The Headlines That Defined Fashion In 2016

Photo: Jacopo Raule/Getty Images.
Well, 2016 was certainly something. It was a noteworthy year across various industries, including politics, entertainment, fashion, and tech, with connections between fields deepening in fascinating and sometimes surprising ways.

Take, for example, how the relationship between Hollywood and high fashion got scrutinized, as various celebrities, stylists, and designers spoke out about the sizeism that can decide who gets to wear what on the red carpet. Then, as the U.S. election weighed heavier on our consciences, many sought out meaning in the outfit choices of Hillary Clinton throughout her campaign, and (more than ever) Michelle Obama. Now, with president-elect Trump expected to move into the White House, attention shifts to his daughter Ivanka’s role in the new administration — and the implications that could have for her namesake fashion brand. But there's been a lot to recap beyond the heated election cycle.

The fashion business is always changing, shifting, and adapting. Keeping tabs on what we learned from the past year's shake-ups and plot twists underscores where there's still significant room for progress going forward. Ahead, check out some of the most important fashion industry headlines that grabbed our attention in the past 365 days. Some you may remember, some you may have missed out on. But keep these bookmarked: they're bound to factor into how the industry shakes out in 2017.
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Photo: Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images.
Everyone & Their Mother Released Merch

If designer switch-ups defined 2015 fashion news, celebrities releasing merch was the 2016 equivalent. It felt as if every month — every week, even — there was a new commemorative capsule to know about. First, there was Kanye West's The Life of Pablo pop-up, which set a precedent (and aesthetic) for musicians and brands alike. Justin Bieber paired up with everyone from Forever 21 to Barneys New York to sell versions of his Purpose tour T-shirts, sweatshirts, and more. Selena Gomez made her own, too. There are still a few holdouts we're waiting on to release their own memorabilia. But given the fervor for merch in 2016, this trend is bound to continue full-force in the new year.
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Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images.
Why Can’t Supermodels Just Get Along?

In the ‘90s, there were the supermodels. Nowadays, there aren't just supers, these runway and campaign regulars are dubbed Insta-models and It Girls, too. Some attributed the quick ascents to fame of Kendall Jenner, Gigi Hadid, and Bella Hadid to their famous surnames and massive social followings. While these factors are certainly true, they don't detract from the fact that they’re hardworking models — though some of the OGs don’t see it that way.

Rebecca Romijn first caught some flack for dubbing Hadid and Jenner “social media stars" instead of supermodels. Then, Stephanie Seymour set off what would become known as the “supermodel debate," saying the Kendalls and Gigis of the world needed their own title, joking that they should be called “bitches of the moment.” Naturally, this didn’t sit well with either model — or their followers.

“If you’re going to tell us not to be in ‘your moment,’ then don’t be in mine,” Jenner wrote on her website. Yolanda Hadid, Gigi and Bella’s mom, told TMZ: “It’s sad to see some of these beautiful semi-retired supermodels, who are mothers themselves now, feel the need to publicly put down someone else’s daughter.” Other ‘90s supermodels came to their defense. Seymour eventually apologized for her remarks.
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Photo: Robert Alexander/Getty Images.
Bill Cunningham Is Deeply Missed

For the past few years, Fashion Month has been utterly in flux: no two seasons are the same, with designers tinkering with new presentation formats and substantial tweaks to the traditional, six-months-out schedule. However, in New York, there was a constant that perhaps helped keep everyone grounded: Bill Cunningham, zipping through the crowds in his bright, blue workman jacket, capturing the most dynamic, eccentric, well-dressed folks, gathered to celebrate fashion. Cunningham captured great personal style on the streets of New York, far beyond NYFW; he’s considered the father of street-style photography. When he passed away in June, his absence was immediately felt by an industry that admired him (and a crowd that he was endlessly fascinated by). Spring ’17 was the first season of shows without Cunningham, but his legacy remained.
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Photo: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images.
A Legendary Design Duo Parts Ways

Pierpaolo Piccioli and Maria Grazia Chiuri first met in the Fendi design studio, back in 1989. They rose up the ranks together at the Italian fashion houses before moving on, together, to Valentino. Throughout their nine years as co-creative directors of the brand, Piccioli and Chiuri were a dynamic duo, bringing much critical acclaim to the Rome-based, PFW-showing brand, as well as incredibly profitable accessories (the design duo’s forte).

