As the year comes to a close, we look back at the design pioneers who shaped it – whether subverting streetwear or bringing new life to iconic houses
In fashion history, 2014 will go down as the year where all bets were off. After a decade that has seen the rise of two, directly opposed style camps – maximum opulence, versus stark neutrality – the self-fulfilling matryoshka doll of recycled trends seemed to reach its outer limits. 2014, then, has seen a palpable shift in emphasis: from the changing of the guard at luxury houses, to the streetwear upstarts that have infiltrated the mainstream, a year that’s seen the simultaneous fetishisation of normality alongside the increased fashion clout of the Insta-celeb. Our Dazed 100, showcasing the movers and shakers that have changed fashion in 2014, oscillates between the maximalists and minimalists of the new fashion order: Telfar Clemens, Jacquemus, #BEENTRILL#, Thomas Tait and Simone Rocha are just some of the designers that defined fashion’s new attitude this year. You can upvote your favourites on the Readers 100, here – meanwhile, here’s our definitive top five gamechangers of the year that was.
The boy wonder whose collections have formed a riposte to routine masculinity since 2008, J.W. Anderson’s off-centre aesthetic was the figurehead for 2014’s biggest fashion-ation: avant-bland. Anderson’s been hardcore normal for years, mind, but this year saw him occupy new spaces (and land the #7 spot on the Dazed 100). Gaining investment from LVMH for his namesake label, Anderson subsequently took over at Loewe at the end of last year. The result was well worth the wait: after modernising the Spanish label’s 168 year old logo, Anderson debuted with an iconic Steven Meisel-shot campaign and a dreamy womenswear debut for SS15. Anderson claimed after the latter that “Boredom is the biggest problem in fashion”; here’s hoping he doesn’t feel the ennui of global fashion domination any time soon.
SHAYNE OLIVER AT HBA
Number 5 on the Dazed 100, you’ll know Shayne Oliver’s disciples by the cut of their cargo short suits and the letters H-B-A emblazoned on their knees. For SS15, the cult label commanded a heavily capitalised coup of the tired fashion establishment on both sides of the Atlantic: from a live choir-accompanied NY show, to a derelict after-hours office space in Paris, and moshpits at MoMA for the grand finale. The three segments were the perfect frame to HBA’s most standout season yet, with a next-level elevation calling for a changing of the guard in luxury fashion. 2014 was the year that Shayne Oliver’s new fashion order truly came of age – though admittedly, the label’s number 1 fan Mike the Ruler is still under the legal limit.
In the most bad-ass reboot of the year, Luella Bartley and Katie Hiller took Marc Jacob’s sweet younger sister for the motorcycle ride of her life. That was back in February, when Marc By Marc Jacobs’ dynamic new mistresses sent anime gaming girls in don’t-mess moonboots stomping down the runway. Throw in a canny taste in collaborators – cult hero Judy Blame and Fergus “Fergadelic” Purcell worked on accessories and graphics, respectfully – and the pastel-hued ravers of SS15, and the party’s truly started up again at MBMJ. The proof that the brand has truly re-connected with the generation it nearly lost? Those ingenious, Instagram-cast collection campaigns.
Sometimes changing the face of fashion doesn’t require showing one’s face at all. It was back in July when, after a trailblazing outing of Maison Martin Margiela’s Artisanal Couture line for SS14, Blazy was himself outed by Suzy Menkes as one of the famously secretive fashion house’s lead designers. A former pupil of Raf Simons, Blazy had previously frustrated a fashion industry that thrives on Instagram celebrity – preferring, instead, to let his evocative designs do the talking. With the recent announcement that the designer, making room for Galliano, is headed to Céline, the unmasking of Blazy – like the post-show removal of one of his famously obfuscating headpieces – is complete.
“Does not every designer ultimately seek to create something timeless?” These typewritten words – signed, simply, ‘Nicolas’ – were asked of guests seated at Louis Vuitton AW14 in March of this year. Without a doubt the most talked about debut of 2014, Ghesquiere’s first outing at Vuitton marked the end of the Marc Jacobs era – and a new stage for the designer whose name had become synonymous with his futuristic, transformative work at Balenciaga. Injecting Louis Vuitton’s brand DNA with a dose of pared-back minimalism, AW14 was a re-coding rather than a de-coding: the clothes, in leather and PVC, encapsulated the subtle nod to the 70s that has come to define a year-in-fashion. For SS15, Ghesquiere upped the perversity with a hybrid modernity that defied era specificity. This is the visionary future of Vuitton.