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Salò, Issue 81, Alexander Mcqueen, Dazed and Confused
Salò, taken from the September 2001 issue of DazedPhotography Norbert Schoerner, art direction Alexander McQueen, styling Katy England

Five of this year’s standout fashion features

From intimate tales of working with Alexander McQueen to hanging out with Hari Nef, revisit some highlights from the pages of Dazed in 2015

A year is a long time in fashion. From Zoolander cameos and runway protesters to shock designer exits and even the odd leaked nude selfie, the last twelve months have seen no shortage of highlights, both on and off the runway. As 2015 draws to a close, we’re looking back over the stories and images that made it what it was – here are five standout fashion features from the year in print.

From his first interview in our sixth-ever issue to guest editing two magazines and earning a spot on the masthead as fashion editor-at-large, Dazed had a long history of working with the late Lee Alexander McQueen. For this year’s spring issue, and to celebrate the opening of the V&A’s smash hit retrospective Savage Beauty, writer Natalie Rigg revisited three iconic, extreme archive shoots from over the years, interviewing the designer’s closest collaborators about the work they created together. “What I found amazing about Lee is that he would pursue an idea regardless of the consequences,” recalled photographer Norbert Schoerner, who spoke of piling models on a mound of rotting food to get the perfect shot.

Since earning her title as the queen of the Dazed Readers 100 at the end of last year, model and actress Hari Nef spent her 2015 going from strength to strength – landing a modelling contract with legendary agency IMG and a starring role in Netflix drama Transparent. For our Summer issue, Veronica So spent the day with Nef to find out how she emerged from a sleepy Massachusetts suburban town to become both one of the Tumblrverse’s most defining personalities and a standout figure on the New York fashion scene. “I want to be a powerful trans woman,” Nef expressed, speaking of the power that comes with the privilege of exposure. “I want to be a voice within the community.”

Since emerging onto the Central Saint Martins graduate runway last year with a collection that riffed off and subverted trappings of European elegance, London-based designer Grace Wales Bonner has had the eyes of the industry firmly trained in her direction. For our Spring/Summer issue, Susanne Madsen got an insight into the myriad references behind her work – from poet Amiri Baraka to painter Kerry James Marshall. Of the importance of subverting stereotypes of race and gender, Wales Bonner was clear – “I feel like I’ve seen enough images of black men looking really aggressive, very hypersexualised or ‘street’. That’s not how I think about men at all. That’s not the men in my life.”

With its thigh high patent boots and Ziggy Stardust bodysuits, Raf Simons’ spring 2015 couture collection will certainly be remembered as one of the highlights of his relatively short tenure at Dior. As Frédéric Tcheng’s documentary Dior and I hit cinemas, the designer sat down with Kin Woo for our Spring/Summer issue to discuss how for him, accepting the role at the house was the “biggest possible challenge”. It may be a challenge he’s now stepped away from, but that only makes his words of wisdom more relevant than ever. “Dior is a brand that defined its aesthetic a long time ago,” he explained. “Whatever the designer that comes in is doing, it’s never going to kill the original identity – it’s simply too strong.”

How did a Canadian teenager of Lithuanian and Polish descent end up being one of the most exciting new designers at New York Fashion Week? For our Autumn/Winter 2015 issue, Fiona Duncan met Vejas Kruszewski on one of his Megabus trips down to the city from Montreal, where the young designer was balancing delivering clothes to Beyoncé’s stylist with calculating whether he could afford a broom to sweep up the scraps on the studio floor. Still, despite his tender age, Kruszewski doesn’t want to be portrayed as a protege – "Youth is oversold,” he argues. “It’s gimmicky, like clickbait.”