There were rough points, too; take, for example, the house's "Africa" spring '16 runway. Still, the brand became incredibly profitable, hitting the $1 billion mark earlier this year. Chiuri and Piccioli's partnership was one for the books — now, the designers are going it solo: Chuiri is Dior's first female creative director, and Piccioli stayed at Valentino as the label's sole creative lead.
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Photo: Richard Bord/Getty Images.
That Time Juicy Couture Came Back

Vetements' spring '17 show was something different, and somewhat unorthodox: a collaboration with 18 different brands, shown during couture week instead of during PFW. Fashion pair-ups are nothing new, but the breadth of brands (and surprising range of brands) set this collab apart. Juicy Couture was perhaps the most perplexing of the bunch. Why would Vetements, foremost purveyor of all things cool these days, bring back early-aughts Juicy? Well, after all, Demna Gvasalia’s hit label also has a knack for re-appropriating mainstream fashion concepts into must-have streetwear.

These weren’t exactly the velour tracksuits of yore: The Vetements-ified version of this '00s status symbol featured an extra-high waist, extra-long hem, and glove sleeves. If you’re more of a traditionalist when it comes to your tracksuits, 2016 was still a good year. This was just one of many parts of Juicy's elaborate comeback campaign, anchored by a hashtag, #TrackIsBack. There was an influencer-led lookbook, a capsule at Bloomingdales, and a reissue of the classic, beloved silhouettes. Still have a strong affinity for the early aughts staple? You're in good company: Kim Kardashian revealed she never got rid of her collection of tracksuits, either.
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Photo: Victor VIRGILE/Gamma-Rapho/Getty Images.
Who Runs The Fashion World?
When we talk about diversity in fashion, the focus is usually on the models cast for runways and campaigns, and featured on magazine covers and in editorial spreads. These optics are incredibly important, and there’s plenty of work to be done in terms of casting practices. But the demographics of those working behind the scenes merits attention, too: most of the designers leading the charge are men. Especially in Europe, the top positions at legacy fashion houses have frequently gone to male designers. So it's significant that two vacant creative director roles at major Paris-based houses got filled by female designers: Bouchra Jarrar at Lanvin and Maria Grazia Chiuri at Dior. (Chiuri is the first woman to head up design at Dior in the label’s 70-year history.)

Both were closely-watched — and highly coveted — appointments, and it's significant that both positions went to women. Chiuri’s first collection for Dior was pretty explicit in its feminist messaging, while Jarrar took a more subtle approach by emphasizing fine tailoring focused on the female silhouette.
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Photo: Bertrand Rindoff Petroff/French Select/Getty Images.
Did North West Spark An Industry Trend?

North West is one of the world’s youngest style icons. People have written about her fashion influence, and she’s become a bona fide muse for some of the world’s largest fashion brands. This year alone, both Balmain and Givenchy branched into childrenswear. Before both brands officially started making kids' clothes, West was one of the few pint-sized fashionistas wearing custom designs from both labels. Olivier Rousteing and Riccardo Tisci may not have name-checked Kim Kardashian’s three-year-old when their kids' collections were announced, but the influence is definitely felt. Your move, Vetements.
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Photo: Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images.
This Storied Homecoming Is The Stuff Intern Dreams Are Made Of

Following the passing of Oscar de la Renta in 2014, his namesake New York empire faltered a bit without the legendary designer’s vision and spirit to lead it creatively. Peter Copping was tapped as the creative director at Oscar de la Renta, just as two of the house’s longtime stars, Laura Kim and Fernando García, left the house to start their own label — a big move, since both had started at the company as interns. Monse became a critic and buyers’ favorite starting with its inaugural collection: Net-a-Porter’s Sarah Ruston and celebrities like Amal Clooney and Sarah Jessica Parker were fans from the get-go. (The latter proudly wore custom Monse to the 2016 Met Gala.) Still, Oscar de la Renta is home for the wunderkind duo — and, after Copping’s quiet exit earlier this year, Kim and García were announced as co-creative directors of the label in September. They’re set to make their debut in February, with a fall ’17 collection — barring any legal intervention.
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Photo: Bryan Bedder/Getty Images.
The End Of An Era At Vogue

