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Fashion Year in Review: 2016

By Sara Ehlers


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To say 2016 was monumental for the fashion world is a bit of an understatement. From the shift of the see-now-buy-now fashion movement, to various designer musical chairs and several bankruptcy filings, this year was quite a whirlwind for the industry. FashionUnited takes a look back at this year and its ups and downs through the fashion business.

Hedi Slimane’s presented his final Saint Laurent collection

Hedi Slimane said his goodbyes to the iconic brand with his final couture show for Fall 2016 after three years. The collection included angular silhouettes, vibrant colors, and uses of fur and leather materials with a nod towards eclectic, edgy fashion. Rihanna later coined the stand-out piece from the collection, a red heart-shaped fur coat, by wearing it and gaining recognition through her status as a fashion icon. Needless to say, Slimane’s last collection with the design house made an impression.

A photo posted by badgalriri (@badgalriri) on

Fashion legends were lost

This year was a tough one for the fashion industry. We lost legends that made substantial impacts globally through their work who will be missed. Photographer Bill Cunningham died earlier this year at 87 years old from a stroke. Known for his work of taking photos of street styles during Fashion Week, he gained a reputation as a major player in fashion. Designer Sonia Rykiel also passed earlier, after contributing various Parisian, visionary designs. We also recently mourned the loss of Vogue Italia editor-in-chief Franca Sozzani. Anna Wintour and various others in the industry payed tribute to her memory, as fashion lost another icon.

The shift for fashion week moved towards L.A.

Towards the end of the year, there was more of a trend on the West Coast for fashion shows. Although New York typically took the lead for elite fashion weeks, Los Angeles always came in a close second. This year, prestigious designers such as Tom Ford, Tommy Hilfiger, Rebecca Minkoff, Rachel Roe, and Rachel Comey have all chosen the city of angels for their spring 2017 shows. What this means for the upcoming city remains to be seen, but the shift shows how much this year has shaped fashion weeks to come.

Peter Dundas left Italian fashion house Roberto Cavalli

As another major shake-up for this year, Dundas parted ways with the house as the company dealt with financial issues. After serving as creative director for a year and a half, he announced his departure for the couture fashion brand. He created a loyal following for the house and contributed various designs including Beyonce’s iconic “Lemonade” dress, as well as various numbers that were worn at the Met Gala. His departure came as a shock as many felt that his designs for Roberto Cavalli showed great execution and design.

The see-now-buy-now trend emerged

As seen throughout all the fashion shows this year, this new formula has now become an integral part of the fashion business. It started this year with Tom Ford, Burberry, Tommy Hilfiger, Rebecca Minkoff and more. Due to this new trend, fashion shows now allow buyers to buy instantly instead of waiting months, like the previous standard. This shift shows a change in the fashion fashion works now as well as the industry’s advancement in both technology and e-commerce.

As the fashion industry will continue to grow, the changes will surely follow suit. This year experienced both wins and losses for the fashion world, with some complete turns along the way. As this year comes to a close, it can be certain that 2017 will bring even more trends, collaborations, and shake-ups in the year to come.

Photos: Saint Laurent / Tommy Hilfiger / Roberto Cavalli