The 12 Buzziest Moments in Fashion in 2016

12:23 PM 12/22/2016

by Sam Reed and Stephanie Chan

A look back at the events that had everyone buzzing — for better or worse.

BlakeLively Kimye LeslieJones_Getty - H Split 2016

BlakeLively Kimye LeslieJones_Getty - H Split 2016

From Blake Lively's "L.A. face with an Oakland booty" caption that landed her in hot water to Leslie Jones' search for a designer to dress her for the Ghostbusters premiere, we take a look back at the biggest moments in fashion that got everyone talking.

  • Designer Shake-Ups

    The game of designer musical chairs continued in 2016.

    Starting in February, it was announced that Stefano Pilati was stepping down as the head of design at Ermenegildo Zegna Couture after three years.

    In April, Hedi Slimane announced his departure from Saint Laurent after four years at the helm. Shortly thereafter, Anthony Vaccarello exited Versus Versace and paused work on his namesake label to take a turn at Saint Laurent. His debut collection for the French fashion house — which included a massive crane from which dangled the YSL logo — was well-received by critics.

    In May, Diane von Furstenberg stepped aside to let Jonathan Saunders take the reins as the brand's new chief creative officer, where he was given complete creative control over the brand. Though von Furstenberg remains a key figure in her company, Saunders reported directly to CEO Paolo Riva, who was brought on by von Furstenberg in 2015 to modernize her company. (Riva departed DVF the company in November.)

    A few months later in July, Peter Copping stepped down from his role as creative director of Oscar de la Renta, a position he had held since the designer's passing in 2014. He was succeeded in September by Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia, co-founders of buzzy red-carpet label Monse. (Kim's hiring is currently being disputed in court by Carolina Herrera, for whom Kim briefly worked as a consultant. The suit is regarding the non-compete clause.)

    More than a year after stepping down from his position as creative director of Dior, Raf Simons finally committed to a new home in August: Calvin Klein. Simons replaced womenswear creative director Francisco Costa and menswear creative director Italo Zucchelli at the brand, who both departed in April.

    In October, Justin O'Shea set a new record — leaving his role as creative director of Brioni after only six months. The former global fashion director of luxury ecommerce site MyTheresa and men's street-style star was a risky choice to begin with, considering he had no design experience. 

    A few days later, Peter Dundas announced he was stepping down from his position as creative director of Roberto Cavalli after less than two years at the Italian fashion house. During his time at the brand, the Norwegian designer found famous fans in Ciara, Beyonce and Kim Kardashian, the latter of whom he dressed for the Met Ball. However, despite his A-list clientele, the company decided to undergo a massive restructuring, which resulted in massive layoffs in addition to Dundas' departure.

  • Fashion Magazines Take the Digital Route

    Fashion magazines underwent a marked digital facelift in 2016. 

    The second phase of Conde Nast's major digital revamp resulted in the closure of Self magazine's print operation (though the glossy will have a handful of special print editions throughout the year), while Teen Vogue has shifted from a monthly to quarterly publishing schedule in order to focus more attention on its digital platforms. 

    Over at Hearst, five women's titles — Seventeen, Cosmopolitan, Woman's Day, Redbook and Good Housekeeping — combined their beauty, fashion and entertainment teams in an effort to cut costs. Complex magazine, whose parent company, Complex Media, was jointly acquired by Verizon and Hearst in April, also announced that it was shuttering its print operations in order to shift its focus to video production.

  • Blake Lively's Versace Dress at Cannes Sparks Controversy

    During this year's Cannes Film Festival, Blake Lively put on a fashion show in gowns by Vivenne Westwood, Valentino, Chanel and Salvatore Ferragamo. However, it was a nude Versace gown that put the starlet at the center of a social media controversy. 

    The then-pregnant 29-year-old borrowed Sir Mix-a-Lot's "Baby Got Back" lyrics to caption a photo of herself wearing the Versace number. However, several Twitter users took offense to Lively's "appropriation" of the lyric, "L.A. face with an Oakland booty," with one woman writing, "Another day, another rich white woman using WOC's bodies as a punchline and commodity."

    Sir Mix-a-Lot himself, however, told The Hollywood Reporter that the song was about celebrating curvy bodies regardless of race. "That song was written with African-American women in mind, but trust me when I tell you that there are women out there with those curves everywhere, and they were once considered fat," he said. "And that's what the song was about. It wasn't about some race battle."


    A photo posted by Blake Lively (@blakelively) on

  • Selena Gomez Named New Face of Coach

    As the most-followed person on Instagram, Selena Gomez is the ultimate brand ambassador, with a social media reach of more than 105 million. So it came as a surprise when the 23-year-old, who previously fronted for Louis Vuitton, signed a contract with Coach to work on a "special design project" with creative director Stuart Vevers and be the face of the brand.

    The American heritage brand has undergone major restructuring since hiring Vevers in 2013. In addition to major shifts in its business plan — including the decision to pull scale back on its outlets and pull its stock from select department stores which had been significantly marking down its product — the company also has been attempting to reach millennials through kitschy collaborations with Disney, in-store events with Chrissy Teigen and the youth-focused marketing of its new mascot, a T-Rex named "Rexy" (of whom Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds' daughter, James, is a fan).

    Gomez's contract, reportedly worth $10 million, is yet another way the American fashion house is building its cool cred.