Grace Coddington, the woman who played a hand in some of the most memorable images to come out of American Vogue over the past 25 years, moved on the magazine this year. It was one of the most surprising media moves of the year. Coddington’s not totally out of the Vogue family, of course: She maintains a “creative director at large” title, which allows her to work on other ventures. Recently, she worked on a campaign for Tiffany & Co., and even modeled for Calvin Klein.
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Photo: Thomas Concordia/WireImage.
Designers Go Athleisure, Too

As consumers, we’ve enthusiastically embraced athleisure in all its "yes, leggings are indeed pants" glory. The trend has been around for a couple years, but in 2016, it officially got the designer stamp of approval. Riccardo Tisci evolved his relationship with Nike from a one-off sneaker to a full-fledged active apparel line.

Olivier Rousteing
then followed suit, releasing his own capsule for the sportswear giant. These high-fashion players counted on the expertise of established active brands to bring their luxe sensibility into functional garments. Alexander Wang confirmed rumors that he was teaming up with Adidas by finishing off his spring ’17 runway show with a sportswear-heavy finale (and his signature run down the catwalk — this time, clad in Alexander Wang x Adidas). Prabal Gurung got in on the action, too, working with cult New York fitness boutique Bandier on a selection of bold workout pieces. So, yes, in case you were wondering: Athleisure's still kicking.
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Photo: Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images.
Celebrity Spawn Take The Spotlight

When the Jenners and the Hadids came to prominence in fashion, their familiar surnames certainly helped boost their profiles and make introductions early in their careers. The next generation of models that has the industry buzzing furthers this trend. Now, the children of the great, original supermodels are coming of age and entering fashion, like Kaia Gerber and Lily-Rose Depp, Cindy Crawford’s daughter and Vanessa Paradis’ daughter, respectively. This year, the two young models scored international Vogue covers, big runway breaks, and beauty deals. (You know, normal teen things.) They’re total lookalikes of their well-known mothers — except with the social media sensibilities of Generation Z.
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Photo: John Greim/LightRocket/ Getty Images.
Longtime Print Magazines Folded

Last year, fashion lovers lost Lucky and Details magazines. Unfortunately, 2016 didn't bode much better for print devotees: First, Meredith's More folded — then, InStyle UK, Complex, and Self announced they would shut down their print publications in favor of all-digital content. Of course, some of these brands live on online, but it pains us a little every time we learn of another title that's leaving the newsstands.
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Photo: Matthew Eisman/Getty Images.
Christian Siriano (Unintentionally) Becomes Posterchild For Inclusivity In Fashion

Throughout his decade-long career, Christian Siriano has embraced a wide range of customers. “In my office, all of my employees are different sizes and ages," he told us back in September. "I don't even think about it." That's unfortunately a rarity in an industry that still uses “sample size” (usually a size 2) as a standard. In the industry, Siriano has long been known for his inclusive approach to fashion: He has long collaborated with mass-market brands like Payless ShoeSource and Lane Bryant, which make his designs available to shoppers of all price points and sizes, and has dressed celebrities of all body types who may not have found appropriate red-carpet gowns elsewhere. His everyone’s-welcome-here approach got underscored this year, thanks to a tweet.

When Leslie Jones couldn’t find a designer to dress her for the premiere of Ghostbusters , she vented about it on social media. Siriano did what felt obvious to him: He volunteered himself, dressing Jones in a stunning, custom, off-the-shoulder gown. "It was actually super random; I was just like: ‘Hey, I’m here. If you want something I’m available,’" he explained to us. "She must not have thought of me, so that’s why I threw myself in there — because I love her, I follow her, and I would love to dress her. Then, it started becoming such a thing. Honestly, it was just as simple as I’m a fan of hers."

