A Fairy-tale Wedding: It wasn’t just the dress that rocked the fashion world but the suspense leading up to its big reveal. So much depended on the answer. If the soon-to-be duchess chose a little-known British designer, she’d change his or her career forever. If she chose someone like Erdem, she’d skyrocket him to international fame. And if she chose Sarah Burton at Alexander McQueen—as she was rumored to do—she’d give Burton the ultimate vote of confidence and throw the newly famous woman into the ring of Dior potential. Middleton selected a Grace Kelly esque McQueen that looked, according to everyone, fit for a queen.
John Galliano’s Racist Rant: The whole of fall 2011 Paris Fashion Week fell under the shadow of John Galliano’s racist rant. On February 25, a video showing Galliano hurling anti-Semitic remarks at Le Perle, a bar in Le Marais, surfaced online. The house of Dior suspended him that same day, and Natalie Portman, a longtime face of the brand, issued a statement expressing her “disgust” over the incident while plenty of fashion folk came to his defense. Dior officially fired Galliano on March 1, and, after he did a stint in rehab, his case went to trial this fall. He was found guilty.
The Versace Moment: After a year of Phoebe Philo–fueled minimalism, there was bound to be a counter movement. Vintage Gianni-era Versace was everywhere this year. Lady Gaga pulled from the archives for her music videos, and Donatella whipped up a huge collaboration with H&M. Head-to-toe animal print was a real thing people wore in public, and the more neon the better. To top it all off, the brand got Prince to perform at its New York City launch party.
Pippa Middleton’s Lovely Bum: That Kate and William would look perfect on their wedding day was a given. That Pippa, Kate’s younger sister, would cause such a stir with that silk-covered bum was more surprising. Her white maid-of-honor dress started a new trend in bridal-party style as well as the official Pippa Middleton Ass Appreciation Society on Facebook.
Hurricane Irene: While most New Yorkers spent Hurricane Irene weekend eating more carbs than usual and searching for a hurricane boyfriend (or girlfriend), designers lamented losing three days’ worth of work. The transportation shutdowns forced Marc Jacobs to postpone his show till the last day of New York Fashion Week. Proenza Schouler and Olivier Theyskens, at Theory, pushed their shows back too.
Beyoncé Blesses J.Crew: That J.Crew’s been on a roll lately is a bit of an understatement—but anyone would benefit from the presence of Beyoncé. When the pregnant, glowing pop star showed up wearing a custom J.Crew sequined dress to the brand’s first-ever Fashion Week presentation at Lincoln Center, it was the feather in the label’s newly gilded cap.
Kanye West: Fashion Designer: After years of sitting front row at shows from Phillip Lim to Christopher Kane, Kanye West finally put all that “studying” to use. In September, West put his first women’s wear collection on a Paris runway. Models like Anja Rubik and Chanel Iman (his rumored girlfriend) showed off a slew of body-con dresses, oversized furs, and Celine-like pants. Suzy Menkes wrote, “For all his personal style, his striking jewelry, and his grasp of modern glamour, his collection of sexpot low-bodice dresses and skintight pants, decked out with heaps of ginger fur, did not inspire the fashion crowd to tell him to give up his day job.”
The Search for the Next Dior Designer: Fashion has a short attention span, but the question of who will be the next head designer at Dior has held its attention all year. Designers as diverse as Sarah Burton, Riccardo Tisci, and Alexander Wang were rumored to have caught the attention of LVMH president Bernard Arnault, but it’s Marc Jacobs who’s the most wanted. Unfortunately, talks between Jacobs and LVMH broke down in early October, leaving them back at square one—until WWDsaid just last week that LVMH is this close to stealing Raf Simons from Jil Sander.
Kate Moss Gets Hitched: Many boyfriends and one baby later, Kate Moss finally tied the knot. Jamie Hince, of the Kills, was the lucky man. They married in a three-day music festival–like ceremony in the Costwalds. Moss wore a Galliano dress with Manolo Blahnik shoes and dressed her flower girls in white. Hince wore a baby-blue YSL suit that only a rock star could pull off, and guests like Paul McCartney, Marc Jacobs, and Naomi Campbell rocked out to performers like Iggy Pop and Snoop Dogg.
The Missoni for Target Debacle: After a decade of designer–meets–high street collaborations Missoni pulled off a first. When the Italian brand’s 400-piece collection for Target went on sale on September 13, it crashed Target’s site. Shoppers were sent $25 coupons in lieu of their actual orders or waited months for their zigzag pillows to show up. The president of Target’s website resigned less than one month later.