2015 in Review: The Best of Zoomer-ific Fashion
Here, we look back at some of the figures that made an impact in the world of style in 2015.
2015 was a Zoomer-ific year in fashion for boomers.
It was the year where the fashion world finally cast its jaded eyes in the direction of older women. The see-through gown was the biggest red-carpet trend but, thankfully, a legendary actress showed there was still some class and dignity left when it came to celebrity dressing.
And an unlikely grandmother, living far from any fashion capital, became a fashion star while a fashion icon in her 90s living in a fashion capital finally got a documentary treatment on her colourful life.
The ferocity of fashion continued at a slash-and-burn pace this year. There were multiple designer resignations (Raf Simons at Dior and Alexander Wang at Balenciaga), abrupt firings (Alber Elbaz at Lanvin) and the shuttering of fashion labels (Jonathan Saunders, Kris von Assche and Reed Krakoff).
But perhaps none so shocking as the end of Donna Karan – the label, that is. The 67-year-old designer was part of the triumvirate (Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein and Donna Karan) who defined New York fashion for decades. But LVMH, the owner of her label, pulled the plug, letting Karan go, closing her namesake label and replacing her at her DKNY label with two younger designers.
This past year, the fashion world cast its jaded – and youth-obsessed – eyes upon seniors. Older women are often a group relegated to the outer fringes of fashion – despite the fact they might have spending power.
But a few high-powered fashion companies featured models of a distinctive vintage. Uber cool French label, Céline, cast the writer Joan Didion, 80, in its spring ads. Another powerhouse French label, Saint Laurent, featured Joni Mitchell, 72. And Dolce and Gabbana paid homage to the legendary beauty and actress Sophia Loren, 81, with a lipstick inspired by her.
An 87-year-old granny became an unlikely Internet fashion star with more than a million followers on her Instagram account. Helen Van Winkle, a Tennessee grandmother, known as Baddie Winkle and prone to wearing colourful raver clothes with garlands of gold chains, became an Internet sensation, due to her unconventional style. So much so, trendy clothing companies would send her boxes of free clothes – she was even hired by one clothing company to front their billboard advertising. And her fans include Miley Cyrus, who invited her to the MTV Video Music Awards this year.
An entire generation remembers Bruce Jenner as the American Golden Boy who won the gold medal at the 1976 Olympic decathlon. A newer generation remembers Jenner as the father figure and reclusive reality star on the mega-hit television show, Keeping Up with the Kardashians. But 2015 was the year when the 66-year-old grandfather decided to truly live his life as intended and came out to the world as Caitlyn, a transgendered woman, on the cover of Vanity Fair. The former athlete cuts a glamourous figure wherever she goes, channelling the screen siren glamour of old Hollywood, as the fashion world waits with bated breath to see who might land her for an ad campaign.
But in the hoopla and media sensation surrounding the transformation, Jenner’s simple message seems to have gotten lost. She’s proven that it’s never too late for reinvention or too late in life to change and be who you truly want to be.
In this day and age of flagrant displays of flesh, it’s no surprise one of the biggest trends of the red carpets this year was the see-through dress. Celebs from Beyoncé to Kim Kardashian to Jennifer Lopez wore gowns that were essentially clusters of strategically placed beads.
But one woman single-handedly put them all to shame. Jane Fonda, 78, had a banner year on red carpets throughout the year, wearing a variety of looks that defied her age. From a stunning emerald green jumpsuit at this year’s Grammys to a recent movie premiere where she was all covered up in a boho-style Valentino long-sleeved gown embellished with floral appliques. Sometimes it takes a legend to show younger women that you don’t have to bare flesh to make an impact.
There were several intriguing fashion documentary films this year (Dior and I, being one of them), but one film cast its lens on 94-year-old New Yorker Iris Apfel. Known for her magpie eye approach to dressing, hers is a distinctive and wholly original sense of style – a mash-up of bright colours, piled-on oversized jewelry and her round black glasses.
Curiously, the fashion world only discovered this style maven a few years ago, and she has since inspired window displays at department stores, a makeup collection at MAC, landed in ad campaigns, on best-dressed lists and even an exhibition at the Costume Institute at the MET, aptly titled, Rare Bird: The Irreverent Iris Apfel.
The movie, Iris, offered a glimpse into the life of this fashion icon and former interior designer as she navigates chic parties, her work as a visiting professor at the University of Texas at Austin, dealing with the harsh realities of aging and her loving relationship with her husband of 67 years.