The press requests kept rolling in, and Siriano has used his now even more expansive platform to speak out about how this should be the norm, not news.
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Photo: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images.
Ashley Graham Continues To Remind Us That Beauty Goes Beyond Size

Ashley Graham has been working in fashion for a decade — but 2016 was the year everyone finally realized she’s a force to be reckoned with. She became the first plus-size model to cover Sports Illustrated. She achieved a longtime dream of fronting an issue of Vogue. She got her own Barbie doll.

More importantly, though, she made people engage in a conversation about sizeism in the fashion industry, both with her incredible professional achievements and through her #beautybeyondsize movement. “Plus size describes things, not people,” she told Refinery29's global editor-in-chief, Christene Barberich, on an episode of Unstyled. Many have (finally) acknowledged that sample-sized can't and shouldn't be the operating norm for fashion. Graham can't solve this issue alone, obviously, but her eloquence and advocacy are making quite the impact.
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Photo: Phil Walter/Getty Images.
Not So Fast, Fast-Fashion Knock-Offs

Our relationship with fast-fashion is definitely complicated: We love affordable, on-trend options, but struggle with the environmental and human costs of cheap clothes. In 2016, it became even more apparent that the retail industry needs to be held accountable for its egregious practices, as independent designers took to social media to call out these massive corporations for copying their work.

These cases became more prominent
and garnered significant media attention. And while legal repercussions aren't always an option for these instances (both due to lack of resources for small brands, and to the nuances of copyright law), this issue was certainly top of mind for fashion folks everywhere.
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Photo: MARTIN BUREAU/AFP/Getty Images.
Hedi Slimane & Saint Laurent Had A Rocky Divorce

Hedi Slimane has always maintained an air of mystery. It’s part of his allure, translated into the rock-and-roll luxe aesthetic he brought to Saint Laurent for four years. However, since his breakup, with the house Slimane has popped up sporadically — and in a way that probably annoys his former employer. Slimane’s breakup with Kering, which owns Saint Laurent, has been tumultuous, to say the least.

He left Saint Laurent in April of this year, and, in June, Slimane filed a lawsuit against its parent company to maintain the non-compete clause in his contract (and the pay that comes with it), Reuters reported. French courts ordered Kering to pay Slimane $13 million as a result — and in October, the designer reportedly sought even more compensation from the company, according to the L.A. Times. Throughout all of this, Slimane maintained his characteristically sparse social media presence. Then, on October 7th, he went on an all-caps Twitter rampage (which has since been deleted) in which he defended his use of the original YSL logo during his tenure at the fashion house. While the rant felt sudden, WWD reported that the timing may have had something to do with the additional $2.2 million Slimane had requested from Kering. The tweets have mostly disappeared from the Twittersphere, but you can find the highlights over at WWD.
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Photo: Christian Vierig/Getty Images.
Vogue’s Tone-Deaf Takedown Of Bloggers Backfires, Unsurprisingly

At this point, bloggers are a mainstay in the fashion industry. And while they’ve mostly been welcomed into the fold by designers, labels, and media as a whole, some editors still raise their eyebrows when influencers take their seats in the front row. Bias against those who have built empires off of Internet fame came to light in a somewhat unexpectedly manner: in Vogue’s recap of Milan Fashion Week. The item highlighted some of the highs, the lows, and general takeaways from MFW, and included laments about bloggers changing “head-to-toe, paid-to-wear outfits every hours” ushering in “the death of style."

Many spoke out about the outdated notion of bloggers-as-peacocks, from Susie Lau and Bryan Yambao (two of the original personal style bloggers) to other fashion publications — some calling out editors for engaging in the very behavior they were criticizing influencers for, such as borrowing clothes from brands and changing outfits repeatedly during Fashion Week.

Yambao (a.k.a. Bryanboy) put it best: “Why would they knock a certain subset of people who found an alternative platform to make a livelihood doing something essentially similar?,” he told The Cut. “It really feels like flat-out bullying! It’s 2016, not 2009, and I cannot believe we’re still having this conversation.”
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Photo: Venturelli/FilmMagic.
What Will Ciara, Kim, and Beyoncé Do Without Peter Dundas At Cavalli?

