The best fashion stories we ran this year

Your ultimate guide to the stories, trends and fashion moments that defined 2021.

by Osman Ahmed
28 December 2021, 7:00am

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Ah, 2021! How we’ll miss you — or not. Sure, there have been ups and downs — many, many downs — but it wasn’t all doom and gloom. This, after all, was the year that fashion got its mojo back. Ever a mirror to the turbulent times we’re living in, designers and creatives offered up myriad forms (and formats) of creativity and much-needed entertainment to distract us from an ever-worsening news cycle. When the world briefly re-opened, with it came a sense of renewal: IRL fashion shows, sexy going-out clothes, real-life red carpet events, and trends to intrepidly try out in environments other than our bedroom. Now more than ever, fashion is in a state of flux, evolving beyond your typical fashion weeks to the exotic horizons of the Metaverse and beyond. And we, for one, couldn’t be more excited — who doesn’t love a bit of drama?

Getting a bit of FOMO while you settle into your sofa slump and Netflix binge? Fear not. It’s time to put your doubtlessly ascending screen time to good use and reflect on the year that was. We’ve made it this far. The only way is up to sky-high heights of fashion.

Virgil kicked off the year with a crash course in unconscious bias

#NewBottega left Instagram

We paid tribute to the legendary Judy Blame

Miuccia and Raf made their menswear debut

Kim Jones made his debut at Fendi

… and we celebrate by compiling the ultimate oral history of him

André Leon Talley spilled the tea with us

Juicy Couture made a Y2K-fuelled comeback

… and so did ‘tramp stamp’ tattoos

Meanwhile, fashion fell in love with the six-pack

Ella Emhof made her runway debut

Naomi Campbell championed a new generation of Black creatives

We sat down with Raf Simons, Olivier Rizzo and Willy Vanderperre

… as well as chatting with Kate Moss about Cadbury’s and country houses

Loewe continued to reinvent the lockdown fashion show

Balenciaga staged the couture show of the century

Elsewhere, fashion developed an obsession with re-editioning its past

Everyone started revenge shopping — and ‘revenge dressing’

Catholicism became an antidote to the sartorial conservatism

Mugler went viral

Miu Miu went off-piste

Mushrooms became fashion’s biggest muse

Gucci and Balenciaga broke every rule of luxury

The catsuit prowled onto every catwalk

Sex and highly politicised sexuality re-entered the frame

The world said goodbye to Alber Elbaz, fashion’s kindest designer

Retro-optimism became the look of fashion’s future

Crocs became the shoe of the year

Gen Z killed the fashion archetype

Fashion prizes started to offer more than just cash

Designers acquired a taste for patrician pursuits

High Fashion Twitter blew up

American fashion history had a reckoning

… as did the 'modest fashion’ movement

Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen gave us a rare interview

Marc Jacobs made his catwalk comeback

Phoebe Philo announced that would be making hers too

… and Gen Z fashion critics weighed in with their thoughts

Pieter Mulier made his debut at Alaïa

… and we got the full scoop

LVMH bought Off-White

ERL won over Comme des Garçons and the Kardashians

Sarah Burton made education a McQueen signature

Cut-outs came back in

Frank Ocean got into fashion

Menswear was the queerest its ever been

Nensi Dojaka won the LVMH Prize

The political slogan returned to fashion

Simone Rocha celebrated her 10th anniversary

Kering banned fur

Hood by Air makes a triumphant comeback in London

Balenciaga re-wrote the rules of fashion shows

Loewe blew our minds

Kirsten McMenamy told us about her newfound Insta-fame

Miuccia Prada said ‘Free Britney’

Fashion became obsessed with boobs

Bottega Veneta headed to Detroit

… and Gucci headed to Hollywood

Daniel Roseberry broke down his most viral Schiaparelli looks for us

Tom Ford told us about the third act of his illustrious career

The world said goodbye to Virgil Abloh

Dior came to London

Marc Jacobs and his dog got dressed up in diamonds

The cable-knit sweater popped off in time for holiday season

… and we put together your ultimate wish list for Santa

Ta-dah! Happy New Year!

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