Here are this year’s worst fashion moments

Words by Bianca O'Neil

Illustration by Twylamae

There have been quite a few low points.

In a year rocked by multiple scandals, it seems that big luxury brands still aren’t quite getting the memo. We’re living in the age of social media, so the needs of the consumer are changing, and their voices are louder than ever. With the help of Diet Prada, we saw several high profile names fall onto a social-media-sword of their own making.

This is the worst of this year’s fashion moments.

Dolce & Gabbana China gaffe

The biggest fashion scandal of the year unfolded in real time as Diet Prada slowly leaked a blow-by-blow account of Stefano Gabbana’s “hacked” anti-China tirade. The now infamous campaign, featuring a Chinese model struggling to eat pizza with chopsticks, followed by insults hurled via DM care of Stefano Gabbana, took in heavy casualties – from a cancelled runway reportedly costing millions, over 300 models left without a job, and even a Vogue editor (Suzy Menkes). To understand how quickly this unfolded, read one of my favourite pieces about the fallout, by an unnamed model who was there, watching it happen.

Gucci walks severed heads down the runway

As Gucci began to fall on the list of most coveted brands this year (deftly overtaken by Balenciaga), they decided the best bet at a shot of publicity was a bunch of models walking severed heads down a runway. It was the worst of what I’m now terming “headline fashion” – the practice of creating things purely to court headlines. Firstly, it’s boring – and secondly, Balenciaga does it better anyway.

Hedi Slimane and the #oldceline backlash

Hedi Slimane had been the darling of fashion for a few seasons – regardless of the controversy that surrounded him. He doubled Saint Laurent’s revenue with his makeover, and modernised a tired old brand, making them relevant again. So I’m pretty sure even he didn’t expect what was coming when he removed a little accent from a very important ‘e’. For the most part, I thought this was a bit of a mountain out of a molehill; it’s his style. He had already seen criticism after he removed the ‘Yves’ from Saint Laurent – his way of instilling his vision on a heritage brand and marking a line in the sand. Why was it so surprising he did it again? Also the idea of a designer coming in – and one with a very specific aesthetic, at that – expected to only reproduce what you’ve already come to love from the previous designer? Completely not the point of hiring Hedi. He was there to shake things up – and shake things up he did. Like it or not.

White influencers pretending to be black

After writing an op-ed earlier this year asking why fashion has such a problem with racism (see the Miroslava Duma link below), we got thrown into the deep end again with yet another controversy about white people appropriating black culture. It started with Twitter calling out Swedish Instagram influencer @eemmahallberg for some – ahem – very dark tanning action. We probably should be holding Kimmy K responsible for this one… after all, there’s a lot of money to be made by circling the Kardashian universe

More magazine closures…

Another year, another bunch of magazine closures… this year we saw iconic Andy Warhol-founded pop culture magazine Interview close its doors, followed closely at home by Cosmopolitan. After Cleo and Dolly before it, Cosmopolitan’s closure has signalled the death of a lucrative market – the young woman. Now seeking their inspo elsewhere in a diversity-rich market, it has you questioning why traditional magazines keep pushing the same tired representation of skinny, mostly white models on the cover…

Gosha Rubchinskiy accused of soliciting on social media

And here we were, thinking that soliciting young models via sexual predatorism ended with the demise of Terry Richardson… Russian designer Gosha Rubchinskiy was exposed by Diet Prada asking a 16-year-old boy to send him photos from “the bathroom”. Out of context, says Rubchinskiy – but further screenshots appear to prove otherwise.

Deciem social media meltdowns

When company founder, Brandon Truaxe, took over the official Deciem Instagram, all hell broke loose. From pro-Trump rants, to pot shots at competitor brands, to 911 requests for followers to help him, it was a series of meltdowns that ended with Truaxe ‘shutting down the company’ after threatening legal action against anyone who wronged him. Estee Lauder had to take him to court to remove him as CEO, reopening the brand in October with a new captain at the helm.

Miroslava Duma steps down from Buro after racism scandal

When Russian designer Ulyana Sergeenko sent a bunch of flowers to Buro 247 founder Miroslava Duma at fashion week, it seemed innocent enough – until Duma decided to grace her 1.6 million followers with the message contained in the card. “To my ni**as in Paris,” it read, quoting the famous Kanye / Jay Z track. She was immediately fired from her position on the board at online store The Tot, quietly selling her shares in Buro only months later after sharp declines in ad sales following the scandal. From one white woman to any other white women out there – just don’t use the N word ok? Just… don’t.

Balmain’s computer-generated models

It’s a new low for the modelling community; the rise of computer-generated models. After the reports of computer-generated influencer @lilmiquela picking up campaigns, Balmain jumped on the bandwagon with a series of computer-generated models showing off his new collection. Oliver Rousteing claims it will aid in the representation of diversity, but I smell a rat… first of all, it’s not like we’re SHORT of diverse models – there are plenty of amazing ones out there screaming out to be cast in shows like Balmain. And secondly, I don’t see these computer-generated models – designed with perfection and beauty in mind – doing anything for the industry’s problem with representing reality on the runway.

More designer fakes, more duped buyers

The biggest story of 2017 here in Australia was obviously the Borrow My Balmain scandal… but it seems we still can’t escape fakes online. Earlier this year I revealed yet another site attempting to dupe buyers with fake Zimmerman and Gucci designs, at heavily discounted prices. Buyer beware…

Follow Bianca’s fashion coverage and commentary over at @_thesecondrow, or listen to her podcast at @thefashionpodcast.

Lazy Loading