bumbags. Our favourite throwback: grunge.
Shades of the late Nirvana frontman were everywhere in 2017, in particular his white oval (women’s) sunglasses. Both Pharrell and Migos’ aptly named Takeoff wore cover versions at this year’s Coachella.
The cult streetwear brand has gone from being sued by Louis Vuitton for knocking off its monogram in 2000 to collaborating with the luxury house in 2017, in the ultimate symbol of its peerless, priceless cred. After selling a minority stake to private equity behemoth the Carlyle Group, Supreme is now valued at (adopts Dr Evil voice and raises little finger to mouth) $ 1bn.
Can you be anti-establishment and establishment at the same time? And if you can slap a box logo on literally anything and make money, do you care?
Related to both of the above, the general slackening of dress codes and nostalgia for all things nineties, skateboarding has gone from niche subculture to overarching aesthetic.
Never mind that Tony Hawk chic was rooted in inexpensive workwear and military surplus: the eagle-eyed fashion industry has cannily appropriated the authenticity but not the affordability of the skatewear trend, marking up basic cotton T-shirts and hoodies and marketing them to wistful 40-year-olds with disposable income and 14-year-olds with predisposed parents.
In this age of Insta-gratification, the archaic catwalk system, in which designers parade wares that won’t actually hit stores for another six months, makes even less sense than it used to. As of January, so-hot-right-now Vetements became the latest brand to ditch the broken model, following Burberry and Tom Ford in showing clothes that, if you like, you can also buy right now.
More prosaically, changing the arbitrary fashion seasons should resolve some of the production idiosyncrasies that makes it maddeningly difficult to shop for a pair of shorts in the height of summer, or a warm coat in the depths of winter.
Brands are also combining menswear and womenswear into the same show, and more fluidly still. Alexander McQueen SS18 men’s riffed on its Iceland-inspired women’s collection, while Thom Browne clad male models in shirt-dresses and pleated skirts. And you thought his trademark cropped trousers were pushing it.
On the high street, too, brands including H&M and Zara have offered gender neutral collections.
Comfortably winning the bet between designers as to who can successfully rehabilitate the least cool thing possible, Gvasalia’s SS18 Balenciaga show was not only “inspired by young dads in the park with their kids” but also featured street-cast fathers and offspring. Their stonewashed jeans weren’t, however, encrusted with food and vomit.
In fashion as in politics, the trend pendulum often swings from one extreme to the other. So the three-piece and pocket square peacockery of hashtag menswear’s early adopting days gave way to a pared-back period of minimalism.
Feeding our hunger for Instagram likes, the “trendulum” has now swung back to maximalism, as exemplified by Alessandre Michele’s seventies-vibed tenure at Gucci: think John Legend at the Billboard Music Awards in a double-breasted, checked suit with a tiger head on the back, or everything that Jared Leto wears.
Leopard print, embellishment, pastels… we’ll be diplomatic and just say that, as in politics, the middle ground is usually best.
Of all the unlikely seventies styles enjoying a revival this year, it’s corduroy that we think has actual staying power. It was everywhere from Prada to Armani via Marni in 2017. There’s even a hip new label entirely dedicated to the formerly professorial fabric: The Cords & Co, AKA “the world’s first premium corduroy brand”.
Who knew that ribbing could be so pleasurable?
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