    A photo posted by Selena Gomez (@selenagomez) on

  • Melania Trump Wears Gucci Pussy Bow Top

    Two days after the hot mic audio from Donald Trump's 2005 appearance on Access Hollywood was released (you know, the one where he was heard saying he liked to "grab [women] by the pussy"), his wife Melania arrived at the second presidential debate wearing a silk "pussy bow" blouse

    Folks on the Internet had a field day with the coincidentally named $1,100 fuchsia shirt, which sold out on Net-a-Porter soon after. (The future first lady said at the time that the top choice was not intentional.)

    In the weeks leading up to the election, however, Hillary Clinton supporter Emma Stone wore a pussy bow in honor of the Democratic candidate. Wearing pussy bows was just one of the ways celebrities took part in the "pussy grabs back" social media movement.


    A photo posted by Mara Roszak (@mararoszak) on

  • Beyonce's 'Lemonade' Video Is a Fashion Goldmine

    Sure, Beyonce's visual album, Lemonade, was a groundbreaking artistic endeavor combining film and music to make a sweeping statement about feminism, race and relationships. But let's not forget about the most important part: the fashion. 

    In addition to repping well-known labels including Yeezy, Gucci, Rosie Assoulin Chanel and Roberto Cavalli (who was behind that yellow gown by then-creative director Peter Dundas, which Bey accessorized with a baseball bat named "Hot Sauce"), Beyonce and stylist B Akerlund chose some lesser-known designers including Zana Bayne, Natalia Fedner and even the wedding gown designed by her mom, Tina Knowles, which Bey wore to her 2008 nuptials to Jay Z. 

  • Leslie Jones' Dress Debacle

    Leslie Jones made headlines after she tweeted that no designers wanted to dress her for the Ghostbusters premiere. Not along after her tweet, designer Christian Siriano jumped into the conversation and responded to her with two emojis — one with his hand up and another of a waving hand — to suggest that he was interested in dressing her. (He ended up creating a red, off-the-shoulder gown for the actress.)

    Not everyone believed it was the designers' fault, though. "It's just pure economics," power stylist Jeanne Yang told THR. "People have this belief that showrooms and designers have racks and racks of clothing in all sizes. They don't."

  • The Year of Ashley Graham

    Ashley Graham has much to celebrate this year.

    After appearing on one of three covers for the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition (UFC fighter Ronda Rousey and model Hailey Clauson appeared on the other two), Graham has been making waves in the industry. So far, she's covered Maxim, launched her own dress collection called Beyond by Ashley Graham, collaborated with Swimsuits for All, starred in a DNCE music video, gotten a Barbie made in her honor, became a judge for the revamped America's Next Top Model and scored her first Vogue cover with British Vogue's January 2017 issue. (Phew!)

    Perhaps next year we will see her more often on the small screen? As she told THR earlier this year, "Hopefully one day I can even have my own talk show."

  • Taylor Swift and Tom Hiddleston Danced Together at Met Gala

    This was likely the moment that led Taylor Swift and Tom Hiddleston to their romance: dancing together at the Met Gala. Not long after busting a move, the pair were caught kissing in Rhode Island and spending time together in public. 

    Although there was speculation that the relationship was a publicity stunt, Hiddleston told THR"The truth is that Taylor Swift and I are together, and we're very happy. Thanks for asking." The couple split after three months.


    A video posted by Carlos Souza (@carlossouza1311) on

  • Kanye West's Fashion Week Shows

    Kanye West's runway show during New York Fashion Week in September was slammed by industry insiders as models fainted in the heat and tripped in faulty footwear. Apparently the rapper-turned-designer was just as upset — so much so that he reportedly fired the Yeezy staff that helped with the presentation, reported Page Six.

    His February presentation at Madison Square Garden was more well-received. The Washington Post's Robin Givhan found the show's setup more appealing than the collection itself, which she described as "fine" and "wearable."

    "It was frustrating not to be able to see the clothes up close. But this show was never about fabric and tailoring. And the distance — the fact that one could only see the group and not the individuals — was a reminder of how the culture sees so many of the world's disadvantaged, disaffected and downtrodden," wrote Givhan. "They are not singular individuals; they are a problem, an issue, a talking point, a political football."

  • Christian Siriano's Inclusive Runway

    Christian Siriano won New York Fashion Week with his inclusive runway show.

    The designer featured five plus-size models — including Georgia Pratt, Sabina Karlsson, Precious Lee, Marquita Pring and Alessandra Garcia Lorido — in his holiday-in-Capri-themed show, making it one of the first high-fashion collections to seamlessly include women of all sizes.

    "I just thought it was super-important to have women of diversity on the runway this season," the designer told THR backstage post-show. "It was the right time; I thought it also made sense for the collection."

  • Kim Kardashian Was Robbed During Paris Fashion Week

    While attending the shows during Paris Fashion Week, Kim Kardashian West was robbed at gunpoint. Five men dressed as police officers allegedly attacked the star, tying her up in her bathroom and stealing jewelry worth up to $11 million (the $4 million engagement ring that Kanye had given to her was reportedly one of the items that was taken).

    Following the traumatic incident, not everyone felt sympathy towards the reality star. Members of the press and fashion week show-goers were skeptical, with one attendee expressing that "the whole thing sounds made up." Even Karl Lagerfeld wasn't shocked about what happened. "You cannot display your wealth, then be surprised that some people want to share it," said the Chanel creative director.

    Kardashian also has gone radio-silent on social media; her last Instagram was posted Oct. 2 before the robbery.