2010: The year in Fashion


MoMA headliner Marina Abramović wasn't the only performance artist present in 2010. Lady Gaga, James Franco, Anna Dello Russo—the year's newsmakers seemed to turn every moment of their waking lives into a spectacle, part deadly serious, part put-on. Backstage, too, the players and the moves they made were full of bravado—witness Bernard Arnault swooping in to purchase 17 percent of Hermès. And the world kept tabs on it all via the perpetual feedback loop that is Twitter. Here, a look back at the year's biggest performers

The Other Anna
Is there a fashion person who loves the spotlight more than Anna Dello Russo? (OK, don't answer that, Bryan Boy.) Dello Russo, the Vogue Nippon fashion director at large and proprietress of an addictive personal blog, has turned dressing into performance art, even out-outfitting Paris Vogue's Carine Roitfeld at the magazine's 90th anniversary party. In the process, the 47-year-old has gone from fashion insider favorite to Web superstar ("I'm thinking I'm a Barbie of the Internet"), and she has a fragrance rolling out on Yoox to prove it. Its name? "Beyond." 

The Social Network
No, not that one. Facebook may be a fact of life, and there were other big tech stories this year— live streaming, the iPad launch, Tumblr—but in 2010, fashion people were all a-Twitter. Last time we checked, Stefano Gabbana had 59,889 followers and 10,854 tweets. And if you think that's impressive, get a load of DKNY PR Girl's stats: 219,399 followers and 15,371 tweets (not counting the 500 she sent in the time it took you to read this). In the old days—say, 2008—@NoBtotheS would have needed a blog to become semi-famous. Now all it takes is 140 characters and a dream. 

Their Cups Runneth Over
Miranda Kerr made a surprise appearance at Balenciaga's Spring 2010 show, but the Angels' biggest high fashion moment came at the Fall collections, with both Prada and Louis Vuitton embracing la belle poitrine and Victoria's Secret models who rock one, like Alessandra (left), Adriana, and Bar. Stunt casting or the beginning of a legit trend? Kerr, at least, has stayed on the style set's radar, posing nude and pregnant, Demi-style, for W's "Family" issue. But she sat out last month's VS show; curves of the kind she's currently showing off aren't ready for prime time. Or is it vice versa? 

Better Than TV
Who needs fashion reality shows when you have editorial musical chairs? The job shuffles that ensued after Stefano Tonchi landed the top slot at W magazine in March—Vogue's Sally Singer to TT's Anne Christensen to Glamour, and so on down the mastheads—were way, way more compelling to industry insiders than anything Hollywood could cook up. The blogosphere play-by-plays—see Fashionista's fun but completely befuddling visual guide—had us sitting on the edge of our Aeron office chair. Has reading about magazine editors on the Internet replaced reading magazines? 

Meet You at the Plaza
Even if it's not the Tuileries, Lincoln Center is a fitting new home for New York fashion week. Call it a performing arts complex for the fashion-entertainment complex, one that's equipped with glossier, more video camera-friendly tents, an obligatory bloggers' pit, and a grand, sweeping plaza that does in fact rival Paris as a backdrop for street-style photos. Cathy Horyn memorably likened the lobby to "an upscale hotel once you reach Albuquerque," but it has Bryant Park beat in this regard: It's a heck of a lot easier catching cabs at 63rd Street than it was at 41st. 

It's Terry's World
Photographer Terry Richardson may not have any fans at Jezebel, but he landed more high-profile assignments than ever this year. There was the Lady GagaRolling Stone cover, the James Franco shoot in the transversal lifestyle magazineCandy, and the plum gig of being the only photographer allowed to document Tom Ford's return to womenswear. Richardson's latest middle finger to the world: a story in Paris Vogue titled "Pussy West." 

Jim of All Trades
James Franco's résumé is as bizarre as it is long: grad student, artist, soap opera star, poet, drag icon, GQ's "Leading Man of the Year," potential Oscar contender—and don't forget major hottie. But we bet even he didn't see his latest piece of performance art coming. Along with Anne Hathaway, the multi-hyphenate will host the Academy Awards in February. Fashion labels are no doubt lining up to dress him as we type. 

Private and Public
Two designers defined the second half of 2010, and they each gave very different performances. Tom Ford went for mystery with his no-photos-please womenswear presentation in September, while Alber Elbaz was suddenly everywhere. He finally opened a Lanvin shop on Madison Avenue, threw a Halloween rager there complete with a Champagne fountain and dueling drag queens, and then provoked near riots around the world with his smash hit Lanvin for H&M launch. Next thing you know, he'll be showing up at Art Basel Miami Beach. Et voilà

You Complete Me
An art institution hosting a bona fide event, as opposed to a publicity stunt or overblown crowd pleaser? Marina Abramović's epic Museum of Modern Art performance piece The Artist Is Present kept New York enthralled for two and a half months. Abramović's No.1 fan? Riccardo Tisci. The Givenchy creative director threw a star-studded party in her honor. Her outfit: a dress with a jacket made from the skins of 101 snakes. It beat the blanketlike robes she wore during the 700 hours she spent sitting in a chair in the museum's atrium, staring wordlessly at one stranger after another. 

Meat Market
In 2010, even fame monsters strove to put a little art in their performances. Lady Gaga hit the red carpet at the MTV Video Music Awards in 40 pounds of meat stitched up into a dress and matching accessories by L.A. artist/designer Franc Fernandez. The message behind the madness? Gaga told Ellen DeGeneres: "If we don't fight for our rights, pretty soon we're going to have as much rights as the meat on our bones. And, I am not a piece of meat." Kim Kardashian, meanwhile, flashed the meat on her bones—under some strategically placed Barbara Kruger slogans—on the cover of W

Some of this year's business stories were as riveting as anything that came down the catwalk. There was the Bettencourt saga, Diego Della Valle's intriguing investment in Saks Fifth Avenue, and the Hermès/LVMH tussle. Hermès executives reacted with dismay when they discovered that LVMH's Bernard Arnault had quietly amassed a 17.1 percent stake in their company. But the fallout hasn't been all bad: Salma Hayek, who is married to Arnault's business rival François-Henri Pinault, showed up at the opening of Hermès Left Bank store in a body-hugging red dress. 

Power Shopping
Online shopping is a bit like China, in the sense that people in retailing have been saying for years, "Yeah, it's gonna be huge." And now they're discovering that it's not gonna be huge, it is huge, and it's just about to eat your lunch. Net-a-Porter founder Natalie Massenet netted a cool $70 million and counting when Richemont fully acquired the site this April. Gilt keeps expanding, with a full-price menswear site up next (a direct competitor to NAP's imminent Mr Porter). And as they say in the movie biz, Google's e-commerce site, Boutiques.com, opened wide in November. 

True Grit
We continued to enjoy the billion-dollar views at the Boom Boom Room in 2010, but gritty was back, too. Don Hill's, the West Side dive rehabbed (but not much) earlier this year by nightlife impresarios Paul Sevigny and Nur Khan, opened with a major bang in September. Iggy Pop christened the place when he told the crowd during his New York fashion week performance, "Just remember, fashion people, your pretty face is going to hell!" 

Alexander McQueen, RIP
His suicide in early February casts a long shadow over 2010 and beyond, and the fashion world continues to mourn the loss of one of its most innovative forces. Next May, the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art will stageAlexander McQueen: Savage Beauty, celebrating the vision that informed both the spectacle of his shows and his incredible craftsmanship. And we hear that some of the designer's former collaborators will be producing a very different exhibition and tribute in another city. As Style.com's Tim Blanks put it: The power of McQueen's work will never die.

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