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This year’s ten most viral fashion items

From Louis Vuitton x Supreme to Balenciaga’s Triple S trainers, these pieces had everyone talking

Any writer worth their salt knows that opening a piece of writing with an Oxford English Dictionary definition relegates you to the trash-pile of journalism. So, instead, the dictionary.com definition of viral is: (adj.) becoming very popular by circulating quickly from person to person, especially through the internet.

While it seems there’s no rhyme or reason to what might or might not achieve viral status, in fashion, it’s become a somewhat coveted ideal. Season in, season out, the speed with which something goes from catwalk to your feed is becoming shorter and shorter, with many brands, their reputations, and their financial vitality thriving on the virality proffered by keen fans on the internet – snagging, memeing and hashtagging the ultimate it items for all to see.

So, as we wave goodbye to 2017, it’s time to reflect on fashion’s most viral moments. Much like Gemma Collins, Cardi B’s “Bodak Yellow” and the totally baffling omnipresence of fidget spinners, we present the ten items that were literally everywhere this year.

SAINT LAURENT’S SWAROVSKI-COVERED NIKI BOOT

After Hedi Slimane’s departure from the Parisian house, the world was left wondering if Anthony Vaccarello could fill the shoes of the man who made skinny jeans a thing. Not only did he fill them, Vaccarello added a heel and covered them in crystals. This year’s ultimate show off item, there isn’t a magazine page or celebrity Instagram these £6000 boots haven’t been all over. From RiRi to Kendall Jenner and Celine Dion to Blac Chyna, the world has loved, worn and photographed the most expensive disco boot in history like no other boot before.

BALENCIAGA’S TRIPLE S TRAINER

Continuing the viral footwear game was Demna Gvasalia over at Balenciaga. Arguably the zenith of ugly-slash-spectacular shoes, the Triple S spawned a whole generation of fashion does gloriously-gross footwear. From high street to high end, everyone wanted a piece. Unfortunately, however, there’s not so much to go around: with the mothership of the movement selling out in practically seconds, the Triple S went from onscreen dream to every hypebeast’s foot in seconds.

GUCCI DOES DAPPER DAN

Back in 1992, ongoing court battles led to the shutting down the atelier of one of Harlem’s best-loved bootleggers: Dapper Dan, the man who jacked the logos of countless high-end brands and put his elaborate knock-offs on the flashiest folk of the day. Fast forward to Gucci’s Cruise show in May, and the internet raged at Alessandro Michele’s evident bootlegging of a famous Dan style: a mink coat, with a vinyl puff sleeve covered in logos. The original was designed for the Olympian Diane Dixon in 1989, and after a major call-out, Gucci did what Gucci should, paid their dues contributing to the reopening of Dapper Dan’s famous Harlem atelier. This time around, all the fabric will be real Gucci though. Also, the Gucci design did get one major seal of approval: Beyoncé wore it in a photo with Cardi B and everyone, naturally, lost their shit.

THE BURBERRY CHECK

After distancing itself from its signature check back in 2004 due to its chav connotations, the pattern returned to the runway this June via Gosha Rubchinskiy’s SS18 show. Making peace with its checkered history (sorry) Burberry also brought it back for its AW17 show at London Fashion Week. Christopher Bailey explained the power of returning to the brand’s famous iconography to us: “We’re living in a period of such volatility and such change that something familiar is incredibly reassuring.”

HELMUT LANG’S BRA BAG

“Helmut Lang debuts a ridiculous bondage-and-bra-obsessed NYFW collection made up of totally impractical designs, including a bra BAG that is worn over the chest,” read the Daily Mail headline. Iconic! In a genius move from newly-appointed designer-in-residence Shayne Oliver, Helmut Lang returned to the runway with a bra-shaped bang. For years, women and drag queens have been stuffing cash and cigarettes down their bras for safe keeping, but Oliver brought you a bag that can do both.

FRANK OCEAN’S WHY BE TEE

In a world overflowing with images, sometimes you need words. And at his performance at Panorama Music Festival in New York, Frank Ocean wore a slogan tee which had the internet on the hunt to find out where to buy it. Designed by 18-year-old Kayla Robinson, using a quote from the Twitter of Brandon Male, the Jenny Holzer-y tee reads: “WHY BE RACIST, SEXIST, HOMOPHOBIC OR TRANSPHOBIC WHEN U COULD JUST BE QUIET?”. In the days and weeks following the top sold in its thousands, proffering countless think pieces and a row about who gets to own the idea (and the cash) – the designer or the Tweeter?

SUPREME X LV

People love a collab. People love Supreme. People love Louis Vuitton. So when the much-loved brands put their heads together for a much-loved menswear collab, what arose was a logo-gasm of red, white and LV across hoodies, scarves, tees, skateboards and even a Pudsey Bear (which sold at auction for over $100,000). A true vision of virality, fans questioned for months whether the garments would ever actually go on sale. Rumours went back and forth – was the collab cancelled full stop? In New York, a failed permit for the pop-up shop meant that Manhattan’s finest were left empty-handed. When it finally hit a few of the big cities, day-long queues full of happy campers formed, and the limited run was sold out (and yet somehow, literally all over your feed) quicker than you can say Louis V.

PRADA’S GIANT PAPERCLIP

The world was aghast after what appeared to be a paperclip was being sold for £140. Turns out it was a money clip, but for those of us who don’t have the money to buy the clip or to actually clip, same diff. Unsurprisingly, Twitter went wild about it – “it better hold my fucking life together for that price” being a particular favourite. Usually on the money, it was Prada’s attempt at taking common objects and giving them the luxury treatment and, unlike everything else Prada does, it didn’t really catch on.

THE BALENCIAGA IKEA BAG – AND EVERYTHING IT INSPIRED

“Every-core” is Gvaslia’s term for what he’s doing at Balenciaga. And what’s more everyone than those incredibly functional Ikea plastic totes that you always seem to find just when you need one? In an homage to a true masterpiece of design, the Balenciaga bag came equipped with the two handle system (one set long, one set short) in the exact same hue of blue as the beloved shopper. The only difference, perhaps, was the £2000+ price tag, which caused Ikea to respond in a pretty hilarious way, sent the internet into shock expressed first in meme form, and then by a bunch of ingenious people who started making clothes out of said Ikea plastic sacks. From thongs to corsets, caps to sock-shoes, mini-Demna’s popped up the world over proudly sporting their own every-core masterpieces.   

THE CROC

Beauty is apparently no longer pain according to Christopher Kane and Balenciaga, who brought the world’s comfiest shoe to the discerning eyes of the fashion world. While the original runway-croc came about last year in a stroke of genius from Christopher Kane (now available in a mink-lined version), this year he and Balenciaga offered an update. From Kane’s marbled clog-shoes to Balenciaga’s platforms, endless memes, gifs, and articles expressed the power of fashion to transform something ubiquitously hated into something runway-worthy.

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