A Year in Review: Fashion Milestones of 2018

It’s safe to say that 2018 was a pretty strange ass year, dominated by Trump’s tyranny, Brexit and Mark Zuckerberg’s robot-like disposition at congressional hearings. On the other hand, a lot of positive things came out of 2018, like the “Me-Too” movement which set out to expose sexual predators, Saudi women being given the right to drive and, my personal favourite, a black American woman marrying into the British royal family. With this in mind, it is important to think of events, both good and bad, that excited, shocked and disappointed the fashion world as a whole. So, in this post I picked what I think were the three most important events of the 2018 fashion calendar.

  1. Edward Enninful’s British Vogue

After his confirmation as editor-in-chief in April 2017, Enninful released his inaugural magazine in December of 2017. This cover, with model Adwoa Aboah on the cover set the precedent for what could be expected from the new and improved magazine in the New Year. When I was younger and developing my interest in the fashion industry, Vogue was my go to magazine. However, after a while, I felt that it became less and less interesting and appealing as the style of writing and the content seemed to become less relatable. My interest was once again sparked when I saw that a West African man was set to head the most prestigious fashion magazine in the world. What I find most appealing about Enninful’s Vogue is his ability to pay homage and respect to the magazines heritage whilst simultaneously appealing to the younger generation. As I see it, Enninful has perfectly united the dichotomy between the older and newer readers. With the inclusion of a more racially diverse set of models, mentions of up and coming designers and a stronger online presence, Enninful was able to attract the youth, such as myself. One of my favourite issues was the May issue, where young models from different Ethnic backgrounds graced the double spread cover. It was highly inspired and the epitome of the sort of inclusion I wish was seen across the board in the fashion industry. I give Enninful an 11/10 in his first year as editor-in-chief, and I can’t wait to see what else he has planned for his tenure.

British Vogue, September 2018 Issue
  1. Virgil Abloh at Louis Vuitton

When it was announced that Kim Jones would be stepping down as artistic director of Louis Vuitton menswear, there was much speculation and buzz as to who would take his place under the prestigious fashion house. In March 2018, the public learned that Virgil Abloh would be the new artistic director and this news was met with both shock and praise. Abloh, who, like many modern designers had no traditional fashion education, and was rather trained an architect. He made his start in the fashion industry by interning at Fendi with his close friend, Kanye West. He then went on to establish his first brand, Pyrex Vision, which he described as a couture streetwear brand. After this came the reason for his mainstream success and fame, Off-White which is seen as a high-end streetwear brand. This brand put Abloh on the map, essentially making him the leading figure in expensive streetwear. For this reason, I found it interesting and almost shocking that LV would choose Abloh to lead such a prestigious brand. I think they were inspired by the changing climate of the fashion industry, with more and more high-end brands being influenced by streetwear. His appointment did ensure his place amongst a small and elite group of African designers who headed high fashion brands, with the likes of Ozwald Boateng and Olivier Rousteing. His inaugural show fell during Spring/Summer 2019 Menswear Paris fashion week and it was a momentous occasion to say the least. Held in the gardens of the Palais-Royale, the collection as displayed on a sprawling rainbow catwalk, with many items based on the Wizard of Oz, a story that closely resembles Abloh’s rise to stardom. Despite my personal belief that Abloh doesn’t possess the talent or skill to head the menswear sector of such an established brand, it goes without saying that his appointment is a huge milestone for the black community. It will be interesting to see how far Abloh will go with Louis Vuitton and what he has in store for the rest of his seasons as artistic director.

Louis Vuitton Menswear, Spring/Summer 2019, Paris
  1. Hedi Slimane’s Disastrous Debut

Like with many unexpected changes in the fashion world, the news that after a decade as creative director of French fashion house, Céline, Phoebe Philo would be stepping down from her role was met with much upset. There was equally a certain level of excitement in anticipation as to who would replace the celebrated designer. In January 2018, it was announced that Hedi Slimane, who had previously worked at Dior Homme and Saint Laurent, would assume the role of creative director. Now, I was super excited for Slimane’s tenure because I loved his work under Dior Homme. I felt as though his stint was a testament to his craftsmanship and talent as a designer, as menswear is a hard sector to master. His work was sleek, simple and classic, so one would hope that he would apply the same to his work at Céline, right? Well, when his inaugural Spring/Summer 2019 collection was displayed in Paris, it was met with immense outrage from the fashion community. Slimane had said prior to the show that his style significantly differed that of Philo’s and as a result, his clothes would be quite different. However, even with this in mind, no one could anticipate the complete desecration of the precedent set by Philo. Essentially, Slimane recreated his 80s-style disco clothing that we saw while he was at Saint Laurent and while it worked at the time for that brand, it was certainly not applicable here. Some argue that the main reason Slimane’s collection was such a disastrous failure was because he is a man, and as a result is unable to appropriately create practical but chic clothing for a female clientele.