In October, the surprising news hit that Peter Dundas left his role as creative director at Roberto Cavalli after three seasons. His time at the head of the Italian fashion house was brief, but it was incredibly memorable. In just a year and a half, Dundas found loyal customers in Kim Kardashian (his date for the 2016 Met Gala) and Ciara (who wore one of his gowns to her wedding to Russell Wilson). He also played a crucial role in Beyoncé’s Lemonade wardrobe, both in fashioning looks for her visual album and in creating costumes for the accompanying “Formation” World Tour. What lies next for Dundas is still TBD, but from the looks of his Instagram, he seems to be enjoying some well-deserved time off.
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Photo: David M. Benett/Getty Images.
Raf Simons Arrives At Calvin Klein — And Yay, More Pieter Mulier

Raf Simons’ appointment as chief creative officer of Calvin Klein was widely speculated (and expected) by those working in the industry. Still, the notoriously press-shy designer has kept characteristically quiet since leaving Dior, mostly working on his namesake menswear label and a handful of projects here and there. Sure, it was a much-rumored-about move, but the news still rocked the fashion world.

What was most exciting about the press release, though, was the fact that Pieter Mulier would be accompanying Simons on his move to New York, assuming the role of creative director for Calvin Klein. Now, if you don’t know who Mulier is, put a pin in this slideshow and go watch Dior and I right now. (It’s on Netflix. We’ll wait.) Frédéric Tcheng’s 2014 documentary chronicles Simons’ first-ever collection for Dior.

While such unfiltered access to Simons is a fascinating element and plot point of the film, it’s the auxiliary characters that collectively won over the fashion crowd, from the petits mains of the atelier to Mulier, Simons’ first assistant. He was the breakout star of the film, with his charm, his taste, and his mind-blowing ability to stay cool under unimaginable pressure. So, to see Raf and Pieter together again is seriously exciting — plus, to see Mulier take on a more visible design role at Calvin Klein, is even sweeter.
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Photo: Albert Urso/Getty Images.
The Designer Revolving Door Continues At DKNY

When LVMH sold DKNY to G-III Apparel Group to the tune of $650 million, it was rumored, but not confirmed, that Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osbourne’s performance at the label had been “disappointing,” according to Bloomberg. The industry-loved duo spent jus two seasons at the New York label: There was still hope and opportunity for turnaround, given the new resources and investment. But Chow and Osbourne, who had been splitting time between DKNY and their buzzy label Public School, didn’t last very long afterwards. Come December, the pair announced they would step down from their roles as co-creative directors, WWD reported. And so, the three-year streak of creative director tenures dwindles down to two.
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Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images.
Editors Will Have To Plan For Los Angeles Fashion Week Now, Too

As if the "see now, buy now" switch-up didn't make planning for Fashion Week confusing enough, editors will now have to, somehow, squeeze in a trip to Los Angeles into the four-week circuit, as more designers defect from New York in favor of L.A. So far, Tommy Hilfiger, Rebecca Minkoff, Rachel Zoe, and Rachel Comey have opted out of the New York calendar in favor of shows and presentations in L.A. As much as spending February in California sounds much more comfortable than bearing an East Coast winter, it does complicate planning a bit. But,hey, even Dior is feeling the pull of L.A., so maybe this'll become a thing.
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Photo: Sean Zanni/Patrick McMullan/Getty Images.
Is Fashion Week As We Know It Over?

Regardless of which city it was in, Fashion Week used to follow a similar, predictable structure: You gathered twice a year — once for fall, once for spring — and would take in the coming season’s fashions through a runway display. Then, social media changed the way we consume (and produce) new content. Presentations introduced a new way for designers to showcase their work. Soon enough, seasons became malleable, and working sx months in advance stopped being the norm. “See now, buy now” — the banner term used to describe the switch to in-season production — became the talk of the town. Some houses grouped the presentations for their men’s and women’s collections together, opting to show out of the traditional womenswear calendar. (More on that later.)

