Class of 2008

The models, designers, and trends that made the grade in this year of fashion. By Xiyin Tang
2008-yearbook-best-ofIn between the passing of Yves Saint Laurent and the shuttering of dozens of mags and fashion labels, 2008 may have seemed like a bit of a gloomy year. But that's all the more reason to crack open a cold one in honor of all the good, the great, and wildly gorgeous of this year past, whether it was designer-prophet Alber Elbaz's chic and cheap-er line for Acne or the return of the "It" girl (and trust us, the new crop of super stylish young things is brighter, tougher, and grittier than the Paris Hiltons of yesteryear). We've anointed our top picks for best Model, Best Magazine Cover, Best Trend, and, naturally, most popular Super Senior (in style, of course). Because when you think about it, the fashion crowd is a lot like high school: Always young, (almost) always fun, and let's not forget, always beautiful in its own unique way.
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Most AttractiveModel of the Year: Behati Prinsloo
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If ever there was a genuinely funny, super low-key, and yet undeniably beautiful model, Namibian model Behati Prinsloo would be it. BFF to Coco Rocha, lover of YouTube, and catwalk queen, you may recognize her as the sequined-and-smoking troublemaker in The Virgins' music video, "Rich Girls." She's also just joined the likes of Gisele and Stam in becoming a Victoria's Secret girl (kind of an informal way of knowing you've "made it" in the modeling world). No wonder Henry Holland printed "Fancy a Screw, Behati Prinsloo?" on his line of T-shirts. Photos via Supreme Management.
Runner-ups:
Catherine McNeil
Jourdan Dunn
Sessilee Lopez
Most PhotogenicBest Magazine Cover: Vogue Italia All-Black Issue
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One of Vogue Italia's best-selling issues ever, the "All-Black" Issue was not only a celebration, but a declaration. We've always lamented the lack of ethnic models in the fashion industry, but never before has a magazine come out and addressed it with an entire issue dedicated to these global beauties. Naomi Campbell, Jourdan Dunn, Liya Kebede, and Sessilee Lopez grace one of four covers, proving that yes, black is beautiful. Consider this a preview of what's to come.
Runner-ups:
Kate Moss for September's Relaunched Interview Magazine
V Magazine 55 Fall 2008 Issue
Best DressedTop Trend: Lace
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From ladylike dresses to seductive thigh-highs, lace got a major makeover this season from your grandma's old-fashioned fabric to something a touch kinky and completely modern. You can blame lace mania on Miuccia, whose fall '08 collection for Prada showcased a series of dresses and skirts that all gave a tiny glimpse into what lies beneath. A little lace frock is also the perfect way to show off the new underwear-as-outerwear trend, too. Photos via Style.com.
Runner-ups:
Exposed Zippers
Sheer Exposure
New Neckwear (Bow-ties and cravats)
Big Pants/Denim
Florals
Most PopularFavorite It Girl: Daisy Lowe
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In between the Beckhams landing in America and Peaches Geldof moving to Williamsburg, 2008 was the year of the Brit invasion. Rock prodigy and Gavin Rossdale offspring Daisy Lowe gets our pick for the brightest star in the English sky, thanks to her trendsetting style, her smart endorsement deals, and her down-to-earth attitude. Between dishing on her style for our very own site and being the face of Converse and Marc Jacobs to name a few, Lowe also finds time to let loose and hang out with fellow style icons Alexa Chung, another R29 fashion fave. Photos via GQ and Converse.
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Runner-ups:
Harley Viera-Newton
Alexa Chung
Alice Dellal
Favorite Super SeniorRecession-Proof Investment: Lanvin
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There are very few men who really know what women want—really in their hearts and on their hips--but one such man is Alber Elbaz, whose been making ladies lose it with drop-dead dress after dress since 2001, when he took over the legendary French fashion house. For his spring '09 line, Alber returned to basics, turning out silk shifts, beautiful blouses, and rail-thin cigarette pants in black satin, all topped off with an explosion of crystal-trimmmings--the perfect balance between reserved and extravagant. In a recession year, we have no doubts that the bow-tie-wearing Elbaz's timeless classics will weather the storm just fine. Photos via Style.com.
Runner-ups:
Burberry
Balmain
Sonia Rykiel
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Coolest FreshmanBest New Designer: Sophomore
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Taking inspiration from New York's laid-back downtown style, Chrissie Miller's line of casual-cool basics for guys and gals got a boost from designer Madeleine von Froomer, formerly of Proenza Schouler, who jumped on board earlier this year. Miller's effortlessly delicious tees and tops have been seen on plenty of downtown kids, including Charlotte Ronson, Donald Cummings of The Virgins, and Jen Brill. Not too shabby for an up-and-comer.
Runner-ups:
Macqua
Jeffrey Monteiro
Pamela Love
Most Likely to SucceedMost Compelling (and Best Selling) Ad Campaign: Vanessa Paradis for Miu Miu Fall/Winter '08
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French actress, singer, and the other half to Johnny Depp, the quirky redhead lent her flair to Miuccia Prada's even quirkier autumn collection. Vanessa followed in the footsteps of prior Miu Miu faces Kirsten Dunst, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and Lindsay Lohan, looking every bit the glamorous Bride of you-know-who. Only she could make a lime-green track jacket look this good. Seriously.
Runner-ups:
Victoria Beckham for Marc Jacobs Spring/Summer '08
Irina Lazareanu, Iekeliene Stange, and Anna Gushina for Sonia Rykiel Fall/Winter '08
Naomi Campbell for Yves Saint Laurent Fall/Winter '08
Sam Riley for Burberry Fall/Winter '08
Cutest CoupleChicest Collaboration: Lanvin/Acne
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Though you may not have the budget to get your hands on one of Alber Elbaz's goddess gowns or chicer-than-thou balloon-sleeved blouses, lovers of Lanvin have something to rejoice about: Paris' finest couturier put his tailoring skills to task in denim for Swedish cult label Acne this year. Now you can snag that puff-sleeve dress you've always wanted, except in wearable denim, and for a whole lot less. The line launched December 17, so we suggest running to your nearest Acne store or shopping online before it sells out—and trust us, it will. Fast..
Runner-ups:
Chloë Sevigny for Opening Ceremony
Emma Cook for Topshop
Alexander Wang for Uniqlo
Rogan for Target
The models, designers, and trends that made the grade in this year of fashion.
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