What were the major fashion moments, trends and events of the year? Pip Christmass looks back.

It was a weird old year in fashion, with “normcore”— or the return of understated, casual dressing — competing with the ongoing fascination in fashion land for bold, bright prints, lots of colour and the ubiquitous body-con dress. Some of 2014’s trends were lovely and welcome — others you’d probably rather forget. Here are the top 10 style statements of 2014.


Tired of spindly heels and wobbly wedges? In 2014, the flat shoe came back with a vengeance (and the trend looks set to continue well into 2015). From comfy slides and blinged-up sneakers to sweet pointy Mary Janes, there were a lot of options to choose from, and your feet probably thanked you for it.


“Normcore” is a phrase used to describe the volte-face in street style this year. Fashion editors, bloggers and stylists ditched the over-the-top, look-at-me clothes for 90s grunge: ripped jeans, sneakers, plain T-shirts, and a generally dressed- down look. The glamour posse, spearheaded by Italian fashionista Anna Dello Russo, no doubt looked on in horror.


Fashion that looks like sportswear went from strength to strength in 2014. Alexander Wang presented an athletic-looking collection for H&M that even included boxing shorts and gloves. Australian designers’ obsession with neoprene — a fabric most commonly associated with wetsuits — continued. Net-a-Porter launched an offshoot website dedicated to designer sportswear and Lorna Jane and Lululemon continued to conquer the sport/fashion crossover.


On the red carpet, at fashion, film and music awards nights, the nipple reigned supreme. Rihanna shocked at the CFDA Awards in a see-through, breast exposing gown. Miley Cyrus wore very little all year. Even the Queen of Sweet, Taylor Swift, turned up to an event wearing the teeny tiniest of shorts. Models and celebs endorsed the “free the nipple” campaign on Instagram. Sex clearly still sells.


Independent retailers held their breath during the seemingly never-ending announcement of fast- fashion brands moving into the Australian market. In Perth, the opening of Topshop and Zara created real buzz. On the east coast, Japanese brand Uniqlo set up shop, Swedish giant H&M moved in and their Brit-based counterpart COS gave Melbournites a taste of affordable, minimalist style. Fab, affordable fashion or globalism gone mad? Next on the cards, rumour has it, is American institution J. Crew.


The continued obsession with online shopping hit bricks-and-mortar retail hard. In Australia, many independent boutiques closed down or set up online shops in order to tap into the demand. The independent sector reacted by creating ephemeral pop-up shops, renting spaces for short periods before closing down and reappearing elsewhere several weeks or months later. The trend for pop-up shops looks set to continue into 2015.


On the international designer front, it was a year of comings and goings. Alexander Wang stepped into the hot seat at Balenciaga and Nicolas Ghesquiere is now spearheading a 70s retro revival at Louis Vuitton. Frida Giannini was recently given her marching orders at Gucci, while John Galliano was announced as the new creative director at Maison Martin Margiela.


The shock passing of L’Wren Scott and, on a local level, Ruth Tarvydas, set a sombre tone early in the year. Tarvydas’ life and work was celebrated in a moving tribute parade at the year’s Perth Fashion Festival. Later in the year, the king of American elegance, Oscar de la Renta, also took his final bow.


If there was one star who defined elegance and grace on the red carpet in 2014, it was 12 Years a Slave star Lupita Nyong’o, who wowed in everything she wore. She came to attention for her great acting work but her beauty and style also landed her firmly on the radar of the fashion world, scoring campaigns for Miu Miu and Lancome.


Some of Australia’s best-known designers (Alannah Hill, Kit Willow) stepped down from their own labels during the year. The industry stalwarts will continue to shine — Carla Zampatti will celebrate 50 years in the business in 2015 — but a new crop of talented young designers also came through in 2014. Strateas.Carlucci, Di$count Universe, Emma Mulholland, Dyspnea and Zhivago are all ones to watch.


© The West Australian

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