The industry can’t collectively agree on a new norm. Amid this hoopla, some labels have bowed out of the event altogether, opting for digital debuts — or nothing at all. In this period of uncertainty, it doesn’t help that the home base for New York Fashion Week has switched around in the past few years since ending its contract with Lincoln Center in the spring of 2015. All of this begs the question: What’s next for Fashion Week?
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Photo: Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images.
More Runways Go Gender-Neutral

Another scheduling point that keeps the fashion flock busy is that, traditionally, menswear and womenswear are traditionally shown at separate Fashion Weeks, usually a few weeks apart. That means designers who work at houses that do coed designs must create, plan, and host two fashion shows every season. It’s a big investment in terms of time and energy, and, perhaps most importantly, money: A single fashion show in New York, which usually lasts about 10 to 15 minutes, can cost upwards of $200,000, according to Fashionista. So, some labels have ditched gendered Fashion Week shows, instead opting to roll both presentations into one.

Demna Gvasalia’s Vetements helped sparked this switch with its “unilateral” approach to Fashion Week. As the year rolled on, more and more designers announced they were scrapping gender-specific runways, including Kenzo, Calvin Klein, Bottega Venetta, and Gucci — and the list goes on. So, we ask ourselves once again: Where does Fashion Week stand?
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Photo: Christian Vierig/Getty Images.
Shoes Become The Gateway Product For Celeb Endorsements

The rise of athleisure has certainly helped sportswear brands over the past few years. But there’s another force making sneakers particularly sought-after — celebrity endorsements. Adidas has seen continued success with its partnership with Kanye West. Whether or not his ready-to-wear is well-received by the fashion industry, his Yeezy sneakers sell — and sell out. Similarly, Puma continues to grow with the help of Rihanna’s Fenty label and her consistently popular footwear. (Her creepers were 2016’s shoe of the year.) This year, the brand added even more celebrities to its roster, hiring Kylie Jenner and Cara Delevingne to act as brand ambassadors. This then furthered a trend of successful quarters as a result of these celebrity alignments. This phenomena is likely to continue into 2017, as Bella Hadid and The Weeknd have already inked deals with Nike and Adidas, respectively.
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Photo: Jacopo Raule/Getty Images.
Rihanna Becomes An Actual Real, Not-Just-Celebrity Designer

Rihanna is, unimpeachably, a fashion icon. (She has a fancy-shmancy CFDA Award that says so.) As a designer, it hasn’t been such a smooth path to superstardom: She first collaborated with River Island on a few collections in 2013, while not the most earth-shattering, were still pretty successful for the brand. Then, she inked a deal with Puma. What started as a string of extremely successful sneaker launches turned into a full-fledged Fenty by Puma collection, which was shown at New York Fashion Week in February. The clothes were maximalist ath-luxury and squarely in the “Only Rihanna Could Pull This Off” category — but they sold. Come September, Bad Gal had graduated to Paris, showing her sophomore ready-to-wear assortment in the Hôtel Salomon de Rothschild. For spring, she imagined what Marie Antoinette would wear to the gym. And, as unlikely as that scenario felt, Rihanna managed to make it feel like a proper, comprehensive collection, which was met with enthusiastic (if mildly surprised) reviews. We might even venture to say that Rihanna’s design career is shining bright like a…well, you know.
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Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images.
How Do We Really Feel About Yeezy?

Kanye West started 2016 with arguably his most successful Yeezy show yet: For his third season of the Adidas-affiliated label, he staged a presentation in tandem with an album listening party in Madison Square Garden — on the eve of New York Fashion Week. The event wasn’t just reserved for the fashion elite, either. West’s fans could buy tickets to see the latest collection of Yeezy wares while listening to The Life of Pablo for the first time. The clothes on display weren’t very different from the nude and spandex-y assortment from past seasons, but there were surprises in store, including cameos from Naomi Campbell and Veronica Webb and the most diverse casting of models of all Fashion Month.