Celine, Spring/Summer 2019, Paris

With all this in mind, it’s evident that 2018 was a monumental year in the fashion industry, considering that this is only a fraction of the important events that took place last year. What I think is most important for us to take away from these events is the rapidly changing climate of the fashion industry. There is much modernisation and development to the sort of content that we see every day in fashion and it is inspiring but also emphasises how much more needs to be done in order for the fashion industry to be as relatable and accessible as possible.

Stefano & Domenico: back on their bullshit

Recently, Italian fashion house – Dolce and Gabbana – found itself in the midst of yet another controversy after releasing highly offensive and racist videos. The videos, which featured an Asian model struggling to eat Italian food with chopsticks, were released as a supposed “Tribute to China” and were meant to promote their upcoming show in Shanghai.  After being posted, the videos sparked public outrage as they perpetuated the antiquated stereotype that the Chinese lacked refinement and are so unintelligent that they were unaware of how to eat foreign foods. What is particularly interesting is the fact that the Chinese audience themselves were in fact the target audience, so I am curious as to how the designers thought the videos would play out.

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#DGlovesChina ? More like #DGdesperateforthatChineseRMB lol.  In a bid to further appeal to luxury's covetable Chinese consumers, @dolcegabbana released some hella offensive “instructional” videos on the usage of chopsticks.  Pandering at it's finest, but taken up a notch by painting their target demographic as a tired and false stereotype of a people lacking refinement/culture to understand how to eat foreign foods and an over-the-top embellishment of cliché ambient music, comical pronunciations of foreign names/words, and Chinese subtitles (English added by us), which begs the question—who is this video actually for?  It attempts to target China, but instead mocks them with a parodied vision of what modern China is not…a gag for amusement. Dolce & Gabbana have already removed the videos from their Chinese social media channels, but not Instagram.  Stefano Gabbana has been on a much-needed social media cleanse (up until November 2nd), so maybe he kept himself busy by meddling with the marketing department for this series. Who wants to bet the XL cannoli “size” innuendos were his idea? Lmao. • #dolceandgabbana #altamoda #rtw #dgmillennials #stefanogabbana #shanghai #chinese #italian #cannoli #meme #wtf #dumb #lame #chopsticks #foodie #tutorial #cuisine #italianfood #asianmodel #asian #chinesefood #dietprada

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To add further fuel to the fire, screenshots of Stefano Gabbana’s Instagram DM conversations were leaked. Here, Stefano was seen insulting the Chinese and referring to China as a “country of shit” [sic.] and accusing them of feeling “inferior” due to the negative reaction that the video garnered. These are just some of the examples of some of the highly distasteful comments that were made by Stefano in the messages. Such behaviour did not come as a shock to anyone who has followed Stefano’s erratic and outlandish attitude over the years, he attempted to cover his tracks by saying that his Instagram was hacked and that the messages were, in fact, not sent by him.

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Messages from Stefano Gabbana that “were not sent by him”

After this series of unfortunate events, Dolce and Gabbana’s Chinese customers began a revolt of sorts; people were seen burning or discarding of items that were made by the fashion house in question. The reaction and uproar was probably the most satisfying aspect of the entire situation and of course, the designers were forced to cancel their show (probably because it would’ve been empty ASF and they would’ve been incredibly embarrassed.)

Although what happened was incredibly disrespectful, as I said before, this is not Stefano’s first brush with controversy. The designer has a habit of being a bit too honest on certain occasions and has almost become an Instagram troll. So, for the sake of fully understanding Stefano’s outlandish behaviour, here is a brief timeline of moments where Stefano (and sometimes Dolce) took things to far:

  • In 2015, despite being two gay men themselves, Domenico and Stefano stated in an interview that they were against same sex parenting and did not support gay adoptions, going so far as to say that the only real family was the traditional one. The later stated they were anti-IVF, which only made matters worse for them.
  • In 2017, Stefano demonstrated public support for First Lady Melania Trump and in addition to dressing her, he went as far as identifying her and a “#DGWOMAN”
  • In March 2018, Stefano commented on an Instagram post of Selena Gomez, saying “è proprio brutta” which is the Italian for “she’s so ugly.” This unwarranted attack resulted in Selena’s fans calling him a cyber bully; which Stefano brushed off, letting them know he did not care what they thought.
  • In September 2018, Stefano came at Italian blogger Chiara Ferragni, calling her Dior wedding gown “cheap”. Quite frankly, I think he was just jealous that Ferragni chose to wear something designed by Maria Grazia Chuiri, rather than their something from his brand.

After all of this, it is safe to say that the designers are very questionable characters who are not afraid to speak their mind, even though no one asked or particularly cares. Dolce and Gabbana used to be one of my favourite brands because I thought their designs and attention to detail were one in a million. My favourite show of theirs was their Fall 2015 ready to wear collection where female models were accompanied by babies or children in matching outfits.

Now, as well as the unpredictable nature of its designers, the brand has become obsessed with pop culture to the point where they almost abuse it as a way to make more money. To make matters worse, after their most recent racist scandal, the two staged an outlandish show for their Alta Moda show in Milan, which bore an uncanny resemblance to the Dior Couture Fall 2012 collection under Raf Simons.

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Dolce and Gabbana Haute Couture 2018 vs. Dior Haute Couture 2012