Even if you're not a fan of her infectious pop songs, there was little avoiding Lady Gaga's unforgettable ensembles this year, from her bubbly confection on the cover of Rolling Stone to the red patent leather dress she wore to meet the Queen of England.
Hey, at least she was covered up.
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Designer diffusion lines reached their pinnacle in 2009, with Matthew Williamson, Sonia Rykiel and Jimmy Choo hawking lower-priced--but high-fashion--wares at H&M and Rodarte, Anna Sui and Alexander McQueen making Target look even prettier. Other notable collabs included Jil Sander's triumphant return through a partnership with Uniqlo (left), Rachel Roy's Macy's collection, Christoper Kane at Topshop and Charlotte Ronson's playful separates at JCPenney. Even cheap-chic king Isaac Mizrahi did something new, creating a collection for QVC featuring everything from shoes to cheesecakes.
During the course of the campaign in 2008, Michelle Obama had already firmly established herself as a clotheshorse, selecting industry (rather that First Lady) favorites such as Narciso Rodriguez, Isabel Toledo, and Maria Cornejo as her to go-to designers.
Yet, there was no ensemble analyzed as much as the white one-shouldered chiffon gown that Mrs. Obama wore to the plethora of parties on the eve of the inauguration in January.
It was a life-altering moment for 26-year-old designer Jason Wu, who was on his couch in Manhattan eating Domino's pizza and watching television unaware of his historical fate at the time of the big reveal. Not only did he garner worldwide attention, but the frock is also now part of the Smithsonian Museum's permanent collection.
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If you're still pining for the days that Naomi, Christy, Linda and Stephanie graced the covers of your favorite glossies on a semi-permanent basis, you were in luck this year. With incumbents like Gisele Bundchen, Jordan Dunn and Adriana Lima on maternity leave, Christy Turlington turned up on the July cover of Vogue, Claudia Schiffer graced the British version of Harper's Bazaar, Linda Evangelista evoked her chameleon-like ways in V (left), and Kate Moss--who never really went away--popped up in more campaigns than we could track, including the first for Yves Saint Laurent's new fragrance Parisienne.
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Speaking of supes, leave it to La Moss to take the metallic trend to new heights at the Costume Institute gala back in May. Her custom turban and minidress were created by designer and fellow co-host Marc Jacobs. (Not one to be outshined, she accessorized with the bluest sapphires that Harry Winston had to offer.)
But it wasn't only the red carpet that was all a'glitter this year. Metallic ensembles were omnipresent on the runway and on the racks at top mainstream retailers such as Gap, J.Crew, and others.
After years of speculation, British fast-fashion emporium Topshop opened its doors stateside on April 2 with an impressively-sized flagship in New York City's SoHo neighborhood. While naysayers were quick to assume that the store would pale in comparison to its Oxford Street location in central London, those negative thoughts were soon put to rest. The store boasts everything a Topshop girl could want, from personal shoppers to hundreds of shoes to collaborations with hip London designers such as (aforementioned) Christopher Kane and Louise Goldin. The only thing missing is the sweeties stand.
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From Tom Ford's triumphant directorial debut "A Single Man" to R.J. Cutler's (somewhat) revealing look at Vogue in "The September Issue," fashion ruled film this year. Of course we can't forget "Valentino: The Last Emperor," a documentary that traced the last two year's of the designer's legendary career but also told the love story of Valentino and his partner Giancarlo Giammetti. Designers Proenza Schouler also let cameras trail them in "The Day Before," a Sundance Channel Documentary that chronicled the hours before staging their runway show at New York Fashion Week in February 2009. Finally, Coco Chanel returned to the forefront of fashion with three biopics: Lifetime's "Coco Chanel" starring Shirley MacLaine, "Coco avant Chanel" with Audrey Tautou and the forthcoming "Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky" featuring Anna Mouglalis as the queen of comfortable chic.
With Fashion's Night Out, Vogue editrix Anna Wintour pulled off what might be the event of her career. In an attempt to woo recession-wary consumers, Wintour teamed up with the City of New York and over 150 retailers on September 10 for an evening of celebrity appearances (Gwen Stefani at Bloomindales, Sienna Miller and Rhianna at Intermix and the Olsen Twins at Bergdorf Goodman), cocktails and, of course, shopping. (Similar events were held in 11 other cities worldwide.) The evening's highlights included Oscar de la Renta singing with Sarah Jessica Parker at his boutique on the Upper East Side, Hamish Bowles' cabaret act at Juicy Couture on 5th Avenue and Wintour's appearance with Michael Kors at Macy's...in Queens.
The retail bonanza was such a success that the sequel is already scheduled for September 9, 2010.
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With the advent of social media reaching a frenzied pitch this year, designers were keen to jump on board to promote their individual labels. How many articles did you read about your favorite fashion influencers creating profiles on Facebook, Twitter, and at least one iPhone app?
The ablilty to personally connect with industry giants wasn't the only revolutionary movement of the year. While weight debates have been an omnipresent topic for models since the beginning of time, recent fuss has been made over accepting plus sized beauties in magazine spreads. Will they (hopefully) make it to the runway in 2010? Only time will tell.
Designer Nicole Miller attends the U.S. launch party for the BlackBerry Tour Smartphone in N.Y.C.
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Every fashion fan's heart sunk a little when Phoebe Philo decided to take time off at the height of her career in 2006 when she was at the helm of Chloé.
This past June, the designer extraordinaire, who is known for making women look effortlessly chic in cool girl separates, returned to create the resort collection at flailing French fashion house Celine.
The resulting garments brought a twinkle back to every editor's eye. Smart, sleek, utilitarian staples such as upscale army coats, perfectly tailored pants, and sophisticated suits that were created with timelessness in mind.
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