Season 4, however, didn’t go so smoothly. Whereas some of the spectacle (plus a new Kanye album) could make a pretty average collection feel more special, the whole ordeal surrounding his last-minute, hours-long journey to Roosevelt Island on a sweltering September day wasn’t at all forgiving. In case you’ve forgotten what went down (many editors certainly cannot), you can read our full recap of the West-crafted adventure here. The conclusion most critics came to, though: Kanye fooled us all. “I Miss The Old Kanye,” proclaimed High Snobiety; “Kidnapped By Kanye West: The Yeezy Season 4 Story,” wrote Fashionista; “Kanye West’s Yeezy Season 4 Was Worse Than Bad. It Was Boring,” concluded the Washington Post.

Before, many were willing to drop everything if offered a ticket to West’s elusive Yeezy shows. But the fashion community got tired of all the hoopla for mostly unimpressive clothes. It’s not to say Kanye’s totally out of fashion: His partnership with Adidas has been wildly successful, particularly his Yeezy sneakers. The future of Yeezy ready-to-wear may be uncertain in the eye of critics. But he has a handful of commercial-facing projects lined up with the sportswear giant — including children’s wear and a line dubbed Calabasas — so this certainly isn’t the last of Mr. West as designer.
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Photo: Presley Ann/Patrick McMullan/Getty Images.
Let's Just All Accept That The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show Is Not Really Just A Fashion Show

The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show is no longer about a runway. It’s about the models cast. It’s about the costumes. It’s about the musical performances. It’s about the training that precedes it. It’s about the relationships and banter leading up to the show (and happening backstage). It’s about the hair and makeup. Basically, at this point, we talk about mostly everything but bras.

Still, it’s a much talked-about event that draws a lot of viewers, a lot of press, and a lot of Instagram likes. While the ratings don’t necessarily match the hoopla surrounding it, the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show is always quite a production. And the 2016 runway in Paris eclipsed the rest: According to Ed Razek, the show’s executive producer, this year’s program cost $20 million to put together, Glamour reported — one of the most expensive fashion shows of all time. Now, let’s see how they top it in 2017.
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Photo: Neilson Barnard/Getty Images.
The Quintessential Teen Brand Grows Up

The story of Abercrombie & Fitch’s journey from cool-kids-only brand to nostalgia-fodder to actually stylish has been long and winding. But in 2016, the early-aughts label took the most drastic step towards its revamp: It changed its logo and deleted its entire Instagram history. It literally and metaphorically erased what we knew Abercrombie & Fitch as, and reintroduced itself as a more grown-up, homegrown version of its former self.

The plaid and the denim remained — but the models look less chiseled and more adult, the images are more subdued than sexed-up, and the moose is gone. It was truly the end of an era. And while sales have yet to reflect as drastic of a shift as its aesthetics have, maybe 2017 holds more promise for Abercrombie & Fitch. Meanwhile, we’re waiting on Limited Too and Delia*s to catch up, for nostalgia’s sake.
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Photo: Christian Vierig/Getty Images.
Let's Get Real About #SponCon

It’s an unspoken truth understood by everyone who works in fashion that bloggers, celebrities, editors, and influencers get a lot of freebies — and, quite often, influencers are paid to post about them. Disclosing compensation for any ensuing content, however, became a big concern this year.

Lord & Taylor settled with the Federal Trade Commission, the U.S. organization that aims to protect consumers from deceptive advertising, over a 2015 social campaign during which 50 bloggers were paid to post an #OOTD wearing one of the retailer’s Design Lab dresses. (The dress promptly sold out.) The Fashion Law has long documented cases where bloggers didn’t properly disclose their relationships with brands. However, this particular case reignited an industry-wide conversation about native advertising. The FTC wasn’t just going after fashion, either: The Kardashian-Jenners, who frequently gush about hair gummies and skinny teas on Instagram, also faced increased scrutiny from the organization, and had to go back to tag any paid-for posts with #ad. The state of the influencer is continually in flux.
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Photo: Richard Bord/WireImage.
Sonia Rykiel’s Legacy Is Just As Poignant As Ever

Another great loss for the industry this year was Sonia Rykiel passing in August. The designer had long since left her design role at the namesake label she founded in 1968, but the way she shaped how a modern woman dresses is just as palpable today. She didn’t shy away from sexuality, and didn't compromise comfort, either. Rykiel gained a following for her sweaters, but she created a legacy with her approach to smart, empowering, liberating fashion.