As we transcend from 2011 into the unknown of 2012 (fearing the supposed ending of the world and the general uncertainty of what this new year entails), reflecting on the past year and it's ups, downs, and downright unforgettable (whether in a good way or a bad way) is, in most cases, the first activity when embracing the new year. I am no different and decided, as generic as it is, that I would compile a list of 2011's fashion highlights and heroes, the trends and people that rocked the ever-evolving world of fashion and captivated us throughout the year. Unfortunately I can't afford an extravagant ceremony to celebrate the following, or have gongs to distribute so hopefully a brief paragraph devoted to each shall suffice. And the winners are...
FACE OF THE YEAR - CHARLOTTE FREE
2011 has, without a doubt, been the year of the 18 year old beauty, Charlotte Free, an aspiring music and circus performer. Ms. Free was discovered in an arcade by an agent in 2010, and her modelling career has since gone from strength to strength, dominating Jeremy Scott, Vivienne Westwood and Chanel catwalks to name but a few. Her signature grunge style and candy-hued hair has really made her stand out in the fashion world, and continues to determine her success. She recently appeared in Topshop's F/W makeup collection and Uniqlo's S/S campaigns and has followed the likes of Kate Moss, Lindsey Wixon and fashion's other famous faces to bag her own shoot with Terry Richardson. All the best for 2012, Charlotte - not like you need it.
OUTFIT OF THE YEAR - KATE MIDDLETON'S WEDDING DRESS
AKA the most talked about outfit of the year. I must admit, as a proud Irish woman, the Royal family has never interested me but on April the 29th, I found myself parked in front of the television, eagerly anticipating the unveiling of The Dress. I'm pretty sure the collective sigh of awe expressed by every other member of the female, and probably male too, gender could have been heard in the next galaxy, quickly followed by worldwide envy. It really was the ultimate fairy tale dress, designed by Sarah Burton, creative director of Alexander McQueen (proving correct the bets by many people, including myself). The lace upper body, the classic shape and the not-too-long train paired with Kate's natural beauty and elegance was simply divine. The dress managed to confirm the fashion houses future success after the uncertainty following McQueen's suicide, and will inevitably influence many brides to come.
TREND OF THE YEAR - CREEPERS
An unlikely trend. Brothel creepers began to emerge following WW2 by George Cox, who's inspiration derived from the thick, crepe-soled boots worn by soldiers stationed in desert areas and went on to be favoured by Teddy Boys during the 50's. Their popularity surged once more during the 70's, and the the height and style of the sole became more extreme. More recently, they have been a very underground trend until this year where they became a predominant feature at fashion shows for Prada, Sonia Rykiel, Ashish and sported by the likes of Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Alice Dellal, Cher Lloyd and many others. Since I purchased my own pair of these unpretty "it" shoes, I have practically lived in them. Their raised soles add height to my otherwise tiny stature and slim unwanted, chunky legs.
TREND I'M BLOODY SICK OF - VARSITY JACKETS
Don't get me wrong, I find myself longing for the leather sleeved, oversized, clashing coloured jackets worn by stereotypical jocks in 80's movies (or the Mathletes in Mean Girls) but when these jackets are replaces by a watered-down version and worn by nearly every single teenager in Ireland, I think it's plain to see how easily they lose their appeal. The jacket worn by the character of Andrew Clark, the typical macho sports fanatic, in the Breakfast Club would be turning in it's grave if it ever had the displeasure of being acquainted with it's cheap successor - all over cotton and open to anyone, even those who don't actually play a sport which defeats the jacket's entire purpose. Following the bandanna trend of 2010 and the ongoing appeal in Adidas tracksuits, which I shall never succumb to or understand, the varisty jacket has become a staple in the wardrobe's of this country's youth, and stripping it of it's initial originality. I honestly hope to never see one again.
And that conclude's my pathetically slight list of what made this year, fashion wise, in my eyes. Other contenders include the current velvet craze, Lady GaGa's ever-constant fashion musings (we shall see in the coming months whether or not her prediction of the colour mint's popularity for spring is fruitful or not) and the love affair with ombred hair that captivated the female population. Here's to another year, full of surprises. Happy New Year, everyone.